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Axiom and Nupress components head for space

Manufacturing News

Adelaide’s Axiom Precision Manufacturing and Newcastle’s Nupress Group have been contracted by Lockheed Martin to produce precision machined components for the next-generation Orion spacecraft.

With origins in automotive and toolmaking, the companies are capitalising on the opportunities that advanced Australian manufacturers can access by diversifying into space.

The Orion spacecraft will be the primary astronaut crew capsule used for NASA’s Artemis programme, which will return humans to the Moon this decade and aim to continue on to Mars.

Axiom’s Aerospace and Defence Manager Fred Hull said moving into the defence sector was its first step towards the space industry.

Hull said: “From the beginning of Axiom’s transition away from automotive all those years back, we knew that our high-level CNC machining and precision manufacturing was a good fit for defence business.

“Gaining traction in the defence industry, we then focused on aerospace… once we achieved our AS9100 aerospace certification and had success with many Australian and international aerospace primes, we knew that the space industry should be highlighted on our business plan.”

Axiom provides machined titanium components to BAE Systems Australia which are further processed to become part of the twin tails of F-35 joint strike aircraft.

In the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Nupress started producing press tools for steelmaking, rail, and construction in the 1970s, and adopted capabilities for advanced manufacturing in the 1980s.

Nupress CEO Craig McWilliam said: “In 2012, when the mining bubble burst, Nupress made a strategic decision to move into the aerospace and health markets.

“Space was a logical next step … we are also constantly looking for exciting work opportunities that appeal to the current very talented engineering staff we have.”

Axion and Nupress are suppliers on Lockheed Martin’s, and its entry into space was encouraged by the AS9100 aerospace quality management standard.

Editor’s note: This article was adapted from an article published by the Australian Space Agency.

Pictures: Australian Space Agency

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