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Sydney’s South West uniquely positioned for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0
Sydney’s South West isn’t necessarily where people associate industrial innovation and digital disruption, but in 2018 it is the hub for Industry 4.0 manufacturers who are utilising automation and data exchange to drive technically innovative manufacturing. According to the Committee for Sydney, Western Sydney is “uniquely positioned” to exploit the possibilities of Industry 4.0 and take a leadership role in advancing manufacturing in Australia,

The findings of a new report by Committee for Sydney and Western Sydney University, Manufacturing 4.0 – cracking the code for Western Sydney, identify that Industry 4.0 presents a major opportunity to help Australia become one of the emerging leaders in Industry 4.0 solutions and services, which will “open countless new market opportunities thereby strengthening Australian economy.”     

The report outlines that, “The region (of South West Sydney) is well-position to lead the move to Industry 4.0 because it has a concentration of small manufacturing companies that are eager to transform and whose small size confers advantages of agility, risk taking ability and the ability to quickly evolve and change their business model as they progress, according to the report.”

Manufacturing in Australia

In Australia, manufacturing contributes around $100 billion to the Australian Gross Domestic Product (GDP), that’s 6.05% of total GDP, exports A$96.1 billion of goods, and employs 856,000 people, annually. Western Sydney is Australia’s third largest economy, covering 85% of Sydney’ area, producing 31% of its GRP, and containing 47% of its population. Western Sydney is one of the fastest growing economies in Australia. Having been traditionally strong in manufacturing, Western Sydney still has manufacturing as the region’s major industry sector that contributes up to 16% of GRP, maintaining its position as the biggest employer in the region.[1]

McKinsey and Company define Industry 4.0 as the next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector, driven by four disruptions: the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing.[2]

Industry 4.0 is so named as it is this is the fourth major upheaval in modern manufacturing, following the lean revolution of the 1970s, the outsourcing phenomenon of the 1990s, and the automation that took off in the 2000s.

APG has been working closely with manufacturing businesses in Sydney’s South West for 20 years, consulting and providing experience labour for this important sector of Australia’s economy.

State of manufacturing in South West Sydney

Manufacturing in Western Sydney is a highly diverse sector and presents a cross-section of manufacturing nationwide. At one end of the spectrum it encompasses traditional activities – low end production – and on the other it includes increasingly complex transformation processes and precision engineering. The manufacturing industries include aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, chemicals, defence, mining, pharmaceuticals, engineering, textiles and more.

Western Sydney manufacturing provides a snapshot of Australian manufacturing and largely reflects the trends that manufacturing is going through on a national scale.

Manufacturing remains a sector of significance and continues to be the largest employing industry in the GWS region, making up to 15.6% of total employment.[3]

Enabling Technologies – Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 leverages third platform technologies to accelerate innovation in factories. According to the Boston Consulting Group[4] there are nine digital industrial technologies at the core of Industry 4.0,

  1. Advanced robotics
  2. Additive manufacturing
  3. Augmented reality
  4. Simulation, horizontal/vertical integration
  5. Industrial Internet
  6. The cloud
  7. Cyber Security
  8. Big Data
  9. Analytics22

The initial offerings of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing are automation, process improvement, production optimisation – resulting in overall productivity growth. As industry 4.0 will become the core of manufacturing, new business models will evolve, additional revenue streams will be generated.

According to the Manufacturing 4.0 – cracking the code for Western Sydney, report the blueprint for adoption of Industry 4.0 across the whole of the manufacturing sector is essentially a progression from technology adoption and integration through to business and industry optimisation, with several distinct stages in between.

Industry 4.0 is an integrated vision which is a bit more than automation in factories. The vision for Industry 4.0 is business transformation, business model regeneration and optimisation.

APG is located in the heart of Sydney South West’s manufacturing hub at 14 Williamson Road, Ingleburn.




[3] Economy ID 2011, Employment by industry – WSROC region economy


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