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We have embarked on a major industrial transformation known more broadly as Industry 4.0. This is a complex framework based on full integration of cyber‑physical production systems (CPPS), where intelligent products, machines, networks and systems are securely interconnected based on common standards, independently communicating and cooperating with each other over the entire manufacturing process – all with minimal or no human intervention.

The adoption and deployment of Industry 4.0 within Australia has the potential to significantly improve the competiveness of our SMEs and the advanced manufacturing sector. In 2016, the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce was announced with the support of the Australian Government. The Taskforce’s initial role was to connect Australian and German industry leaders to collaborate and share information on Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 Testlabs will enable our SMEs, students and workforce to embrace this transformation and learn about Industry 4.0 within supportive and non-competitive cooperative environments. At its most fundamental, Industry 4.0 is about digitalization of the entire manufacturing process. The success of this industrial transformation will depend equally on how successful we are in facilitating and supporting workforce transformation.

This report provides a detailed overview of the relevant resources, findings and recommendations resulting from the work of the Industry 4.0 Testlabs Working Group of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce during 2016–2017. The report aims to bring together in one resource the key intents, concepts and recommendations associated with the development and deployment of Industry 4.0 Testlabs in line with the Taskforce objectives. The report further aims to support broader participation of Australian education and industry sectors and other stakeholders in Industry 4.0 initiatives through co-creation based on a “learning by doing” approach.

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