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The Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University is a national leader in industry and workplace innovation research.

Located under the Main Assembly Building of the former Mitsubishi manufacturing site, now the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s south.

The Australian Industrial Transformation Institute’s (AITI) multi-disciplinary team undertakes industry, economic and workforce research in response to major change. A leader in research on the future of work in the digital age and the human dimensions of technological change, playing a key role in informing strategy, policy, and program development.

A major focus of AITI is providing insights into the industries and jobs of the future. Our Factory of the Future brings innovation, Industry 4.0 technologies, research, and training together to advance manufacturing and strengthen the nation’s economy. Through the Factory of the Future Flinders University has a bold vision to unlock 4000 jobs over five years, securing our economic prosperity for generations to come.

The Factory of the Future will bring together education, industry and government to facilitate the implementation of Industry 4.0, bridging the valley between research, development and innovation to boost the national economy.

It builds on the significant work already conducted as part of our Pilot Factory of the Future project undertaken in collaboration with our foundation industry partner BAE Systems Maritime Australia.

The foundations for success are already in place at the impressive Tonsley Innovation District – a site that defined a previous golden era of automotive manufacturing in South Australia.

The Factory of the Future will deliver a world-class, reconfigurable advanced manufacturing test bed, training and industry growth facility – the first of its kind in Australia.

Aside from the thousands of jobs created, about 250 companies will be involved in the facility, benefiting from collaborations with research expertise and opportunities to integrate into domestic and international value chains.

The Factory of the Future will connect businesses and sectors which are of growing importance to the national economy, including the $90 billion defence shipbuilding industry.


The Factory of the Future will work with international and domestic businesses to deepen understanding of the growing importance of digitisation and advanced manufacturing technologies, and to identify opportunities to implement industry-leading applications.

It will work with business to test and trial robotics and automation, including cyber-physical systems. It will also assist with the development of digital roadmaps to help sustain the uptake and diffusion of advanced technologies.

Photo by Jack Fenby

The Factory of the Future will develop training and cultural programs to enable industries to successfully deliver significant change within organisations. It will also support the application of leaner practices in manufacturing to reduce waste, and identify opportunities for digitisation, robotics and automation.

By supporting the testing and implementation of advanced technologies, The Factory of the Future will be able to significantly increase the innovative capabilities and performance of companies, leading to the establishment of deeper productive collaborations with researchers and world-class facilities.

Access to Industry 4.0 technologies, processes and expertise is essential to enable businesses working across many South Australian industry sectors to compete on a global stage.

“The Factory of the Future will attract national and international attention and place Australia at the cutting edge of modern manufacturing.” – Professor John Spoehr, Director, Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.

The Factory of the Future forms part of a collaborative network of advanced manufacturing facilities internationally, linking to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield and the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, both in the UK. It will work collaboratively with Flinders University’s Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging, Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Medical Device Research Institute, New Venture Institute and Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.

Photo by Jack Fenby

The factory will enable SMEs and research institutions to bring new and emerging technologies under the one roof at Tonsley, opening the way for Australian businesses to join BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s $19.6 billion Global Supply Chain.

The Factory of the Future aims to substantially increase the number of companies involved in testing automation and robotics technologies to help our state and our nation prosper.

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