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VSUN Energy’s new appointments speed adoption of vanadium flow batteries

Australian Vanadium (AVL) has welcomed Steve Banning as Principal Advisor and Dr Yifeng Li as Product Development Manager for its 100 percent owned subsidiary, vanadium flow battery (VFB) manufacturer VSUN Energy. These appointments are pivotal to unlocking AVL’s ambition to accelerate the uptake of VFBs for use in large scale long duration energy storage systems, according to a statement. Steve brings 25 years of deep energy market experience, including as Managing Director of Epic Energy. Dr Li is a battery energy storage system and VFB expert with significant experience, committed to enabling the scale adoption of VFBs. AVL CEO Graham Arvidson said: “Ultimately, these two appointments are about growing our capability within VSUN Energy to deliver outsized value to existing and future customers within Australian energy markets.”

Terara Shoalhaven Sand trebles capacity with new sand wash plant

Construction products producer Terara Shoalhaven Sand has announced plans to invest in a new sand washing plant for its Nowra, NSW facility designed and engineered by wet processing experts CDE to enhance product quality and treble production capacity. The modern dredge-fed wash plant will replace a 30 year old sand trommel in producing washed river sand, top dressing and garden mix. Managed by father-son duo Stephen and Mitch McCormac, the family enterprise, plan to increase throughput from 60 to 190 tonnes per hour. Stephen McCormac said: “This is one of the largest capital investments in our company’s history and one that is primed to really deliver positively for our small team, helping us to boost capacity, improve quality and reduce plant maintenance time.”

Public hearings this week for food and beverage inquiry

The federal House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources will hear from peak industry bodies from the spirit and craft distilling sector as part of its inquiry into food and beverage manufacturing in Australia this week. Public hearings will take place on Wednesday in Canberra, with the committee “interested to hear about the barriers the industry faces, and what innovations are on the horizon to enable the Australian spirits industry to realise its full potential” according to its Chair, Labor MP Rob Mitchell. “The Australian spirits industry has seen immense growth over the past decade, with the number of Australian distilleries increasing significantly.” More on the inquiry is available at this link. 

Monash gets new engineering head

The Faculty of Engineering at Monash University has appointed Professor Mahmoud Mostafavi as the new Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the university announced on Tuesday. Mostafavi will join Monash from Bristol University in the UK, where he holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Structural Integrity. “He brings not only cutting-edge expertise in materials, computational modelling and nuclear technologies, but also leadership qualities and a mind for strategic planning that will benefit the Department, the Faculty and Monash immensely,” said said Professor Yiannis Ventikos, Dean of Engineering at Monash. Mostafavi said Monash is one of the top 50 universities in the world, adding that the department “has a great reputation for research in several areas including fluid mechanics and robotics, and I feel privileged to be joining this outstanding community.”

ARM Hub, MTPConnect announce new partnership

Not-for-profit organisations the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub and MTPConnect have launched the Biomedical AI Sprints Accelerator (BASA) at Australia’s Pavilion at the BIO2024 conference. In a statement from the biotechnology event, which is running in San Diego this week, the pair said BASA will offer between $25,000 and $50,000 in matched funding and will “upskill a selected number of high growth companies in the use of AI and data analytics, provide access to affordable data management infrastructure, and create a tech-ready workforce.” ARM Hub CEO, Professor Cori Stewart, said BASA “will foster a high-skill workforce that will enable our small and medium businesses to scale and compete at a global level” and “promises substantial economic returns and solidifies Australia’s leadership in medical manufacturing and innovation.”

Daikin turns sod at western Sydney site

Air conditioning manufacturer Daikin began construction on Friday at their new 7,500 square metre facility in Sydney’s west, with completion expected by March 2025. The site expands on their Australian headquarters at Chipping Norton. Nicholas MacDonald, Daikin’s General Manager Manufacturing, said the second factory would be used for research and development, training and production and built of on a long-term strategy “to design and manufacture products that meet the needs of local businesses and homes.” MacDonald added that Daikin engaged supply chain and industrial property group TMX Transform via a pre-existing relationship. “Their ongoing support through due diligence, feasibility analysis, development approvals and now into construction management has been invaluable,” he said.

AWU claims intimidation tactics being used against striking sugar workers

Wilmar Sugar Australia has issued notice that the workers who participate in Wednesday’s industrial action will be locked out of the mills indefinitely without pay, which the Australian Workers’ Union claims is “a disgraceful attempt to prevent workers from standing up for themselves and their communities”. The union’s Northern District Secretary Jim Wilson said “This is a multinational corporation trying to bully and intimidate North Queenslanders to stop us asking for our fair share… Crushing workers’ wages and entitlements at Wilmar has clearly become the personal crusade of some people in management.”

Food manufacturers “dragging their heels on nutrition”: report

A new scorecard by Deakin University food policy experts has rated nutrition policies and practices among the nation’s 21 largest packaged food and beverage manufacturers in Australia — including Nestlé, Unilever, Arnott’s, and Coca Cola — and found “little progress is being made to improve the healthiness of food environments”. In a statement from Deakin on Wednesday, Co-Director of the Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition (GLOBE) Professor Gary Sacks said that food companies continued to ignore calls to stop promoting unhealthy food to children. “Current government nutrition policies, such as implementation of the Health Star Rating labelling scheme, restrictions on marketing of unhealthy food to children, and nutrition reformulation targets for packaged foods, rely heavily on the voluntary action of food manufacturers,” said Sacks. “But progress from the food industry is painfully slow, reliance on voluntary action is not working, and it’s clear that mandatory regulations are now required.”

Picture: L-R: Construction has commenced! Daikin Australia’s General Manager of Manufacturing, Nicholas MacDonald; Managing Director of Daikin Australia, Furihata San; Daikin Australia’s Director of Group Finances & Affairs, Kathryn Joseph; and TMX Transform’s Head of Operations Adam McDonald (supplied)

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