Testlabs, Future of Work & Skills


To assist the Australian manufacturing industry transition to Industry 4.0 this Work stream will:

  • Develop and implement the network of Industry 4.0 Testlabs nationally;
  • Define and disseminate best practice for work, education and training transformation for Industry 4.0; and
  • Facilitate stakeholder engagement and collaboration nationally and internationally to advance learning, technology transfer and innovation.

The Australian Industry 4.0 Testlab Network

TestLabs are innovative learning platforms and facilities that enable the research and education sector to work closely with the industry sector (in particular SMEs) in order to progress Industry 4.0 transformations. They provide supportive, non-competitive, cooperative environments that act as co-creation spaces for collective Industry 4.0 “learning-by-doing”. In this way industry can immerse in Industry 4.0 concepts and experiment with advanced manufacturing processes, digitally integrated systems and new Industry 4.0 embedded business models. The stakeholders engaged with the network will develop capabilities that will enable them to drive the adoption and deployment of Industry 4.0 across Australia coupled with workforce transformation.

Currently Testlabs are being developed in each State across the country, each based on a pilot-plant concepts focusing on a particular industrial application:

  • Swinburne University of Technology – Victoria – Testlab A. Open Demonstrator, Teaching & Industry Outreach Platform based on autonomous Flexible Manufacturing concepts  & Testlab B. Composite Product Automation based on 3D printing technology
  • University of South Australia – South Australia – focused on digital shipyards supporting the emerging defence manufacturing program
  • University of Queensland – Queensland –  intelligent energy distribution coupled with power generation and utilisation using solar energy
  • University of Technology Sydney – New South Wales – Industrial Algae Process for pharma production
  • University of Western Australia – Western Australia – New generation LNG production plant
  • University of Tasmania – Tasmania – Food and Beverage Production and Processing
  • RMIT University – Victoria – additive and digital manufacturing of metallic parts for medical, defence, space, automotive, construction and industrial design applications, and digital energy systems for industrial applications.

RMIT Digital Energy Testlab

Established with Siemens, the RMIT Digital Energy Testlab focuses on digital energy systems for Industry 4.0. The only facility of its kind in Victoria, the Testlab provides a digital platform with advanced visualisation for modelling, simulation and design of smart grid systems for production, storage and distribution of different energy types, and scenarios including renewable energy and clean energy. The Testlab provides a unique environment for development of new skills and innovative solutions by industry, researchers and students.

About the Work stream

This Work stream will encourage and guide adherence to common operational principles and Industry 4.0 qualification criteria for each Testlab. Guiding Principles include:

  • Showcase and demonstrate technology aligned to German VDMA Guidelines, Lab network Industrie 4.0, and RAMI 4.0 architecture.
  • Meet the Industry 4.0 Qualification Criteria before finalising and launching to ensure rigour and alignment of standards across the country.
  • Showcase Industry 4.0 strategies, concepts and solutions, and provide companies with a low-risk, practical, easy access point to trial Industry 4.0 Innovations.
  • Provide outreach and engagement with industry through open access to training, workshops, meetings and thought leadership.
  • Develop and deliver education and training programs for TAFE, higher education, research and life-long learning
  • Pursue research and innovation in specialist areas relevant to expertise and in partnership with industry.
  • Work collaboratively with others across the Testlab network to maintain consistency and help to shape industry standards and government policy around Industry 4.0


A full list of the Testlab Guiding Principles can be found on Page 2 of Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia Preparing for the Future (PDF 9MB)


Project 1:

The first project in this Work stream will be the formation of two key groups:   An assessment panel, including Australian and German Industry 4.0 experts, to undertake an Industry 4.0 Qualification Criteria assessment of each Testlab when completed, prior to its launch; and A Network Management Committee, including representatives from all foundation Testlabs in the network, to assist with sharing of experiences, collective presentations of use cases at G20 summits and collective representations to industry, AiG and governments.  Both groups will be formed by April 2019.

Future Work, Education and Training for Industry 4.0

At its most fundamental, Industry 4.0 is about the impact of the digitalisation of manufacturing – and in the process, profoundly changing the skills mix required as part of the workforce of the future. Australia can rapidly and successfully embrace the transformation of this Fourth Industrial revolution; the benefits from the integration of Industry 4.0 into the everyday means that diverse groups must be bought together and the skills of the Australian workforce must be facilitated and supported.

Industry 4.0 will deliver many opportunities for growth but only for those businesses and countries that are ready and have invested in the skills and infrastructure to thrive in this latest industrial revolution.  While some Australian businesses are already grasping this opportunity and are making dramatic changes to their workforce, infrastructure and business models, many businesses do not know where to begin.  Governments too are struggling with the next best steps to assist this transformation.


Project 2:

Work will begin on this part of the Work stream with the development of a report, which will provide clear and practical information and advice for all stakeholders that will play a role in encouraging and facilitating the transition of Australian businesses towards Industry 4.0.  This report will focus on workforce transformation.  First it will consider the current state of play for the Australian advanced manufacturing sector; secondly it will review the national and international context for workforce transformation and look to uncover best practice examples; and ultimately it will provide industry, the education sector and government with accessible, compelling information on the need to invest and adapt to Industry 4.0, and suggest actions that can be taken to get there.

Transforming Australian Manufacturing: Preparing Businesses and Workplaces for Industry 4.0 (PDF 1.7MB)



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