AUTO INNOVATION CENTRE OPENS TO SERVE THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

The AIC offers key services and the perfect venue to ensure industry personnel can maximise their potential

The AAAA officially opened its Melbourne-based Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Industry late last year.
The establishment of two Auto Innovation Centres, in Victoria and South Australia, has been a highly anticipated addition to support automotive parts manufacturing in Australia. The state-of-the-art facility in Mulgrave, Melbourne will assist Australian manufacturers in continuing to develop their world-class products.
On Thursday the 12th of December in front of two hundred industry representatives, sponsors, dignitaries and media, Senator Rex Patrick cut the ribbon to open the AIC facility.
Senator Patrick spoke to the assembled audience on the importance of a facility like the AIC that will support the Australian automotive and manufacturing sector and the aftermarket companies contributing in a meaningful way to the Australian economy.
Joining the Senator in welcoming those in attendance and speaking of the vision of the AIC was AIC Managing Director, Luke Truskinger, and AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity.
“The Auto Innovation Centre was the fruition of over five years’ work by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and was modelled on the SEMA Garage in the US,” Stuart said.
“With thanks to both the Federal and Victorian Governments, their investment has assisted in bringing this incredible facility to reality, and now it is up and running it will enable the industry to utilise the technologies, services and training and development opportunities for their direct benefit.”

Stuart explained how the early seeds of the AIC were planted.
“I was walking through the SEMA Garage and I thought ‘what a fantastic facility’ and I thought ‘why can’t we do this in Australia?’ and why not as we have so much in common with the US automotive industry,” he said.
“We are clever and we are innovative. We lead the world in many products in 4WD, high performance and motorsport.
“The SEMA Garage is actually an appropriate model when you consider how many of the products that lead our industry today actually started in someone’s garage. So much of the inspiration of our successful companies and products came from the thought that we could design something that works better.
“Indeed that is how we built our industry and it is an industry that has outlasted all of the predictions about the demise of automotive manufacturing in Australia. Our industry is not only surviving but it’s thriving globally, especially in the specialty equipment market.
“Paramount to the success of our industry is our investment in research and development and our investment in start-of-the-art equipment and technology and in cutting edge skills. That’s why we can compete globally on innovation and not on price. People want Australia’s ingenuity and we enjoy a reputation of quality and reliability because our products are developed in some of the toughest conditions in the world.”
Senator Patrick said that the AIC was “a tribute to a never say die attitude.”
He outlined that the AIC was paramount to the future success of the industry and to the prosperity of the country’s economy.

“We can’t continue to export our rocks. At some stage we will run out. We are so dependent on our exporting of rocks and we need to stop that,” Senator Patrick said.
“I will give you one example of that. We have about 80 percent of the world’s lithium and we currently export about 60 percent of the world’s supply. It’s predicted that in 2025 lithium exports will be worth 12.5 billion dollars, so we could have a portion of that. If we go to the refining and processing stage, that is going to be worth $41 billion; then if we go to electrochemical processing that is going to be worth $297 billion; if we get to cell production that is $424 billion and then finally to battery assembly, $1.3 trillion dollars.
“Now what part of that do we want? Do we want $12 billion or $1.3 trillion? That’s what we need to be shooting for and in order to do that we need to be value adding here in Australia.
“All of the intellectual property is developed through research and development and then prototype testing and eventually going to development – a facility like this is going to be so important.”
The Auto Innovation Centre offers a mix of key services to the automotive industry.
State-of-the-art robotic equipment is already delivering premium vehicle testing services for product manufacturers, including Sine-with-Dwell testing (ADR35/88) to validate ESC performance, as well as brake performance testing (ADR31/35).
With access to key new target vehicles, the AIC will obtain important vehicle data, use 3D scanning to assist aftermarket companies’ product development and allow developers to get ‘hands on’ with these vehicles.
The advanced workshop equipment and technology will be accessible to the industry and this includes the AIC’s investment into additive manufacturing through 3D printing equipment and training modules.

The Centre of Excellence will be a Hub for automotive training and education, playing a key role in inspiring the next generation of automotive industry workers. There are multiple meeting and training rooms open to industry to book and utilise within the facility, with a dedicated 100-person capacity training room overlooking the AIC workshop space.
The AIC offers the perfect venue to ensure industry personnel can maximise their potential.
“This is a fantastic new facility for the industry, so we welcome companies contacting us to discuss how the centre can directly assist their business,” Luke said.
Another welcome development for the industry was the recent announcement by the Honourable Karen Andrews, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, of a second round of Automotive Innovation Lab Access Grants for companies in the automotive industry.
For more information and applications, visit
www.business.gov.au/AILAG before they close on 24 February 2020
AAAA would like to thank all of the AIC’s Champion companies. All of these companies made an investment to complete a feasibility study without any guarantee of a return on their investment.
The AIC Champions are: AirbagMan, Allin, AMA Group, ARB, Australian Clutch Services, Bendix, Clutch Industries, Cruisemaster, Dana, Dayco, Disc Brakes Australia, DBC2, Fulcrum, Gearwrench, Harrop, Lovells, Milford, Molnar, Pedders, PWR, Redarc, TAG Towbars, Terrain Tamer, and Tuff Bullbars Australia.
AAAA would also like to thank the AIC’s Sponsor companies for supplying state-of-the-art equipment and technological support. The AIC Sponsors are: Hella Gutmann, Continental, Burson (Precision Automotive Equipment), Bosch and Repco.

For more on the AIC, visit www.autoic.com.au