Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

AMSL appoints new CEO

Passenger EVTOL maker AMSL Aero has announced that Max York is the company’s new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. York was described in a statement on Monday as an experienced commercial executive, military veteran and board director who will lead the company in partnership with co-founders Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon as they prepare to bring the zero-emissions aircraft Vertiia to market. York is formerly CEO of GE Australia, led GE Aviation commercial activities in Asia Pacific for 15 years, and was a Commander in the Royal Australian Navy. Moore and Lyndon said: “We are thrilled to have Max on board for the next phase of our mission to decarbonise aviation. Max has a strong track record as an Aviation executive, engineer, and principled business leader. Together, we will bring our hydrogen-powered aircraft Vertiia to vital markets including air ambulance, emergency services, passenger, and cargo transport, saving lives and better meeting the needs of people living in regional and remote areas. We are thrilled that he has chosen to join us for this next growth phase.”

Detpak and Subway partner on platters

A partnership between Detpak — part of Detmold Group — and fast food company Subway will see plastic takeaway catering trays replaced with 100 per cent kerbside recyclable platters. According to a statement from Detpak on Monday, 26 garbage trucks’ worth of plastic will be removed from the environment each year through the new fibre-based catering platter. Detpak is manufacturing the platters, which were designed and tested at Detpak’s LaunchPad R&D laboratory in Adelaide, for Subway restaurants across Australia and New Zealand. Managing Director for Subway Australia and New Zealand Shane Bracken said, “replacing Subway’s catering platter with a 100 per cent recyclable alternative, worked towards our aim of designing 100 per cent of our packaging to be recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.”

Applied EV and NXP announce partnership

Australian driverless car company Applied EV announced a collaboration with NXP Semiconductors on Tuesday, which the pair say will “jointly make a substantial contribution towards a safer and more connected autonomous electric mobility.” According to a statement from Applied EV, the companies will share ideas and information, work to develop mutually beneficial strategic and production partnerships, and drive forward innovation “in the field of Software-Defined Vehicles and Electrical and Electronic Architecture (EEA) for mutual benefit.” Applied EV’s central control unit, Digital Backbone, uses NXP’s S32G family of vehicle network processors. Julian Broadbent, CEO of Applied EV, said: “Our team has already achieved early successes on the path to producing a commercially available, safety-certified controller for vehicles. Our collaboration and strategic relationship with NXP has been founded on our joint ambition to further innovate the field of Software-Defined Vehicles.”

BluGlass enters contract with Microelectronics Commons  

ASX-listed semiconductor developer BluGlass announced the signing of a $US 1.775 million ($2.6 million) contract with North Carolina State University (NCSU) for laser development, part of its work under the Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors (CLAWS) Hub. This initial contract is for development work in FY241 and supports the Microelectronics Commons program. Established by the US Department of Defense, the Microelectronics Commons is a collaborative capability-building program for defence and dual use technologies, allocated $US 2 billion of CHIPS and Science Act funding. BluGlass CEO Jim Haden said, “We are thrilled to have secured our first contract as part of the CLAWS Hub, where we will be collaborating with recognised industry leaders to develop and commercialise next-generation  wide-bandgap photonic and optoelectronic devices. This core development contract for FY24 aligns with BluGlass’ [gallium nitride] expertise and supports our longer-term product roadmaps, leveraging the benefits of our proprietary RPCVD technology.”

Titomic technology in SpIRIT scientific satellite

Titomic has played a part in the nation’s historic return to space exploration through the successful launch of the SpIRIT nanosatellite, Australia’s first scientific satellite launched in over two decades. According to a statement from Titomic, a specialist in cold spray additive manufacturing, its contribution features a bespoke bi-metallic radiator design, cold-sprayed in pure copper and coated with mirror tape on one side. “The team utilised Titomic’s state-of-the-art TKF 1000 additive manufacturing unit to develop high-efficiency radiator panels that are crucial for the satellite’s operation,” said Herbert Koeck, Managing Director of Titomic. According to the company, this design maximises thermal efficiency, enabling the satellite to host heat-sensitive instruments that are typically reserved for larger satellites.

