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Back to News 14 December 2021

Plans for $67m Expansion of Factory of the Future Pilot

A great article in the Sunday Mail Dec 12th featuring Flinders University and BAE Systems Australia’s Pilot Factory of the Future at Tonsley Innovation District, and the plans to expand this pilot into something permanent. Future phase funding success would see significant growth and extra jobs all coming to Adelaide, furthering the high calibre skills and roles that South Australia has to offer.

"Every stage of the project was about testing and trialing advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques in a factory environment, before adapting them to the Osborne shipyard and other industrial sectors."

Flinders University Professor John Spoehr

Flinders University’s Factory of the Future brings innovation, Industry 4.0 technologies, research and training together to advance manufacturing and strengthen the nation’s economy.


Being a hothouse for manufacturing innovation, the plan is divided into phases :


  • The first phase of the project, a pop-up test lab for trying out latest manufacturing technologies and focusing on shipbuilding.


  • Construction of a permanent “Factory of the Future” on the site of the current pilot project will begin in February 2022 and be finished by November 2022. This will allow for a range of innovative SA companies including 3D-printing experts AML3D, as well as Cohda Wireless and CISCO, to come on board.


  • A third phase would see a expansion to increase capacity to work with more companies on Research and Development. A consortium of tech companies including K-Tig, Speed3D, SAGE, Lumination and Chironix have joined forces to lobby for $22m in federal funds.

Artists impressions of the $6m Factory of the Future, in the Tonsley Line Zero building, Image from Flinders University.

This would hugely expand the “factory’s” capacity, enabling BAE and Flinders to work with about 250 companies on shipbuilding R & D projects and train thousands of employees over the next four years. 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.


An army of skilled workers, including robots and robodogs, is awaiting a greenlight for funding to supercharge the Tonsley Factory of the Future into a hothouse for innovation.

A $67m plan for supersizing Tonsley’s “factory of the future”, harnessing the power of 250 companies and training an army of skilled workers, including how to work with robots, even “robodogs” – hinges on federal funds. It will allow businesses to experiment to their hearts’ content before committing to big investments in upgrading their plants.


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