Visiting global President and CEO of Siemens PLM Software, Chuck Grindstaff, whose technology is behind projects such as the Mars Curiosity Rover through to the US Navy’s new Ford class aircraft carrier, has flagged a multi-million dollar software in-kind grant should Germany be selected to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines.
At an event held in Tonsley, Adelaide’s innovation hub, Grindstaff highlighted how the establishment of a Digital Shipyard in Adelaide could help the state transform into a hub for high-tech manufacturing, innovative ideas and increased employment. Drawing on his experience with the manufacturing renaissance in the US and the approach of Naval shipbuilding in Virginia, he said the Australian economy could benefit greatly.
“Put simply, I could see a rebirth of shipbuilding in Australia with flow on effects to all industry and the potential to seed Australia's manufacturing Renaissance.”
“The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market,” Grindstaff said. “Australia is faced with a unique opportunity through its defence investments to help local industry rapidly transform and prepare to participate in advanced manufacturing and Industrie 4.0.”
In Virginia where shipbuilding is core to the state's economy, Siemens provided $US1 billion of in-kind software to equip students with the Digital Enterprise Software Suite that will help them build the world's most complex ships for the US Navy.
“Should Germany be selected to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines, I could see a multi-million dollar in-kind Siemens PLM software grant to help re-tool Australia’s next generation of workers,” Grindstaff said. “It’s no longer about who has the strongest back, but who best uses their brain and receives the best training in areas like mechanics, mechatronics, computers, software, design and engineering.
“A combination of Germany’s Industrie 4.0 vision, the access to advanced manufacturing technologies already in application in the US Navy and Australia’s Innovation Agenda will help retool Adelaide and Australia for the digital age of manufacturing,” Grindstaff said. “Put simply, I could see a rebirth of shipbuilding in Australia with flow on effects to all industry and the potential to seed Australia’s manufacturing Renaissance - similar to what we’re seeing in Virginia.”
The comments from Grindstaff, who is based in the US, support German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ recent commitment of building a Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence (SCOE) in Adelaide. According to ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia chairman John White, such an approach would greatly reduce risk for the Royal Australian Navy.
“The Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence in Australia would benefit all defence programs and ensure common software platforms to strengthen Australia’s approach. It would help connect the Royal Australian Navy to academic institutions and industry so we embed a continuous and sustainable hi-tech shipbuilding industry. Sea 1000 has the scale to change the way ships are built in Australia; it provides a generational chance to advance the manufacturing industry.”
Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens ANZ said if Australia were to leverage the future submarines and frigates investment for the whole of industry, then the economic benefits could be vast with rapid transfer and adoption of key skills and tools.
“With the right skills and tools, Australia can combine its renowned ingenuity to kick start the ideas boom of the 21st century.”