The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced that it will partner with universities on a new Industrial Transformation Training Centre, using data science to transform asset maintenance for Australia’s resources sector.

The new centre, announced by Federal Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham today, will be led by Curtin University in partnership with The University of Western Australia, CSIRO and the University of Adelaide, and industry partners Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill, as well as CORE Innovation Hub and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia.

ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science Director Professor, Andrew Rohl, from the Curtin Institute for Computation, said he was delighted to be working with the research and industry partners to improve productivity and asset reliability for the nation’s resources sector.

“The effective maintenance of engineering assets underpins the $205 billion annual export earnings from Australia’s resources sector,” Mr Rohl said.

“However, maintenance management practices have changed little in the last 20 years and are ripe for a digital overhaul that will bring developments in computational methods, statistics, applied mathematics and artificial intelligence to determine how, when and why maintenance is conducted.

“The new centre, which will bring together the relevant research and industry expertise, will enable the development and adoption of new practices to improve productivity and asset reliability for industry and to foster a new maintenance technology service sector for national and international markets.”

UWA Professor Melinda Hodkiewicz, BHP Fellow for Engineering for Remote Operations, said it was a welcome investment from the Federal Government into how we manage asset maintenance in the future.

“We are excited to be working with such great industry partners Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill to develop employees that have analytic skills in data science, needed for jobs of the future in the resources sector,” Ms Hodkiewicz said.

UWA Professor Michael Small, CSIRO-UWA Chair of Complex Engineering Systems, said being able to effectively use data to create better systems, develop new technology and transform the way maintenance is carried out across the resources sector is critical, and the creation of this new centre will allow the industry to take huge steps towards this.

Curtin University has been awarded $3.9 million in ARC funding for the establishment of the new centre. Planning for the new ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science started in early August 2018. 

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