Manufacturing News

Best of the week — the five most popular stories among @AuManufacturing’s readers

Manufacturing News

What were the five biggest stories of the week? Here’s what visitors to this site were reading.

5) Australian Army runs autonomous highway truck convoy

The Australian Army has scored an Australian first in vehicle autonomy successfully operating an autonomous truck convoy on a Victorian highway.

As part of the ‘Leader-Follower’ trial, a convoy of four autonomous Army trucks followed a crewed ‘leader’ vehicle on a public road in Victoria (pictured).

The National Transport Research Organisation and Deakin University supported the Army to conduct the trial – the first time an autonomous convoy has operated on an open public road in Australia.

4) Saunders awarded $42 million contract on bp biofuels hub at Kwinana

Saunders International has announced it has won a $42 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with bp on tank refurbishment and modification services.

According to a statement by the engineering and construction company to the ASX on Monday, the contract is part of bp’s Kwinana Renewable Fuels project, and has a scope involving 25 tanks being repurposed for feedstock or biofuels storage.

Saunders said it expects to begin work next month.

3) Senator Fawcett grills bureaucrats and governments on defence procurement

Occasionally a Senator provides a powerful demonstration of the value of Senate Estimates hearings to lay bare the inconsistencies and contradictions that prevent governments from achieving their aims, according to editor Peter Roberts.

Last week we witnessed just such a seminal performance by South Australian Liberal Senator David Fawcett who calmly and methodically uncovered the gulf between government intentions to build Australian defence industry and the reality of procurement policy which acts against just that.

It is difficult to distill 25 minutes of meticulous argument in a short article. So I would recommend that those interested watch Fawcett’s questioning of Stephen Moore, First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy, Chris Deeble, Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and Secretary of the Department of Finance, Greg Moriarty here.

2) Is Hills about to hoist a white flag?

The Australian manufacturing landscape is littered with the remnants of once-great manufacturers that abandoned local manufacturing and took to importing.

To finance types no doubt this offshoring path seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice these companies have mostly gradually faded from view.

One such manufacturing icon – and here icon is no exaggeration – is Hills Limited which became a manufacturing powerhouse on the back of the rotary clothes hoist commercialised by ex-serviceman Lance Hill in 1945.

1) Nothing going on here – Austal shares surge

Perth international shipbuilder Austal has hosed down speculation that it could be involved in merger and acquisition activity or subject to takeover interest following a run on its shares.

Austal, which makes most of its money from building warships for the US Navy as well as building patrol boats for the RAN and fast passenger ferries in Australia and South East Asia, may be relaxed, but I am not, wrote editor Peter Roberts.

And in case you missed our podcast…

In episode 62 of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, we hear from Tom Kerr and Dr Munib Karavdic from human-centred design consultancy WAVE Design about sobering up, avoiding the uncertainty attached to racing from thought to implementation, and more.

Picture: Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard




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