Innovation comes from outside, says founder

“Change that adds value.” Maybe you just thought of the word “innovation”, which the above is a common definition for.  As with other words, there are multiple understandings and definitions for innovation. A couple of years ago Stuart Elliott, a co-founder at Planet Innovation, told us that it is “not about research and it’s not…

@AuManufacturing Conversations Episode 10 — Peter Torreele from 3RT

In episode ten of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Peter Torreele, founder and Managing Director of 3RT, a company that has developed automated machines that can convert wood industry residue into products that look and feel like 100-year-old hardwood.

@AuManufacturing Conversations Episode 9 — Dr Jens Goennemann from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

In episode nine of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Dr Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. Goennemann tells us about Australia’s slide downwards in the latest Economic Complexity Index rankings, compiled by Harvard’s Growth Lab and released a couple of weeks ago. Economic complexity measures the sophistication and diversity…

Apprentice and trainee completion rates decrease

The completion rate for apprentices and trainees who commenced training in 2017 decreased to 55.7 percent, down by 1.2 percentage points from those commencing in 2016, according to the latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Completion and attrition rates for apprentices and trainees 2021 reports on the completion rates for…

Manufacturers contribute more to growth and transformation than thought – study

Manufacturing is viewed by some as a fading sector, inevitably being replaced by new, knowledge and service based industries in developed countries such as the US, UK and Australia. But a study of the behaviour of manufacturing companies over time by researchers at Princeton University has demonstrated that as manufacturing itself changes, it changes the…

Uranium prices are soaring, and Australia’s hoary old nuclear debate is back in the headlines. Here’s what it all means

Last week, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton sought to revive the hoary old debate of nuclear power in Australia, announcing an internal review into whether the Liberals should back the controversial technology.

EOS in satellite breakthrough, links with US defence

Space, communications and defence manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has scored the biggest possible ally as it attempts to commercialise its SpaceLink global system of linked optical relay communications satellites. SpaceLink has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center (USASMDC-TC) in Redstone Arsenal,…

No, no and no – government opens way to import submarines

By Peter Roberts Industry has taken no time at all to react to the news that Australian governments of both colours are determined to continue making a hash of developing local defence industry capability. The latest indignity come in clear signs from defence and deputy prime minister Richard Marles that we might just buy submarines…

@AuManufacturing Conversations Episode 8 — Dr Shafali Gupta and Andy Epifani from Uuvipak

In episode eight of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Dr Shafali Gupta and Andy Epifani, the co-founders and co-CEOs of Uuvipak. The cell biologist and the software engineer met last year and are currently commercialising a novel food waste-based solution, turning grain and beverage industry waste into single-use plastic substitutes that are…

@AuManufacturing Conversations episode 7 – Shay Chalmers from Strategic Engineering

In episode seven of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Shay Chalmers, founder of Strategic Engineering and a director at a collection of private and public entities, most of them to do with manufacturing in some way. Chalmers describes herself as “believing in the power of collaboration to drive positive social change, especially…

Government orders review of review of defence purchases

By Peter Roberts The federal government has announced a Defence Strategic Review, with $44.6 billion in annual spending up for review or, in the government’s own words, even abandoned. With the new government facing an increasingly complicated defence environment, the review will also cover defence force structure and where defence assets and personnel are best…

Seeley defies the odds to profit from appliance manufacturing

By Peter Roberts You hear comments like this all the time: ‘but we don’t manufacture any major appliances in Australia, do we?’ Well actually we do – in fact many of Australia’s most loved appliances in areas from cooking, to air conditioning are still made locally. A stand-out is Seeley International, which has just revealed…

The ‘gas trigger’ won’t be enough to stop our energy crisis escalating. We need a domestic reservation policy

Australia’s east coast gas crisis is set to sharply worsen. A new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) notes supply conditions will deteriorate significantly in 2023 if no action is taken. The 56 petajoule shortfall is huge – equivalent to around 10% of domestic demand.

@AuManufacturing Conversations episode 6 — Jess Hodge from Resourceful Living

In episode six of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Jess Hodge, co-founder at the husband-and-wife led startup Resourceful Living. Solutions for post-consumer and post-industrial plastic have grown in importance over the last few years, and phased-in Australian waste export bans ramped up again on July 1, with Australians now unable send any…

World’s tallest timber hotel for Adelaide spurs local industry

By Peter Roberts You couldn’t get a site more central to a capital city CBD and you couldn’t get a vision as big as the $300 million project property developer Barrie Harrop has unveiled for Victoria Square, Adelaide. One of two new hotels announced by Harrop’s Thrive Construct, the Adelaide building will be constructed of…

The time to steel ourselves is now

There are difficulties at the moment, sure, but we need to maintain some measured optimism while acknowledging the speedbumps. Vik Bansal explains.

Billion-dollar demand as well as regulation struggles for hydrogen innovator

Brent Balinski As anybody who has tried to do it knows, there’s a lot of tough work and frustration between accessing a scientific breakthrough and turning it into commercial success. On Friday an audience of NSW MPs and media at Tomago heard about the progress Lavo has made since launching in October 2020 — armed…

@AuManufacturing Conversations episode 5 — Catie Fry from Clovendoe

In episode five of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we speak to Catie Fry, founder and Master Distiller at Clovendoe, a Gold Coast-based distillery with a difference. Fry’s career in the drinks business began with a gin and rum enterprise that she, her husband and some friends opened in Rockhampton in 2016. It was before…

VET numbers rise in schools – NCVER

The number of school students undertaking vocational education and training (VET) as part of their senior secondary certificate of education increased in the last year, according to the latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). NCVER Managing director Simon Walker said: “In 2021, there were 251,200 students undertaking VET in Schools…

First it was toilet paper, now it’s serious – drugs in short supply

By Peter Roberts In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic it was shortages of everyday items such as toilet paper that suffered the disruptions of global supply chains. Now a risible situation is becoming really serious – we are experiencing shortages of critical medicines such as drugs for diabetes, hormone replacement therapy, depression, nausea,…

@AuManufacturing Conversations episode 4 — John Mellowes from PyroAg

In episode four of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski,  we speak to John Mellowes, CEO of PyroAg Wood Vinegar and Director at Biocarbon. We learn some of the fundamentals of pyrolysis and its products — such as biochar, wood vinegar and syngas — when used to decompose biomass. Mellowes tells us about the potential of wood…

What is Australia’s place in the semiconductor world?

Our world as we know it could not exist without semiconductors, an industry of immense technological, economic and strategic importance, and expected to grow in value from $US 600 billion last year to $US 1 trillion by 2030.

Danger time for Australia’s young defence SME manufacturers

By Peter Roberts The story on the stock market this year has been a bloodbath in the share price performance of Australia’s small coterie of high technology manufacturers. The worst month was June, when the the ASX 200 share index lost 8.9 percent of its value and the S&P/ASX All Technology Index went backwards by…

@AuManufacturing Conversations episode 3 – Jon Bulman from Finisar

In the third episode of @AuManufacturing Conversations With Brent Balinski, we speak to Jon Bulman, Director of Manufacturing at Finisar.

Labor builds on coalition focus on defence industry

By Peter Roberts The big news for defence industry keeps on coming this week with defence minister Richard Marles focusing on elevating the role of Australian industry in Australia’s Anzus and Aukus pacts with our long-time ally, the United States. On Wednesday Marles, who is deputy prime minister, pledged to strengthen Australia’s defence industries and…

South Australia heads towards 100% renewables in 2025

South Australia’s charge towards 100 percent renewable energy power got a fillip last year with the state reaching close to 70 percent renewable power on average, according to figures from the OpenNEM (National Energy Market) report. The state, which has transformed its energy system from one per cent renewables in only 15 years, was on…

Moving from idea to innovation with R&D

A recently-completed 12-month R&D project provides an example of how applied research between industry and academia can proceed successfully. By the Innovative Manufacturing CRC. Deakin University and Geelong-based manufacturing start-up FormFlow have forged a symbiotic business relationship, arguably not seen enough between research institutions and industry in Australia. It began in 2016 when Dr Matt…

The Sydney factory with a hand in half the world’s internet traffic

Brent Balinski speaks to Jon Bulman, Director of Manufacturing at Finisar, which has assembled and exported about $2 billion in optical products from Sydney, though would be a name unfamiliar to most Australians.

Jobs summit comes as companies face staff shortages

By Peter Roberts Labor is back in power and that means a return to multi-party summits such as a Jobs and Skills Summit announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this week for the first and second of September. That will be welcomed by a manufacturing sector struggling with workplace issues ranging from a broken enterprise…

VET enrolments rose in 2021 – NCVER

The total number of government-funded students involved in VET courses rose five percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to a new report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The report Government-funded students and courses 2021 found a total of 1,250,100 students were enrolled in government-funded vocational education and training…

ATSE calls for swift action on energy transition

Leading fellows of the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) have called for a rapid deployment of new technologies to decarbonise energy systems. Here, Peter Roberts exposes the industry backdrop to their calls. Australia is in the throes of an energy crisis, with electricity generation prices around 115 per cent above the previous highest average…

Collaborate to compete – by John Sheridan

Australia is failing to understand the immensity of change underway as the world connects, argues John Sheridan. But Australia has opportunities galore, if only we can harness digitisation to change out economic fortunes. The world is wet. And the sky is a blue circle. A frog in a well has a unique and limited view…

Frontiers in additive manufacturing – from CNC to 3D

Last week in our series Frontiers in additive manufacturing, Peter Roberts discussed the similarities between the impact of then-new CNC technologies in the 1980s to today’s growth in additive manufacturing. Today he talks with Bruce Rowley, whose company CNC Design was a pioneer in Australia’s adoption of both technologies. As Australian manufacturers first moved to…

The importance of How it’s Made – Australia – video

Advertisement Over the past weeks the Australian Manufacturing Forum and @AuManufacturing’s partners Cahoots and David Koch’s AusBiz have been out talking to manufacturers about our new video series How it’s Made – Australia. The reception has been positive as manufacturers warm to the potential of a service modelled on the Discovery Channel’s hugely successful How…

Frontiers in additive manufacturing: the challenges of design, innovation and commercialisation

In the final day of our Frontiers in additive manufacturing series, Glenn Rees, Head of Engineering at Conflux, discusses the many challenges that come with design freedom, the commercial sweet spots for metal AM, and more. You’ve come from a Motorsport background – can you tell me a bit about the differences and similarities in…

Frontiers in additive manufacturing: Riblets and wings

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series, Frontiers in additive manufacturing, looks at an Australian innovation for printing surfaces that borrow from nature. Brent Balinski speaks to Henry Bilinsky of MicroTau. (A podcast of the interview is available at this link, and through Spotify and other platforms.)      As in the examples of Carbon Revolution and Tritium –…

A future without greenwashing – by Helen Millicer

Greenwashing is on the rise, and Australia’s regulations system for monitoring ‘green’ claims by manufacturers is not fit for purpose. Here Helen Millicer dissects the issues, and points to a system where claimed environmental benefits can be trusted by consumers and companies alike. Every day we see yet another company claiming environmental benefits with their…

Hunter class frigate is fit to fight – by Craig Lockhart

The construction of nine Hunter class frigates at the Osborne naval dockyard has been criticised for being behind schedule and, even, not being the right ship for Australia’s needs. Here Craig Lockhart, managing director of shipbuilder BAE Systems Maritime Australia, refutes both claims, and details the progressing in delivering these multi-role, anti-submarine frigates. Defence minister…

Frontiers in additive manufacturing – the future of Australia’s nascent machine manufacturing sector

@AuManufacturing’s latest editorial series, Frontiers in Additive Manufacturing turns to the thriving startup world of metal additive manufacturers. Here, Peter Roberts looks back in time, and asks how can Australia make sure today’s crop of young companies grow and prosper, and remain in Australian hands. Cast your mind back to the 1990s and the rapid…

Frontiers in additive manufacturing: Overcoming common DfAM compromises

In day two of our Frontiers in additive manufacturing series, Victorien Menier and Pieter Coulier look at some reasons why metal additive manufacturing hasn’t lived up to certain promises for some adopters, and how certain issues can be addressed.

From little (but valuable) things, big things grow

Is there a possibility to develop sovereign design, fabrication and packaging capability for semiconductors through defence projects? Glenn Downey looks at the question, and the implications beyond the defence industry.

New procurement rules are great news – by Shane West

New federal government procurement rules announced on Friday have doubled the share of $70 billion in annual spending open to Australia’s SMEs. But as Shane West argues here, they also open up the possibility of other benefits to the economy and environment. The revised Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) now requiring that procuring officials consider a…

Series launch: Frontiers in additive manufacturing

@AuManufacturing’s latest editorial series, Frontiers in Additive Manufacturing, begins today. Brent Balinski introduces the one-week series. 

Reset manufacturing, but with the right IR settings – by Michael Stutley

Australia has a rare opportunity to reset its manufacturing sector. But it must get the IR settings right argues Michael Stutley. Since the 1960s peak, Australian manufacturing has been in decline. In the protected economy of that period, it generated over a quarter of GDP and employed about 25 per centof the workforce. Today, manufacturing’s…

Barbie maker beats supply chain blues by taking production in-house

By Brent Balinski There are many examples since 2020 of manufacturers of all sizes being forced to re-examine their supply chains. One comes from John Smith, owner of Smith’s Cooking Systems and Smith’s BBQ. He began designing and selling cooker cabinets and later microwave trims in 2000, and BBQs and related equipment in 2015. The…

Australian Manufacturing Forum passes 11,000 members

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest professional social media group of Australian manufacturers, passed 11,006 members this morning with the admission of 10 new members. The Forum has grown steadily since its founding in 2013, and 18 months…

$200bn on offer through food value-adding

An additional 300,000 jobs could be created within Australia’s food and agribusiness sector by 2030 through industry value-adding, according to a re[port for industry growth centre Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL). FIAL and consultant AlphaBeta Singapore found that if opportunities are realised this could unlock $200 billion in value across each state and territory. They…

AUKUS – a reset for Australian defence industry by Michael Slattery

With the construction of one type of submarines cancelled, and a second being investigated but not yet ordered, Michael Slattery says defence industry is getting nervous about investing in a perhaps uncertain future. Here he looks at how we got to where we are today, and what might be. In the late 1950’s and early…

Pressure grows for son of Collins submarine

I am pleased to say that Australia might be edging towards what has always been the best choice for our next fleet of submarines – a son of Collins design substantially designed and built locally. The new federal government maintains its support for the 18 month study that is underway into the option of buying…

It might seem a small loss, but Treg’s closure is a sad day for manufacturing nonetheless

On Friday a small Adelaide manufacturer announced it was closing, unremarkable perhaps because it happens every day. But manufacturing is suffering a death by a thousand such cuts, argues Peter Roberts. We have to do something to change the fortunes of our SMEs who, like the little company profiled here – are doing it tough.…

Celebrating Australian Made: Local ingenuity walloping the world’s weeds

In the final day of our two-week Celebrating Australian Made series, @AuManufacturing looks at Seed Terminator, a company whose machines fit onto combine harvesters and play a role in weed control for crop farmers. By Brent Balinski

Celebrating Australian Made: The shop local movement and food manufacturing

In today’s addition to the our Celebrating Australian Made series, Sam Schachna shares lessons learned and how he’s rethinking the world of work. Here’s a look back—and a lens on what’s next.

