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Sparc Technologies raises $2.25 million

Graphene and green hydrogen developer Sparc Technologies has received firm commitments from sophisticated and other professional investors to raise $2.25M through a share placement. New and existing investors strongly
supported the placement. Sparc Technologies Managing Director Nick O’Loughlin, said: “Sparc is very pleased with the strong support it has received from new and existing investors, which we view as a continued vote of confidence in the unique technology portfolio that Sparc is developing. Importantly, this capital raise means that Sparc is well funded to support its investment in Sparc Hydrogen and progress commercialisation efforts for ecosparc.” Sparc’s Directors have subscribed for 454,545 shares in the Placement, totalling A$100,000. The issuance to Directors is subject to shareholder approval.

Austal tests autonomous navy patrol boat for RAN

As part of the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial underway for the Royal Australian Navy, shipbuilder Austal completed Sea Acceptance Trials (SAT’s) of the vessel Sentinel, off the coast of Western Australia in March and April 2024. With the support of Trusted Autonomous Systems, Greenroom Robotics Pty Ltd and Navy’s Warfare Innovation (WIN) Branch, the trials included a series of supervised tests of the Sentinel’s remote control and autonomous systems and operating capability, from onboard and remote command centre locations. Utilising Greenroom Robotics’ Advanced Maritime Autonomy (GAMA) software, the vessel undertook multiple, remote controlled and autonomous (pre-programmed) navigation events, including various manoeuvres, station keeping, go/no-go operation testing, advanced collision avoidance, contact detection and radar tuning and vessel dynamics testing. The next step is test during a sea voyage of several days.

Wellnex Life to dual list in London

Healthcare manufacturer Wellnex Life has appointed UK advisors to dual list the company’s shares on the London Stock Exchange in addition to the ASX in 2024. Since first floating the idea in 2023 the company has conducted due diligence and analysis on the opportunity, including an institutional roadshow, with the board now believing that listing on the LSE will provide a platform to continue to grow the company both domestically and internationally. Wellnex recently secured an extension of its supply agreement with Haleon to distribute its products into the UK and UAE markets. In January Wellnex announced an exclusive distribution agreement
with Homart Pharmaceuticals for distribution in Asian markets.

Aurora Labs to focus on metal 3D printer and gas turbine developments

Perth additive manufacturing manufacturer Aurora Labs (A3D) has raised $2.04 million through a placement to new investors and existing shareholders. Proceeds from the Placement will primarily be applied towards further testing of the defence and aerospace focussed gas turbine, delivery of the AL250 Printer, construction of the company’s first Multi-Layer Concurrent Printing MCPTM Prototype and working capital. Directors and management accounted for $89,000 of the placement. A3D CEO Rebekah Letheby said: “Over the last 12 months, we have shifted our focus to markets where opportunities for additive manufacturing are most prolific and short term: and that is Defence…With a lean cost control strategy, the capital we are raising will permit us to complete testwork of our Defence/Aerospace focused turbine project, while delivering the AL250 printer and MCP prototypes.”

Bosch hiring for project manager role

Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions (BAMS) is currently hiring for a project manager on its team. The job is described as This is a two-year maximum-term, full-time opportunity based at the company’s Clayton, Melbourne office, and may involve occasional domestic and international travel. To be considered for the role, an applicant must have a “relevant engineering degree or experience working in industries such as automation, robotics, manufacturing, or machine build.” More information can be found at this link.

Packaging firm fined after worker crushed

Visy Board has been fined $375,000 in the NSW District Court related to crush injuries sustained to a worker’s left ankle following an incident where the ruling found the risk of injury was “patently obvious”. In a statement on Tuesday, SafeWork NSW said it launched the prosecution after a June 25, 2020 incident, where the Visy employee was working on a conveyor at the company’s Smithfield worksite. The worker unknowingly stepped into the path of a trolley car, which hit the worker’s left leg and caused it to be trapped between the trolley car and conveyor, crushing his left ankle, with the leg surgically amputated below the knee due to an infection after several surgeries. A risk assessment was carried out at the worksite around six months earlier, raising concerns about “crush/pinch points between edge of trolley car and conveyors corners”, with solutions identified though not implemented. Head of SafeWork NSW Trent Curtin said, “Workplaces need to identify risks such as where mobile plant might interact with people and design their workplace layout so that vehicles and pedestrians are separate wherever possible.”

First software degree apprentices commence study

The nation’s first degree combining software engineering with an apprenticeship was officially launched on Tuesday. 13 University of SA students began the degree this year with three Adelaide defence employers – BAE Systems, submarine company ASC and electronic warfare specialists Consunet – combining work and study in their first year of a Bachelor of Software Engineering. The students will support the state’s defence sector, ahead of the construction of nuclear-powered AUKUS submarines. The program follows the UK’s lead, where software degree apprenticeships are delivered in conjunction with BAE System’s submarine shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. The program is a partnership between UniSA, the State Government, the defence industry and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), and funded by a $450,000 commitment over three years from the SA government. First-year subjects include IT fundamentals, problem solving and programming, industry professional development and taking part in a Design Think Studio.

AusBiotech announces next CEO

Industry body AusBiotech has announced that Rebekah Cassidy is its incoming Chief Executive Officer, commencing May 20. In a statement on Tuesday the organisation said Cassidy was recently Sanofi’s Deputy Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Australia & New Zealand, and “brings experience from companies working at the bench through to bedside, including The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and her broad experience has aided her understanding of Australia’s health ecosystem and the value the life sciences sector brings to Australia.” Cassidy added that, “I’m hoping to hear many voices on these topics over coming months. I’m looking forward to listening intently and working to identify new opportunities for collaboration so that we can harness the opportunity in front of us, and continue to grow Australia’s life science community.”

Defence minister tours LoomTex textile plant

Textile manufacturer LoomTex has hosted Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Defence, at its Geelong, Victoria weaving mill and dyehouse. As the local member of Parliament, Marles inspected the company’s manufacturing capabilities in a show of support for Australian manufacturers. The visit followed the government’s announcement for ‘a future made in Australia’ policy to protect sovereign manufacturing capabilities. LoomTex said: “We’re proud to be a rarity as one of the few woollen mills in Australia, with a vision to become the country’s most innovative and sustainable manufacturer of apparel, technical and upholstery textiles.’ LoomTex is a joint venture between Instyle Interior Finishes and Colan Australia that has brought together over 100 years of textile experience.

Picture: Austal/Sentinel autonomous patrol boat under trial


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