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MGA Thermal’s blocks go a simulated decade 

Thermal energy storage company MGA Thermal has announced successful simulation of ten years’ working life for its MGA Blocks. The Blocks are used to store and discharge heat, use a purpose-designed miscibility gap alloy, and are being rapidly cycled to help inform customers what to expect from storage, the company said. “How did we do it? We innovated a unique piece of development equipment specifically for this purpose,” the company posted on Linkedin (see picture) on Monday morning. “The thermal cycler moves a carriage of MGA samples in and out of the hot zone of a furnace. Thermocouples measure the temperature of the samples which in turn controls the position of the carriage. This allows the samples to heat up to temperature and cool back down, like they do when they are in our Thermal Energy Storage Systems.” Each cycle takes between 20 and 40 minutes depending, on the temperature range, and simulating a full lifetime of cycles can be achieved in as little as six months. So far, the company has simulated ten years of working life for the generation 1 MGA Block, it said.

Space Machine Company readies for liftoff

Space Machines Company is preparing for the launch of its Optimus spacecraft, sharing over the weekend that this has now been integrated into a Transporter-10 stack “where it will assume its position atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, poised for an extraordinary journey.” SMC praised the commitment of its Launch Team at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, “in meticulously executing a comprehensive array of mechanical, electrical, and software checks. Their relentless efforts have culminated in the successful completion of a critical fuelling procedure, equipping Optimus with the capability to execute precise manoeuvres in space, thereby facilitating orbital adjustments as needed.” It advised followers of its page to “Stay tuned as we prepare to witness the culmination of months of meticulous preparation, pioneering innovation, and collaborative effort.”

Global crude steel production down in January

Over the weekend the World Steel Association (worldsteel) released crude steel production figures for January, accounting for the 71 countries reporting to it. Production was down versus January 2023 by 1.6 per cent to 148.1 million tonnes (Mt). By region, Africa produced 2.0 Mt for the month, up 16.3 per cent. Asia and Oceania produced 107.6 Mt, down 3.6 per cent, EU was down 1.8 per cent 10.2 Mt, and Europe, Other produced 3.9 Mt, up 22.5 per cent. By country’s Chinese production was down 6.9 per cent to 77.2 Mt,  India produced was up 7.3 per cent to 12.5 Mt, Japan was up 0.6 per cent to 7.3 Mt, and the United States was down 0.3 per cent to 6.8 Mt.

ADC seeks program director

The Australian Design Council is hiring a new Program Director, based in Sydney, New South Wales. The two-year, fixed-term role is hybrid, and the successful candidate will be “responsible for designing, developing and operationalising the Australian Design Council’s annual events and programs.” The ADC is a not-for-profit industry body that advocates for a design-led future for Australia. It was originally known as the Industrial Design Council of Australia, before ceasing operation in the mid-1980s, and was relaunched in September 2020. More about the role can be seen at this link.

FWPA launches new website

The not-for-profit industry services company Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has unveiled a new website. According to a statement from the organisation on Monday, the revamped “houses a comprehensive library of programs, projects, resources, data and tools created by FWPA to support the success of its members and the broader sector ” and is “intuitive and specifically designed for simplicity and an improved user-experience.”  Head of Marketing and Communications at FWPA, Sarah Downey, “Whether you are looking for general information about FWPA, current projects, past research reports, or resources based on specific keywords, our user-friendly redesign ensures quick and easy access to the information that matters most to you.”

iLAuNCH gets new space education lead 

The Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications, and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Trailblazer has announced the appointment of Dr Matthew Richardson as Director of Space Education Programs. In an update, the organisation said the role is a position “integral to our commitment to advancing knowledge, fostering collaboration, and shaping the trajectory of space exploration” and is located at the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ.) Richardson will lead development and implementation of ispace engineering and science programs in collaboration with iLAuNCH partners The Australian National University and University of South Australia. “We extend our sincere congratulations to Dr. Richardson on his appointment. With his extensive experience and expertise, we are confident in his ability to spearhead an exceptional education program” it added.

NSW Government turns attention to procurement, rebuilding domestic manufacturing

Last week state minister for domestic manufacturing Courtney Houssos met with ten manufacturers, reinforcing that the NSW government “has made rebuilding the state’s manufacturing industry a key priority.” Houssos attended a roundtable hosted by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) in Sydney, including representatives from a range of businesses including manufacturers of electronics, defence componentry, road tankers, and medical devices. According to a statement, the discussion focused on challenges in accessing capital, engagement with NSW government agencies, and scaling; opportunities to leverage government procurement spend; and committing to establishing local content requirements. “We want to see our precious government procurement dollars put to good use,” said Houssos. “The NSW Government is committed to transforming the state’s procurement framework and practices, but it will take time.” AMGC Managing Director Jens Goennemann said: “Unlocking government buying power to support local industry growth is a smart strategy and we are pleased that the NSW Government is seeking better ways to make the state’s dollars work for national good.”

Picture: MGA Thermal instrument technician, David Birdsall, who brought the testing design from conception through to delivery with the support of the company’s R&D department

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