Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Right to disconnect from work – what it means

Employment and contract law expert Dr Gabrielle Golding will present her research the new right to disconnect for Australian employees at this month’s Research Tuesdays lecture. Golding, a Senior Lecturer in the Adelaide Law School, said: “Work had become almost inescapable, in that the work/private life divide had become increasingly blurred, while the pull of work from digital devices rapidly increased. France and a number of other European jurisdictions had enjoyed a right to disconnect for a few years at that point, and I saw the opportunity for Australia to recognise the same right.” Golding will discuss Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) amendments which commence operation from 26 August 2024 on Tuesday, July 9, 5:30-6:30 pm at the Braggs Building, North Terrace campus, The University of Adelaide.

Report released on first hydrogen microgrid

The Western Australian government has released a Public Knowledge Sharing Report on the Denham Renewable Hydrogen Microgrid – the first of its kind in Australia. The project, which is now fully operational, includes a 704-kilowatt solar farm, 348kW hydrogen electrolyser and a 100kW fuel cell located in Denham, providing an alternative to diesel generators. It is expected to offset 140,000 litres of diesel each year. The Public Knowledge Sharing Report will help to advance learnings in technology, costs, regulatory requirements as well as the community sentiment around using hydrogen as a fuel source. It will also be used to determine how hydrogen technology can be applied in other remote microgrids.

UOW awarded two KONEKSI Research Collaborative Grants

Professor Son Lam Phung from the University of Wollongong (UOW) has been awarded two research grants from the KONEKSI Research Collaborative Grant – Digital Transformation. The grants backed by Australia and Indonesia, totalling $687,720, will fund projects aimed at improving the lives of vision-impaired individuals and mitigating fall risks among the elderly. The first project leverages the artificial intelligence and computer vision to provide a low cost, AI-guided tool for assistive navigation for visually impaired people. The second employs advanced sensor technology and machine learning algorithms to continuously monitor elderly individuals for potential fall hazards.

Weld Australia wins international award

Weld Australia has won the Andre Leroy Prize at the 2024 International Institute of Welding (IIW) Awards, it announced on Monday morning (Sydney time.) The Awards took place as part of the IIW Annual Assembly and International Conference on Welding and Joining in Rhodes, Greece. The prize recognises the contribution to scientific and technical training or teaching, welding processes or allied processes, the quality control of welded joints or of the results of the application of allied processes, problems raised by the behaviour of materials and welded construction. Weld Australia was recognised for its suite of learning resources for delivery of the 12 welding and fabrication units of competency in the Manufacturing and Engineering (MEM) Training Package. CEO Geoff Crittenden said, “The development of our MEM Resources was a collaborative effort with a national consortium of TAFEs. Over the past two years, this partnership has allowed us to create the most engaging and up-to-date training materials possible. The success of this project is a testament to the dedication and expertise of everyone involved.”

Record fine handed out for unlicenced import

The federal environment department has issued a record total of $465,480 in fines to the Australian arm of an unnamed multinational company for importing electrical switchgear containing synthetic greenhouse gas without a licence. In a statement on Monday, it said that investigators from the department and the Australian Border Force (ABF) found the company imported equipment containing sulphur hexafluoride (SF6, the the most potent synthetic greenhouse gas) without a licence. Officials seized “around $3 million worth of equipment containing an estimated 517 kilograms of SF6, which if released to the atmosphere would have a climate impact equivalent to running nearly 5,000 cars for a year.” Import of equipment containing a scheduled substance like SF6 without a licence  is illegal under both the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 and the Customs Act 1901.

New HMI Unified Basic Panels introduced

Siemens SIMATIC HMI Unified Basic Panels, designed to elevate industrial control and visualisation, are now available in Australia, APS Industrial (APS) has announced. According to the industrial automation solutions company and Siemens reseller, the panels offer increased performance, modern design, cost and function optimisation, and smooth operation with multi-touch and gesture recognition, as well as combining “the latest web and edge technologies with open interfaces to provide extensive capabilities.” Each panel includes an integrated web client, providing flexible remote access for operation and monitoring, at no additional cost, APS said in a statement.

Projects of concern summit held

A Projects of Concern Summit was held on Monday on the Civil Military Air Traffic Management System (OneSKY-CMATS). According to a release from defence industry minister Pat Conroy, it discussed “the integrated master schedule, completion of a test readiness review and commencement of software testing. All parties agreed to continue executing the agreed remediation plan through a set of regular milestones.” It is the sixth Projects of Concern Summit held under the current federal government. “Over the past 12 months, considerable effort has been undertaken by the OneSKY-CMATS project team to develop a robust plan to remediate areas of concern,” said Conroy. “The Government remains confident this project will deliver a viable capability to Defence.”

AusBiotech announces new Chair

Biotechnology industry body AusBiotech has announced Dr James Campbell, the CEO and Managing Director of Patrys, as its new Chair, following a unanimous vote of the Board. According to a statement from the organisation on Tuesday, Campbell has been a non-executive director since April 2021 and interim Chair since November 2023. “As Australia’s biotech, medtech, and diagnostics companies scale up and out, it’s crucial that AusBiotech continues to strengthen its role as the informed, leading and trusted voice of our sector,” said Campbell. Our strategic trajectory over the coming years must be one of growth and transformation for the benefit of our members.”

Picture: credit ARENA

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