Celebrating Australian Made: A quiet achiever’s homespun wisdom

Today our Celebrating Australian Made editorial series takes a look at CST Composites, which exports the vast majority of what it makes. Brent Balinski speaks to Managing Director Clive Watts, who started the company by building production machinery in his garage.

Defence purchasing need to change to grow local SMEs – Rebecca Humble

Australian defence contractor Nova Systems led a meeting of defence SMEs at the recent Indo Pacific Maritime exposition, to discuss defence industry policy. Here, Rebecca Humble argues that policy settings are not succeeding in growing small SMEs into larger ones, and larger ones to the scale where they can compete against foreign companies and bid…

Celebrating Australian Made: Lighting innovator looks to defence, IoT to continue expansion

To close the first week of our fortnight-long Celebrating Australian Made editorial series, @AuManufacturing profiles Hallam, Victoria-based industrial lighting specialist Coolon. By Brent Balinski.

Celebrating Australian Made: Three R&D collaborations bringing local innovations to the global stage

Research and development (R&D) collaborations between industry and university are revitalising Australia’s manufacturing sector, according to the Innovative Manufacturing CRC. The IMCRC shares three examples in this installment of our Celebrating Australian Made series. 

Celebrating Australian Made: A story with teeth

The first story in our second Celebrating Australian Made editorial series is EFC Manufacturing Co, the maker of an Australian invention which has been keeping garments fuzz-free for decades. By Brent Balinski.

From the boutique to the billion-dollar – it’s time to Celebrate Australian Made

Today we launch our second Celebrating Australian Made editorial series, running this week and next. By Brent Balinski.

Green light for green industries in tectonic election shift

By Peter Roberts The result of Saturday’s election is not notable so much for the return of a Labor government after nine years, but for a tectonic shift towards progressive candidates with massive implications for a transition from fossil fuels to green industry such as hydrogen and ammonia export. Climate conservative politicians were swept from…

Packaging, process and progress series: Industry 4.0, e-commerce and ESG will drive growth

In the final day of our Packaging, process and progress series, Sercan Altun looks at some of the major economic and technological trends that are reshaping the packaging industry. The packaging industry’s breakneck growth prior to the COVID-19 era was shaped by various factors. To name a few: The rising middle class in China and…

Election 22 the real issues – the industry policy dog that didn’t bark by Roy Green

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election concludes today with a return to industry and innovation policy – largely missing in action in the election campaign. By Professor Roy Green. When it comes to research and innovation, the current election campaign recalls the Sherlock Holmes story featuring the dog…

Packaging, process and progress: Unlocking new possibilities with your data

In day two of our Packaging, process and progress series, Alex McClung argues that a combination of data-infrastructure, robotic-infrastructure, and existing plant-infrastructure should be unified to enhance the capabilities of Australian manufacturing. 

Packaging, process and progress: It’s all about culture, says Pakko

For the first story in @AuManufacturing’s new Packaging, process and progress series, we hear from Nina Nguyen, founder of award-winning custom packaging and print company Pakko. By Brent Balinski.

Austal could build modules for US, Australian nuclear submarines

By Peter Roberts Perth international shipbuilder Austal could build modules for future nuclear-powered submarines in a move to speed up construction of the US nuclear fleet, and at the same time enabling Australia to access N-subs earlier than previously expected under the Aukus pact. According to a report in the authoritative janes.com, to maintain a…

Election 22 the real issues – industry policy by bureaucrats or consultants

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today with a critical assessment of industry policy, and the role of multi-national company consultants. Here Lance Worrall and Glenn Downey look at the policy advice challenge Whichever coloured ties and scarves (blue or red) forms the majority of the House…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – the view of the Indian Ocean from WA

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing turns to the Indian Ocean, where Serge DeSilva-Ranasinghe and CDRE Brett Dowsing, RAN (Rtd) suggest a maritime Colombo plan as a contribution to regional security. From a defence and security perspective, the Indian Ocean region is a zone that has significant untapped potential, yet in many ways Australia’s…

Election 22 the real issues – towards a circular economy by Göran Roos

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election turns to a circular economy. In this excerpt from a paper by Professor Göran Roos, he outlines the challenges ahead as we make the desirable move towards a more sustainable future. The desirable move towards a more sustainable future has recently taken…

Carbon revolution grant shows the absurdity in Canberra’s daily cash giveaways

Comment by Peter Roberts I hate to say this, but a $12 million Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant to help carbon fibre wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution build its first Mega production line just announced has shown the absurdity, and the needless cost of federal government grant schemes. I hate to say this because I am a…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Making a case for safer lithium batteries

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing looks at an Australian startup targeting the problem of overheating batteries, and their early work in marine applications. By Tyson Bowen.

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Lessons from the Ukraine by Gregor Ferguson

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition turns to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its lessons for Australia’s maritime forces. Comment by Gregor Ferguson. Russia’s bungled invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its third month, is replete with lessons for war fighters, war…

Politicians in high-vis say they love manufacturing. But if we want more Australian-made jobs, here’s what we need

Most politicians vocally support Australian-made products. Manufacturing certainly provides excellent opportunities for candidates in high-vis to make election campaign announcements.

Election 22 the real issues – more support for manufacturing by Leigh Rust

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today with a call for further support for manufacturing. By Leigh Rust. With the federal election fast approaching, discussions on the issues facing Australia are on the table, but it’s also important to champion and be vocal about the issues that…

Launch of our new editorial series – excellence in maritime manufacturing

Today @AuManufacturing launches its new editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition. Maritime industries are booming as Australia builds new naval vessels at a rate unprecedented in peacetime. In a separate story Peter Roberts tours the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide, while here he sets the scene. Australia’s…

Election 22 the real issues – by Allen Roberts

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today with this article by Allan Roberts. What is blindingly absent from this election campaign, and politics, in this country is any recognition that an economy is a system. Each part of the economy has an impact on every other part,…

‘Advanced manufacturing’ should be about people, skills and the environment, not fancy new tech

By Dr Jesse Adams Stein It is now a common trope of Australian election campaigns that both major parties pay lip service to the importance of supporting ‘advanced manufacturing’, while regularly donning hard-hats and high-vis vests. But what does ‘advanced manufacturing’ really mean for jobs, for communities, or for the environment? Image by Matt Roberts…

Election 22 the real issues – political leadership by Lance Worrall

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today. Here Lance Worrall outlines the policy challenge if we are to achieve significant reindustrialisation. If ever a federal election needed to be fought on a future economic vision and strategy it is this one. Four powerful factors confirm this: the…

Election 22 the real issues – entrepreneurial Australia by Carl E Germanos

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today. Here Carl E Germanos looks at the ecosystem supporting entrepreneurship in Australia. What is the key to entrepreneurial success – is it ambition, dedication, motivation, money, or the capabilities of an individual? It is all of this and more. In…

Industry tackles our mountains of furniture waste – by Patrizia Torelli

In the recent floods in eastern Australia the footpaths of recovering cities were quickly piled high with waste furniture and furnishings. With little of this waste recyclable or recycled and ending up in landfill, Patrizia Torelli explores what industry is doing to create a more sustainable Australian furniture and furnishings sector. Bushfire and flood emergencies…

Wolves of Waterloo say Australian space success hinges on collaboration 

In space, no one can do without a team, according to the members of a new Sydney incubator. By Brent Balinski.

Election 22 the real issues – adding value by Professor Danny Samson

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today. Here Danny Samson asks why doesn’t Australia add more value through manufacturing, and can we ever hope to?

We need more female leaders in senior technical roles

By Forough Khandan It’s no secret that STEM industries have a gender diversity problem and even more so when it comes to the representation of women in technical leadership roles, such as the head of engineering and head of product. We know that STEM skills are critical for creating a stronger national economy, but according…

Election 22 the real issues – Productivity growth by Narelle Kennedy

@AuManufacturing’s occasional editorial series on the real issues in the 2022 federal election continues today. Here Narelle Kennedy looks at Australia’s industry and innovation policies and productivity. Blind spots in Australia’s industry and innovation policies are hampering productivity gains and here two particular causes of concern stand out. Firstly, innovation policies have an almost exclusive…

Election 22 the real issues – company R&D by Peter Roberts

@AuManufacturing will publish an occasional editorial series leading up to the election of the real issues that face Australia. Today Peter Roberts looks at company R&D. A week ago I showed how Australia’s innovation effort – which has direct implications for our productivity – has fallen every year since the Coalition came to office, but…

How to find and follow @AuManufacturing news stories

A reminder to members of the Australian Manufacturing Forum and readers of @AuManufacturing news and media. Our daily news stories and features and group discussions can now be followed via: The Australian Manufacturing Forum Linkedin group @AuManufacturing news website and three-times weekly newsletter The @AuManufacturing Linkedin company page @AuManufacturing on Twitter And Google news feed…

The cost of offshoring now being paid – by John Broadbent

By John Broadbent Do you remember when some Australian manufacturers off-shored their production to lower-cost labour countries, mostly in SE Asia? In most cases, the labour issue was because the equipment on which they worked was ancient history, a relic, fully-depreciated and being sweated so much, it was dripping. Rather than use the depreciation tax…

Chipping away in the emerging 5G industry

Last week wireless 5G innovator milliBeam came out of stealth mode, announcing its intention to make new hires and to establish a  design centre by the year’s end. Brent Balinski spoke to CEO and founder Dr Venkata Gutta about the company’s origins and how it intends to overcome challenges around a small local ecosystem for…

Innovation and productivity forgotten in a wasted decade

By Peter Roberts I have lost count how many from prime minister’s down have claimed to be working to make Australia a clever country, a maker of innovative things. Well guess what, it has all been hot air and good intentions – we have become less innovative year on year throughout the duration of this…

Why a WA engineering company built an autonomous hybrid vehicle

By Brent Balinski A couple of weeks ago this website shared news of an autonomous hydrogen/electric vehicle launched by East Fremantle engineering company Lycaon Group. There was no information released on the application or customer for the vehicle, labelled AHV-001, apparently entering the field trial phase.  It turns out the self-driving car – with its…

Let’s start EV manufacturing with the Nissan Leaf – by Shane West

Nissan Australia’s Dandenong South casting plant in Victoria recently won a series of manufacturing contracts with Nissan Japan to produce castings for the new Nissan LEAF mass-market all-electric car. Here Shane West outlines how Nissan’s footprint in Australia and Nissan’s overseas manufacture of the Leaf can kick-start EV manufacturing in Australia. The Nissan Leaf casting…

Canberra puts foreign companies at head of multi-billion missile programme

By Peter Roberts The federal government has selected foreign defence contractors and allocated a supporting role to two genuinely Australian consortia in accelerating the rollout of ‘sovereign’ guided weapons capabilities. Minister for defence Peter Dutton announced a $3.5 billion investment in speeding delivery of new missile capabilities for the Royal Australian Air Force and the…

Ukraine creates perfect conditions to prove XTEK composites

By Peter Roberts I was touring the Adelaide factory and R&D centre of ballistic armour manufacturer Xtek yesterday when news came through that it had received an urgent order for ballistic armour for $2.15 million – its third from unnamed international customers within a month. Xtek’s order takes total sales over the past 30 days…

Today’s federal government cash for industry – $41m for Varley

By Peter Roberts The federal government has continued its all but daily announcements of new defence contracts and grants to manufacturers with the news today that Tomago, NSW engineering group Varley will receive a $41 million contract for deployable military infrastructure. According to a statement from defence minister Peter Dutton: “The contract is part of…

Let’s not waste this emergency – secure our critical mineral supply chains

By Peter Roberts If covid-19 has taught us anything it is that Australia needs to be more self sufficient in what we manufacture onshore and depend less on globalised supply chains that are easily interrupted by accident or design. For advanced nations there is a range of rare earths that are essential to high tech…

Election budget focus on voters, not the economy and industry

Comment by Peter Roberts This budget was always going to be about saving the federal government’s bacon in an election it looks likely to lose, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did not disappoint with cash giveaways to all and sundry with little regard to managing the economy and the budget. For consumers there was a six-month…

Let’s build submarine drones and an evolved Collins class

Comment by Peter Roberts The news that the federal government is moving to vastly enlarge the size of the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide should refocus attention on the immense scale of efforts to build nuclear submarines in Australia perhaps costing as much as $171 billion over their lifetime. It should also focus attention on…

Kim Carr bows out a tireless warrior for manufacturing and innovation

Comment by Peter Roberts Victorian senator Kim Carr has announced he will not be re-contesting his seat in the senate in the upcoming election, with his departure a sad loss to Australian public life and especially to the battle to value innovation and manufacturing in national policy. Carr has been rather unfairly characterised by his…

Massive expansion planned for Adelaide shipyard

By Peter Roberts Hot on the tail of a $4.3 billion promise to expand the Henderson maritime precinct in Perth, Adelaide has been offered a similar carrot with the federal government leasing a massive area for the expansion of the Osborne naval shipyard. The government has revealed it will lease an additional 45 hectares of…

SA’s new focus on manufacturing in Cabinet

By Peter Roberts South Australia’s new Labor government has emphatically refocussed on the manufacturing sector with the choice of Deputy Premier Susan Close to serve as the state’s industry and science minister in the new Cabinet. Premier Peter Malinauskas announced his Cabinet on Thursday morning with Close, who has been the Deputy Labor leader since…

Hydrogen startup anticipates 30 new hires over next 12 months

University of Wollongong-headquartered Hysata recently made headlines with a breakthrough paper in Nature Communications, demonstrating a “giant leap” in water splitting progress and a claim to be on track to $2/kilogram hydrogen by 2025. The UoW spinout business was launched in mid-2021 with $5 million in seed funding from the IP Group and the Clean…

Critical minerals manufacturing opportunity – by Shannon O’Rourke

Australia has vast resources of battery minerals and the beginnings of a battery metals value chain, but little in the way of value-added manufacturing. According to Shannon O’Rourke, the time for action to seize the opportunity is now. The Australian mining industry saved Australia from recession in the GFC and again during the Covid-19 pandemic.…

Forging a way into the nuclear power industry

Australia will eventually have eight nuclear submarines, under a partnership with either the US or UK, and a new base for them at one of three short-listed sites on the east coast.

