Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

DroneShield in new US defence order

Drone countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield has received a repeat order of $5.7 million from a U.S. Government customer for a number of its C-UxS (Counter-UxS, pictured) systems. C-UxS refers to counterdrone systems targeting multi-domain aerial, ground and maritime surface drones. The delivery, involving multiple DroneShield product lines, is expected to be completed in several stages throughout the remainder of the year. DroneShield’s US CEO Matt McCrann said: “As the drone threat continues to evolve and proliferate across domains in modern conflicts, we are honoured to support the U.S. Government and our allies as they look to meet the growing need for advanced Counter-UxS solutions.” DroneShield’s Director of Business Development Tom Branstetter said the company’s product portfolio paired with high-level manufacturing affords it the ability to rapidly outfit U.S. and partner nations with lifesaving technology, while also addressing a wide range of operational requirements. “It’s a privilege to assist the U.S. government and our allies in strengthening security both at home and abroad.”

Babcock backs subs in school STEM learning project

Defence technology company Babcock has increased its support for the innovative SUBS in Schools Program offered by Re-Engineering Australia Foundation Ltd (REA). SUBS in Schools is an educational programme involving schools competing with each other to conceive and build a working model submarine. It offers access to real-world industry experiences and mentorship opportunities, supporting Australia’s AUKUS skills development needs. Babcock will expand its involvement by providing submarine and ROV kits to schools, backed up by industry mentoring and invaluable insights and knowledge into the industry focused on inspiring students.

Bombardier opens defence business office in Adelaide

Bombardier has opened a dedicated defence office at Lot 14 innovation district in Adelaide. Opened by the state Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Stephen Mullighan, the Canadian company employs more than 18,000 people globally and has an in-service fleet of more than 5,000 aircraft. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the company modifies there Global and Challenger aircraft families for various special mission configurations. The new SA office will be dedicated for Bombardier Defense customers.

Boral becomes Australian Made licensee

Construction materials company Boral has announced that 17 of its packaged and dry mix products have received approval to carry the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo. In a statement on Wednesday, Boral said the range of cement, mortar and render products joins its existing Australian Made licensed Asphalt products and will now carry the Australian Made logo, which requires a product to undergo its last substantial transformation in being processed in Australia. The Australian Made logo is administered by not-for-profit Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL.) Boral CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal said: “We have seen the strong demand and shift back to supporting Australian brands and products over the last few years. Receiving this mark of approval provides our customers added confidence that they are receiving a premium, genuinely Australian product that meets our country’s highest standards.”

Packaged-meat labels that show freshness could replace use-by dates, reducing food waste

Patches that change colour as raw meat freshness deteriorates in sealed refrigerated products could soon become a reality on supermarket shelves, according to Monash University. The patches would make it easier for shoppers to know if meat is still good to eat and reduce food waste. Researchers, led by former Monash University PhD student Debarati Bhadury (now at the University of Washington in Seattle), have developed on-pack colour indicators made from natural plant materials to show how fresh beef is, and could be used to replace traditional ‘best before’ dates. They used beef porterhouse steaks, and demonstrated that when applied to the inside of transparent packaging film, the indicators consistently changed colour in response to rising pH levels caused by growth of bacteria such as E. coli. Co-developer Dr Joanne Tanner of  Monash, said “Colour-changing indicators on the package are a way of giving consumers real time information that meat is still fit for consumption. By contrast, a Best Before date merely represents a conservative estimate of how long the packaged meat will remain usable and is not an actual gauge of freshness. It is based on a series of worst-case assumptions about its handling and refrigeration through the supply chain.”

AML3D establishes US manufacturing base in Ohio

Wire arc additive manufacturing company AML3D announced the signing of a 64-month lease establishing its US headquarters and manufacturing facility on Wednesday (Australian time.) The site is located within a manufacturing and industrial district at Stow, Ohio, with “excellent national and international transport links to allow AML3D to effectively support [its] US customer base”, the company said. It follows the recent, successful $6.9 million capital raising. The company added that the hub is in a “modern, ready to use, manufacturing facility including fabrication space, loading dock facilities and office space, which will require minimal capex to become fully operational.” AML3D CEO Sean Ebert added: “Our Adelaide facilities have been critical in supporting our expansion into the US market, but as our US Hub comes online in the early part of FY25 it will help to free up capacity at our Adelaide facility to continue to pursue the Australian, Asian Pacific and European defence markets. We will in effect look to leverage our US playbook.”     

Quickstep builds 100th drone  

Composites company Quickstep Group has marked completion of its 100th drone aerostructure. The company, which has announced production contracts with companies including Carbonix and Dronamics, said on Linkedin that in the 18 months since it began applying its core process — “including the founding AeroQure technology to drones” — it has ramped up to produce three drone products for customers. It added that it has “the capability to run a rate of 3-6 (depending on the product) completed products per day.”

Defence SMEs meet with mine countermeasure leaders at symposium

Two specialist Australian defence industry SMEs are meeting with international mine countermeasures leaders at the 16th International Mine Warfare Technology Symposium being held in San Diego this week. Dr David Battle, co-founder of Mission Systems, and Russell Norman, Technical Director of Solutions from Silicon, are partners of Exail, and are at the symposium discussing solutions to improve Australia’s MCM capabilities. Mission Systems is known for its AI-based mine detection and clearance technologies developed with Defence Innovation Hub funding, and Solutions from Silicon is the supplier of MINTACS MCM software to the Royal Australian Navy. “The great thing about the symposium this year is the theme of Mine Warfare in Contested and Non-Permissive Environments, which is exactly the situation that potentially faces us,” said Battle added “It’s essential for anyone working in this field to be here this week for the technical presentations and unclassified discussions. We look forward to catching up with Daniel and our other colleagues throughout the week.”

Picture: DroneShield/DroneSentry-X C-UxS system installed on a maritime platform

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