The Advanced Sensor Manufacturing Facility in Launceston produces sensors which would previously have been sourced from global hi-tech giants such as Japan and China.
The University of Tasmania facility, operated in partnership with Launceston firm Definium Technologies, is born out of both opportunities and demand created by the growing Sense-T research program.
University of Tasmania Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the facility is a stellar example of the type of advanced manufacturing which will define the future capability of the State.
"This is smart, future-facing manufacturing," she said. "This positions 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."
The ASMF manufactures sensor prototypes to be embedded across the emerging Internet of Things and builds upon Definium's global reputation. Importantly, it serves as a training and education centre for students at the University of Tasmania.
The ASMF delivers impact and value for industry, government and the community by:
Sense-T Director Associate Professor Dr Stephen Cahoon said Sense-T had developed a close working relationship with Definium Technologies and it was the natural partner for the ASMF.
"The ASMF is an important component of our data value chain as it enables 21st-century sensor technology to be developed in Launceston for our suite of innovative projects," Professor Cahoon said.
"These sensors collect the necessary real-time data, that when combined with Sense-T's data analytics capabilities, provide new business insights and evidence-based decision-making for managers in a range of sectors from agriculture to transport logistics.
"We provided almost $1 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment, which has enabled them to develop sensor boards and sensors at the aeronautical and military levels. This facility enables us to rapidly develop new sensors that are customised to our requirements. It uses inline flexible surface mount equipment, better enabling it to design, prototype and manufacture sensing systems with backend cloud based communication capability for multiple domains.
"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 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 ASMF is a natural extension of the Sense-T program and an important launchpad for a smart Tasmania.
"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."
The ASMF offers a unique capability in Tasmania to manufacture and deploy network gateways and sensors using LoRa (Long Range Low Power) technology, suitable for applications in rural and remote industries such as agriculture, viticulture, aquaculture and mining.
Launceston, Definium's home city, is the first urban zone in Australia to adopt an IoT network based on LoRa technologies in preparation for Smart Cities applications.