New SA government aims for hydrogen leadership

By Peter Roberts Having previously led the world with the installation of the world-first Hornsdale big battery, the incoming Labor government in South Australia plans to do the same with the construction of a state-owned hydrogen electrolyser and green hydrogen-fired power station at Whyalla. Costed at $593 million, the 250 MWe electrolysers, 200MW power station…

Boeing: why the Ukraine crisis could help it become the world’s number one aircraft maker again

By Joseph Mellors, Northumbria University, Newcastle Boeing has faced a lot of bad press in recent years, and deservedly so. After two Boeing 737 Max crashes killed 346 people, the American aerospace giant was criticised for its “slow” and “defensive” handling of the crisis, and nearly 400 planes were grounded for 20 months following a…

The coalition has well and truly embraced ‘picking winners’

By Peter Roberts Ahh the good old days – the days when the coalition was dead against ‘picking winners’. Remember them? It is hard to believe that only a decade ago, any mention by Labor of an activist industry policy that identified industry sectors that Australia should focus on was met with a chorus of…

How to reindustrialise Australia – by Lance Worrall

In March @AuManufacturing analysed the failings of Australian industry policy and its outcome – our fragile and narrowly based commodity economy. Here Lance Worrall looks forward to the elements of the reindustrialisation policy we need to reverse Australia’s economic decline. We need a strategy for reindustrialisation. Without it Australia is the loser. We need a…

Starpharma’s Covid-killer needs action not bureaucracy from TGA

By Peter Roberts I have nothing but the deepest respect for Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, but a certain lack of initiative on the part of the TGA seems to be preventing Australians from getting access to the latest Australian-developed tools to fight Covid-19. Make no mistake the TGA has an exemplary record in regulating Australians’…

Women @ Work in Australian regional manufacturing

Advertisement On the eve of International Women’s Day @AuManufacturing and our partner Hargraves Institute have launched a special programme for female team leaders and managers in regional manufacturing. We are offering readers and members an educational programme focussed on equity and equality in manufacturing firms in the regions. This interactive learning program (two sessions per…

Brace yourself to be trickle fed grant awards right up to the election

By Peter Roberts The announcement of $113 million of federal support for plant protein factories and another $20 million for satellite manufacturing in South Australia is all well and good. But it means the process for assessing the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Round 1 applications is complete. It is shameful that the federal government looks like…

Eight SMEs unite in space and defence

Eight leading Australian-owned space and defence companies have joined together to offer solutions to Australia’s space and defence industry priorities. The companies, a who’s who of young, innovative Australian firms, have formed Australian Defence Industry Space Capability Alliance (ADISCA) to tackle defence’s Sovereign Industry Capability Priorities for space. The alliance was revealed at the 13th…

Ukraine shows how bare is Australia’s missile cupboard

By Peter Roberts With governments round the world looking in their defence inventories to see what weapons or assistance they can send Ukraine, just what does Australia have sitting round that we could quickly send to the beleaguered nation? Turns out – not much. According to senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Marcus…

My (improbable) faith in Australian manufacturing – by Ed Husic

Ed Husic spoke to the Sydney Institute last night and outlined his vision for industry and innovation should Labor be successful at the coming federal election. Here is a full transcript. Good industry policy isn’t just about economics – it helps build a sense of security as well. In tough, challenging times it’s as much…

We have to stop burning fossil fuels and do it now

By Peter Roberts Fires last year, erosion on our beaches, floods this year. No-one could have predicted this is a phrase heard yet again. Yes they did predict it. As a young journalist in the 1980s I travelled to Antarctica’s Casey, Davis and Mawson bases and met the scientists studying the oxygen bubbles trapped deep…

A vision where innovative Australian-made displaces plastic – by Julia Kay

An architect by profession, Julia Kay and husband Jordy have grown from a standing start to be Australia’s only manufacturer of compostable stretch wrap, first for consumer and soon for industrial uses. @AuManufacturing asked her to tell her story, in her own words. There was a materials revolution happening around us. Everything was changing rapidly;…

Demand for skills drives improved outcomes for apprentices

A higher proportion of apprentices and trainees are being employed after completing their training as demand for skilled workers rose during 2021, according to a new report. The report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows 94.0 per cent of apprentices and trainees who completed their training in a trade occupation were…

Towards an Australian battery-powered future

The Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) has today outlined a pathway for Australia to claim its share of the global battery industry titled: “Towards 2030 – Australia’s Battery Powered Future”. With global battery demand expected to grow at least 9 to 10-fold over the next decade with an estimated market of between US$133-$151…

Why a Silicon Valley robotics company is setting up in Brisbane

By Brent Balinski As has been mentioned on this website and elsewhere, while Australia’s private investment in automation – placed 35th in the world based on the number of industrial robots per 10,000 workers – could be better, the nation has some fantastic researchers in the field. One positive development last week was news that…

Stock market investors look to Micro-X to lift sales

By Peter Roberts Technology shares especially for start-ups have been shunned by investors for months now, but until the past week Adelaide cold cathode X-ray machine manufacturer Micro-X had weathered the storm better than most. However in the past week the market marked down the company’s shares, delivering a warning that it is becoming impatient…

AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING FORUM PASSES 10,000 MEMBERS

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest social media group of Australian manufacturers, passed 10,041 members late last night with the admission of 56 people. The Forum has grown steadily since its founding in 2013, and a year ago…

Another day, another breakdown for Incitec Pivot

By Peter Roberts How many breakdowns does a company have to suffer before the question is asked – what is going on in its United States manufacturing plants? This comes to mind with the news that fertiliser and explosives manufacturer Incitec Pivot has suffered yet another breakdown at its troubled Waggaman, Louisiana ammonia plant. This,…

Underwater robotics maker grasps new opportunities

Tucked away on a residential street, spitting distance from a lively bistro pub in Glebe (about three kilometres from Sydney’s CBD) is where you will find the most promising Australian robotics manufacturer you’ve never heard of.

Promised more industry focused PhDs, but the reality is different – by Dr John Howard

Australia was promised a new research focus for PhDs on the needs of industry. Here Dr John Howard forensically examines the national innovation and research system and asks whether, when the money runs out, will we have a more robust research infrastructure and research workforce? On 31 January 2022, the Prime Minister announced that the…

PPK Group advances BNNTs across industry sectors

By Peter Roberts The Australian group commercialising boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) across a range of industries, PPK Group has reported progress across its investments and an uplift in the value of its intellectual property. The group, which manufactures BNNTs and supplies partly owned businesses developing body armour, dental implants, advanced batteries and alloys among others,…

Consultants grow fat on federal contracts

By James Reilly The Boston Consulting Group more than doubled revenue from its federal government business in the last financial year as the Commonwealth’s increased use of outside consultants accelerated. For the financial year 2020/21, the first full-year reporting period of the Covid-19 pandemic, Boston Consulting grew its federal business by 120 per cent to…

“Productivity needs to improve,” but is that the real problem – by John Sheridan

“Productivity needs to improve,” says the RBA, BCA, CEDA, Treasury and the Banks. But that is not the real problem argues John Sheridan The RBA, the BCA, government ministers and others are all back on the bandwagon again – “Australia’s productivity needs to improve before people can expect wage rises”. One of the measures of…

Modern Manufacturing programme struggles to get money out the door

By Joseph Brookes Just $85 million has been released from the federal government’s flagship $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS) program since it was announced in 2020. The biggest grants are currently being held up by government ministers’ input on independent recommendations, and await a final decision by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison to be…

Logos, logos, more national logos

By Peter Roberts Am I the only one who wonders what the purpose could possibly be of the new Australian Nation Brand developed at the cost of $10 million for the federal government (pictured). The new logo replaces an earlier brand which was launched in 2020 to much derision – it was not instantly recognisable…

Graphic proof of Australia’s dirty electricity (Tassie and SA excluded)

By Peter Roberts The news this week that Origin Energy is seeking approval to shut Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant seven years early, is just the beginning of what should be a rapid phase out of coal power in Australia. The Eraring station in the NSW Hunter region and the largest of 16 remaining coal-fired…

Labor’s national reconstruction fund: a path to reindustrialisation?

The shadow of COVID and the associated policy failures of the federal government hang heavy over the coming election, with the campaign certain to be chaotic and full of distractions. Here Lance Worrall looks at the biggest policy idea launched to date – Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund. Many voters were shocked to discover early in…

Just add water – study to boost Whyalla water supply

State and federal governments and major mining companies are backing a $15 million feasibility study to solve one of the major constraints of industrial and mining development in the state – a lack of water. With the Whyalla steelworks and existing copper mines supplied by pipeline from the Murray or underground, planned massive expansions of…

@AuManufacturing welcomes Sarah McPhail

@AuManufacturing news and media welcomes a new team member – Sarah McPhail. Ms McPhail takes up a new project-based post of partnerships manager, a role that will see her liaise on a regular basis with our advertisers and sponsors. With news that @AuManufacturing has grown to become the country’s number one manufacturing news website, she…

NSW Premier vows to buy trains locally

By Peter Roberts NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has signalled an end to the New South Wales government’s fraught policy of buying ‘cheap and low’ priced public transport rolling stock from overseas. Announcing a new order for locally made electric buses from Custom Denning, Perrottet conceded NSW has long missed onshore manufacturing opportunities in an effort…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Building biometric-based ID machines

For the last two weeks, our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series has looked at cybersecurity threats to manufacturers, why they should take them seriously, and how they can thwart them. For the final entry, we will hear from a manufacturer responsible for other people’s security and access management, and the ways it goes about keeping very sensitive, very personal data safe. 

Frigate project rigged for smoother sailing

By Peter Roberts The $45 billion Hunter Class frigate programme has reached a milestone in its development with the completion of a year-long System Definition Review (SDR) which studied how the special requirements of Australia’s defence department can be fitted into the ship’s baseline design. This review is crucial as the inclusion of the Aegis…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: From cyber target to cyber safety advocate

In the second-last day of our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, Chris Bridges-Taylor shares B&R Enclosures’ cyber story.

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Manufacturers’ IAM blind spots

Today our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, Chris Grove explains why rather than planning to ‘not fail’ in any aspect of an IAM program, we should be planning to fail.

Snowy 2.0 – the nation building project that won’t be using all Australian steel

By Peter Roberts The Snowy Scheme from 1949 saw 100,000 men and women from over 30 countries define what Australians and Australian industry are capable of. Fast forward to today and the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme now under construction in the Snowy Mountains was meant to be nation building, and part of a plan…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Five steps SMEs can take to be more cyber secure

Today our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series provides a few more pieces of important advice to beef up security for small and medium-sized enterprises. Here Sam Silva presents five things to consider.

@AuManufacturing’s new deal plan for manufacturing – summary and recommendations

The @AuManufacturing new deal plan for manufacturing was crowd sourced from more than 60 substantial submissions from readers and members of the Australian Manufacturing Forum Linkedin group in 2020. With an election in the air and industry policy again in the news this week, we present again the plan’s executive summary and core recommendations as…

Alexa, who is number one for Australian manufacturing news? (It’s us.)

For a long time, Amazon’s Alexa (no, not the virtual assistant of the same name) has been the go-to tool for measuring website traffic and analytics. Alexa Internet was founded in 1996, and bought three years after that by what is now an e-commerce and cloud computing behemoth. Alexa harvests information from browser extensions downloaded…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Three ways manufacturers can set up a successful digital identity protection strategy

To begin week two of @AuManufacturing’s Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, Rana Gupta looks at three risks we face, as well as three identity and access management measures to adopt.

Survivors of Australia’s automotive retreat soldier on, even prosper

By Peter Roberts The brand new $17 million factory of automation and systems integrator Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions (BAMS, pictured) is silent when I visit the factory located at Clayton in south-eastern suburban Melbourne. Workers have gone home for the day, allowing this journalist a Covid-safe tour of a production floor full to capacity with…

Can-Do Capitalism and a Do-Nothing Government

Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks of ‘can-do capitalism’ and last week offered a $2 billion sweetener to industrial research, while others talk of a ‘do-nothing government’. Here Lance Worrall looks at the policy changes forced on the nation by a pandemic, and what it means for a new industrial policy as not just sectoral support,…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series: A growth tool as well as an expense

To close week one of our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, we look at some quick, easy ways manufacturers can improve their security, as well as the commercial benefits attached to lifting “cyber fitness”. Brent Balinski speaks to Susie Jones, founder of small and micro-business specialist Cynch Security. 

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: what’s on Australian Manufacturers’ cyber cards for 2022

As we near the end of the first of two weeks in our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, John Yang tells us what we can expect from the rest of the year. 2022 is expected to deliver supply chain attacks, cyber cold war escalation, cyber insurance pressure, and more, as Yang explains.

Govt research commercialisation focus is ‘too narrow’

The government’s $2 billion effort to improve Australia’s commercialisation efforts is welcome, but the approach is too narrow and risks undervaluing basic research, UTS special innovation advisor Professor Roy Green says.

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Six ways to make sure your manufacturing business is cyber-secure  

Thomson Mathew runs us through a half-dozen ways to keep your factory safe from cyberattacks in this part of our Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series.  While smart factories are revolutionising the manufacturing industry, being connected comes with new risk factors that must be addressed. A Deloitte study revealed that 48% of manufacturers identified…

More questions than answers in new commercialisation funding

Comment by Peter Roberts The university sector has has been sadly neglected by the federal government in the past decade, and yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison signaled that academic research would continue to come second to a national priority on research that leads to manufacturing and other economic outcomes. The neglect of science is unforgiveable…

Cybersecurity — Identity and Access Management: Five steps towards getting a ransomware attack on your company

In day two of @AuManufacturing’s Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, Ryan Ko offers some friendly advice to those who want to be victims of ransomware.  In my experience working with the INTERPOL tracking digital payments towards ransomware, and research with antivirus companies understanding how ransomware works, I have seen ransomware in action and…

Labor to convert Kurri Kurri gas plant to hydrogen

By Peter Roberts Labor has found a way to both support the construction of a gas-fired power station at Kurri Kurri in New South Wales and burnish its green credentials, according to media reports. Channel 9 media has reported Labor leader Anthony Albanese and climate and energy spokesman Chris Bowen will travel to Kurri Kurri…

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: An introduction to our new series

@AuManufacturing launches its first editorial series of 2022. Brent Balinski introduces Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management.

Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management: Protecting the digital identities of a diverse workforce

On day one of @AuManufacturing’s new Cybersecurity – Identity and Access Management series, Rana Gupta discusses how a zero trust mindset can help protect your trade secrets and critical data.

Energy transition investment passes one trillion

Investment in a transition in the energy market to low-carbon alternatives has passed $1,000 billion for the first time, according to new figures from BloombergNEF. Their Energy Transition Investment Trends 2022 report found that global investment in renewable energy, energy storage, electrified transport, electrified heat, nuclear, hydrogen and sustainable materials hit $1.1 trillion (US$755 billion)…

137 officials on taskforce exploring nuclear sub options

By Joseph Brookes There are nearly 150 members on the federal government’s nuclear-powered submarines taskforce, including officials from a range of federal departments and 10 contractors who the defence department has declined to name, but no state government representatives. The taskforce was established in September last year on the day the Prime Minister Scott Morrison…

Apprentice and trainee commencements continue to climb

Apprentice and trainee commencements have continued their climb from Covid-affected lows and are now running at their highest level in eight years. The latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows apprentice and trainee commencements grew nationally to 47,785 or 114 per cent in the June quarter 2021 compared with the…

Albo’s election pitch puts manufacturing at the centre

By Denham Sadler Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has made his case for government in a wide-ranging speech with a focus on sovereign capability and manufacturing. Albanese kicked off the election year with an address to the National Press Club, where he made his case for why Labor should take government from the Coalition. The Opposition…

How the west (lost) the chance to process valuable metals

Comment by Peter Roberts The graph tells you all you need to know about Australia’s – and the west’s – failure to secure the crucial processing stages of producing strategic and clean energy materials. Australia’s penchant for sending raw materials overseas unprocessed is well known from our focus on iron ore exports, and is obvious…

Startup wants to help steelmakers kick their coke habit

By Brent Balinski As this website reported in February last year, local curiosity in biochar seemed to spike about a decade ago and fell away, but it could come back, pending a big if. The economics need to change.  While it has acknowledged promise as a soil improver, livestock feed additive, holder of carbon, and in…

Sour taste on the palate from Australia’s latest free trade agreement

By Peter Roberts Another free trade deal, another disappointment. It seems the benefits to the wine industry from the recent, much-vaunted free trade deal with the United Kingdom are to be negated by a rise in UK wine import duties. Media reports suggest that a $49 million benefit for Australian wine growers from the recently…

Build Australian satellites – Australian Academy of Science

Australia should build, launch and operate a range of satellites to reduce sovereign risk, according to a new report from the prestigious Australian Academy of Science. The Australia in Space: a decadal plan for Australian space science 2021–2030 report released today said Australia’s complete reliance on data from foreign-owned satellites in weather forecasting, resource and…

Fail to Embrace Autonomous Robotics & Technology and Fall Behind – by Daniel Milford

Australian business must embrace automation if they’re going to grow and remain competitive into the future, explains Daniel Milford (pictured, below). Few leaders have a mature understanding of how to leverage technology in managing their business and leading their customers and employees into the future. Companies that talk about rather than act upon transforming their…

A half-dozen things to watch in 2022

We have an ability to see into the future equal to anyone else’s; in short, nonexistent. That said, here is a random handful of issues we predict will be meaningful to the industry in 2022, and which we will therefore be keeping tabs on. By Brent Balinski.

