AuManufacturing’s first featured member is Byron Kennedy of SPEE3D, who shares some thoughts about bringing new manufacturing technology to market in Australia. His company specialises in a novel method of additively manufacturing parts through “supersonic 3D deposition”, with metal powders fired precisely and at triple the speed of sound onto a surface.
What is your job and who is your company?
I am the CEO and co-founder of SPEE3D, an innovative tech startup that has developed and is selling internationally a metal 3D printer. The technology is unique in providing metal parts fast and at low costs. The technology is suited to manufacturers looking for low to mid volume aluminum and copper parts.
What’s your role and how does it fit into the business/organisation?
As the CEO of a tech company my role varies on a day to day basis. The team is small and agile and as such my role can vary from international sales on one day to collecting parts from our suppliers the next. It is continually changing and evolving – from high stress and late nights to building a great team, and above all trying to have a lot of fun.
What does your organisation do well? What are your capabilities? Who are your clients?
The company is focused on making manufacturing easier and we strive to make this happen. We do this via the supply of an innovative 3D printer but will continue to help manufacturers in making their life easier. Myself and my co-founder previously worked in manufacturing and as such we know how difficult manufacturing is.
Today, SPEE3D is focused on the supply of the technology and associated services to support the technology. This will grow and evolve over time and the company will add to its existing capabilities.
Our customers are from a diverse range of markets and region. We are primarily targeting the key manufacturing markets of Germany, USA and Asia as well as local sales. Customers come from Defence, rail, aerospace, research, automotive and general manufacturing.
What does your career path look like? Are there any highlights and/or awards along the way that you’re proud of?
I have been fortunate to be involved with some great teams and had a lot of success along the way. Whilst studying electrical engineering at University, I co-founded the UNSW Solar Car Team, Sunswift, which is still building solar cars more than 20 years on. I subsequently went on to race with the Desert Rose Solar Rose team and held a world record for the highest average speed in a solar car.
This background led me to co-found In Motion Technologies, a company that designed and developed high efficiency electric motors and electronics. We successfully raised capital and exited to a large US based motor manufacturer which gave me a solid background in manufacturing.
What’s a typical day at work look like?
Varied, and that’s what makes it so interesting. I am just as comfortable pitching to financial investors in Frankfurt or London as I am helping with technical issues on the shop floor. You need to be agile and pitch in to solve problems in whichever part of the business that requires assistance.
What are some tools/techniques/tactics you use to do your job?
We have the advantage of starting from scratch and implementing lean, efficient tools from day 1. This includes new manufacturing processes, software and tools to keep the company agile and nimble as it grows.
Is there an issue in Australian manufacturing that’s not getting enough attention at the moment? Why is it important?
As a new manufacturing company, we have received fantastic government assistance in getting the technology to where it is today. There are challenges, but these are the same across all businesses and industries. Our largest challenge is accessing the large manufacturing markets internationally and educating our customers that a new Australian company can support them wherever they are.
What do you get out of your involvement with the Australian Manufacturing Forum?
Contacts, links and advice. The Australian manufacturing sector is small relative to the USA and Europe and thus we need to work together to produce products to take on the world. I have no doubt this is both possible and achievable as seen by the achievements of many great local companies.