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Manufacturing News

Cochlear upgrades profit outlook on strong implant sales

Hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear has upgraded earnings guidance following better than expected growth in revenue from bionic ear implant sales. The company told investors underlying net profit for FY24 was now expected to be between $385-400 million, a 26 to 31 percent increase on FY23. The upgrade is eight percent above the midpoint of prior guidance to investors. Final sales revenue increased 25 percent to $1,113 million with underlying net profit of $192 million. CEO Dig Howitt said: “Cochlear implant trading conditions have been strong across the first half, with units growing 14 percent…The key change to our expectations is that we now expect to achieve 10-15 percent growth in our Cochlear implant units for FY24 compared to high single digit growth expected in August.”

Three new members for National Science and Technology Council

Three Australian scientists have been appointed to the federal government’s leading advisory council on science and technology. Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Professor Reuben Bolt and Professor Mark Hutchinson have been appointed to the National Science and Technology Council for three-year terms. Professor Dasgupta is a leader in accelerator-based nuclear fusion and fission, and the first woman to be tenured in the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University. Professor Bolt is the first Indigenous Australian appointed to NSTC. A proud Yuin man with more than 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector, Professor Bolt will bring expertise in health and epidemiology as well as First Nations knowledge and knowledge systems. Professor Hutchinson is a leader in translating fundamental science discoveries into economic value, and from 2021 to 2023 he was the President of Science & Technology Australia which represents 110,000 scientists. Professor Hutchinson will provide the NSTC with advice on research commercialisation and medical technologies.

NAIF gets tweaked investment mandate

The federal government is updating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) investment mandate “to better align national priorities to projects that deliver economic, social and community outcomes for northern communities.” The Commonwealth government financier provides concessional loans for infrastructure project developments. Under the new investment mandate, tabled in Parliament this week, the NAIF must be satisfied that potential investment projects align with one or more policy priorities including: economic development in the north, alleviating social or economic disadvantage in Northern Australian communities, including the development of social infrastructure, achieving Australia’s net zero and energy transition goals, improving First Nations outcomes and contributing to Closing the Gap. The changes will also formally align NAIF investments with the objectives of the Critical Minerals Strategy 2023-2030, following the Government’s $500 million commitment under the NAIF for critical minerals projects.

New appointment to ANSTO board

Professor Timothy Senden has been appointed to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Board for three years. According to a statement from industry minister Ed Husic, the appointment “will complement the existing ANSTO Board and support ANSTO’s function as Australia’s nuclear science centre of excellence into the future.” Senden is an internationally-recognised nuclear physicist and Director of the Research School of Physics at ANU. He has held academic positions at the College de France (Paris), Institute Charles de Sadron (Strasbourg) and the University of New South Wales (Australian Defence Force Academy) in Canberra. He received his PhD in Atomic Force Microscopy from the Research School of Physics and Engineering in 1993. ANSTO provides advice to the Government on nuclear and science technology matters and delivers real-world benefits to Australians through supporting access to nuclear technologies to improve health.

Geelong tech showcase to return in April

The returning Technology and Innovation Summit will showcase the world-leading manufacturing capabilities of the region and feature international market leaders, according to its organiser, the Geelong Manufacturing Council. This year’s summit will be held at GMHBA Stadium on April 18. “Featuring industry experts in thought-provoking discussions the summit will shine a light on the world of opportunity open to manufacturers, discuss technology and innovation opportunities and share manufacturing success stories,” reads a description from the GMC. “Join top investors, entrepreneurs and executives for a full day of insightful keynote sessions at Geelong Manufacturing Council’s Technology and Innovation Summit.” A program and speaker information will be available at the event’s website soon.

Loomtex joins GMC

The Geelong Manufacturing Council has also welcomed new member LoomTex, the nation’s last remaining woollen furnishing textile mill and dye house. InStyle and Colan Australia announced the joint acquisition of Geelong Textiles Australia late last year, and the subsequent rebranding as LoomTex. LoomTex will continue to create upholstery, apparel and technical fabrics in Geelong for commercial and domestic use, with plans for investments in technology, research and development that will ensure it remains at the forefront of the industry. Instyle is a sustainable textile wholesaler supporting Australian design and production, and Colan is a manufacturer and distributor of high performance industrial textiles.

UQ research reveals nutrition potential of budding bushfood

A bushfood staple could be the centre of a new Indigenous industry, according to University of Queensland PhD researcher

Sera Susan Jacob, from the ARC Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods. Jacob has identified the properties and potential of wattleseed, an edible seed or legume from the Australian Acacia, used traditionally as a staple food. “The legume is currently used as a flavouring ingredient because of its taste and aroma, but my studies show there are different ways to take advantage of its nutritional properties by using it as a major ingredient,” said Jacob. “Most existing consumer products only use one variety of wattleseed, A.victoriae, when there are many others to consider. Wattleseed has similar protein content to other legumes but is very high in fibre and low in starch. It also contains compounds with a lot of anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic benefits, which are important to today’s consumers.”

Beenleigh company gets structural steel order for Qld trains

Beenleigh Steel Fabrications has been awarded a Queensland government contract to supply and install 2,400 tonnes of structural steel for buildings at the Queensland Train Manufacturing Program’s (QTMP) facility at Torbanlea, near Maryborough. The $40 million contract will create new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities, according to a statement from the Queensland government, following success by BSF in a competitive tender process “due to demonstrated capability and capacity, its state-of -the-art fabrication workshop at Berrinba and commitment to local and indigenous employment.” Buildings being constructed by Beenleigh Steel Fabrications at Torbanlea include the train manufacturing facility, administrative building, a gatehouse and pump house, with construction expected to commence in the middle of this year. The contract is expected to create six new jobs, and the hiring of 10 apprentices and four trainees. “The new jobs at Beenleigh Steel are part of 360 needed to build the Queensland Train Manufacturing Program facility and more than 380 required to manufacture the trains, said deputy premier and Woodridge MP Cameron Dick on Wednesday.

Picture: credit ANSTO

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