Welcome to 2022 from @AuManufacturing news

If you departed, as we did for Christmas break with hopes rising that Australia was really moving on, January must be unfolding like some sort of nightmarish groundhog day. We wake up from a dream of sunnier skies for Australian manufacturing, only to face the realities of life in a fast-mutating pandemic that brings us…

No limit to Nioa’s ambition, now plans $50m gun factory

Australian owned defence contractor NIOA has revealed plans for a $50 million small arms and weapons factory, adding to the numerous new factories and expansions already underway by the Queensland group. The company said historical weapons manufacturing centres Lithgow in New South Wales and Benalla in Victoria as well as Brisbane are being considered as…

Ethical and sustainable supply chains – by Rob Stummer

Disruptions to global supply chains have put increasing pressure on the environment and on workers rights. Here Rob Stummer explains the threats and the ways that manufacturers can ensure their supply chains remain ethical and sustainable, despite pandemic pressures. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has put global supply chains under extraordinary pressure, with everyone…

Merry Australian made Christmas 2021

Merry Australian Made Christmas to all at the Australian Manufacturing Forum Linkedin group and readers, partners and clients of @AuManufacturing news. 2021 is coming to a close, and it has been a mighty year of transition for Australian manufacturing. The sector has been consistently growing and kicking goals in some areas crucial to the future.…

Biotech giant CSL in massive global takeover

Analysis by Peter Roberts Australia’s largest and most successful manufacturer, global blood products and vaccine powerhouse CSL, is to raise billions from investors to execute a $17.2 billion all cash takeover of a complementary healthcare business, Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Vifor. The massive takeover expands CSL’s global footprint into complementary areas including haematology, thrombosis, cardiovascular and…

Fortescue and Incitec Pivot strike green gold at Gibson Island

By Peter Roberts Fortescue Future Industries and fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivot have struck gold at the Gibson Island, Brisbane urea plant in their efforts to convert the facility from natural gas to green hydrogen feedstock. The plant, which is to close in December because Incitec Pivot has been unable to secure a supply of gas,…

Government extends SME loans – how @AuManufacturing can help you gain access

ADVERTISEMENT Federal Treasury has announced that its successful SMERL3 SME recovery loans are to be modified and expended beyond the end of this year to a new closing date of June 30-, 2022. SMERL 3 was guaranteeing the banks 80 per cent of their risk, with the banks opening the purse strings in response. Now…

1.5 years after starting a process, Canberra backs commercial mRNA vaccine manufacture

By Peter Roberts Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that state and federal governments and vaccine producer Moderna had signed an ‘in principle’ deal for the construction of a Melbourne plant capable of utilising the newly successful vaccine production technologies that produced the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The plant would be capable of producing up…

Importing trams because they were cheaper was never true – By Shane West

The idea that importing public transport rolling stock is somehow cheaper has been blown out of the water by Sydney’s recent disasters with trains that don’t fit the tunnels and trams that are cracking up, and let’s not forget imported ferries that don’t fit under bridges. Here Shane West forensically dissects the history of Sydney’s…

Carbon-free nuclear power

As carbon handbrakes take effect around the world, Australia has growing opportunities to leap ahead with nuclear technology. By Michael Sharpe. 

Silver, lead and zinc refining goes green as minerals sector rushes to decarbonise

By Peter Roberts Nystrar’s big silver, lead and zinc refinery at Port Pirie in South Australia is planning to go green with news that the company and the state are funding a $5 million front end engineering and design study for as $750 million green hydrogen electrolyser to power the plant. The plant, which was…

Finally, Australia signs a big defence buy from Korean firm Hanwha

By Peter Roberts Australia has signed a $1 billion defence contract for new Self-Propelled Howitzers for the army from an Asian nation – from Hanwha Defense Australia and Korea – ending a purchasing drought and bias towards buying from European nations and prime contractors and the United States. Hanwha plans to build and assemble its…

Leadership in factory automation — Building capability through automation

In this final part of our Leadership in factory automation series, Colin Thomas describes some of the benefits of automating, drawing on his three decades of experience and a consideration of several different viewpoints within a manufacturing company.

Future-focussed and fast

New high-speed rail routes better connecting Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong would drive new opportunities if we included freight. By Michael Sharpe.

Leadership in factory automation — OzCut Abrasives

On the final Friday of @AuManufacturing’s Leadership in factory automation series, we speak to Ray Taylor, founder and owner of cutting wheel startup OzCut Abrasives. He reminds us that while there’s been a rise in support for local manufacturing lately, you still need be advanced in both products and processes to be viable. By Brent Balinski. 

NIOA sets itself up for arms development in Lithgow

By Peter Roberts Fast-growing firearms, weapons and ammunition manufacturer NIOA has set itself up for expansion of its operations to the historic defence manufacturing region of Lithgow in New South Wales with the purchase of an important home and land in the regional city. NIOA has purchased historic Lidsdale House (pictured) which sits on a…

Widely available grant for energy efficiency launched

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has announced a new grant opportunity that will be available to SME food and beverage manufacturers under its Energy Efficient Communities Program. The program is unusually broad and should apply to every SME in the field looking to improve energy efficiency and, while the dollar amount is…

Leadership in factory automation – the automation race by Simon Dawson

Today in our editorial series Leadership in factory automation, we hear from Simon Dawson who knows first hand how Australian manufacturers are running the automation race. And for those still in the pre-race warm up, he tells you how to lead out of the starting blocks. It’s no secret that the world of manufacturing is…

2021 additive manufacturing Aussie highlights

By Alex Kingsbury Additive Manufacturing (AM) in 2021 saw funding flowing and start-ups growing! The following is merely a selection of some of the headline announcements and progress made in AM in Australia, of course summarised with my own personal take/flair. Perhaps the biggest cash injection for AM came with the Modern Manufacturing Initiative to…

Leadership in factory automation — Autonomously rolling through the fourth industrial revolution

Today in Leadership in factory automation, Sercan Altun looks at the importance of data in the current industrial era, as well as the increasingly prominent role of mobile robotics.

Leadership in factory automation — exploring collaborative robotics

Today Leadership in factory automation looks at the potential of collaborative robots as a low-cost, more flexible and safer alternative to traditional factory robots. By Professor Jonathan Roberts. Manufacturing in Australia is dominated by small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Many of these businesses are not in a position to adopt mass production manufacturing methods due…

CSIRO, BCA – kick-start your ‘commercialisation engine’

By Denham Sadler Australian businesses of all sizes can take practical steps that will “kick-start the commercialisation engine” and speed up a technology-led recovery from the pandemic, a new report from CSIRO and the Business Council of Australia has found. The report – ‘Unlocking the innovation potential of Australian companies‘ – offers practical ways for…

Government funding backed VET in 2020 – NCVER

Government funding for the VET sector jumped during 2020 the first Covid-19 year, according to new figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). In 2020, government funding provided through VET appropriations and VET intergovernmental funding arrangements totalled $7.7 billion, an increase in nominal terms of $1.3 billion or 20.8 per cent from…

All the Rivers Run… Again

By Michael Sharpe As I write, the regional New South Wales town of Wee Waa is cut off by flood waters. There is widespread flooding across the North West of the State. In 2007, just west of Wee Waa, I was standing in the famous Cafe De Luxe at Brewarrina with Angelo Pippos. Opened in…

Leadership in factory automation – Tindo Solar

Today our editorial series, Leadership in factory automation, turns to a greenfields site where Tindo Solar is more than doubling production of solar photo voltaic panels in a totally new factory – and installing as much automation as it can squeeze in. By Peter Roberts Shayne Jaenisch guides me around the masses of ultra high-tech…

Leadership in factory automation — Wood from waste for a world market

Leadership in factory automation today looks at 3RT, a company that turns wood waste into a product that looks and performs like 100-year-old hardwood. Founder and managing director Peter Torreele says that advanced automation is essential to goals of an affordable product that performs like naturally-grown timber, and can be made and sold locally anywhere in the world. By Brent Balinski.   

How we can achieve net zero manufacturing?

The transition to net zero will affect all aspects of our manufacturing supply chain. We are at the precipice of a critical time for our sector as how we manage the manufacturing sector’s transition to carbon neutral is paramount to our future industry growth. The opportunities for the manufacturing industry are significant. By Shay Chalmers…

Leadership in factory automation – by Glen Casey

Today in our editorial series, Leadership in factory automation, Glen Casey reveals the bottom line of learnings in his work for more than 60 major companies. Before you automate – get the basics right, analyse and plan. The Global pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the way consumers and companies now do business which…

Manufacturers going nuclear

Michael Sharpe gives an update on last week’s meeting of the Nuclear Skills Forum in western Sydney. Nuclear power is banned in Australia. It seems government legislation needs reviewing in light of the rapid advancement with small modular reactors, the recent SMR funding by the UK Government, developments in the USA and the expanding AUKUS…

Leadership in factory automation – Electrolux Home Products

Today our editorial series, Leadership in factory automation, looks at the quintessential dilemma, and opportunity for Australian manufacturing – flexible mass manufacturing for the large number of product types needed to satisfy Australia’s diverse local markets. Here Peter Roberts profiles Electrolux Home Products. Electrolux Home Products single Australian factory is what Australian manufacturing has been…

Wire work: where Australian researchers are looking to improve WAM

Wire arc-based additive manufacturing goes back to the 1990s, but is only starting to realise some of its commercial potential. Adelaide-based AML3D is one of the global leaders in commercialising this technique, which uses a combination of software, robotics and wire arc welding as a heat source, melting wire and depositing it, layer by layer,…

Leadership in factory automation — Better jobs, not fewer jobs

In the second day of Leadership in factory automation, Daen Simmat looks at why the “robots versus jobs” rhetoric presents a false choice. As history shows us, for example with ATMs being introduced at banks, existing jobs will be improved and new ones created through adopting technology.

Leadership in factory automation – David Singleton of Austin Engineering

We launch our new editorial series, Leadership in factory automation, today with an interview with a titan of Australian advanced manufacturing – David Singleton. As CEO of Perth shipbuilder, Austal he took that company global, breaking into the US Navy defence market. Now he is driving mining equipment manufacturer Austin Engineering into the industry 4.0…

Leadership in factory automation – introduction to our new editorial series

Manufacturing has entered a fourth industrial revolution, presenting once in a lifetime opportunities for Australia to escape its recent past and once again build a viable, competitive manufacturing sector. Recognising that technology and automation has never been more important, today @AuManufacturing launches its latest editorial series – Leadership in factory automation. Here Peter Roberts surveys…

SA technologists press for active industry plan

Sixty-six of South Australia’s leading technologists, scientists and engineers have tabled a technology and industry policy-based plan that will foster innovation, economic growth. The plan, released in advance of the state election in 2022, highlights vital fields that will supercharge SA’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and power the state’s transition to a low-carbon future. It…

Industry policy lacks clarity – David Thodey

By James Riley Former CSIRO chair David Thodey says the growth and development of Australia’s innovation ecosystem since 2015 had been exciting – remarkable even – but a lack of clarity in long-term national industry strategy had been limiting, nonetheless. Just weeks after stepping down from the board of the national science agency which he…

We help you access Fed’s $5 million SMERL3 Covid recovery loans

ADVERTISEMENT It is third time lucky for the federal government and for SME manufacturers with the banks finally prepared to lend cash to Covid-affected SMEs that need it. SMERL3 is the government’s third go at designing an SME recovery loan scheme which the banks would get onboard with, as distinct from their usual ‘bugger off’…

Support for alternative apprenticeship models – NCVER report

Apprenticeships play an important role in skills development, however there are a number of long-term issues which has seen rising support for new models of apprenticeship, according to a report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The report, Issues in apprenticeships and traineeships – a research synthesis identifies five enduring issues in…

Growing the Forever Partnership

With the largest Defence budget in our nation’s history, along with the launch of the Australian Space Agency and now the AUKUS Partnership, the opportunities for Australian manufacturers to diversify are growing. By Michael Sharpe.

BAE Systems turns M113 personnel carriers autonomous

By Peter Roberts BAE Systems Australia has installed locally-developed autonomous operation hardware and software in twenty M113 AS4 Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCVs) and delivered them to the Australian Army. Each M113 AS4 was fitted with a Vehicle Management System, derived from BAE Systems’ domain agnostic autonomy technologies which enables it to operate autonomously. At…

Lyre’s shows the $ to be made innovating in manufacturing

By Peter Roberts Most of us have probably seen Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits at the supermarket and reeled at the price – starting from around $45 a bottle for a, well, fake gin, whiskey or rum. But this UK company – which also manufactures in Australia – shows that innovation, timing and product quality in manufacturing…

@AuManufacturing’s new value-added service – accessing SMERL3 Covid recovery loans

ADVERTISEMENT The Australian Manufacturing Forum and @AuManufacturing have launched a new value-added service for manufacturers, assisting companies access loans guaranteed by the federal government under its SMERL3, SME Covid-19 recovery scheme. The federal government in conjunction with banking and lending institutions have been providing government backed loans of between 50 per cent and 80 per…

My R&D house is your R&D house: sovereign composites CRC bid leader shares collaborative plans

From lighter, longer-lasting road tankers to restorative dental materials to intelligent propeller blades, Professor Ganga Prusty has built teams that have built impressive new products out of composites.

N-subs – the rebirth of ASC as BAE Systems Adelaide

By Peter Roberts It was back in 2014 that Coalition defence minister David Johnston said he would not trust the government-owned submarine builder, the Australian Submarine Corporation, to build a canoe. What is now ASC Pty Ltd just might be on the way to a resurrection, but this time as an addition to BAE Systems…

Donald McGurk showed how to lead Australian hi-tech

By Peter Roberts The board of Australian defence communications and technology company Codan has announced a new CEO to replace Donald McGurk (pictured) who is retiring after 21 years at the helm. Alf Ianniello has big shoes to fill, with the company’s share price plunging on the announcement of McGurk’s departure in August from $17.64,…

SEA La Trobe Valley promise flounders as did automotive sector – by Shane West

Electric drive train and truck producer SEA Electric has decided not to go ahead with a planned factory in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley. Here Shane West laments the decision, made after the company won an order to build 1,500 electric trucks in the United States. SEA Electric began life as an all-Australian technology and manufacturing…

Fortescue makes good with hydrogen ambitions

By Peter Roberts Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has made good with its initial promises to pivot its iron-ore business to build what the company hopes will become the world’s powerhouse in green energy industries. It was only on January 26 this year that Forrest stunned the business world when he made an impassioned…

Lack of local skills will impact nuclear submarine manufacture

Australia will need to rely heavily on the experience, skills and technology of the United States and the United Kingdom in building and maintaining nuclear submarines because we do not have a local nuclear industry. We don’t have infrastructure, skills or experience in nuclear power—and none of this can be created overnight.

