Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Austal’s 18th LCS warship for the US Navy completes acceptance trials

The future USS Kingsville constructed by Austal USA, part of the Perth-based shipbuilder Austal, has successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico for the U.S. Navy. During acceptance trials, comprehensive testing is conducted on the ship’s major systems and equipment in order to demonstrate their successful operation and mission readiness. Austal USA Vice President of New Construction Programs Dave Growden said: “The completion of trials combined with the recent delivery of USNS Cody (EPF 14) adds up to a successful start to 2024 for Austal USA.” Kingsville will be the 18th Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship to join the Navy in the Pacific fleet.

Nova Eye Medical raises $8m for expansion

Glaucoma surgical device manufacturer Nova Eye Medical has successfully raised $8 million from investors to speed the expansion of its US and European ophthalmic device sales effort. The funds raised will advance near-=term growth opportunities for the company’s iTrack Advance device and to broaden the product portfolio of glaucoma surgical devices. The company’s cash balance after the raising will be $10 million.

EOS can’t explain sudden surge in share price

Defence and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has responded to a query from the ASX and said it is not aware of any information that might have driven a sudden near-50 percent jump in its share price. The company’s share price has jumped from 99 cents on January 29 to a high of $1.48 – a timeframe of less than two weeks. EOS told the exchange it had no explanation for the price rise, which was also accompanied by an increase in the volume of shares traded. The company pointed to a number of recent major announcements, reported in @AuManufacturing, of sales of its weapons systems. However EOS shareholders shouldn’t celebrate just yet – in 2022 the company’s shares were selling at $3.29.

Vulcan Steel profits fall on adverse business conditions

Steel distributor and processor Vulcan Steel has reported falling profits on continuing high inflation and high interest rates which have dampened business activity and investment appetite. The company, which operates 69 logistics and processing facilities in Australasia, reported EBITDA profit down 29 percent to $76.9 million (NZ$82 million) for H1 FY24. Operating cashflow was up from NZ16 million to NZ$105 million. Managing Director Rhys Jones said: “Despite (the) conditions we delivered a strong operating cashflow performance…by being disciplined on working capital and costs, and with net debt further reduced by NZ$42 million since FY23 to NZ$298 million at the end of December 2023.”

Two Geelong businesses awarded $50,000 in Clean Economy Grants

Last week two businesses were each awarded $25,000 Clean Economy Grants from the City of Greater Geelong. Building technology developer and tiny home manufacturer FormFlow received a grant to develop and commercialise a new finance model to promote a circular economy in housing. According to a statement from the City, the new approach for affordable and sustainable housing aims to replace the traditional ‘build to buy/rent’ model with lease financing of building modules. Sequence Digital will use its $25,000 grant to bring new life to lithium-ion batteries collected from landfill. Their battery management system is designed to run on cells from discarded consumer battery packs, powering their Rhino Instruments temperature monitors which are installed at the City’s Garden Organics Processing Facility. The funding for each project will go towards covering costs such as materials testing, prototyping, market research, research and development, testing to achieve accreditations/standards, and exploring intellectual property rights.

ARM Hub seeks mechatronics engineer for expansion

The Brisbane-headquartered not-for-profit organisation, the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub, has announced that it is searching for a mechatronics engineer to undertake programming, mechanical and electrical design on projects and oversee project and facility management activities. According to the job ad on seek (linked), the Northgate-based role reports to the Chief Operating Officer, and desirable skills include the ability to supervise and train HDR and honours students in the field of robotics and autonomous systems; supervising research undertaken at the ARM Hub, including writing and editing reports, notes, and other documentation; and accessing and referencing applicable scientific literature. The role will be offered on a fixed full-time basis for 12 months, with the possibility of renewal subject to funding.

Engineers Australia endorses diversity in STEM report

Engineers Australia has said it welcomes the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Final Report and urged the Australian government to adopt the panel’s recommendations and its Diversity in STEM Program Strategy. The report makes 11 recommendations to increase the diversity of Australia’s STEM system, from promoting equity and diversity throughout the educational journey and STEM careers to addressing stereotypes, and eliminating workplace bullying, harassment, racism, and discrimination. Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew, endorsing the report, said: “In Australia, we are suffering a severe lack of diversity in engineering, just 14 per cent of working engineers in Australia are women. If we look down the pipeline, things do not improve – of our engineering graduates, just 19 per cent are women… Addressing the lack of diversity in STEM occupations is critical to lessening current and future skills shortages.”

Orthocell submits Singapore Regulatory Application for Remplir 

Regenerative medicine company Orthocell’s application to market and sell its peripheral nerve repair product, Remplir, in Singapore has been accepted for review by country’s Health Services Authority. HSA is the Singaporean Ministry of Health’s body responsible for regulating the importation, manufacture, export, and supply of medical devices. “Singapore is an important market and a stepping stone to the very large and attractive ASEAN targets,” Orthocell Managing Director, Paul Anderson, said on Tuesday. “Once approved, it will be the third country in which Remplir is available for sale, with US regulatory application, a key focus of the Company, on track for submission Q4 CY24.” The collagen nerve wrap product (pictured) is exclusively distributed by Device Technologies (DVT) across Australia and New Zealand. Orthocell said that over 100 orthopaedic and plastic surgeons in those markets are now using the product in peripheral nerve repair surgeries, from facial to upper and lower limb nerves.

Construction begins on $55 million medical research facility

South Western Sydney will be home to a new state-of-the-art medical research facility, with the first sod turned on the Lang Walker AO Medical Research Building – Macarthur, on Tuesday. According to a statement from the NSW government, the $55 million building will be home to the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research – Macarthur, delivering innovation in world leading research to improve patient outcomes. The research will have national significance, focusing on five key areas including diabetes, mental health, indigenous health, paediatrics & child wellbeing and addiction medicine, and will complement the NSW government’s $632 million redevelopment of Campbelltown Hospital and the broader Campbelltown Health and Education Precinct. State minister for medical research David Harris said, “This is an incredible facility which will promote greater scientific, clinical and industry collaboration, deliver leading-edge diagnostics and bring the best in medical research to south western Sydney.”

Picture: Remplir (credit Orthocell)


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