Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed


AAMRI announces New Rising Star Award 

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) has announces a new, CSL-sponsored AAMRI Rising Star Award. According to AAMRI, the award will recognise an outstanding mid-career researcher and be presented by federal health minister Mark Butler at the annual AAMRI Dinner at Parliament House in October. AAMRI is 30 years old, represents 58 medical research institutes across Australia, and is the only peak body advocating for health and medical research institutes. Mid-career researchers are defined as scientists who are eight-15 years post-PhD (not including career disruptions).

CSIRO launches new plastic waste book

A new book published by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, shines a light on some ways communities across the globe are dealing with plastic pollution. Ending Plastic Waste: Community Actions Around the World highlights 19 initiatives from 15 countries including Australia, was released on Monday, and “presents a collection of stories, advice and information from people in the field, and aims to serve as a source of inspiration to reduce plastic waste in the environment.” CSIRO scientist and editor, Dr Denise Hardesty, said, “It’s heartening to see how communities are managing plastic pollution in their local environment, delivering wins for the environment, the economy and livelihoods. We can all make a difference.”

SEA Electric names new APAC Sales Director

Australian all-electric truck manufacturer SEA Electric has announced transport industry veteran Marco Quaranta as its new Sales Director for the Asia Pacific. Quaranta has 35 years’ experience from previous roles at IVECO, with various tenures based in Australia, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and his native Italy. Within IVECO Australia, Mr Quaranta, held several roles over the last 17 years, including Institutional Relations and Alternative  Propulsions Manager and National Sales Manager. He commences in the new role effective July 3. “Importantly, he is already familiar with many of the members of our dealer network, so he will be a natural fit,” said Daniel Castro, SEA Electric President – Asia Pacific. “It’s an exciting time in the zero-emissions logistics sector, and with Marco on board, we look forward to reaching more major milestones in the future.”

Two Adelaide universities in mega-merger

The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia have agreed to merge to form a mega-university with more than 70,000 students. With fewer international students in their ranks the new institution to be called Adelaide University will be the largest university educator of domestic students. The two universities are located side by side on the main North Terrace axis of the city (pictured). SA Premier Peter Malinauskas drove the merger, offering to contribute $444.5 million to support research, support low income students, attract international students and for the purchase of surplus university land. Subject to approval by state Parliament and the federal government, the combined university will contribute an additional $500 million to the state’s economy each year.

DXN in contract for two modular data centres

Modular data centre manufacturer DXN has signed a contract to supple two modular data centres for Pilbara Minerals for its Pilgangoora operations in Western Australia. The contract, worth $1.8 million, will see prefabrication begin at DXN’s Perth factory with delivery expected by February, 2024. DXN CEO Shalini Lagrutta said: “This project is a testament to the growth of Edge data centres in the mining segment where automation and local compute (sic) requirements continue to grow. We look forward to building and installing DXN’s 41st and 42nd modular data centre since FY20 for Pilbara Minerals.”

Defence launches Australian Submarine Agency

The federal government has launched the Australian Submarine Agency (ASA), which will oversee the delivery of nuclear powered submarines to the Australian fleet. The ASA will be responsible and accountable for the management and oversight of the nuclear-powered submarine programme, with Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead announced as the Agency’s inaugural Director-General. As chief of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce, Mead demonstrated his leadership and judgement in supporting the establishment of the pathway to acquire this critical capability through the AUKUS partnership, according to the government. The ASA has more than 350 staff from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Public Service, including many who have transitioned from the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce. It is expected to almost double to more than 680 staff over the next year. The agency will be headquartered in Canberra, with personnel located across the country and overseas in the United States and United Kingdom, working with communities, unions, industry and governments to deliver the nuclear-powered submarine programme.

Balfours bakery taken over by WA firm

The Western Australian parent of the owners of the Mrs Mac’s pie brand, Aus Pie Co, will take control of iconic Adelaide baker Balfours on August 1. Formerly owned by vertically integrated SA pasta maker San Remo, the new owners plan to take the brand national as well as to expand to New Zealand – 85 percent of current sales are in SA where the brand is dominant. Founded in 1852, Balfours is known for its green frog cakes, traditional block cakes and square ‘footy pies’ and a now-defunct network of ‘tea rooms’.

Forbidden Foods appoints Alex Aleksic as its new CEO

Plant based and healthy snack manufacturer Forbidden Foods has appointed Alex Aleksic as its new CEO as well as making a number of changes to its board. Aleksic was previously CFO of Tasmanian distillery Lark Distillers, and has held a number of senior executive roles at ASX listed companies. At the same time Jarrod Milani has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman replacing Tony Rowlinson who is stepping down. Marcus Brown has completed his relocation to the United States where he will lead a strategy to grow sales of the company’s Blue Dinosaur health food products.

Namoi Cotton CEO resigns, sparks strategic review

Cotton ginner Namoi Cotton has announced a strategic review of the business following the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer John Stevenson. Stevenson, formerly the company’s CFO, led the company through the Covid-19 pandemic, restructuring and ‘positioning the company for growth following the drought’, according to a statement. Namoi Cotton’s Chair Tim Watson has been appointed Executive Chair. The Board also decided to pursue a strategic review and has appointed corporate advisory firm Blackpeak Capital to assist.

Next Science reports sales boost

Wound care technology company Next Science has reported strong sales momentum and rising sales in the latest quarter. The company, which is commercialising technologies which target the biofilm that coat bacteria, told investors sales for the second quarter were expected to be above US$5.6 million compared to US$4.4 million in the first quarter. According to a statement: “It is clear that Next Science is on track to substantially exceed product sales in 1HFY22 (US$5.2 million) and 2HFY22 (US$6.1 million). This is due to the increased investment in sales and marketing that will continue during the establishment phase of our direct sales model for key products.” Monthly sales of the company’s Would Care DME business past $1 million in April.

ADN completes exit from fresh milk production

Nutritional product manufacturer Australian Dairy Nutritionals has completed its exit from the fresh milk business with the sale of equipment from the Camperdown, Victoria site and the transfer of the lease of the Manifold Street premises to the buyer of the business. ADN received $1 million, the balance of the purchase price, completing the closure of fresh milk processing activities. The company is now focused on its dairy nutritionals strategy, with the exit from fresh milk saving operational costs of $30,000 a month. The operation of the company’s infant formula facility is unaffected by the exit from the Manifold Street site.

Picture: to create mega university

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