Quantum computing – our science to industry moment?

By Peter Roberts History shows that while we have some areas of scientific brilliance, few of our ideas translate into anything other than niche businesses – and this is especially true when looking at seminal global scientific development such as quantum computing. Some big players such as Google and IBM have successfully built quantum computers…

Forget federal politicians, let’s act on emissions – by John Sheridan

John Sheridan believes there is a way forward for Australia to zero emissions given the leadership being shown by the states and industry. There is no point expecting federal politicians to fix the climate crisis, we need to stop passively watching and act. Last week I sat in a small room on Lady Elliot Island…

Australian additive manufacturing innovator and Volkswagen announce partnership

Monash University spinout Additive Assurance has announced a partnership with Volkswagen today, beginning with one metal 3D printer at Wolfsburg being decked out with the Australian partner’s sensors and the two companies working on “a manufacturing system” suited to the German company’s production printers. By Brent Balinski.

Australia’s Food Manufacturing Opportunity – by Derek Lulham

The Australian food industry is an advanced sector with a wide range of competitive advantages. Here Derek Lulham explores our advantages and opportunities in the Australian and global marketplace. Australia continues to be a solid platform to launch brands and products targeted to consumers across Asia. This mature sector has conversations on a broad range…

Australia’s exports at risk – study

Australia’s economic resilience is at risk not so much because of a focus on China as a market, but because of the small number of commodities that we sell, according to a new study. The study, by UTS, Sydney Professors James Laurenceson and Roy Green, and Dr Phillip Toner of Sydney University compared Australia’s exports…

Employers increase use of VET system

With Australia exiting the Covid-19 pandemic and manufacturing growing, there is evidence manufacturers are increasing their reliance on the VET training system. A new report shows an increase in the proportion of employers using the VET system, increasing 5.7 percentage points from 2019 to 2021, with 56.6 per cent of Australian employers engaged with accredited…

Are we planning to be a buyer or a maker – by Barry Hendy

Robotics and automation leader Barry Hendy is scratching his head about why Australia is investing in outdated, often overseas submarine and heavy rail technologies when technological change offers ways for Australian industry to leapfrog ahead, and become an exporter rather than an importer. We have long lamented the demise of the Australian car industry and…

From data to decisions — three game changers explain how to get there

Nowadays manufacturers are, with few exceptions, in the data and analytics game. Data improves their own and their customers’ operations.  Three high-tech Australian startups provide extreme examples. Each is solving a very different problem — quality assurance and control issues in additive manufacturing, the need for robots to grip objects better, and finding the best…

Green hydrogen – steelmaking silver bullet or red herring?

By Brent Balinski Hearing Bob Dylan sing Hurricane for the first time. Stumbling across the TV series Fleabag. Andrew Forrest’s recent announcement that he will build a factory in central Queensland, with capacity to make 2 gigawatts of hydrogen electrolysers a year. Geoff Brooks, Director of Research at Swinburne University’s School of Engineering, insists he…

Frigate prototyping morphing into Catapult-style centre

By Peter Roberts The construction of nine Hunter-class frigates in Adelaide by BAE Systems Maritime is known for its pioneering work on digital manufacturing on a giant – $35 billion – scale. But it is less well known for its part in demonstrating and leading efforts for Australia to finally develop the type of government…

H2X selects Gippsland for hydrogen vehicle retrofits, aims to make its own vehicles in 2023

By Brent Balinski After initial plans to begin manufacturing vehicles at Port Kembla, NSW, hydrogen fuel cell hopeful H2X Global announced Gippsland as the home of its assembly operation on Wednesday. NSW hydrogen bus trials didn’t pan out as hoped and the company’s activities slowed in the state, H2X’s CEO and founder Brendan Norman explains.…

$50bn decommissioning costs face oil and gas facilities

Australia’s ageing offshore oil and gas infrastructure faces $50 billion in costs with a high powered advisory committee established by the Centre of Decommissioning Australia (CODA) to address the challenges and maximise business opportunities involved. Six industry leaders have been appointed to an advisory panel including experts from ExxonMobil, Santos, Baker Hughes, IAS Group and…

Australian manufactures dodge China trade woes – mostly

Since Beijing moved to curtail Australian exports to China in May last year – not of course our coking coal and iron ore on which China depends – manufactured exports have mostly managed to avoid much of the pain. In the three categories – wine, meat and copper – that are manufactured or substantially transformed…

The magical land of Oz – where net zero means doing nothing new

By Peter Roberts The federal government’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 has been officially launched. But my job in analysing the outcome of agonising negotiations within the Coalition – where perhaps a quarter to a third of MPs are open climate denialists – is not made easy because there is absolutely no…

K-Tig positioned in global markets, looks to disrupt Australian welding

By Peter Roberts In the past the model for Australian industrial technology companies was to first establish themselves in the local market before venturing overseas which ultimately represents 95 per cent of the potential market. Few Australian companies manage that jump without being taken over or swamped by international competition, partly because an initial technological…

We need fast freight rail, fast

High Speed Freight Rail (HSFR) can help to transform Australia and to build our strengths and resilience. We need a strategy.

Whyalla GREENSTEEL plant could be Morrison’s Cop26 get out of jail card – exclusive

By Peter Roberts The refinancing of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance two weeks ago has kick started work on plans for a massive, world-scale GREENSTEEL investment by the company which would transform its Australian operations centred on the Whyalla steelworks on upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia. @AuManufacturing understands negotiations have been underway in recent days…

Cochlear rebound – sounds of success

By Peter Roberts Hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear has been the standout leader in Australian technology manufacturing for so long that sometimes it is easy to take it for granted as just another piece of the background of Australian life. But the way it has rebounded, with renewed vigour and direction, from twin hits from the…

Semiconductors:  it’s all a show of power

We should not, cannot, just move on to the next ‘crisis’ without having a clear, implementable, and committed national policy for this one.  By Glenn Downey.

Anti-science threatens society and why we need science more than ever – by Dr Katherine Woodthorpe

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO today gave the 2021 Ralph Slatyer Address on Science and Society, marking the 30th Anniversary of the Cooperative Research Centres Program which has been central to industry/science collaboration in Australia. After outlining the benefits of collaboration, she went on to decry the rise of anti-science, and the harm it is doing…

Australia’s climate policies could push NSW into a debt spiral – report

Australia’s failure to commit to net zero targets or any credible climate policy is a growing economic threat to New South Wales and other states, argues a new report by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The Reserve Bank of Australia’s deputy governor Guy Debelle last week urged Australia to begin planning…

Apprentice and trainee numbers grow, completions fall

The most recent data on apprentice and trainee training activity show a strong increase in commencements in the March quarter 2021, an increase which is in line with the growth in manufacturing activity and employment reported elsewhere. The figures, from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show that compared with the March quarter…

‘Don’t stop’ at 2050 net zero: Andrew Liveris

By Joseph Brookes Net zero emissions by 2050 is the minimum target Australia needs to improve its economy, according to Andrew Liveris, who has urged the federal government to commit to the long-term target and a 2030 mark as soon as possible. Liveris, a former chief executive of Dow Chemical, helped architect the $1.5 billion…

Nuclear submarines look more and more like a mirage

Analysis by Peter Roberts The more time passes since the Prime Minister’s sudden cancelling of our order for French submarines in favour of US or British nuclear ones, the more obvious it is that Australia will never actually acquire them. Not only that, the more time passes the more obvious it is that even if…

Manufacturing – the Nuclear Option

By Michael Sharpe It truly is a privilege to walk the floors of factories all over Australia, build collaborative partnerships and help companies to go for growth. The talk often turns to the cost of energy.  To build a manufacturing business you need to look at all your costs, including energy. In times long passed,…

EOS’s bold move to lead in satellite data communications

Analysis by Peter Roberts The announcement by defence, space and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems that it is to spend US$300 million building four communications satellites is an extraordinarily bold move for an Australian technology company. But it it the culmination of decades of quiet research and development and careful corporate-building which has put the…

What is Australian manufacturing – by Tim McLean

With renewed focus on growing the manufacturing sector, Tim McLean takes a hard look at what constitutes Australian manufacturing and the realities of its recent track record. His conclusions include that we should focus effort on where we can compete. The past three months have provided a welcome focus on Australian manufacturing. However, as I…

Is Australia’s great manufacturing revival here?

A marked upward trend in Australian manufacturing jobs to more than 900,000 occurred this month. Add to this manufacturing’s value-add in software programming, R&D, design and other supply chain inputs, manufacturing has created a further 2.5-3 jobs in other industries.

Applied EV autonomous vehicle shows the futility of Australia’s car plans

By Peter Roberts For several decades Australia has a series of ‘car plans’ that succeeded in reducing model proliferation in what was once a highly protected industry, creating a sector which was technologically advanced and, with the subsidy of the plan, profitable for the surviving companies Ford GM and Totoya. It made an important contribution…

Labor’s 10 point Buy Australian plan

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese outlined a 10 point Buy Australian vision at a NSW Labor conference on the weekend – in this excerpt from his speech, he outlines his plan.

Water to power Australia

For Australian producers and manufacturers to build the Food Bowl of Asia, we need more water. By Michael Sharpe.

Calix low-carbon cement costs lowest of competing technologies

By Peter Roberts A European Union funded consortium has released the final project report that the entire construction sector is waiting for – official confirmation that the technology developed by Australian company Calix offers the cheapest way yet discovered to de-carbonise the cement industry. Cement, along with steel, are seen as the most vital yet…

SMEs need a hand finding the front door of public R&D facilities: STA

By Brent Balinski Industry brokers to link smaller companies with Australian research infrastructure are a way to boost local manufacturing, according to Science and Technology Australia. The peak body, representing over 80,000 of the country’s scientific and technology workers, made the recommendation to the Senate’s manufacturing industry inquiry, which is due to report next month.…

Australian Manufacturing Forum passes 9,000 members

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest social media group of Australian manufacturers, passed 9,023 members on the long weekend. The Forum has grown steadily since its founding in 2013, with the the group reaching 7,000 members in January…

Submarines thrust Australia forward

The new submarine project with AUKUS thrusts Australia into a whole new world where innovation and technology rule. By Michael Sharpe.

Micro-X – the genuinely world leading Australian technology

By Peter Roberts The phrase world-leading is bandied round often to describe Australian technology taking on global markets – but in the case of X-ray machine manufacturer Micro-X the phrase is actually true. The company, which has just won two US Department of Homeland Security contracts to design and in one case manufacture a prototype…

Going global but keeping it local- by Bill Gillespie

SEA Electric developed and manufactures it electric truck drive trains in Melbourne, assembling e-trucks in Dandenong. But now the company has gone global with the major focus in bigger markets such as the US, how does it keep the business local? – Bill Gillespie explains It’s an exciting time to be involved in the zero-emissions…

Will we allow ourselves to remain dangerously dependent on foreign governments and multinationals?

Brent Balinski spoke to Martin Hamilton-Smith, head of the Australian Sovereign Capability Alliance, about why Australia needs to be able to look after itself.

Building ‘space heritage’ key to global space supply chains

The scale of the federal Manufacturing Collaboration Stream funding was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for Australia to build “space heritage” into a local ecosystem of space industry component makers and suppliers.

Sun Cable puts the lie to Coalition’s coal and gas jobs claims

By Peter Roberts The Coalition has won federal elections on the basis that coal jobs must be protected and gas jobs developed in any switch to renewable energy. And what was going to replace our fossil fuel energy exports, a fear Labor also exploited in office developing not one, but three LNG gas export plants…

Telehealth isn’t telehealth if it is on Zoom – by Mike Harman

Sophisticated medical tests such as heart rate, pulse oximetry and even endoscopy can be carried out by medical practitioners remotely via specialised video links, but despite greater public acceptance, most remote medical consultations still take place via telephone, or at best Zoom. Here Mike Harman outlines the future of remote health – and it is…

Catalyst-coated 3D printed alloys could beat the heat for hypersonics

Research from RMIT’s Centre for Advanced Materials and Industrial Chemistry could pave the way for new 3D printed heat exchangers with usefulness in hypersonic vehicles, air purification and elsewhere. We spoke to PhD researcher Roxanne Hubesch about her team’s breakthrough.

‘Son of Collins’ needed to bridge submarine capability gap

By Peter Roberts Something needs to done to bridge a submarine capability gap no matter what the outcome of an 18 month study by the US. UK and Australia determines about the viability of Australia acquiring nuclear propelled submarines from our allies. This is becoming increasingly clear as a life-extension of the six Collins class…

Design solution for looming battery waste crisis – by Dominic Spooner

Dominic Spooner founded Brisbane battery casing design company Vaulta in response to the looming environmental disaster of batteries from electric vehicles. Currently they mostly go to landfill, a massive waste of resources and an environmental menace. Here Spooner outlines a design-led solution.

Ventilator project lead wants to recreate ‘the model that changed the world’

By Brent Balinski The 1990s to mid-2000s were a dark era for people who wanted to build worthwhile things, believes Jefferson Harcourt. The Executive Chair of Grey Innovation mentions LA Law on TV and a popular “McKinsey way of axing R&D, a race to the bottom on product, price and features” in companies, and contends…

Rudderless: The instability of the Industry portfolio is shocking

By James Riley At a time when the economy is reeling from pandemic-related stress, when geo-strategic tensions have put a premium on building sovereign capability, and when the pace of technological change has accelerated, Australia finds itself without an Industry minister. In reality, the Industry portfolio has been rudderless for most of the year, ever since…

Ditch nuclear and evolve the Collins class, our best submarine option – by Peter Roberts

Comment by Peter Roberts It has been a long weekend for defence industry watchers but here’s Australia’s submarine decision fallout so far: it is clear we have double crossed Japan; we double crossed France; we ignored our neighbours such as New Zealand and Indonesia; we have enraged China; and made an enemy of the leading…

Trade tensions will further trash our economy, how did this happen – by David Thomas

Author and China watcher, David Thomas looks at the origins of Australia’s foreign policy stance in opposing China, the damage it has already done to our manufacturers and its implications for the economy. It is not good news. By David Thomas Back in April 2020, the Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne, announced on the…

Squeeze more innovation out of your existing staff – by Alistair Gordon

Australian manufacturers are typically SMEs with limited leadership, specialist and technical staff. Here, Alistair Gordon, the author of a new book on the subject, explains how you can get more out of your technical specialists, by involving them more in the totality of your operations. It’s a familiar story: a small manufacturing business hires a…

Calix begins to reap low carbon cement dividend

By Peter Roberts Australian decarbonisation technology company Calix has begun to reap the rewards of its efforts to move the critical industries of cement and lime production towards a zero emissions future. The company has accepted an investment of $24.5 million from investment business Carbon Direct to take a seven per cent stake in Calix…

Vanadium flow battery pilot opens doors for manufacturers – by Shay Chalmers

By Shay Chalmers Challenges in global supply chains have highlighted the importance in sovereign capability. Our country is rich in renewable energy resources – solar, geothermal, biomass, wind, and hydro which means that we are on the cusp of a huge opportunity. We have entered a new era for Australia’s developing battery storage industry, thanks…

