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The ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) allows research students/associates, academics and industry partners to solve real-world engineering challenges in a collaborative approach. This Centre will emulate and advance the Intellectual Capital (IC) centred philosophy; deeply integrating the industry partners into the planning, supervision and execution of research projects. This will ensure that both innovations and innovators are connected to real industry outcomes. Furthermore, the Centre will incorporate turnkey automated manufacturing facilities, infrastructure with direct global relevance.
Research Students

AMAC will be led by a node at UNSW, with ANU providing a secondary node with complementary capabilities. The centre brings together ten partner organisations including national scientific research organisations, composite research service providers and industry end-users of new composites technologies. AMAC will address the practical research challenges of “specialised, high value-add areas such as high-performance materials, composites, alloys and polymers” and “cross-cutting technologies that will de-risk, scale up, and add value to Australian manufactured products.”
Research projects will focus on the specifics of their immediate research challenges, but also necessarily be drawn to resolve practicalities associated with manufacturing on industrial equipment as bespoke, high rate or innovative design products.
This will develop pooled expertise that will be pragmatic in its application to general manufacture of advanced composites, and specific in addressing key research challenges that help to advance Australian industry. The international experiences built into the approach to research training will accelerate the move from a low skill base in composites manufacturing automation in Australia and ensure that innovation in the field is identified as world leading.


Top-level industry objectives and research gaps were identified to drive the centre research themes:
  1. Increase value-add: Maximising the embedded value of the manufactured parts. Key opportunities: light-weighting through bespoke design; passive shape adaptivity; augmentation with embedded sensors; selective reinforcement of existing manufacturing processes; optimising design and manufacture for repair and fatigue life.
  2. Increase capacity for production: Maximising the number of units that can be sold. Key opportunities: increasing the rate of production; decreasing errors and defects; increasing the agility of the manufacturing infrastructure to meet the broader market demands.
  1. Reduce embedded cost: Reducing the cost of production. Key opportunities: reducing labour costs and increasing time-on-task through automation; reducing scrap; shortening development cycles.
  2. Minimise barriers: Removing or reducing obstacles for composite manufacturers. Key opportunities: intelligent design software; identifying manufacturing and performance risks through simulation; unifying product development and production environments; digital export of design IP.

Due to strategic federal and institutional investment, UNSW is now host to Australia’s only automated fibre placement (AFP) facility for advanced composites. The facility is an enabler for industry change to a future of flexible, high value-add manufacturing that can rapidly produce physical exports. Significantly, the knowledge generated by the new generation of researchers and innovators on smarter designs for automated manufacture, enhancement of material functionality, embedded structural sensing capability, and optimal robot placement paths and processing parameters for maximum productivity will form the basis for digital exports.

The scope of the Centre is also a very significant feature. The breadth of interests, needs and motivations of the partner organisations in the proposal are evidence of the cross-sector applicability of the core technology, automated fibre placement (AFP). The Centre includes manufacturers aligned with aerospace, automotive, marine, civil, energy and sports sectors or markets. The flexibility of robotic work cells, along the ability to produce high-value, bespoke physical products or digital exports can also have an impact at enterprise level. Costs can be reduced due to the smaller footprint of robotic work cells and responsiveness to market demands for design and manufacture at low or high-volume can be improved.