Launceston will be home to a new advanced manufacturing facility, producing sensors which would previously have been sourced from global hi-tech giants such as Japan and China.

Partners today officially opened the University of Tasmania’s Advanced Sensor Manufacturing Facility (ASMF), which will be operated in partnership with Launceston firm Definium Technologies.

The facility is born out of both opportunities and demand created by the growing Sense-T research program, a collaboration of the Australian Government, CSIRO and the University of Tasmania.

University of Tasmania Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the new facility was a stellar example of the type of advanced manufacturing which will define the future capability of the State.

“This is smart, future-facing manufacturing,” Professor Heywood said. “This will position Launceston and Tasmania as an innovative provider of advanced circuit board components and electronic hardware design.

“This is a direct return on investment by our Government in the Sense-T project and shows what can happen when we marry our distinctive research strengths, our capacity in the STEM disciplines, and a strong partnership between the University, government and industry.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood.

The ASMF will manufacture sensor prototypes to be embedded across the emerging Internet of Things and build upon Definium’s global reputation. Importantly, it will serve as a training and education centre for students at the University of Tasmania.

 The ASMF will deliver impact and value for industry, government and the community by:

  • Manufacturing sensors which will support an ecosystem of data collection and analysis for Tasmanian businesses
  • Supporting a network which will connect with backend cloud-based communication with multiple applications for sectors including agriculture, viticulture and aquaculture industries
  •  Enabling small companies and larger organisations the unique capability to rapidly deploy sensor prototypes in a cost and time efficient manner.

Sense-T Director Associate Professor Dr Stephen Cahoon said that Sense-T had developed a close working relationship with Definium Technologies in recent years and it was the natural partner for the ASMF.

“The ASMF is an important component of our data value chain as it will enable 21st-century sensor technology to be developed in Launceston for our suite of innovative projects,” Professor Cahoon said.

These sensors will collect the necessary real-time data, that when combined with Sense-T’s data analytics capabilities, will provide new business insights and evidence-based, decision-making for managers in a range of sectors from agriculture to transport logistics.

“Through Sense-T, we have built a highly distinctive interdisciplinary research capacity in the State, along with a unique data collection, management and analysis platform.

The Sense T program has already leveraged millions of dollars of additional funding into the State and created more than 150 new jobs to underpin emerging businesses seeking to exploit digital technologies. The new ASMF is a natural extension of the Sense-T program and an important launch pad for a smart Tasmania.

“Now, with the ability to design and deliver sensor technology locally we are well placed to deliver impact in a range of regionally relevant, but nationally significant industries,” Professor Cahoon said.

The Sense-T program recently provided the basis for two funding bids which attracted Federal funding of nearly $100 million over 10 years, and nearly  $400 million from industry. Announced last week, CRC projects iMOVE (focusing on transport logistics) and High Performing Soils will exploit capability in precision agriculture developed through Sense-T and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture. It is significant that major components of the University research platforms which underpin the new CRCs are hosted in the north of the State, where Professor Cahoon is based.

These major research programs sit front and centre in the University of Tasmania’s wider plans to support the Northern Transformation initiatives it is developing with State and Federal partners. Expanding the proven research capacity in the north of the State in key themes - closely linked to industry and business - underpins the work being done to foster a smart city approach for regeneration in Launceston and the wider community.

About Sense-T: Based at the University of Tasmania, Sense-T is a partnership between the University, CSIRO and the Tasmanian Government, and is also funded by the Australian Government. Sense-T was a first mover in the Internet of Things and ‘big data’ in Tasmania. We use data, sensing technologies and data analytics to help see alignments and opportunities, to improve decision-making and create real impact. Sense-T currently engages in more than 20 research and development projects in the areas of aquaculture, agriculture, viticulture, water management, health, tourism, freight, logistics, transport and finance.

The Advanced Sensor Manufacturing Facility (ASMF) is an initiative of Sense-T in partnership with Definium Technologies, born out of both opportunities and demand created by the growing Sense-T research program, a collaboration of the Australian Government, CSIRO and the University of Tasmania.

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