Onshoring Australian manufacturing beyond 2021

By Daen Simmat Australian manufacturers have always strived to promote the competitive advantages of onshore production, since well before the pandemic entered our lives. The virus’s disruption to our economy and way of life simply emphasised the benefits of local manufacturing to Australian enterprise and the public alike. “Australian manufacturers have stood tall during the…

Local space industry is now moving fast, and that’s just as well

By Brent Balinski It’s regular nowadays that you’ll read a report of some milestone Australian bit of space industry news, whether it’s around a satellite deployment, funding round or launch. Just on Friday, the biggest rocket launched from Australia in 40 years — albeit a Taiwanese-made craft — was scheduled to take off from Southern…

Mission takes Aussie space camera into space

By Peter Roberts The RAAF and UNSW Canberra’s M2 satellite mission into low Earth orbit (LEO), reported elsewhere today by @AuManufacturing, is an exciting return to space by Australian space scientists. But it is not only defence and academic scientists that are demonstrating new technological capabilities as Australia re-enters the space domain it all but…

IDT explains mRNA vaccine related share price rise

Comment by Peter Roberts Melbourne drug development and manufacturing company IDT Australia has again been asked by the stock exchange to explain a totally understandable surge in its share price in recent times. The background to this begins with the Australian government’s approach to market to ascertain potential sites where mRNA vaccine production could take…

Rendered useful: you can get much more mileage out of your CAD files, say animators

VR and videos beat brochures when it comes to selling or educating, say Tim Black and Karl Putnis of Creative Pipeline. By Brent Balinski. “What’s it for?” is a question asked about virtual reality for as long as it’s been around. Besides entertainment, there’s an expanding list of answers. Two of the most obvious so…

Kookaburra bowls up technology to match its 130 year tradition

By Peter Roberts In a world where sporting goods manufacturing has deserted developed countries in favour of low cost locations there is one company that has managed not only to survive, but dominate the sports with which its name is synonymous. Everyone who has ever wielded a cricket bat knows the superior quality of Kookaburra’s…

Monash University to make first mRNA vaccine candidate for human trial

Monash University in Melbourne has been revealed as the first in Australia to manufacture a mRNA technology Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The candidate, developed by the University, will be made at a new node of its Parkville laboratory to be located at Clayton, with the expansion made possible by of a $13.8 million grant from the…

Toshiba shows what Australia loses by undervaluing R&D

Comment by Peter Roberts The first efforts to lift Australia’s chronically low rate of industrial R&D came in the 1980s and 1990s as manufacturing protection was wound back by the Hawke government revealing a generally low-technology sector that preferred to copy others’ ideas rather than develop ones of their own. The original support for research…

The Australian tech business offering vocal support 

By Brent Balinski Various kinds of bionics have been and are being developed to restore function. The standout Australian contribution so far has been Cochlear’s hearing aid implant. It’s something to look up to, says Dr Farzaneh Ahmadi, CEO and founder of bionic voice startup Laronix. “One of our hopes is to sort of go…

Sun Cable brings Australian manufacturing boost

By Peter Roberts Such is the enormous scale of Sun Cable’s proposed Northern Territory solar farm and electricity export cable to Singapore than many have trouble believing that this energy – and soon to be manufacturing – megaproject is really getting underway. Originally envisaged as 14 GW solar farm coupled with 33 GWh of battery…

Forget gas, its a dope led recovery

By Peter Roberts It turns out those hippies who dropped out to Nimbin in the 1960s and 70s really were on to something. Their pioneering work as guinea pigs living on wisps of pot and mung beans is rapidly turning into a major industry in growing, processing and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products. Although Australia…

The digital path to growth – Sleep Corp shows how the TCF sector can prosper

The textile, clothing and footwear sector is widely seen as all but extinct in Australia, but this is far from true. Here @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – the digital path to growth – looks at Sleep Corp, a company which is deploying advanced technology to prosper making top-of-bed products. Considered threatened in the 1980s and 1990s,…

ICN’s new gateway aids finding new business – by Warren Jansen

Industry Capability Network’s (ICN) flagship product for online procurement and supply chain system, ICN Gateway, has officially relaunched. The new ICN Gateway will make it even easier for project owners to promote their projects and suppliers to find work and promote their capabilities. By Warren Jansen Industry Capability Network (ICN) is a business network helping…

Australia and the future of moving, making and computing

We spoke to local leaders in electrified transport, additive manufacturing and quantum technologies in an attempt to understand what the future holds for each. By Brent Balinski.  

The digital path to growth – Reshoring by Evolve Group

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – the digital path to growth – looks at reshoring, and the technology needed to drive success against low-cost competition. Here, Peter Roberts profiles Evolve Group. Ty Hermans, pictured below, doesn’t describe himself as a born manufacturer, and when he took over the Evolve Group from his father in 2005 he…

The digital path to growth – CAD solutions and vision by Jayesh Halgekar

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – the digital path to growth – looks further than IT infrastructure. Here Jayesh Halgekar argues that digitisation is a mindset. Pre COVID-19 many businesses were considering or already enroute to reap the benefits of going digital. The pandemic has fuelled the need for digital transformation, and not just in the…

If only BHP would add value again

By Peter Roberts Many of us remember when BHP, once called the big Australian, was an active manufacturer of value-added products such as steel, wire and coated and painted building products. Those downstream operations were built on an era where BHP’s Essington Lewis was the centre of Australia’s industrial war effort and the company even…

Bike rack innovator keeps it local

For Shingleback Off Road, the nation’s rediscovery of its great outdoors has contributed to at least “400 per cent growth” in sales over the Covid era, says Kimberley Taylor, the company’s Business Manager. By Brent Balinski.

The digital path to growth – The state of digital transformation with David Chuter

@AuManufacturing launches our latest editorial series – the digital path to growth – with an in depth look at where Australia stands in the race to digital transformation. Here we interview the CEO of the Innovative Manufacturing CRC, David Chuter. @AuManufacturing: How widespread is the adoption of digital technologies in Australian manufacturing? David Chuter: There…

Mattresses join the circular economy

By Peter Roberts We all know how hard it once was to dispose of an old mattress. Massive and worn maybe, mattresses contain a huge amount of disparate materials from fabrics to foams and steel springs. Who would take them, and each year more than a million are sent to landfill while others are dumped…

Battery Stewardship Council hopes to address market failure, grow collection and reprocessing

According to one bit of data, Australians bought enough AA batteries in 2019 that laid out, end-to-end, they would stretch 91,000 kilometres, or 2.3 times around the world. 

Our real sovereign defence manufacturers get bolshie

By Peter Roberts When Nova Systems strategy head Rebecca Humble stood up at a Defence Teaming Centre breakfast in Adelaide early this year, she was angry. I was one of the panellists along with executives from two foreign-owned multi-nationals discussing the state of industry, but what really got up Bec’s goat was what she saw…

Marketing for manufacturers: Let your customers be your marketers

In the last article of Marketing for manufacturers, Johanna Boland explains the importance of tapping into and celebrating the passion of customers.

Marketing for manufacturers: Some thoughts on thought leadership

This is the final day of our editorial series, Marketing for manufacturers. In the second-last article, Tim Kannegieter writes about investing in leadership campaigns for your business.

Marketing for manufacturers: Manufacturers can unlock opportunities by understanding the value of PR

If you have something newsworthy, a small investment in communications can work wonders, as Tyson Bowens explains in this instalment of Marketing for manufacturers. 

Marketing for manufacturers: The role of B2B publishing

Today our editorial series, Marketing for manufacturers, looks at business-to-business publications. Jack Mallen-Cooper explains what they want from you, and what you can get in return.

Defence scientists learn to collaborate

By Peter Roberts We all know that Australia lags on any measure of collaboration between science and industry, but changes are underway in the defence field. Defence science as we know it today was largely born in the technology spur given Australia during WW2 and the UK’s missile testing centred on the Woomera rocket range…

Marketing for manufacturers: Keeping in touch during a pandemic

In the middle of week two of our Marketing for manufacturers series, Jack Mallen-Cooper explains some of the dos and don’ts of Covid-19-era communications.

Companies shun VET sector in Covid recovery

Most adaptions and innovations by Australian companies to the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic did not involve the sort of training provided by the VET sector, according to a new report. A survey of businesses conducted by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found that where training was required, it tended to be…

Marketing for manufacturers – how AH Beard sells $70,000 mattresses in China

Today our editorial series Marketing for manufacturers celebrates the art of selling ice to Eskimos. Here Peter Roberts profiles the company that sells Australian manufactured mattresses to China. The pictures say it all really. At left, below is an Australian-made AH Beard Signature Series mattress sitting in one of the company’s 50 showrooms in China,…

Marketing for manufacturers — Discover your value and communicate it

In this edition of our Marketing for manufacturers series, Vanessa Katsanevakis discusses getting to know your brand, building on it, and the benefits that can follow. 

Marketing for manufacturers — Finding the story in a technical topic

There are ways to effectively convey a story on technological achievements to a lay audience. Brent Balinski spoke to University of Sydney science media advisor Marcus Strom about the importance of empathy in this.

Fusion energy quest hots up at Deakin and HB11 Energy

By Peter Roberts Fusion energy has long been considered as a way forward for decarbonising energy production, but its vast complexity and expense has made experimentation the plaything of rich nations with extremely deep pockets. While progress has been made at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California and ITER in France, the expense is…

Has the ‘manufacturing piper’ now been paid? – by Allen Roberts

The need for sovereign manufacturing capability has been made obvious, but for decades Australian manufacturing has been seduced by the siren song of capital ratios, when the real game is sustainable cashflow and the long term development of Intellectual Capital. Allen Roberts asks have we gone too far, and how do we turn the boat…

Marketing for manufacturers — Preparing for an interview

To conclude the first week of our Marketing for manufacturers series, Brent Whyte shares some advice on speaking to reporters.

Marketing for manufacturers — Posting to the world from rural Victoria

A deceptively simple Australian invention is winning global interest from farmers. An important part of its success is Nicole Davidson, who threw herself into the role of Davidson Engineering’s Marketing Manager. In this part of our Marketing for manufacturers series, Brent Balinski speaks to Davidson about her approach to running the company’s online presence.

Brace yourself for the global electronic component shortage – by Yaser Darban

Electronics manufacturers such as Entech Electronics have had to beef up their supply chain and purchasing teams to meet the challenges of a global shortage of electronic components. Here, Yaser Darban explains what companies can do to weather the shortage. As the world recovers from a pandemic, another threat looms for manufacturers–a global shortage of…

Cookon cooks up a storm in cooking appliances

By Peter Roberts I have often heard people, even manufacturers, lament the destruction of appliance and whitegoods manufacturing in Australia. But there are survivors including Zip Water boilers in Sydney, Seeley and Braemar air coolers and gas heaters in Adelaide and Albury, Rheem in Sydney, and Electrolux’s oven factory, also in Adelaide. The Swedish company’s…

Marketing for manufacturers – how it’s done at Opal Australian Paper

@AuManufacturing’s Marketing for manufacturers series turns today to a manufacturer whose products have become a household name through sustained marketing and innovation. Here Peter Roberts profiles Opal Australian Paper.   Australian shops sometimes seem devoid of genuinely made in Australia brand names, with many famous Australian names such as Kiwi boot polish, Aspro, Sheridan and Speedo…

Marketing for manufacturers — Don’t be too ‘smart’…

On day two of our Marketing for manufacturers series, Rene Rose explains that while product specs and other technical metrics might interest you, your customers’ interests probably lie elsewhere.  

Marketing for manufacturers — Introduction to our new editorial series

@AuManufacturing launches its newest editorial series today. We are proud to present two weeks of stories dedicated to an under-examined topic. By Brent Balinski. 

Marketing for manufacturers — What makes a good story? Thought starters on what’s worth sharing with the world

Where to begin? In the opening day of Marketing for manufacturers, Jack Mallen-Cooper answers that question for you, with a list of suggestions to get manufacturers thinking on what’s worth sharing about what they do. 

E-bus competition hots up with BYD on the way

By Peter Roberts A number of companies are now lining up in a race to secure major orders for electric buses from states such as New South Wales determined to electrify their fleets. Led by our largest bus maker Volgren, the market includes Bustech, Germilang Australia and Custom Denning all offering various levels of local…

Saving through smarter energy use: Energy management and Industry 4.0

@AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series finishes today. In this article A S M Monjurul Hasan discusses the future of industrial energy management. 

Saving through smarter energy use – a future for our coal regions by James Bradley

With @AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series coming to an end, we look at the big question for regional Australia – how to replace fossil fuels such as coal. Here James Bradley looks to a future for NSW’s Hunter region. With the largest coal export port in the southern hemisphere, it is no secret…

Mask manufacturer dumped for imports? An interview with Med-Con

@AuManufacturing spoke to Med-Con CEO Steven Csiszar, seeking his point of view on where they’ve ended up, some extra nuance to the story, and responses to some of the questions our community has asked.

Interview: Christian Porter on the industry portfolio

Industry, Science and Technology minister Christian Porter has mapped a layered set of priorities for Australia’s manufacturing-led recovery that preserves existing jobs, plugs supply-chain and capability gaps, and keeps an eye to supporting future industries.

Hedging against relocation risks

Transposing an entire manufacturing operation from one State to another is an ambitious goal at the best of times, but when a global pandemic struck mid-way through our move from Sydney to Gippsland, Victoria, we learned some hard but valuable lessons about hedging against relocation risks, writes Alfred Chown. When planning the move from Brookvale…

Federal grants boost key value-added industry developments

Analysis by Peter Roberts More details are emerging of a significant boost to key projects adding value to Australia’s vast mineral resources under the federal government’s modern manufacturing initiative and related industry programs. Today Lynas Rare Earths, the only significant manufacturer of rare earths critical to high technology industry outside China, revealed details of a…

Saving through smarter energy use: The Melbourne company taking the stink out of waste-to-energy

In the second-last day of @AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series, we return to the subject of food waste-to-bioenergy, with a look at processing machinery business Green Eco Technologies. By Brent Balinski.

Wine exports drop on China slump, growth elsewhere

Strong growth in wine exports to the United Kingdom and Asian countries failed to make up for a 45 per cent fall in the mainland China trade in FY 21, according to figures from Wine Australia. China’s punitive tariffs on Australian wine saw overall export volumes drop five per cent and their value drop by…

Bisalloy looking as tough as its steels

By Peter Roberts When industry minister John Button in the Hawke government took the first steps to reform Australia’s over-protected and under-performing industries in the 1980s he focused on developing new sunrise sectors and giving the sick men of industry – steelmaking, car manufacture and textiles clothing and footwear – a chance to survive. Since…

Saving through smarter energy use – Seeley evaporative cooling outshines refrigerated systems

@AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series turns to a revolution in air conditioning costs now penetrating commercial and industrial markets. Peter Roberts profiles evaporative air cooling manufacturer, Seeley International. Many of us see refrigerated air conditioning systems as the gold standard for hot climates, with our only experience of evaporative systems those portable air…

Saving through smarter energy use: Structural batteries and supercapacitors for future e-mobility

Today @AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series looks at Australian research aimed at enabling structural components to become batteries and supercapacitors. Dr Nisa Salim explains how engineered multifunctional composite materials can be the enablers for future e-mobility and space missions.

