Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Atomo Diagnostics sells HIV self tests

Atomo Diagnostics has secured purchasing orders from Vitaris Healthcare for $970,000 worth of Newfoundland HIV self-tests, manufactured by Atmo under the Mylan brand. The kits, which are destined for a number of low and middle-income (LMIC) countries, will be manufactured during H2 FY24. Founder and CEO John Kelly said: “We have seen growing demand during FY24 for the Atomo HIV self-test here in Australia as well as across branded versions supplied to international markets. It is good to see emergent demand across LMIC markets from out global health partner for HIV testing.”

Nova Eye Medical in record US sales

Ophthalmic treatment device manufacturer Nova Eye Medical has announced record sales in the key United States market for its iTrack Advance glaucoma surgical device. The company told investors sales for the first eight months to 29 February were US$6.88 million, a growth of 64 percent over the previous corresponding period. February sales were US$0.99 million a rise of 20 percent over January, 2024. Sales of iTrack, a minimally invasive surgical aid, began in May 2023. Sales outside the US were US$0.36 million during January and February 2024, in line with the previous corresponding period.

Deena Shiff is  new AROSE chair

Deena Shiff (pictured) has been appointed chair of remote space operations consortium AROSE following the retirement of inaugural chair David Flanagan. Flanagan is retiring as AROSE Chair after four years and will continue in an advisory capacity. Ms Shiff has had a distinguished career in law and as a senior executive in the communications industry. From 1998-2013, Ms Shiff held senior roles at Australian telecommunications giant Telstra and was the founding CEO of Telstra’s corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures. In 2006, Ms Shiff became Telstra’s first woman Group Managing Director.

Fiji takes delivery of fourth Guardian class patrol boat

Fiji has taken delivery of its second Guardian class Patrol Boat, the RFNS Puamau, at a handover ceremony at HMAS Stirling in Perth. The Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka received the vessel, built by Austal at its Henderson shipyard, on behalf of Fiji. The RFNS Puamau is the second vessel delivered to Fiji, and the 19th vessel delivered under the Pacific Maritime Security Program – Australia’s 30-year commitment of uninterrupted engagement with our Pacific partners in support of a stable, prosperous and secure region. The Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy said: “By enhancing Fiji’s maritime security capabilities, we are more effective in tackling our shared regional challenges together.”

Adherium receives R&D tax incentive

Medical device and digital healthcare group Adherium has received a $1.5 million R&D tax incentive rebate for FY 23. The company manufactures connected respiratory devices, with its’ flagship Hailie sensor attaches to a patient’s asthma inhaler. The company will use the cash to further develop its app to include machine learning algorithms to better manage asthma and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chief Executive Officer Dr Paul Mastoridis said: “R&D is the backbone of Adherium, no one else in the world has our unique digital innovations. We must continue to be the leaders in this space.”

Wellnex Life sales grow on Pain Away acquisition

Health and wellness products manufacturer Wellnex Life has reported sales of its branded products on the rise, reflecting its exit from non-core businesses and the acquisition of pain relief product company Pain Away. Sales of the company’s branded in February was $1.4 million, with Wellnex Life projecting sales of $1.7 million in March. The company told investors: “The company’s focus on concentrating on our own brands and exiting the brokerage business has resulted in margins increasing from a historical 20 percent to an average of 45 percent for January and February.” Revenue for the first half of FY24 was $5.7 million with all revenue derived from its branded products.

Dovetail Electric Aviation gets new investor

Spanish aerostructures supplier and engine components manufacturer Aciturri was announced this week as “a key industrial strategic partner and lead investor” in Dovetail Electric Aviation’s seed investment round. DEA designs retrofit electric propulsion systems for aircraft and was established in 2020 by Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical. “This partnership represents a significant opportunity to drive innovation in the aviation industry and broaden our contribution to a more sustainable future,” said Alvaro Fernandez Baragaño, CEO of Aciturri Aeroengines. David Doral, CEO of Dovetail Electric Aviation, added that the involvement brought not only financial support but also a “track record and expertise in high technology aerostructures and engine parts will add immense value to our operations, helping us bring our innovative solutions to market faster and more efficiently.” Dovetail is initially targeting certification of its first battery-electric powered aircraft in 2026, as a first step to bring a product in the market. Aciturri becomes the lead investor in the second tranche of Dovetail’s seed investment round, with the round having a total target of $US 7 million.

Premcar appoints new COO

Australian new-vehicle engineering and manufacturing firm Premcar this week announced the appointment of Craig Clarke as its first Chief Operating Officer (COO). Clarke was previously a senior executive at Nissan Motor Company’s Asia-Pacific operations, following management positions at Cox Automotive / Manheim and Goodyear-Dunlop. Clarke has been assigned to lead and manage engineering and manufacturing operations across the company’s two vehicle development and assembly sites in Epping, just outside Melbourne. The new leadership and management position resulted from its continued growth, Premcar said, underpinned by increases in new-vehicle engineering projects and growing secondary manufacturing operations for global carmakers, as well as overseas expansion. “Various carmakers have tasked the Premcar team with delivering more long-term engineering and manufacturing projects so appointing Craig Clarke, a highly experienced auto industry leader and manager, is a logical step to ensure they get the success they expect from our team,” said Bernie Quinn, Engineering Director and Co-owner at Premcar.

Basic organic chemical manufacturing worth $1.7 billion 

Market research firm IBISWorld has released updated figures on the basic organic chemical manufacturing industry in Australia, finding an industry with estimated revenues of $1.7 billion in 2024, 1,040 employees, and 32 businesses. The sector saw a 3.5 per cent CAGR in the past five years, and has “undergone structural and operational changes over the past few years” with several companies ending or reducing local production “because of changing market conditions and the industry is in the decline phase of its economic life cycle.” The industry has undergone rationalisation activities, with long-time downward trends in company and employment numbers, and been impacted by volatile conditions in recent years. “Given Australia’s reliance on imported products and its position as a price taker, cyclical fluctuations in the global chemical market have impacted the local industry’s performance” the summary added.

Engineers Australia, Energy Networks Australia form partnership

A new partnership between Engineers Australia and Energy Networks Australia “will play a crucial role in equipping Australia with the engineering expertise required for a smooth transition to renewable energy” according to a statement from EA this week. The agreement will see the organisations work together across three key areas aimed at building the competency and recognition of engineers within the energy sector, while addressing shared challenges. Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew said in a statement that, “Addressing the skills shortage within Australia’s energy sector is central to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The transition to clean energy not only represents a significant shift in how we generate and consume energy but also necessitates a substantial expansion and enhancement of the workforce capable of driving this change.”

Picture: Deena Shiff

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