Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

RM Williams to open flagship store on Friday

Apparel company R.M.Williams is preparing to open its flagship store to the public on December 1 in Sydney. The 91-year-old brand will open the store on George Street, in the CBD, and The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, “A customised soundtrack, signature scent and altar to R.M. Williams’ $649 Craftsman boots already stand out inside the 460 square metre space being hastily completed before Thursday night’s official opening.” Andrew and Nicola Forrest bought R.M. Williams for a reported $190 million in 2020, through their private investment company, Tattarang. On Monday, R.M. Williams commented on social media about preparations for the launch. “This is a first, even for us. This morning, a giant R.M.Williams boot arrived at Pitt St Mall, making its mark on Sydney’s retail scene,” it posted on Linkedin (see picture.) “Visit the display until Thursday night to find out more about our new flagship store and see this groundbreaking icon for yourself.”

STA welcomes Industry Growth Fund

The nation’s peak body for the science and technology sectors “has warmly welcomed the opening of the Industry Growth Program”, calling it “a powerful accelerator for more R&D” in Australia. The $392 million program opened on Monday, aiming to support start-ups and SMEs to scale their operations with R&D, providing matched grant funding of up to $5 million. Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert said it represented “a powerful spur for more and better R&D in Australia – and has been designed to help more of our country’s remarkable innovative small businesses to become medium-sized businesses… “STA has long advocated for greater support to help outstanding Australian research to bridge the ‘valley of death’ to commercialisation and to connect up existing programs to deliver mass and momentum.”

Engineers Australia climate conference to begin on Wednesday

The 2023 Climate Smart Engineering Conference, (CSE23), Engineers Australia’s flagship event, will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday and Thursday. “Since its foundation in 2021, CSE has become a focal point for debate and knowledge sharing. Last year, CSE22 explored the ways engineers can navigate the complexities of achieving net zero emissions and drive the transition to a clean energy economy,” said Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew. “The CSE23 plenary and technical programs will bring you the latest in world-leading views and engaging debate on solutions to address climate change, responding to extreme events, biodiversity loss, boosting the circular economy, and upholding the principles of sustainable practices in engineering.” Presenters include Zoe Whitton, Managing Director and Head of Impact at Pollination, Dr Larry Marshall, former CEO at CSIRO, Lisa McLean, CEO at Circular Australia, Professor John Thwaites from Monash Sustainable Development Institute, and former Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Viva Energy gets approval to for low-sulphur petrol upgrade

EPA Victoria has granted a development licence to Viva Energy Refining to upgrade its Corio refinery to produce ultra-low sulphur petrol. The decision comes after several months of consultation with the local community and government and is part of the Federal Government’s $250 million Refinery Upgrades Program, the state EPA said on Tuesday. In assessing the application, EPA considered issues including noise emissions during construction and while in operation, impacts to human and environmental health and management of waste by products. “EPA Victoria is satisfied the upgrade can be achieved while protecting human and environmental health,” it announced. “Australia’s fuel quality standards currently allow up to 150 parts per million of sulphur in regular unleaded petrol, and 50 parts per million of sulphur in premium unleaded petrol. The Viva upgrade will see petrol produced at ten parts per million of sulphur.”

AusBiotech weighs in on RNA discussion

Life sciences industry body AusBiotech has urged policy makers to take a national approach to capability mapping and introduce targeted initiatives in its response to the federal government’s discussion paper, Understanding our RNA potential. AusBiotech  made four key recommendations in its submission, including undertaking national capabilities mapping to appropriately prepare for the RNA future and track progress; build, diversify and address gaps in access to capital across the industry by introducing a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program modelled on the USA, implement agreed regulatory guidance materials and harmonise globally, where it makes sense, and consider a targeted tax amendment in the multinational tax regime in order to make Australia globally attractive. “Locally, investment has recently been seen through multinational partnerships being penned with Sanofi and Moderna; the establishment of the NSW RNA Pilot facility; and further industry investment taking place across the country,” it said. “However, Australia is underprepared to capitalise on the opportunities RNA can deliver as there is currently no clear visibility of the capabilities within the country in order to appropriately and proactively prepare for Australia’s RNA future, and to track its progress.”

Gilmour Space announces partnership with EOS

Australian launch services company and manufacturer, Gilmour Space Technologies, has selected EOS as its additive manufacturing partner as it moves from R&D and prototyping to launch and manufacturing. In a statement on Tuesday, Gilmour said it is “months away from attempting Australia’s first sovereign orbital launch from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport”, with plans to increase its launch cadence in the coming years. “We are excited to work with EOS and Additive Australia to enhance the in-house manufacturing capability for our Australian-made orbital launch vehicles and satellites,” said David Doyle, Program Manager for Launch Vehicles at Gilmour Space. “It is really quite amazing to see the rapid innovation from organisations like Gilmour Space,” added Terrance Oh, Senior Vice President, EOS Asia Pacific. “Metal additive manufacturing allows for generative design and fast production, and now we are seeing the rules for developing space launch vehicles rewritten. We are thrilled to play a part of Gilmour Space’s ride to deliver satellites to low Earth Orbit.”

Picture: credit R.M. Williams/Linkedin

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