Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Commissioning underway for state-of-the-art $2 million web coater at Newcastle Institute for Energy

A new tool at the Newcastle Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Materials Hub will support sovereign manufacturing, according to Tobias Schappeler, the Managing Director of Scitek. Scitek is finalising the installation and commissioning of the Intellivation Roll-to-Roll Web Coater this week , the company said in a statement on Monday. The new, $2 million tool is being set up within the Newcastle Institute for Energy (NIER), and is, said Schappeler, “the first of its kind in Australia and New Zealand, with “the capacity to sputter coat materials onto very large, continuous rolls of flexible surfaces and will create opportunities for companies looking to develop their concepts into something that is manufacturable.” Scitek said many projects could be advanced by this new tool, including solar companies wanting printed solar cells; bandage manufacturers wanting to put electrodes onto bandages to monitor wounds; industry who need reflective coatings wrapped around odd-shaped objects; defence customers who require specialised coatings, and enterprises that require barrier films.

Schools outreach program to be demonstrated next week

Weld Australia’s Advanced Manufacturing Schools Outreach Program, featuring augmented reality welding applications, will be on show at an event on Tuesday March 28 at Dapto High School. According to the organisation, the program is encouraging kids in secondary schools across NSW to explore a meaningful career in the trades, and is calling for the program to be rolled out nationally in response to skills shortages. Geoff Crittenden, CEO of Weld Australia, said “a radical approach” was needed to address the issue, with “A veritable army of skilled workers, including welders, will be required to build and install the infrastructure” required for government decarbonisation targets. “Unless action is taken now, Australia will be at least 70,000 welders short by 2030,” he added. “Our STEM Program is unique because it actually engages kids. It is hands-on, fun and educational… The gamification of learning is particularly effective when trying to encourage females, Indigenous Australians, people living with disabilities and those from a disadvantaged background into a career in STEM.” To date, 82 welding simulators are installed at 40 high schools across New South Wales, and are used to teach students in Year 9 to develop an understanding of welding across all common processes in a completely safe and controlled environment.

Ampcontrol renews support of helicopter emergency service

Electrical engineering firm Ampcontrol announced continued support for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service at the A-League Men’s Newcastle Jets ‘First Responders- Appreciation Round’ on Saturday, taking its partnership into a third year. According to a statement from Ampcontrol, its CEO Rod Henderson met with Richard Jones, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service CEO, before the game to announce the sponsorship renewal. Henderson said, “As a business with over 1000 employees, we understand how important the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is [to] large employers such as ourselves, our people, and the communities in which we live and serve.” Ampcontrol witnessed the importance of the helicopter service in February last year when Zac Picton, a Field Service Technician, required urgent transport following a serious motor vehicle accident while driving on a country road in North Western NSW, resulting in months of rehabilitation in hospital.

Firebrick Phase 3 trial of Nasodine resumes

Firebrick Pharma has told the ASX that a Phase 3 clinical trial of Nasodine Nasal Spray, a treatment for the common cold, has received the necessary ethics approvals to re-open for the 2023 common cold season. Two clinical sites in Australia are now open for recruitment and three sites in South Africa will be open in the next week. The trial was 50 per cent recruited in 2022 and then paused over the summer months, with the stated goal of re-opening in March 2023. The trial enrolled 100 subjects with confirmed viral colds in 2022, with the goal in 2023 to enrol the remaining 96 subjects and then report trial results. “Typically, the common cold season starts in Autumn, so we expect to see recruitment escalate over the next several months and continue through the winter, with trial completion expected in July,” said Firebrick Executive Chairman, Dr Peter Molloy. In Australia, the trial is taking place at Barwon Health in Geelong and CMAX in Adelaide.

AML3D awarded alloy testing contract to support US submarines

AML3D has announced an expansion of its USA scale-up strategy, with a new contract for an alloy characterisation and testing program to support the US Navy’s submarine industrial base. The contract is with BlueForge Alliance (BFA), a non-profit, neutral convener and integrator supporting technology adoption and acceleration in defence. AML3D said the development is part of the expansion of its strategic partnership with the US Navy. The new program “is intended to demonstrate that specific alloys that are
3D printed meet the manufacturing standards required to supply components to the US Navy’s submarine program.” The contract’s  value of approximately $AU 264,300 “is not material”, though demonstrates continued progress in the US market, said the Australian company in a statement on Tuesday. It will commence immediately and is expected to be completed within eight to ten weeks.

QLD government: Emerald to join “CQ big battery blitz”

Members of the Queensland MPs have celebrated Emerald being selected for Central Queensland’s next large-scale network-connected battery site, the state government said on Monday. The new battery is one of the next 12 large-scale, electricity network-connected batteries. The Emerald installation, in a town with more than 1,920 solar systems, “will allow locals to capture cheap renewable energy and drive down power bills, easing the cost of living.” Minister for rural communities Mark Furner said, “Central Queensland is already playing an enormous role in capturing the state’s solar potential, so it’s now time to supercharge Emerald’s local energy security and affordability with this network-connected battery… With 1 in 3 Queensland homes using solar, the nation’s biggest power station is Queensland’s rooftop solar and now Emerald can play a leading role in our growth to 70% renewables by 2032.”

Ferra, Dynamatic to deepen ties in India

Brisbane-headquartered aerospace company Ferra Engineering has signed an MoU with Indian precision engineering company Dynamatic Technologies. Dynamatic is a global contributor to the aerospace industry, with strong links with defence and aerospace OEMs in India and around the world. Group Chief Executive Ferra Engineering Australia, David Rogers said, “Succeeding in these opportunities allows for strengthening of our industrial base within our Indian subsidiary and expanding out to the wider Ferra Group… With its increased manufacturing capability, in-house engineering services and assembly setup, Ferra India is now equipped to support more end-to-end services to its global customers.”

Picture: Nick Pond, Service Engineer from Scitek and (front right) Ben Vaughan Facility Manager from the Centre for Organic Electronics with the Intellivation Roll-to-Roll Web Coater and researchers at the University of Newcastle (supplied)

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