New UOW-based ARC Training Centre will address renewable energy challenges

Federal Cunningham MP Alison Byrnes officially launched the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Grids Training Centre at the University of Wollongong (UOW) on Monday. According to a statement from UOW, the centre — awarded a $5 million contribution from the ARC — has a primary focus on devising innovative methods and technologies to seamlessly incorporate renewable resources into electricity grids. It will see collaborations among top researchers, engineers, government entities, and industry partners, with the objective of educating the upcoming cohort of industry leaders and specialists in future grid technologies. The overarching goal is to contribute to “a more sustainable, reliable, secure, and cost-effective electricity system.” Director of the centre and Senior Professor Kashem Muttaqi said, “In a world where the impact of climate change is undeniable, decarbonising our power grids is not just a necessity, it is an ethical imperative. The ARC Future Grids Training Centre will serve as a crucible for groundbreaking research aimed at reforming our power grids and paving the way for a sustainable energy future.”

Orora completes Saverglass acquisition

Packaging manufacturer Orora has completed its acquisition of high-end bottle-maker Saverglass. According to Orora, the acquisition enhances its strategic advantage, scale, diversification, and future growth opportunities. ASX-listed Orora funded the acquisition with proceeds from an equity raising, comprising an institutional placement and accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer, and extended Global Syndicated Facility Agreements. “This strategic acquisition further strengthens our existing business, establishing Orora as a global player of scale in attractive premium segments,” said Orora CEO Brian Lowe. “I am thrilled that Saverglass is now officially part of the Orora Group, and I look forward to working with the Saverglass team, led by CEO Jean-Marc Arrambourg, as we embark on this next exciting chapter in our company journey.”

Australian Space Forum to be held this week

The 16th Australian Space Forum will take place on Wednesday December 6 at the ICC in Sydney, NSW. The event will feature  national and international subject matter experts, including Head of the UK Space Agency, Dr Paul Bate, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astronaut, Dr Shannon Walker. There will be six sessions “that will touch on critical challenges and opportunities pertinent to todays space industry,” according to the organisers. “With a focus on growing Australia’s space industry capabilities and connections, the Forum is an ideal opportunity to present Australian industry to key global partners and potential collaborators.”

EOS expects sales to grow as high as $230 million

Defence and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems expects revenue for 2023 to be between $210 million and $230 million, a big jump from 2022’s $137.9 million. This follows a rationalisation of the company as it withdrew from its failed SpaceLink satellite communications venture, and recovered from the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. EOS’s CEO Andreas Schwer said: “As we announce strong growth in our expected revenue for 2023, we recognise the extraordinary collaborative efforts that have brought us to this point. Throughout the past year, teams from across EOS, encompassing Defence, Space, KiwiStar Optics, and EM Solutions Pty Ltd, have united in delivering exceptional products to our global customers…The upcoming year will see us focusing on commercialising (our) products more effectively than ever.” However EOS is in dispute with its lender over a lender claim for additional fees, and commercial discussions are ongoing.

Lethal Humidity Global Council’s letter to world leaders

Resources and renewable energy company Fortescue’s Executive Chairman and Founder, Dr Andrew Forrest, has put his name on an open letter addressed to world leaders attending COP28 on the threat of lethal humidity. The letter from members of the Lethal Humidity Global Council includes the signatures of scientists from India, North America, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Belgium, and calls on world leaders to “move beyond all policies that inhibit the development and deployment of renewable technology in order to achieve the defossilisation of our economy”. The letter can be read here.

Consumer confidence remains weak

Consumer confidence decreased 0.3 percentage points, with the four-week moving average was also down 0.3, according to the ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence survey. Among the mainland states, confidence rose in Victoria, Queensland, and SA, while it fell in NSW and WA. ANZ Senior Economist, Adelaide Timbrell said: “A serious turnaround in inflation would likely be required to see ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence move meaningfully higher in 2024. The overall index remained practically unchanged last week ahead of the December RBA Board meeting, continuing the very long weak streak. We expect the RBA to hold.”

Picture: credit Titomic

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