Saving through smarter energy use: net zero emissions a bottom line and brand win for tapware manufacturer

To begin the second week of @AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series, we speak to Nick Katsanevakis of Sussex Taps, which recently announced carbon neutral certification. By Brent Balinski

CRC program stands alone in federal industry backing

Comment by Peter Roberts The cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program has assumed even greater importance to the future of manufacturing with the likely demise of the growth centres initiative, though the CRCs too need further federal commitments in the short term to continue their good works. The CRC’s match federal money with cash and in…

Saving through smarter energy use: Why we’re starting to consider bioenergy

At the end of the first week of @AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series, we take a quick look at the as-yet unrealised potential of bioenergy, a subject we’ll return to in week two. By Brent Balinski 

Saving through smarter energy use: Burgers to biogas

@AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series continues with a look at repurposing food waste. Anna Minns writes that though the best scenario is to not create any waste at all, recycling options include anaerobic digestion to create biogas and fertiliser.

Say goodbye to industry growth centres, strap in for government grant rorts

By Peter Roberts All the signs are bad for any small hope we may have had that the six industry growth centres would be replaced by something more like the highly successful UK Catapult centres or German Fraunhofer Institutes. The signs coming from Canberra are that no-one is pushing for an extension of the growth…

Saving through smarter energy use – EV charger startup says speed isn’t everything

In the second day of our editorial series — Saving through smarter energy use — we speak to electric vehicle charger startup EVOS about what they think the EV industry is missing. By Brent Balinski.   

Advancing Australia’s supply chain maturity

A spotlight has been put on our local manufacturing capability, with government and industry increasingly directing their focus towards enhancing Australian supply chains – and making them resilient, smart and circular.

Can the internet really challenge the age of steam?

By Peter Roberts Even today, centuries after the invention of the steam engine, there is nothing quite like a powerful railway locomotive with a full head of steam to thrill young and old alike as it converts fuel into raw, muscular, noisy power. Riding South Australian Railway (SAR) locomotive 621, the Duke of Edinburgh, to…

Confidence in clean energy down as government clings to fossil fuels

Grid connection issues and unhelpful and unpredictable government intervention are behind falling clean energy investment confidence by senior business leaders, according to the Clean Energy Council. The industry also rated network capacity and transmission concerns, lack of long-term federal energy policy and future market design uncertainty as major challenges. The council’s bi-annual Clean Energy Outlook…

H2X hydrogen vehicles resurface – but future in Australia in doubt

By Peter Roberts In June last year I reported that a new company H2X Australia would begin manufacturing a range of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles in Australia, including the exciting Snowy SUV. Today that future looks rather clouded with the company renamed as H2X Global, a new website appearing and CEO Brendan Norman paying…

Our ambition to produce a ‘How it’s made Australia’ video series – by Bill Macartney

ADVERTISING FEATURE Since @AuManufacturing and Cahoots announced their proposal for a How it’s made – Australia video series, we have had great feedback from readers and companies. Here, Bill Macartney of Cahoots explains what we are trying to achieve by putting manufacturing in front of Australian audiences. An ability to envisage and communicate a future…

Half-century-old Western Sydney SME leaps into space

By Brent Balinski The largest of four federal space industry grants announced on Tuesday went to a company best known for making components for medical industry customers. Romar Engineering is a western Sydney-based contract manufacturer, established in 1968. Its focus is on specialised plastic products for highly-regulated industries, particularly medical, which it looked to in…

Big rise in apprenticeships but statisticians unsure why

There was a big rise in apprentice numbers during 2020, but on issuing the boom figures the National Centre for Vocational Education Research warned of the need to interpret the results with care. NCVER reported that there were 297,920 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 December 2020, an increase of 13.9 per cent from…

AML3D’s straightforward 3D printer gaining traction

By Peter Roberts Simple ideas are often the best. And in manufacturing, if they are based on one of the world’s best accepted and understood industrial technologies, all the better. This is the path Andy Sales, CEO of additive manufacturing technology company AML3D took when he saw how conventional wire arc welding could be automated…

Manufacturers are opening their wallets for new gear, and that’s excellent news

By Brent Balinski There is no getting around the fact that if you want to make things here and be internationally competitive, then you must invest accordingly. Manufacturing is a capital-intensive game. This is the case anywhere, but especially so in a developed country.  The leaders in industrial robotics investment? You would be correct if…

Rural R&D Corporations – unsung heroes of collaboration

By Peter Roberts @AuManufacturing has written a lot about the federal government’s industry growth centre initiative, from its undoubted benefits to the companies the six centres touch, to their underfunding and sub-optimal program design. With the growth centres threatened with replacement by grants issued by ministers offices – with the all too-obvious risks of their…

Why we built a unique space propulsion system – by Andrew Uscinski

Valiant Space has been awarded a $200,000 grant as part of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Initiative to develop Australia’s first in-space chemical thruster. Here Andrew Uscinski explains what motivated him to establish Valiant Space, and partner with space services company Skykraft for its maiden flight to space onboard a Skykraft satellite. Valiant…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Make Our Future Together by Tom Kenyon

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with an analysis of China and the global political situation. Here Tom Kenyon outlines how collaboration to strengthen strategic supply chains will drive value-adding and manufacturing. If there’s one word that contains some of the hardest challenges the western world will face in the…

Can manufacturing escape new Covid strains?

By Peter Roberts Sitting in my hotel room in Melbourne I am beginning to feel anxious at being away from home with the onset of a Sydney lockdown that bodes ill for this latest round of Covid-19. With just over three per cent of our population vaccinated fully, and government and citizens in Sydney clearly…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – equipping for future wars by Gregor Ferguson

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – asks what war are we preparing for, are we buying the right equipment, is Defence agile enough to be making the right decisions, and is it communicating its strategies with the public. Dr Gregor Ferguson asks the hard questions. So let’s start with the headline figure:…

Austal primed for swell of autonomous vessels – by Paddy Gregg

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – looks today at the trend towards autonomous naval vessels, part of a wider move to autonomous systems. Here Austal CEO Paddy Gregg outlines the Australian prime contractor’s leadership position. Austal’s recent US$44 million autonomous capability contract with the United States Navy is just the tip of…

The Australian AM technology promising to simplify sustainment

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues with a look at Spee3d, an additive manufacturing SME proving its technology for expeditionary use. Brent Balinski spoke to co-founder Byron Kennedy about their award-winning work with the Australian Army and the potential in defence and other markets.

Covid brings Victorian vaccine and pharmaceutical innovation

By Peter Roberts The pieces are beginning to fall into place for the production of mRNA vaccines in Victoria, and possibly Queensland. Driven by the success of the first vaccine’s developed using the novel technology by Pfizer and Moderna, both states are backing local mRNA technology development, with Victoria in April committing $50 million. A…

Connecting Australian manufacturers – by Alexander May

By Alexander May Over the past few years, the ongoing effects of globalisation have changed the manufacturing landscape in Australia, resulting in increased offshoring and importing. This has led to Australia ranking near the bottom in the OECD for manufacturing self-sufficiency, due to a significant amount of manufactured equipment and goods being sourced from overseas.…

Resurrecting solar production in Australia – by Shane West

Yesterday Shane West outlined the massive challenge facing Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050, given the state of the solar PV industry post Covid. Here he maps out how to resurrect our solar PV manufacturing sector. After the close of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the Chinese Government turned to the then Australian…

Reshoring solar cell production – by Shane West

Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a credible target, but if it is to be achieved with local manufactured solar PV cells we need to mobilise the research and manufacturing sector as never before. Here Shane West us of the early history of solar cell production in Australia and the future demand to…

Everyone would do better if we got to know our neighbours

It takes a village to make any complex thing. It can be done here, but the job would be slightly easier if more companies looked locally for their supply chain and if potential suppliers did a better job of marketing themselves. By Brent Balinski.

WOA to develop new plant-based protein products

By Peter Roberts It is easy to be distressed if you dwell too long on some of the facts around how our food is produced – unethical livestock conditions and farming practices that can strip the land of its soil and vegetation. But in Western Australia a small company that promotes regenerative agricultural techniques that…

Introducing our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces

Today we launch our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces. In the middle of an boom in defence spending unprecedented in peacetime, domestic industry is stepping up to play its role. By Peter Roberts. The federal government is on a buying spree – unprecedented in peacetime – to reequip our armed forces, and…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – don’t settle for less than sovereign by Jim McDowell

Launching our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Jim McDowell challenges us not to confuse foreign owned companies operating in Australia with truly sovereign manufacturing capability. In fact, he says we should settle for nothing less than Australian owned and controlled.

Property rights in a manufacturing digital world – by Michael Haines

Earlier this month Michael Haines looked at Cyber Security and Digital Twins. Today he turns to a governance framework for the 3D digital world, including dynamical models of manufactured goods and manufacturing facilities. In the real world, most manufactured and constructed objects are subject to specific property rights, and even public assets have restricted access,…

Reimagining Regional Manufacturing Innovation – by Robert Masters

The growing dynamism of Australia’s regional cities has not been well recognised or appreciated. Here Robert Masters suggests linking regional manufacturing growth to the Modern Manufacturing Strategy through a campaign to highlight the regions. Regional Australian manufacturers often underappreciated – yet they must play a key role in future if Australia is to be recognised…

Vaxxas moves towards pilot line, Covid clinical trials

@AuManufacturing spoke to Dr Angus Foster, Vaxxas’s Chief Development and Operations Manager, about the continuing journey to volume production for this Australian invention, new facilities for the company, Covid-19-related R&D, and upcoming clinical trials at the Sunshine Coast.

Are we moving into an era of regionalisation and reshoring?

By Brent Balinski It’s the hope of many Australian manufacturers that governments will appreciate the true value of purchasing locally, and that consumers will do the same. It starts at the top, believes Jason Riddle, co-owner and director at Toowoomba-based welder and fabricator JRS Manufacturing Group. “There’s so much work that’s currently brought in from…

Australia’s submarine comedy of errors

By Peter Roberts It is getting harder by the day to continue thinking that Australia is not making a hash of our most expensive and complex defence program – building 12 Attack class submarines at a cost of $90 billion. The government has finally given clarity whether three or all six of our Collins boats…

The next step for industry growth centres – by Paul Hodgson

A secret report into the future of industry growth centres has pointed to design weaknesses in the growth centre model and inadequate funding to affect outcomes at a sectoral level. With the federal government believed to favour abolishing the centres, Paul Hodgson points the way ahead.

Why Australia needs refineries and plastics manufacturers for a circular plastics future

With twin problems facing us – climate change and poor circularity of materials – Australia is blessed with the unique potential to cut its emissions by reprocessing and recirculating plastics at scale. By Helen Millicer.

Finally, venture capital wakes up to innovation in manufacturing

Analysis by Peter Roberts For a very long time now in Australia it has been possible to get venture capital for a yet-another gold mine or some fintech app. But when manufacturing innovators go looking for capital, other than a few angel investors, the cupboard has been bare – this despite us sitting on one…

Covid disruptions spark boost to beleaguered TCF sector

Australia’s textile clothing and footwear industries, one of the principal victims of unfettered and often unfair import competition from China, has been the surprise beneficiary of Covid-19 disruptions, according to new figures from industry analysts IBISWorld. With Chinese exports disrupted Australia’s knitted product manufacturing industry achieved a 13.2 per cent increase in revenue to $90.6…

Being proactive on SMR possibility

Nuclear power remains banned under two federal laws, but it’s an industry with a lot of industrial potential, believe some Australians. By Brent Balinski.  A small piece of news last week gave a small amount of hope to Australians wanting nuclear energy as part of our future energy mix. Among 60 recommendations in a NSW…

Growth centres on their own from 2022, likely face extinction

By Peter Roberts The federal government has all but confirmed that the six industry growth centres will be on their own and receive no government funding after June 2022, at which time they are expected to transition to be ‘self-sufficient’. This is a proposition considered to be highly unlikely according to a secret report on…

Look west for how to build on luck

There is much to admire about Australia’s resource industry which feeds into our country’s success. By one count, in mining equipment, technology, and services (METS) alone, there are 300,000 direct jobs and $92 billion in gross value-added. METS is a globally respected industry with a high degree of collaboration between SMEs, universities, and big mining houses.

Micro-credentials are the new big thing in VET training

Individuals and businesses accessing stand-alone subjects, or bundles of subjects that do not form a nationally recognised course, make up the single largest segment of enrolments in vocational education and training (VET) in Australia, according to new research. New analysis of short-course training in VET, often referred to as micro-credentials, by the National Centre for…

Cyber Security and digital twins, a concern – by Michael Haines

Digital twins are the big new thing – design and build a product digitally from a single digital master plan, then operate it and maintain it using the same digital twin. What could possibly go wrong, asks Michael Haines. While it rarely seems to be discussed in the context of ‘Digital Twins’, if we are…

K-Tig leads a group of Australian industrial technologies

By Peter Roberts It is fair to say that Australia is a country that has not always valued its manufacturing sector, yet we seem nowadays to be producing more than our fair share of innovative industrial technologies. A few recent examples to mind: Calix and its low emissions cement and lime production PPK Group and…

Industry growth centre policy insanity – by Tim Mazzarol

On Monday @AuManufacturing revealed an initial evaluation report of the six Industry Growth Centres had highlighted inadequate funding and the centres’ inability to change the fortunes of the sectors in which they operate. Here Tim Mazzarol looks into the history of growth centre policy in Australia. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is continuing to do…

mRNA: potential beyond the pandemic – by Matt Keon

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine roll out picks up pace, the term mRNA has become part of our everyday vocabulary. Here Matt Keon argues that collaboration will unlock massive opportunities in health from mRNA technology beyond vaccines. Recently Victorian, NSW and federal governments all made commitments to kickstart the…

Secret report backs industry growth centres, points to under-funding

By Peter Roberts An initial evaluation report of the six Industry Growth Centres – which has been considered in secret by the federal industry department for seven months or more – has highlighted inadequate funding and the centres’ inability to change the fortunes of the sectors in which they operate. The key findings of the…

Stockmarket punishes EOS after Covid affected year

By Peter Roberts Defence, space and telecommunications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems was punished by the stockmarket on Friday with the company’s openness at its 2021 annual general meeting greeted by a 34 cent or 8.1 per cent slump in its share price. The company, a rarity as a locally owned defence prime defence contractor selling…

Celebrating Australian Made – recycled plastics are a new frontier for innovation

In the final day of Australian Made Week and of @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – we return to the issue of recycled plastic products. Helen Millicer looks about Mildura’s Integrated Recycling and its world-leading Duratrack project.

Celebrating Australian Made – is local production more expensive by Ian Hudson

With Australian Made Week now underway, @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – asks the hard question. Here Ian Hudson asks whether an Australian-made product is really more expensive? There is a commonly held belief that it’s more expensive to buy Australian Made products compared to those manufactured overseas. While there may be some…

Celebrating Australian Made – unleashing AI potential by Cori Stewart

With Australian Made Week now underway, @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – examines the potential of artificial intelligence in Australia’s manufacturing revival. Cori Stewart of Brisbane’s ARM Hub outlines help available to manufacturers to master AI. AI, or artificial intelligence, is disrupting manufacturing value chains and creating enormous potential for growth in Australian…

Celebrating Australian Made: Swab story shows what we can offer the world

As @AuManufacturing’s Celebrating Australian Made series begins its final week, we hear from 3DMeditech, which expects to double its workforce of 50 over the next 12 months. By Brent Balinski.  

