Monash University helping to inform the National Rail Manufacturing Plan

The Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) today welcomed Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade, who toured the internationally recognised track and vehicle railway research centre.

The Assistant Minister is responsible for the development of the National Rail Manufacturing Plan which seeks to support the domestic rail industry and create skilled manufacturing jobs in Australia, and has engaged with Monash IRT to provide strategic advice and help inform the plan.

During the visit, the Assistant Minister was given an insight into the latest railway research and technology development, and a briefing on how targeted translational research and innovation can assist local manufacturing as well as enable Australia to be a smart, sustainable digitally-enabled railway industry of the future.

Monash IRT Director Professor Ravi Ravitharan welcomed the Assistant Minister’s visit and said that strengthening research and innovation capabilities are the key to transforming Australia’s railway industry.

“Digitally enabled systems and advanced technologies will play a critical role to improve efficiencies and sustainability in our future railways, and can seamlessly integrate multi-modal transport networks to meet changing demands,” he said.

Last year, the Monash Institute of Railway Technology marked its 50th anniversary.

The IRT evolved from BHP's Melbourne Research Laboratories, and became part of Monash University in 2000. Monash IRT has been advancing the railway industry since its inception, including development of real-time condition monitoring technologies.

It has collaborated with over 160 national and global industry partners, including railway operators in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Dubai, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Over the past five decades, Monash IRT has completed more than 600 projects nationally and internationally, using highly skilled engineers, scientists and technicians who come from a broad range of engineering disciplines including mechanical, civil, electrical, metallurgical and general science.

Professor Chris Davies, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University welcomed the Assistant Minister’s visit.

“It was terrific to showcase to the Assistant Minister some of the talent and expertise we have at Monash. Monash IRT is at the forefront of the development of contemporary railway technology and has an established track record solving railway related technical issues. Its solutions have been adopted by railway networks throughout the world, ” he said.

Monash IRT’s expertise is wide ranging including track structure design and maintenance, vehicle-track interaction, vehicle dynamics, rail welding, wheel-rail interface design and management, vehicle and train instrumentation and performance, component testing and condition monitoring, failure analysis, capacity increase, maintenance planning and optimisation, quality control and auditing standards development and professional training.

In addition, Monash IRT has progressed new sustainable technologies with projects to include kerbside plastic waste materials in building tram stop platforms and sleepers in an effort to reduce carbon footprints and achieve a circular economy through innovative railway products.

“Monash IRT is an exemplary research institute, deeply engaged with industry and governments throughout the Asia Pacific region and around the world; with a really forward-thinking commitment to sustainability, the circular economy and accessibility. It’s also a really great example about how university research and the capability of our research community can deliver real world solutions for government and industry that profoundly benefit the community,” Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Ryan.