The Victorian Government has put $1.36 million towards a new Smart Enough Factory program that will help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Victoria’s defence industry modernise their design and manufacturing processes.
Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula launched the program which is designed to help companies transform their operations by deploying digital technologies to drive value and productivity – spearheading their competitive advantage.
“We’re supporting our defence industry to become ever more responsive, adaptive and connected,” said Minister Pakula. “This program will help defence businesses to grow and transform, supporting jobs and economic growth and cementing Victoria’s status as the advanced manufacturing capital of Australia.”
Delivered by DMTC Limited (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre), the Smart Enough Factory program will help participating businesses adopt digital technologies, overcome barriers such as costs, skill shortages or security vulnerabilities, and create opportunities to enter defence supply chains.
With the aim of boosting digital and Industry 4.0 capabilities, the program uses advances in data-driven production to enhance businesses’ operational performance and manufacturing productivity, leading to more efficient processes and significant cost savings.
The pilot program is underway with Victorian small businesses Australian Precision Technologies, APV Corporation, A.W. Bell, Heat Treatment Australia and Ronson Gears.
“This program is not just about getting companies to the starting line, it’s about putting companies in a better position to compete and win work,” said DMTC Limited chief executive Dr Mark Hodge. “It’s about tangible actions to put industrial capability in Australian hands.”
The full-scale program will run from the end of the year for an initial period of three years, with up to 20 Victorian defence businesses each year to reap the benefits of the program.
The program will also take on up to eight undergraduate or postgraduate interns a year from Victorian universities through a scheme administered by the Defence Science Institute (Victoria) to provide technical support, offering them valuable work experience, defence industry exposure and possible future employment.
By embracing advanced technology, the program will ultimately boost participating businesses’ prospects of participating in multi-billion-dollar defence programs, meaning more jobs and investment for Victoria’s defence sector.
Victoria’s defence sector contributes up to $8.4 billion to the state’s economy each year, employing around 24,000 people in 6,300 businesses that manufacture equipment and provide services for defence activities.
Victorian businesses can express interest in the program at dmtc.com.au.