Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Vaxxas appoints ex-Ellume exec as new COO

Syringe-free vaccine delivery company Vaxxas has announced Dr Scott Fry as its new chief operating officer, leading its engineering and manufacturing activities. Fry was most recently COO at Ellume, also based in Brisbane, which manufactures Covid-19 test kits. Vaxxas said in a statement on Thursday that Fry’s experience in rapid scale-up of manufacturing for medical products in both Australia and the US will be integral as Vaxxas accelerates product development for large-scale clinical trials. Vaxxas was established in 2011 and is commercialising its high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) technology, which administers vaccines via a patch with thousands of tiny, micro-moulded spikes coated in dry vaccines.

Sustainability Victoria launches $5 million recycling grant program

Sustainability Victoria announced the launch of the Recycling Victoria Markets Acceleration Fund on Thursday. The $5 million fund for Victorian businesses, research institutes and industry would help develop and commercialise new uses for recycled materials, according to SV, and offers grants to Victorian-based organisations worth between $30,000 and $400,000. These would support  projects “that identify and develop new uses for recyclable materials”. The fund will address materials subject to the national waste export bans “but will also support solutions for other emerging materials streams such as e-waste and textiles.” Information about Stream 1 and Stream 2 of the program is linked. Applications close at 11:59 pm on June 2.

Submissions sought for Army innovation challenge

The Department of Defence is inviting Australian and New Zealand industry and research organisations to apply for a share in $20 million to help develop uncrewed aerial systems for delivering critical supplies and evacuating casualties from high-risk combat zones. In partnership with the Defence Innovation Hub, the Australian Army is seeking proposals to be submitted through the Defence Innovation Hub as part of a two-stage procurement process. Up to 25 successful respondents will be invited to exhibit their proposed solutions as part of Army Innovation Day 2022 in Adelaide this August, with those considered worthy of further development then entering into contract negotiations with Defence. Applications close of May 5 and more information can be seen here.

Council raises concern over plastic recycling factory proposal

Wingecarribee Shire Council has raised concerns in a submission to the NSW Government regarding the proposed Plasrefine plastic recycling facility in Moss Vale. The council said in a statement that interim administrator Viv May adopted the recommendation to not support the proposal after a comprehensive review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The facility is proposed for 74-76 Beaconsfield Road and seeks to extract mixed plastics from waste, sort these, and convert them into flakes, pellets, polyester fibre and resins. The council said it “resolved to oppose the proposed development in its current proposed location and until important infrastructure gaps are either resolved, or there is certainty about the completion dates for the infrastructure projects.”

ARM Hub turns two

The Brisbane-headquartered Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub has marked its second anniversary with the release of a report card. According to the innovation provider organisation, it has so far supported 700 businesses and raised $40 million in additional funds. “Our journey has been an exciting one with so much achieved. Take a look at our ‘Two Year Report Card’ for all the details,” the Hub said in a post on Linkedin. The post and the report card can be seen here.

Enzymatic plastic recycler reportedly planning $50 m raise

The Australian Financial Review‘s Street Talk column has reported that environmental tech company Samsara is readying to raise $50 million to support its expansion. The Australian National University spinout business is commercialising a process to take end-of-life plastics and break these down into monomers for reuse, and has previously attracted backing from organisations including Main Sequence, Woolworth’s venture capital division, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. According to the report, the round would allow Samsara to scale up with a new factory “able to process more than 20,000 tonnes of plastic each year – that’s a bit over 157 blue whales worth of plastic.” The news follows a $6 million raise by the company, announced last month. 

CO2CRC to study underground hydrogen storage

The CO2CRC and its research partners CSIRO and Geoscience Australia are collaborating on research into technical issues around underground hydrogen storage (UHS.) The CRC said UHS offered much-needed capacity to balance supply and demand and seasonal fluctuations, and that surface hydrogen storage facilities, such as pipelines or tanks, lack the capacity for predicted rise in demand. UHS could potentially take hydrogen generated outside of peak demand times, store it safely underground until required, and help prove long-term energy security and supply reliability, the CRC said. The work is funded by funded by Beyond H2, a foundation member of the NERA Clayton Hydrogen Technology Cluster.

Alpaca woollen mill expands in Ballarat

GOR Woollen Mill is expanding and moving its Alpaca flocks and weaving mill to a site near Ballarat as it copes with demand that has been rising since the outbreak of Covid-19. The company, previously known as Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill has moved its alpacas to Burrumbeet and is installing new machinery at a facility in Delacombe. Principals Nick and Isabel Renters ordered wool processing machinery from Italy with the machinery initially delayed through shipping disruption. The company plans to increase output more than four-fold, and according to reports, would be the third largest woollen mill in Australia.

Austal expands Brisbane slipway

In just over 12 months shipbuilder Austal has completely refurbished the slipway and completed multiple dockings at its Brisbane facility. Located on the Brisbane River, the company’s Brisbane Service Centre is one of the largest capacity shipyards in eastern Australia, with a large lay-down and hardstand area and facilities for hull and structural repairs, painting and blasting, engineering and fabrication, as well as mechanical and electrical overhaul. The slipway can handle vessels of up to 2,500 tonnes, 100 metres long, and 21 metres beam. Accredited to Quality Certified ISO 9001-2015 standards, and with Lloyds accreditation, the slipway has availability post July 2022.

Apprentices progress in Hunter frigate build

Five of the Hunter Class Frigate Program’s apprentices have achieved their Structured Welding qualifications, graduating to the next stage of their four-year apprenticeships. This means the apprentices have moved from training bays to work on the prototype blocks being built for the frigates alongside the production workforce. To achieve Structured Welding qualifications, the apprentices had to perform welding tasks under the supervision of a Lloyd’s Register representative, and their welds had to be assessed by an independent reviewer. By end of 2022, a further 12 apprentices will have graduated to the next stage of their apprenticeships. There are 34 apprentices on the Hunter program, as well as 23 graduates and 10 interns.

Picture: BAE Systems/apprentices are (from L) Oscar, John, James, Josh, with Welding Instructor John Watson.

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