Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

QinetiQ creates new “Australian Sector” operation

UK-headquartered defence business QinetiQ Group has announced the formation of a new Australia Sector, with Gary Stewart as the Sector’s Chief Executive, effective May 1. Stewart joins from Rheinmetall Defence Australia where he was the Managing Director, responsible for strategy and operational delivery in the Asia Pacific region. The Australian Sector replaces the International Sector, said QinetiQ in a statement, and was “further demonstration of QinetiQ’s commitment and investment in Australia”. Stewart said in a statement that, “The new Australia Sector will be crucial in creating sovereign capability and further developing critical skills including becoming QinetiQ’s global leader for threat representation.”

Deputy Premier tours WA biofuels refinery

Western Australian Deputy Premier Roger Cook has toured bp’s $1 billion Kwinana Renewable Fuels project (pictured) The Kwinana project is one of five biofuel refineries bp has planned globally and is scheduled to be the first to come online. It is part of bp’s commitment to transform the former refinery into a renewable energy hub, a project which has reached the front-end engineering design milestone. The Kwinana project will repurpose refining units and infrastructure at bp’s Kwinana site to produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Cook said: “All going well, the bio refinery will be producing sustainable aviation fuel and biodiesel by 2026. It will complement the site’s existing import terminal operations and integrate with bp’s plans for green hydrogen production, which are currently being assessed in a feasibility study.”

New members for NSW Innovation and Productivity Council

Two new members will join the New South Wales Innovation and Productivity Council from industry and academia. Well known industry leader Rod Lopez and Macquarie University’s Bruce Downton will join the council which leads research related to innovation and productivity and provides expert advice to government. Experienced operational executive Rod is Chief Operating Officer of medical device manufacturer Nanosonics which recently doubled manufacturing capacity in northern Sydney. Lopez has roles with the universities of NSW and Sydney, and held roles with Cicada Innovations, Baraja and with Cochlear. Professor S. Bruce Dowton is Vice Chancellor and President of Macquarie University, who is known for his commitment to integrating the university with the university. The university is at the heart of the heart of Macquarie Park innovation district.

Second Modern Manufacturing Expo event announced for Sydney

A Modern Manufacturing Expo will once again highlight innovations in manufacturing following the success of an inaugural industry event held in Sydney last year. CEO of the International Exhibition & Conference (IEC) Group Marie Kinsella: “The 2022 Modern Manufacturing Expo was an overwhelming success, visitors over the course of two days and highlighted the need for the industry to come together again for in-person events in a post-COVID environment. We expect this year’s edition to be even bigger and better than before with a focus on our 2023 theme: ‘Connected, Automated & Digital Transformation’.” The 2023 Modern Manufacturing Expo will take place from 20-21 September at the Sydney Showground in Sydney Olympic Park and like last year, is free to attend. “Free registration to the Modern Manufacturing Expo ensures that as many manufacturers and industry professionals as possible are able to benefit from the resources and expert knowledge on offer.” Designed to progress excellence and innovation in Australian manufacturing, the Expo will highlight the leading-edge products, equipment, technologies and software local manufacturers have at their disposal.

BluGlass secures first customer orders for new lasers

BluGlass has received purchase orders for its 405nm and 420nm gallium nitride (GaN) laser devices from clients described as “leading laser original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the quantum and industrial segments”. The sales follow the launch of a new range of GaN laser products at the SPIE Photonics West industry conference in San Francisco last month. Customers will use their orders to qualify BluGlass’ lasers within their own applications. Revenues from these initial low-volume orders are immaterial, though BluGlass said it expects to secure recurring larger-volume orders from these customers after qualifications. BluGlass President Jim Haden said, “These orders are an important step towards commercial revenues and demonstrate demand for our lasers from key industry players in underserved wavelengths, flexible form factors, and semi-custom designs. As a result of this increased interest in our newly released products, we expect additional orders from potential customers and partners to be imminent.”

Ferretti to join GFG Alliance’s Australian operations

GFG Alliance has announced the Ferretti Group will join its Australian operations following the purchase of 100 per cent of shares in the fabricator’s parent Aartee Group Pte Limited on Friday. Ferretti operates large fabrication facilities in Whyalla and Adelaide, and is Aartee Group’s Australian arm. Its customers are in defence, energy, oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. A statement from GFG on Monday described Ferretti as “well placed to continue supporting their existing customer base, as well as making a significant contribution to our GFG businesses in South Australia and even wider. As GFG progresses its Whyalla Transformation Plan, Ferretti’s addition to the group’s Australian stable will enhance the workforce’s skills and capabilities even further with an additional 142 workers joining GFG Alliance in South Australia.”

Environmental technology startup Bygen announced what it called a big milestone last week. The company said in a post on Linkedin that it had created its first bulk bag of sustainably produced activated carbon, which would be used on an environmental remediation project shortly. “Approximately 1 tonne of CO2 was sequestered in its production and it will help clean up a polluted water system here in Australia,” said Bygen in its post. The company creates “high-quality and sustainable activated carbon from agricultural and winery wastes” for uses including the removal of PFAS chemicals.

Picture: WA Deputy Premier tours the Kwinana refinery

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