Omni Tanker joins forces with SOMAC CRC to drive composites manufacturing transformation in Australia

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The Sovereign Manufacturing Automation for Composites CRC (SOMAC CRC) is partnering with the University of New South Wales and Omni Tanker to lead a digital transformation within the composites manufacturing sector.

In a news release, the university said Omni Tanker has set its sights on creating a “digital twin” of its pilot production plant, marking a significant leap towards optimising composites manufacturing.

This digital twin, working with the physical production facilities, is expected to improve production processes, boost efficiency, and expedite innovation to meet the growing global demand.

Daniel Rodgers, CEO of Omni Tanker, expressed confidence in the project’s potential to yield substantial returns as they expand their production capacity to serve international markets.

“Our focus is on achieving high efficiency and profitability through automation in our operations, ensuring we remain at the forefront of the composites industry,” Rodgers stated.

Dr Luke Djukic, Omni Tanker’s chief technical officer, highlights the role of digital twins and scenario analysis through UNSW in informing decisions regarding physical experiments, resulting in rapid efficiency gains.

Omni Tanker also acknowledged the importance of this project, given that global demand for their tanks exceeds current production capacity.

Their expansion into aerospace and energy sectors, particularly in hydrogen transport applications, reinforces their commitment to meet evolving market demands.

Meanwhile, Dr Shiva Abdoli, chief investigator at UNSW, emphasises the opportunity to contribute to the SOMAC CRC vision for composites manufacturing, bolstering the Australian supply chain and exploring new export markets.

“With this Industry 4.0 technology, we can virtually assess alternative production strategies through simulation and validate their performance,” Dr Abdoli remarked.

Professor Nicholas Fisk, UNSW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research & Enterprise, noted the significance of this collaborative R&D project, enhancing local manufacturing in the high-end composite export market.

He said, “The ability to test and validate process improvements, both incremental and end-to-end, in seconds rather than years, provides a real springboard to Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing here in Sydney.“

Professor Chun Wang, the Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering at UNSW, reflects on the enduring partnership between UNSW and Omni Tanker since 2014, which has led to advanced materials, innovative designs, and new products.

He also anticipates that this project will further solidify Omni Tanker’s leading position and generate societal benefits for Australia.