Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

BlueScope’s weak US sales hit profit

Steelmaker BlueScope has cut expectations for 1H VY24 EBIT to be in the range of $620 to $670 million, down from previous guidance of $700 to $770 million. The main driver of the change is the company’s US North Star operation, which is now expected to be half the level of 1h FY23. BlueScope told investors this is due to soft steel prices and spreads across the half year, with US mini-mill benchmark spreads now expected to be around US$100/t lower than the previous corresponding period. North Star continues to operate at full capacity, with a capacity expansion ramp up also underway. In Australia, softer benchmark spreads have been largely offset by stronger pricing and a favourable raw materials mix. BlueScope’s US$700 million expansion of its Delta, Ohio, plant (pictured) will increase annual hot rolled coil production by 850,000 metric tonnes.

Union and superannuation leader appointed to NRF

Glenn Thompson has been appointed to the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Board for four years. He brings over 20 years’ experience in manufacturing and industrial relations. He has been the Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union since 2003 and has significant board experience as a member of the boards of AustralianSuper, UCover, and the Australian Construction Industry Trust. Thompson has also previously been on the boards of Cbus, Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation, and the Construction Industry and Property Services Industry Skills Council. The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is a major investment in growing Australia’s manufacturing capacity.

Visy to expand NSW can production

Packaging and recycling giant Visy has announced it is bringing more manufacturing capacity to Australia, announcing an $88 million project to increase beverage can capability. Once fully commissioned, the upgrade will enable Visy to make up to 1.2 billion beverage cans every year in New South Wales. Federal Minister and Member for McMahon Chris Bowen toured the company’s Smithfield facility, the site of the expansion.

Atmo launches HIV test kit in the UK

Atmo Diagnostics has announced the launch of the Atmo manufactured Newfoundland HIV self-test through Tesco Supermarkets in the United Kingdom. Newfoundland, Atmo’s distributor in the UK and Europe, received its first supply of the test kids in Q1, FY24 under an initial order for 200,000 units and a further 220,000 units prior to year’s end. Newfoundland also has taken rights to distribute the test kit in Columbia, and plans to roll it out to further markets internationally.

WA Premier to embark on Japan trade mission

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook and Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti along with representatives from Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC) will board the first direct Perth-to-Tokyo flight in more than three years next weekend, as part of a mission to boost tourism, trade and local jobs. Japan is WA’s second largest trading partner, with $39.7 billion of goods traded in 2022. The mission will involve a range of high-level meetings and events with industry stakeholders, including an energy and resources seminar. Premier Cook and Deputy Premier Saffioti are set to meet with board representatives from Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Marubeni, and the Premier will meet with the Parliamentary Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and the CEO of JOGMEC.

National Recycling Week approaches

National Recycling Week will take place November 13-19, with organiser Planet Ark stating that much of what is currently send to landfill is valuable material that could be reused, repurposed or recycled. The occasion — which has been marked since 1996 — will run under a theme of “What goes around, comes around” this year. According to Planet Ark’s research, about 9 – 18 per cent of material thrown out by households is likely recyclable. According to the organisation the week provides residents and workplaces ways to learn simple methods of reducing their environmental footprint and preventing waste. Residents can host or join recycling-themed events, “brush up on their recycling knowledge with educational resources, learn about new developments in recycling policy and technology or discover tricks to reduce what they are sending to landfill and ensure resources don’t go to waste.”

Bonfiglioli invests in new machine for gearbox assembly

Gearmotors, drive system and planetary gearbox company Bonfiglioli has announced investment in a new heavy-duty (HD) gearbox assembly machine for its Sydney factory, expected to arrive early next year and double output.
In a statement, National Manager of HD and Planetary, Kris Jaryn, said the investment targeted growing industry demand for HD solutions, the biggest current driver of demand. The assembly process – including testing and painting of bevel-helical gearboxes weighing at least a tonne each – takes up to four days, though the new machine would allow for “around ten gearboxes each week,” said Jaryn. The company said its HD gearboxes are used mainly in heavy industry, with the majority of customer demand from the mining sector. Gearboxes are generally assembled at a 5,000 square metre Sydney factory, using components shipped from Europe, though multiple large orders require building in Italy or Slovakia to avoid delays imposed by space or labour constraints.

Picture: BlueScope/Delta, Ohio, plant

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