Evan Brown demonstrating cobot

Location: Nowra, NSW

Client:University of Wollongong

Industry:Tertiary education

In September 2020 during the COVID pandemic, the University of Wollongong (UOW) opened a new industry hub at its Shoalhaven campus in Nowra which features Industry 4.0 technology. The new Industry 4.0 hub includes a working demonstration unit of the Demmeler 3D table system with a cobot (collaborative robot).

Evan Brown, a research engineer with the project describes ‘Industry 4.0 technology’ as the fourth industrial revolution. “The first was the steam age, then came the mass production/use of electricity for the second, the third is the introduction of computers, while the fourth is data sharing between machines and connectivity,” he said.

The University of Wollongong Industry 4.0 Hub was set up with the aid of Federal Government funding which is why it is situated at UOW Shoalhaven campus in Nowra rather than the University’s Wollongong campus.

Goals of the Industry 4.0 Hub

The Hub has several goals:


  • Support local and regional industry (for example SMEs in manufacturing, agribusiness, defence industry) with the awareness and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies
  • Engage with schools and community to educate around Industry 4.0 and generally promote interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Strengthen connections between UOW researchers and local industry.

The innovative Hub showcases numerous Industry 4.0 Technologies, including cobots, virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR), as well as additive manufacturing (3D printing).

“The equipment is used to demonstrate and showcase resources to industry partners looking to adopt new technologies. Equipment can also be accessed and used by students and the community through ‘makerspace’ activities,” said Brown.

“Once the COVID lockdown period ended last year we had pent-up demand for people wanting to visit the Hub which is great.

“HMAS Albatross, the largest operational Naval establishment and the Navy’s only Air Station is based in Nowra with many supporting businesses, so there are plenty of locals who want to see the Industry 4.0 technologies in action. It allows people to see how new technology could improve their business, and how they can adopt the latest equipment,” added Brown.


Demmeler table featured

Evan and his team worked closely with Leussink to set up two Demmeler tables to mount the collaborative robot welding system.

Cobots are designed to operate close to humans as they perform their tasks, and unlike fully-fledged robots, they are an affordable solution to automate processes to support employees.

In the UOW Industry 4.0 Hub, the cobot is set up on a Demmeler table system to undertake welding tasks. The Demmeler system plays a dual role. It holds the cobot firmly and accurately in place, and it also holds the workpiece securely and precisely while the welding is taking place.

“The two systems demonstrate great synergies and visitors can see how this system will work in their business,” said Brown.

Unlike traditional industrial robots, cobots are responsive to human touch and the environment around them, and therefore do not need to work behind large safety screens because they pose little risk of accidents occurring. Humans provide the direction to the cobot, and the cobot provides the precision steering and control.

“One of the key advantages which we can demonstrate is how quickly it can be set-up and programmed for just a few welds, before moving on to the next. Operators do not have to be experts in computer programming or welding to be able to operate the Demmeler cobot system,” said Brown.

The Demmeler welding and fabrication system, distributed exclusively in Australia by Leussink Engineering, is the ideal partner product for a cobot.


Student engagement

“As well as seeing industry enthusiasm for this type of technology, it is also exciting to see University students learn about Industry 4.0 technology. The Hub facilities including the Demmeler cobot welding system is used as a teaching resource for the subject ‘FEIS 101 - Introduction to Industry 4.0’ which forms part of the UOW course Bachelor of Technology (Industry 4.0).

“It’s also a great way to show local school students how this technology fits into their studies in STEM subjects. Students learn about this type of technology in the classroom but there is nothing like seeing it demonstrated in real life.

“Students can also see how technology can play a role in their future careers,” added Brown.

Demmeler table featured

The main reason Demmeler tables and cobot systems were chosen for the Hub was to meet the objective to support local and regional industry (manufacturing, agribusiness, defence industry) with the awareness and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.

As a consequence, the Business Development Manager and acting lead of the Industry 4.0 Hub works closely with groups like the Shoalhaven Business Chamber and local industry as well as attends industry events to spread the word with local businesses and those further afield.

The Demmeler 3D workbench and welding table is a versatile jig and fixturing system for all types of welding and fabrication work. A cobot can be anchored and fixed to a Demmeler table system to ensure accuracy and versatility. The cobot can return to the same position every single time.

Working in partnership with robotic experts, Leussink develops cobot-based systems for clients in a range of industries, enabling them to meet many different requirements.

Leussink has extensive experience in the design and production of a wide range of bespoke equipment and solves engineering problems for companies across a wide range of industries. Visit www.leussink.com.au to learn more about our products and services or call us on 02 4260 777 for a quote.