• 9 October 2015

Technology – Factory of the Future

Bridging the gap between imagination and reality

Swinburne University is shaping the future of technology at their new Factory of the Future.

Eco-focused H2o Architects designed this timber dome, located in the centre of the Factory space as a space divider, an accommodator for interactive collaborative learning and meetings. The design deliberately mimics the construction technologies used for high-tech machines, like submarines and space shuttles. The dome’s components have been modelled, curved and cut using leading edge computer aided design and computer guided cutters, related to the processes showcased in the Factory. The dome ball is skinned with one hundred and eighty curved timber ply panels, fitted seamlessly.

The university, which has an international reputation for quality research that connects science and technology with business and the community, has been ranked one of the world’s top 400 by the prestigious 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities. This result places Swinburne among the top 3% of universities in the world.
The new facility is designed by Australia’s eco-focused pioneers of sustainable architecture H2o Architects and is housed within the newly completed Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre (AMDC). The state-of-the-art facility offers the opportunity to carry out world-leading research, education and training in the next generation of manufacturing, design techniques and technologies.

Waterman has a long history of working with Swinburne University on projects ranging from industry technical based teaching facilities to highly complex nanoplasmonic based laboratory facilities. This belief and trust led Swinburne University to appoint our team as their services based technology advisors.


We were delighted to continue our involvement throughout the design, documentation and construction phase of this prestigious project.

Adaptive designs
The ground-breaking facility required a versatile design with specialist studios of highly adaptive capacity for rapid development of prototypes, advanced visualisation and design tools such as industrial 3D printing, 3D virtual reality manufacturing and fused deposition modelling.

Our team provided engineering consultancy expertise for mechanical, electrical, communications, security, audio visual, fire, and hydraulics services for the new Factory which occupies 700m2 in its eight metre high factory space. The facility demanded a state-of-the-art services design solution where the systems required to be totally integrated with the unique facility design as well as being at the cutting edge of technology to reflect the image of the ‘future’. This was particularly relevant with the audio visual imagery generated within the space portraying the Factory of the Future technologies.

Many of Swinburne’s research collaborations involves development of more eco-efficient technology, which has influenced a design that embodied sustainability principles.

The Factory of the Future features a series of co-located studios, each with a specific function:

  • 3D Visualisation and Design Studio: featuring advanced visualisation tools that allow for intuitive real-time interaction with realistic 3D imagery
  • Rapid Manufacturing Studio: equipped with advanced additive manufacturing tools that facilitate conversion from digital concepts to metal, plastic or ceramic prototypes
  • Advanced Inspection and Machining Studio: advanced machining capability combined with state-of-the-art inspection equipment for developing high quality components
  • Biodevice Innovation Studio: combines electronics, optics, chemistry and biomaterials-handling with rapid prototyping to produce innovative new medical devices
  • Design for Resource Efficiency Studio: for the design, development and assessment of recycling and manufacturing processes to maximise resource efficiency

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