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The world is getting smarter about the way it makes things.

The next industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0 – will rely on smart factories that take advantage of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, optimised technologies and data-driven innovation. For business, it means enhanced competitiveness and greater resilience. According to the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, over two-thirds of resilient manufacturers in Australia are using advanced manufacturing technologies and 60% of resilient manufacturers are investing strongly in R&D. 

At the heart of it all are smart sensors, and NSW universities are at the forefront of smart sensing research, exploring new frontiers in additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance in machines and infrastructure, data security in large sensor networks and optimisation of supply chains with new logistics models. 

Partnering with the NSSN, companies can access expertise and technology from across NSW’s leading universities and gain an enduring competitive advantage. Some of the exciting R&D projects already taking place throughout the network include:

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as founding members of the Innovative Manufacturing CRC, have recently begun working with Mineral Technologies to improve mineral separation equipment. Using 3D printing technology, the team is able to prototype different gravity concentrator designs, optimise the manufacturing process and, all the while, receive industry feedback for future improvements. The newly designed concentrators will contain numerous sensors to monitor wear and tear, providing real-time data for end-users.

Researchers at UNSW have developed a ‘Green Steel’ product with OneSteel. The green alloys are made with recycled rubber tyres and have prevented over two million passenger vehicle tyres from going to landfill. The quality of the steel is high enough to commercialise the process, with the technology now being used in South Korea, Thailand, the UK and Norway. By taking an innovative approach to materials, the researchers at UNSW have transformed a costly waste stream into a valuable revenue source.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong, as members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, are developing the materials needed to drive future electrochemical devices. The developed 3D electromaterials take advantage of the benefits available when using nanotechnology, with the benefit that the developed technologies are designed to be integrated in finished devices. These advances are supported by customised work to monitor the material properties as devices are manufactured. 

Working with the NSSN simplifies the process of engaging with universities by creating a single point-of-contact for the leading research-intensive universities in NSW. The network recently connected Silanna Semiconductor with researchers from the University of Sydney to accurately measure oxide thicknesses to confirm quality control for their semiconductor products. 

Access to cutting-edge research equipment can be difficult to arrange without university partners, and with over 50 centres of excellence, collaborative research centres and industrial training centres spread across the NSSN, access to world-class equipment is readily available.  

Navigating the ever-changing technological manufacturing space is challenging, working with universities should not be.

With the support of the NSW Government, the NSSN is your one-stop shop for multi-disciplinary expertise and technology. 

To find out how the NSSN can help solve your challenges, please contact Nicholas Haskins at (02) 9385 5450 or

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