Swinburne’s Factory of the Future Enters Industrial Metaverse
The Swinburne University of Technology has teamed up with Cloudworx Technologies to advance the development of metaverse technology for the future of manufacturing.
The Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne) has announced its latest collaboration with the computer software company Cloudworx (CWX) Technologies. CWX will help create 3D digital twins of production systems within Swinburne’s Factory of the Future.
Businesses and academia are reaching out toward the industrial metaverse through collaborative research and metaverse technology development. Image used courtesy of Swinburne
The Industrial Metaverse
The term "metaverse" refers to a shared virtual space that combines multiple simulated environments, augmented reality, and virtual reality. It is a space created by the convergence of these different technologies. The industrial metaverse and enterprise metaverse movements are two related concepts that focus on using metaverse technology for industrial and business purposes.
The industrial metaverse involves the creation of virtual environments that mimic real-world industrial processes and systems. This technology can be used to simulate complex manufacturing processes, train employees, and test new products and equipment in a safe and controlled environment. On the other hand, the enterprise metaverse movement focuses on using metaverse technology to improve business operations and productivity.
Overall, the industrial and enterprise metaverse movements are part of a larger trend toward using virtual and augmented reality technology to transform traditional industries and business practices. As these technologies continue to develop, they are likely to play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of work and industry.
CWX will bring digital twin technology to Swinburne’s Factory of the Future engineering facility. Video used courtesy of Swinburne
A Foundation for Modern Innovation
Digital twin technology is one of the fundamental driving forces behind the establishment and progression of the industrial metaverse. Digital twinning is a concept that refers to replicating a physical object, process, system, or environment in a virtual format. It is a digital representation of a physical entity created using data from various sources such as sensors, cameras, and other IoT devices. It is used to monitor and simulate the behavior of the entity in real-time.
CWX will bring digital twin technology to Swinburne’s Factory of the Future engineering facility. CWX will create and deliver 3D digital twins of the facility’s production systems to help enhance the efficiency of manufacturing operations.
CWX will work alongside Swinburne’s Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) to help develop key metaverse technologies for enterprise and manufacturing. One of DIL’s research project areas includes Advanced Manufacturing for Industry 4.0. The lab is actively developing digital technologies to help improve facility and worker productivity and enhance product traceability.
DIL researchers and CWX engineers will focus on system engineering, smart manufacturing processes, image processing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Swinburne’s Factory of the Future
Swinburne’s Factory of the Future is located on the ground floor of the university’s $100 million Advanced Manufacturing Design Centre. The Factory of the Future is a gateway for businesses to expand into Industry 4.0 operations. By working collaboratively with companies like CWX, Swinburne’s researchers and students can get involved with and gain insights into new product and process developments in manufacturing. Businesses can also fine-tune and innovate their business models.
Industry 4.0 operations require the integration of IoT, AI, robotics, and data analytics into manufacturing processes. Image used courtesy of Swinburne
The Factory of the Future provides academic and business co-creators with an open, modular manufacturing facility, the Industry 4.0 Testlab. The lab includes quality inspection cells, a human-robot collaborative working cell, and a complete automated assembly cell.
The Factory of the Future also has collaborative robots (including the Universal Robots UR5e), plastic and metal 3D printers, and scanners. Engineers and companies can use such technologies to test 3D-printed product prototypes and value-added business models.
What Are the Benefits?
Augmented reality and 3D graphics are just some of the metaverse technologies used by engineers to visualize 3D computer-aided design models and modify them before making physical models. Collaborators can get together virtually from all corners of the globe without spending money or time traveling. Creating 2D designs or 3D models in a virtual space can also save on materials costs when creating physical prototypes, which can break if handled excessively.
The collaboration between Swinburne and CWX is just one example of industry and academia coming together to develop digital manufacturing solutions that can evolve and refine present-day manufacturing operations. The physical and virtual workspace capabilities of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future also provide an engaging learning environment for young students to train and garner new skills.