30% hydrogen used in steel forging as Australian industries decarbonise

By Peter Roberts Progress in utilising green hydrogen to power industrial process is being made rapidly, with the latest development the world’s first test with a 30 per cent hydrogen/natural gas blend steel forging processes. The mix was used to power furnaces at the Rho, Italian forged products plant of Forgiatura A. Vienna (pictured), part…

Closed borders portend labour shortages, poaching

Closed boarders have dried up the supply of workers arriving in Australia, suggesting we are heading to a period of labour poaching and outright shortages. Well known commentator Bernard Salt (pictured) of The Demographics Group took to social media to highlight the massive contribution of foreign workers in our workforce. He wrote that between the…

Celebrating Australian Made – our plastic waste is a resource and a responsibility

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – today looks at the importance of purchasing Australian-made recycled products. By Mark Jacobsen.

Australian Patent Box a bold measure for extraordinary times

By Dr Samih Nabulsi Cook Medical Australia has long been a vocal supporter of a patent box style tax regime for Australia and therefore welcomes the government’s 2021 Budget announcement.  Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our industry peers and sector peak bodies, over the last eight years we have highlighted the benefits of such an incentivised tax…

James Bradley from Diffuse Energy is our latest 2021 READERS SURVEY PRIZE WINNER

James Bradley is another lucky winner drawn from readers who have replied to our 2021 @AuManufacturing reader survey (see here). James, from Diffuse Energy in Newcastle, wins a beautiful Australian-made A5 journal (pictured) from local designers and manufacturers Corban & Blair. Corban & Blair recently onshored the manufacture of its A5 journals, which are made…

The awful waste of Morrison’s subsidised gas plant

Comment by Peter Roberts The federal government has come good on its threats to direct Snowy Hydro power to build a $600 million gas-fired power plant in the Hunter Valley, ignoring science, the market and investment reality. With the private sector unwilling to invest in what are already stranded assets, Snowy Hydro will build a…

Australia’s minerals key to renewable energy – CSIRO

Australia’s mining and manufacturing sectors working together is key to unlocking our potential as a renewable energy powerhouse according to a report released today by CSIRO. CSIRO’s Critical Energy Minerals Roadmap highlights the potential to reshape mining to turn resources such as lithium and silicon into products for renewable energy, like electric vehicles, solar panels…

Govt looks in the mirror with a policy reheat

By Denham Sadler When Industry Minister Christian Porter rose in question time to mock the Opposition for “reheating” a policy from six years ago, it’s unclear whether he knew the government had done exactly the same thing just days earlier. Yes, Labor had ‘re-adopted’ an innovation-focused policy it announced in late 2015 and took to…

Celebrating Australian Made – advanced manufacturing is not rocket science – by Bll Ellerton

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – looks at the issues that manufacturers should focus on to survive and prosper in a fast-changing world. Here Bill Ellerton says we should focus less on the latest sexy buzz words, and more on solutions suited to our SME manufacturing structure. Many are affordable and accessible.…

How Australia rates a zero on electric vehicle adoption

Australia’s antagonistic policies towards electric vehicles has left us in the dust as the rest of the world transitions to less polluting vehicles, according to figures compiled for Visual Capitalist, Global sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) surpassed three million for the first time in 2020, despite the economic headwinds imposed by…

Manufacturers’ appreciation of cyber-security “patchy”: NTT

NTT’s 2021 Global Threat Intelligence Report gave Australian manufacturers a cyber-security maturity score of 0.76 (down from 1.4 in 2019), below the APAC average of 1.98 and global average of 1.21 for the sector. (NTT’s assessment defines between 0 and 0.99 as “non-existent.”) Brent Balinski spoke to John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity at the company’s Australian operation, about the results and their context.

Celebrating Australian Made: A home turf advantage

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – continues with a look at APT Asia Pacific, a local champion in sporting surfaces. By Brent Balinski.

US breathes new life into Austal’s LCS

By Peter Roberts The dozen Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships delivered so far to the US Navy are at the one time shipbuilder Austal’s most successful design yet at the same time the one that has not quite lived up to its promise. The Independence vessels were conceived as a breakthrough ship. It was to be…

Celebrating Australian Made – Lessons from the Sunshine story

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – continues with a look back in time at the Australian Wonder Machine bearing a timeless message. By David Perkins.

Celebrating Australian Made – a resurgence in industry-building policy by Phillip Toner

@AuManufacturing continues our editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – with a look at industry policy. Here Phillip Toner of the University of Sydney examines the legacy of the policies which have created today’s hollowed out industrial structure. During the past four decades the economies of advanced and developing nations have been radically transformed by…

The federal budget signals that confidence is returning, but it should not be taken as job done

Through our usual good fortune as well as good management, Australia is set to successfully navigate its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021-22 Budget signals that confidence is returning for households and businesses with the economy projected to grow 1.25 per cent this financial year, rising to 4.25 per cent over the next.

Budget 2021-22: What it means for the Circular Economy

With international pressure mounting on Australia to commit to more substantial action on climate change, Budget 2021-22 was an opportunity — coupled with a once-in-a-generation social license to spend strategically to ‘build back better’ — to set out the government’s strategy towards addressing these concerns. So what’s in the budget for the Circular Economy? Dr Kar Mei Tang explains.

Crumbs for industry, funds for dead-end fossil fuels in 2021-22 budget

By Peter Roberts Last year’s $1.4 billion Manufacturing Modernisation fund – that is a paltry few hundred million a year – is essentially the sum total of the federal government’s response to the question marks raised over the role of manufacturing by Covid-19 supply chain disruptions. There was almost nothing not previously announced, and only…

@AuManufacturing 2021 reader survey – with great prizes from Corban & Blair

The Australian Manufacturing Forum and @AuManufacturing would like to know a little more about our readers and members.
Today we launch the 2021 @AuManufacturing reader survey which over the next two weeks will collect basic information about you, so we can better understand our manufacturer community audience.

Want to know how Australian the contents of your trolley are? There’s an app for that

By Brent Balinski As has been said many times before, the pandemic has driven home the importance of local manufacturing. Consumers and others have responded. According to Roy Morgan research carried out in June last year for Australian Made, just over half of respondents had a higher preference for locally-made goods since Covid emerged, and…

Why Australia’s manufacturing future lies not with China

By Peter Roberts It is fairly common nowadays to hear in a dinner table discussion a phrase that goes something like this: “Of course, China will soon be the world’s biggest economy…” Thus ensues a discussion of how the future will be a China, rather than American-led one, with the US seen as past its…

Celebrating Australian Made – electronics at risk because of Covid-19 shortages – by Serena Ross

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – looks at a dramatic shortage of electronic components stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. Here Serena Ross, asks whether this ‘black swan event’ which is hitting companies in Australia and globally, heralds the end of just-in-time for electronics manufacturing. Blackswan events are so-called after the surprise caused…

Celebrating Australian Made – the one and only Tindo Solar

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – looks at local manufacturers supporting the switch to renewable energies. Here Peter Roberts profiles Australia’s one and only manufacturer of solar PV panels – Tindo Solar. One of the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic is the danger of over-reliance on extended global supply chains and the…

Are we doing enough to keep Celebrating Australian Made – by Alexander Gosman

As @AuManufacturing continues our editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – Alexander Gosman gives us a sobering review of national industry policy, and poses the question whether we are doing enough to reverse what has been a long-term decline in the sector. Disruptions to supply chains through Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted major gaps in Australia’s…

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Smart composites and coatings for radiation shielding

In a late addition to our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, Dr Nishar Hameed explains how graphene’s properties have seen it emerge as a candidate for electromagnetic interference shielding in composites.

Launching our editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made

Today @AuManufacturing launches our latest editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – leading up to Australian Made Week (24 May to 30 May). Here Peter Roberts looks at the value of Australian Made. When my family arrived in Australia as migrants from the United Kingdom I remember our taxi driver tapping the dashboard of his…

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Supporting research and development for composite advancement

In the last day of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, the Defence Science Institute summarises four Victoria-based composites projects making use of leading-edge research and development in Australia’s universities and industry.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Composite repair and sustainment

In its final day, @AuManufacturing’s Fibres and composites transforming industry series looks at the issue of repair and sustainment. By Rodney Thomson and Michael Scott. 

Fibres and composites transforming industry: the cutting edge of carbon fibre in Australia

In this part of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, Innovync looks at carbon fibre, including how it’s made, its history, how it’s being used in Australia.

Doxall and Next Science are two new Australian anti-microbial chemistries

By Peter Roberts Microbial resistance to antibiotics and sanitising agents is on everyone’s mind in recent times, with resistant strains already in the news even before Covid-19 hit. But two Australian companies, Wintermute Biomedical and Next Science, have been quietly developing genuinely new chemistries that represent potential breakthroughs in halting infections. Next Science’s XPerience No…

A mission to bring research and industry together

In May 1926, the Australian inventor of the Sunshine Harvester, Hugh McKay, died. His homegrown invention had created the largest factory in Australia at the time, peaking at 3,000 workers, and transformed Australian agriculture.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Advanced pultrusion for a modern industry

Mohammad Alhawamdeh, Omar Alajarmeh, Tristan Shelley, Xuesen Zeng, Peter Schubel explain pultrusion, its usefulness and its growth in adoption in this installment of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series. 

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Government has bigger role to play enabling space industry ecosystem

It’s apparently a boom time for space businesses in Australia. However, there are pieces of sovereign capability that are sorely missing, as David Doral explains in this part of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series.

Hydrogen floats boost green economy hopes

The stock market goes through cycles rather like fashion with cannabis and lithium stocks snatching the limelight in recent times. Now hydrogen floats and capital raisings are all the rage with two company announcements since the long weekend. Infinite Blue Energy has raised $10 million through a pre-IPO offering to investors to accelerate its development…

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Helmets in a hurry

Composites production can be slow, labour-intensive and poorly-suited to complex shapes. Brent Balinski spoke to Tristan Alexander from TST, which is commercialising a process to change that.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: is green carbon fibre the new black?

Manufacturers involved in carbon fibre are seeing sustainability gains through the use of renewable energy, recycling, reducing energy needed for processing, and adopting new chemistries. Derek Buckmaster explains further in this part of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: How can Australian companies take advantage of circular economy opportunities?

To open the second week of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, Dr Stacey Konash introduces the increasingly popular circular economy concept. What will it mean for Australian composites users, their products and their business models?

Morrison’s climate gobbledegook is costing industry and the community

Comment by Peter Roberts The Guardian put it beautifully on Saturday when it said that ‘Australian smarts and Chinese industrial might made solar power the cheapest power humanity has seen’. This is the power of nations working together towards a common goal – though perhaps not to the advantage of Australia industrially in the case…

Fibres and composites transforming industry – boron nitride nanotubes

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – fibres and composites transforming industry – turns today to the latest wonder material – boron nitride nanotubes. Will BNNT’s be the wonder material that makes the real breakthrough from science to widespread practical use? By Peter Roberts Wonder fibres and composites come and go, sometimes like carbon fibre nanotubes finding an…

Further detail on reshoring research to come out in Q2 2021: PROS

Earlier in the week, this title wrote about the need for better information to support any reshoring trend in Australia.

One door closes, a vaccine future opens for GSK’s Melbourne pharma plant

By Peter Roberts The announcement that the Victorian government will back a new mRNA vaccine production facility with $50 million has offered new hope to the giant GSK pharmaceutical operation at Boronia in eastern Melbourne which has been slated for closure by the global group. With GSK re-directing its businesses towards biopharmaceuticals it has no…

Fibres and composites transforming industry: Taking advantage of advanced manufacturing techniques

On day three of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, Sercan Altun looks at developments in composites, 3D printing and artificial intelligence, and why Australian companies should be paying attention.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: The Australian composites industry is a Modern Manufacturing Initiative enabler

On the second day of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series, Dr Matthew Young looks at Australia’s prowess with composites and their role in the federal government’s six priority sectors.

Fibres and composites transforming industry: There are Australians chasing the holy grail, but they can’t talk about it yet

This short installment of our Fibres and composites transforming industry series looks at the cutting-edge of pressure vessel construction, known as Type V. Work is underway in Australia on design and manufacture of these, but few details are being shared right now. By Brent Balinski.  

If there’s a reshoring movement happening, it needs to be properly documented 

According to a survey released last week, over half of manufacturers intend to reshore over the next two years. We need more information. By Brent Balinski 

Question? Is the industry department talking to the industry minister?

By Peter Roberts Is the industry department talking to the industry minister? I ask this question because my article last week on options for evolving Australia’s industry growth centres failed to mention an important point. Former industry minister Karen Andrews had been widely canvassing options, including making the centres more like UK Catapult centres, for…

Fibres and composites transforming industry – Introduction to our new editorial series

@AuManufacturing launches its new editorial series today. It will look at work done to make better products with fibres and composites, ranging from the laboratory to the factory floor, as well as the increased focus on end-of-life products. Editor Brent Balinski looks at some of the recent and potential future success in the genre.

The disappointment of overseas production – Lithium Australia

By Peter Roberts It is so disappointing when you have covered an emerging technology and manufacturing story for years when suddenly you find out that the company you have been covering decides to site actual production overseas. It must be equally disappointing to readers. One of the earliest examples of this in @AuManufacturing’s two and…

France Inc squeezes Cleanaway out of massive expansion

By Peter Roberts They say that France does not give up its own companies, nor their global assets very easily, mobilising its forces to stop foreign takeovers. Just such a thing – perhaps called France Inc – seems to have happened to Australia’s waste management and recycling company Cleanaway’s agreement to buy the recycling and…

Should Australia catapult its industry growth centres?

By Peter Roberts Christian Porter has had a lot of stick in recent weeks, but there is no doubt the new industry minister needs to quickly put recent controversies behind him and get on top of critical decisions that must be made in the portfolio. Not only must he implement the modern manufacturing initiative of…

Boycotting the Industry minister is a terrible idea

That the tech sector should somehow disengage from industry policy because it is unhappy with Christian Porter’s appointment as the new Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science is a terrible idea. By James Riley.

Trouble at mill but too early to write off Whyalla steelworks

By Peter Roberts It is amazing how people are always quick to expect the worst about the future of Australia’s steel industry, just as they have in recent days with news of trouble in the financial network that support’s metals entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance businesses. People are expecting the worst for his Whyalla steelworks,…

Perception versus the reality of manufacturing – by Shay Chalmers

Shay Chalmers takes a look at community perceptions of manufacturing. Often seen as dirty and unattractive, Shay believes the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the face of manufacturing – and offering a way forward for Australian Made. The challenge is real. Manufacturing tends to conjure up some unfortunate mental images for people,…

On R&D spend, success can be hard to find

Any discussion about Australia’s R&D sector generally starts off by claiming that ‘Australia has spent billions on R&D over the past thirty years.’ That is true, we have. And yet, despite these billions, Australia ranks in the middle at the best, and in many measures well below, our OECD counterparts.

The terrible trickiness of growing an Australian semiconductor sector

What does Australia have in the way of a semiconductor industry, and why does that matter? Brent Balinski spoke to Professor James Rabeau, the lead author of a national study of the sector published at the end of last year.

Gender discrimination and disadvantage rife in manufacturing

By Peter Roberts The story of the moment is not so much the Covid-19 pandemic, but the discrimination, disadvantage and in some cases abuse that women suffer every day in Australian workplaces. This situation is disgracefully endemic in what should be Australia’s model workplace – the federal Parliament. Lack of opportunity, bullying, belittlement, unwanted sexual…