IMCRC, which connects its program participants to the university and research community as well as providing funding, presented with Brisbane company UAP at the conference.
UAP describes itself as a company that collaborates to deliver large scale public collateral including steel installations, artworks, walls and facades. Speaking to Built Offsite following the conference, IMCRC CEO and Managing Director David Chuter, said what’s less well known is UAP’s growing profile as a manufacturer using ground-breaking digital technology.
“UAP is developing a robot that can ‘see for itself’, qualitatively assessing production-line metal using vision systems and smart software, to work out where material needs to be fettered, sanded or otherwise finished,” said Chuter.
UAP collaborated with QUT and RMIT universities on the robot project, using $8 million of research funding over five years. The funding comprised $1.5 million from UAP and $1.5 million from IMCRC, with the remaining $5 million in in-kind research and skills support.
“If a company like UAP were to take on this kind of initiative by itself, it would be very costly,” said Chuter. “By working through IMCRC, UAP is spending $300,000 a year for five years to effect an $8 million dollar transformation of its business. If it had hired an R+D manager and an engineer, the spend would be a comparable sum without the additional knowledge exchange and support through collaborating with the universities.”
IMCRC’s message to industry was to encourage manufacturers to look seriously at its program, he said. “We’re two thirds of the way through investing $30 million into a wide range of industry-led manufacturing initiatives. We have just over $10 million remaining to invest and we intend to complete this by mid-2019. This is a great opportunity for companies who want to transform their business models and operations, and to work with leaders in the research field.”
“We’re in the midst of a digital revolution; it’s not just the technology itself but the way it changes how companies do business,” he said. “A collaboration between UAP, QUT and RMIT supported by IMCRC has created a break-through business model. One of the key messages about this is collaboration. Disruptive change is really exciting, but you can’t do it alone.” ■
UAP Legacy Way Façade – Brisbane