Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Matrix raises cash for expansion

Perth’s Matrix Composites and Engineering has secured funding via a $7.5 million convertible note to fund major new contracts as it continues its emergence from a Covid pandemic low in business. The company, which manufactures buoyancy systems for underwater oil and gas infrastructure, has secured $30 million in orders since June and has an order pipeline of $45 million, compared to full year FY22 revenue of $28.6 million. During the pandemic the company also expended its scope to supply brownfield mining customers in Western Australia. Matrix secured the funding from existing shareholder Collins Street Asset Management. CEO Aaron Begley said: “The funding package will enable us to successfully deliver on our robust pipeline of current work and gives us financial muscle to target the next phase of business growth.”

Cronos sells its one millionth unit of medicinal cannabis

Cronos Australia has sold the millionth unit of its medicinal cannabis products through the company’s CanView marketplace platform which services 3,000 pharmacists. The CanView platform, which also services medical prescribers, has been experiencing a 40 percent per annum growth rate, with 215,000 units sold in the first quarter of FY23. Cronos sells more than 200 product lines and is Australia’s major supplier of medicinal cannabis. Cronos also confirmed annualised revenues of $128.4 million with 378,000 products sold in FY23 so far.

Ellen boss vying for medical gong

A breakthrough dialysis technology being developed in Sydney has won acclaim for its innovative approach, with the potential to save millions of lives and address health inequalities within and between countries by increasing access to treatment for kidney disease. Research Australia, the national peak body for health and medical research, has selected Professor Arthur Brandwood of Ellen Medical Devices as a finalist in its national Health and Medical Research Awards. Professor Brandwood has helped develop the low-cost Ellen Medical Dialysis System which delivers low-cost, accessible peritoneal dialysis in a patient’s home, without the need for transporting sterile water. Each year 12 million patients with end stage renal failure die globally without access to dialysis, either due to its high cost or barriers such as being unable to attend city-based dialysis clinics. Costing under $500 to build and just a few dollars a day to run, the Ellen Medical Dialysis System uses a simple at-home distiller to create medical-grade pure water, allowing peritoneal dialysis to occur easily in patients’ homes and make it easier for local physicians to establish clinics with minimal capital costs.

Wide Open Agriculture ramps up production of plant protein

Wide Open Agriculture is moving to ramp up production of its Buntine protein derived from lupin crops. The company, which markets under the brand Dirty Clean Food, has supplied samples of its Buntine protein which has been successfully produced in a standardised form at the company’s pilot plant to six major food manufacturers. The protein is aimed at producers of plant based milks, yoghurt and noodle products. WOA is in discussions with a variety users interested in product licensing, joint ventures or contract manufacturing.

ASC to automate process via new digital supply chain

ASC has announced that is establishing a “digital supply chain as part of its current Digital Transformation Program”, automating and streamlining processes for the submarine sustainer and the 1,200 Australian businesses within its Collins Class supply chain. The digital supply chain will enhance connectivity to suppliers and deliver full visibility of the chain, leading to better prediction and decision making and improved efficiency. The first digital supply chain project is already underway, with a pilot supplier portal launched November 23, with ten suppliers given access. The balance of suppliers will be added, along with additional portal functionality, in a scaled 2023 roll-out. “The pilot will enable us to test the systems to ensure a seamless roll-out next year,” said ASC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley.

Fortescue and ATCO unveil green hydrogen refueller station 

Western Australia’s first green hydrogen refuelling station has been opened by Fortescue and ATCO Australia at ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub. The H2 Refueller uses hydrogen produced onsite at Jandakot from renewable electricity through electrolysis. According to a statement from Fortescue, it will enable them, ATCO and third parties such as the WA Police to support their fleets of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, able to refuel a vehicle from ATCO’s Toyota Mirai fleet in under five minutes. “We are very proud of this project which is the embryonic start of a huge new industry across the globe,” said Fortescue Executive Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, adding that it represented a “drop in the ocean” but was still worthy of celebration. “This is the future of our state. We are grateful for the support of the WA Government and delighted to partner with ATCO on this project, which is helping to establish WA’s green economy, creating new jobs and opportunities for Western Australians.” The H2 Refueller was awarded $1 million from the state government’s Renewable Hydrogen Fund in 2020.

Brisbane prepares for humans and robots to dance at event

A large industrial robot and human dancer will perform before a crowd of 170 roboticists and manufacturing industry leaders in Brisbane on Tuesday night. The interactive ‘choreorobotic’ performance is a collaboration between QUT’s robotics Professor Jonathan Roberts and Dr Steph Hutchison, whose choreographic work has a focus on robotics, AI, motion capture and animation. “Artists and scientists approach creativity, exploration, and research in different ways and from different perspectives – which we definitely need to explore in the digital age,” said Hutchison. Cobotic improvisation draws on dance improvisation and choreographic methodologies to research how humans might predict the movement of their robot collaborators. The performance will mark the official launch of the Australian Cobotics Centre.

Hydrogen Council says massive renewables will unlock future manufacturing boom

The Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC) has welcomed the federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund, but says low-cost renewable energy and hydrogen will be key for Australian manufacturing in the future. AHC CEO Dr Fiona Simon will tell over 600 delegates at the opening of the two-day Australian Hydrogen Conference in Perth that a national approach is critical if Australia is to gain a competitive advantage in the energy transition. “This is a long-term play and… we need a nationally integrated policy that looks to the long term to incentivise domestic manufacturing and open up export markets,” Simon will say. “Not only can we export hydrogen, we can use it to manufacture direct reduced iron, alumina and fertiliser, both to decarbonise domestic use and to export to other nations.” Also appearing at the event will be WA hydrogen minister Alannah MacTiernan, Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles MP, and GFG Alliance Executive Chair Sanjeev Gupta.

Titomic adds new US reseller

Titomic has further expanded into the United States by entering into a reseller agreement with ADS, a tier-one military supplier that provides tactical equipment, procurement, logistics, government contract management, and supply chain solutions. ADS is the largest supplier to the United States Department of Defense and Department of Energy, and is based in Virginia. The defence supplier will have the non-exclusive right to market and sell Titomic Kinetic Fusion Systems within the United States, including low-to-medium pressure cold spray systems such as the D523 and D623, automated Integrated Spray Booth units, and high-pressure Titomic Kinetic Fusion additive manufacturing systems, a range covering additive manufacturing, coating and repair, and research and development, according to Titomic. Adding ADS complements agreements with MSI Viking and Triton Systems, and the acquisition of Tri-D Dynamics, Titomic said.

Picture: Dr Steph Hutchison in rehearsal with ABB robot (supplied)

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