What is manufacturing? It could be said to be a series of discrete often automated operations, co-ordinated and linked by sensors and data, to create an efficient and seamless production and logistics process from raw material to product. Rio has for many years been pursuing a vision of mining as just such a thing – a factory if you like, just a very de-centralised one. Thus drill hole creation at its Pilbara mines are an automated process, the drilling begun or ‘pulled’ through the system by the requirements of specific ships approaching Port Hedlend to pick up blended iron ores for individual customers. Just as cars are built for specific customers, ore is only mined when sold. The company has been automating key elements of the iron ore production chain – automated mine trucks, ore crushers, ore blenders, ship loaders etc…..and now the company has run its first driverless train. (see story) All this is controlled from a single centre located from Perth. Ultimately the company sees its Port Hedland operation working like a well oiled Toyota factory – a series of standardised operations, linked by logistics, centrally controlled and making only product that customers have already bought. An exciting concept – maybe our definitions are more out of date than we think.
Perth ship builder Austal has continued its often underappreciated success building ships for the US Navy – it operates what is now America’s fifth biggest shipyard. It has received its 15th order – the second this year – for a $750 million littoral combat ship (LCS) to be built at its Alabama shipyard. Significant parts of the ship are built at Austal Perth for incorporation into the ships. The 127 metre long three hulled vessel was originally modelled on its successful passenger ferries, but has now evolved such that it is a contender for even larger orders to meet America’s future frigate needs. The LCS was originally conceived as a multi-role vessel, with removable modules to suit different needs such as mine laying. The ship is now being given anti-ship missile and other offensive capabilities. Austal also supplies a second vessel for the USN – the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), a twin hulled transport vessel. Austal’s continuous production techniques, modular construction and efficiency set it in good stead to win the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel contract for the Royal Australian Navy. A great example of an Australian multi-national designer and manufacturer – it also builds ships in the Philippines.
Lightweight ceramic components for luxury watches will be manufactured in South Australia under a new agreement. -Stephanie Richards, The Lead South Australia Bausele CEO and founder Christophe Hoppe. Australian watchmaker Bausele has strengthened its ties with Flinders University to form a Bauselite ceramics supply and manufacturing company in South Australia’s capital Adelaide. Australian Advanced Manufacturing was launched last week and will continue to produce Bauselite componentry for luxury watches. The components will be made at Flinders University campuses in Adelaide, more than 15,000km from Switzerland where the majority of luxury watch componentry is made. Bauselite is a very strong, very light ceramic material developed by Dr Jonathan Campbell and colleagues from the Flinders Centre for NanoScale Science & Technology. It was used to create Bausele’s Terra Australis watch, released in 2015, which became the first watch from Australia to be accepted for showing at Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewellery trade fair. “The new material and method of production solved a number of issues specific to using ceramics in watches,” Dr Campbell said. “It’s a significant accomplishment that watch components are being produced here, signalling a major step forward and a powerful statement about Flinders’ delivery of elite engineering.” Bausele CEO Christophe Hoppe said Australian Advanced Manufacturing aimed to expand its production of high quality watch components. “Controlling manufacturing is really important and it can be both difficult and costly but with Australian Advanced Manufacturing I think there’s a real opportunity to make key components here in Australia,” he said. “Having the company will give us the flexibility, the freedom and the control – I think it will just make everything work better.” The Bausele Terra Australis watch design has been heralded as the first world-class timepiece ever made from parts designed and crafted in Australia. A five-pronged diamond clasp to secure the watch face is […]
-Peter Roberts I was lucky enough to visit Precision Components in Adelaide several years ago just as they were wrestling with the looming closure of auto assembly. Precision had a collection of metal stamping presses, often pretty old units bought from Holden and given basic automation functions, producing metal parts and complex sub-assemblies. Like all components suppliers the discipline was ‘cost-down’ delivering 5% cost reductions per year over the generally seven year life of its contracts with the assemblers. As such it was extremely lean, and totally tuned to its final customer. The company had invested in new laser cutting and hot metal pressing equipment, but it still needed to find products of its own or new customers that would give it a future. Ideas such as pre-fabricated metal buildings and furniture were considered, in fact every permutation of metal product standard and emerging was looked at. Precision seems to have found more than a niche in centralised solar voltaic power – where heliostats reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on tower, generating steam. There are numerous manufactured products involved. Now it is able to participate in solar R&D, establishing a research field with UniSA. Precision Components’ Director Mat Fitch described the project as ‘an important milestone’ for the company, which has been gradually moving away from its core car parts business to limit the impact of the car industry downturn. “This is another significant step in the diversification strategy we implemented to safeguard the future of the business and to create employment opportunities for South Australians,” Mr Fitch said. I wondered at the time whether Precision would make it, but am delighted to see their resilience, determination and willingness to innovate pay off in such a way. Congratulations Precision!
Australian machine tool manufacturer ANCA is putting the word out about its apprenticeship program. If you know of any bright young folks with a passion for mechanical/electrical engineering, pass this on to them. ANCA is a long established manufacturer of CNC Precision Grinding Machines that is recognized globally for its world class products and technologies. Its products are sold worldwide and is synonymous with innovation, engineering excellence, quality and pride. Stuart Gurney, the Apprentice Master said: “ANCA has a proud history of investing in its people to develop a highly skilled and engaged workforce. My apprentices get exposure to CNC machining, precision fitting, electrical testing and grinding applications throughout their four-year program.” “My passion is supporting the next generation of talent to enter the fascinating world of CNC grinding. Far from just being a manufacturing company we sell 99% of our product overseas and compete with German, Swiss, Japanese and US competitors successfully. We are honestly an Australian manufacturing success story. “It is very rewarding to see how much my team develops over the four years to graduate with a fantastic career ahead of them,” Stuart concluded.’
–Brent Balinski Good to see Penguin Composites get a contract to supply fibreglass parts for the Hawkei, following Quickstep’s decision to cancel (Quickstep refocussed this year, and glass fibre bonnets etc. were non-core business). I visited Penguin’s factory a couple years ago and owner John van der Woude told me they’d tried their hand manufacturing just about everything from dog wash trailers to caravans to septic tanks over the years. They started nearly four decades ago, making fibreglass canoes for outdoor enthusiasts. Like many in the north-west of Tassie, they were a supplier to Caterpillar Underground Mining, before Cat moved this manufacturing to Thailand, and were working out what they’d do to fill the gap. A lot of people think in terms of big shipyards or JSFs on runways when they think of our defence investment, but there’s a lot of mum and dad suppliers like Penguin, of course, that make a local defence industry possible.
Australia’s largest MBA provider, Australian Institute of Business (AIB), has introduced what is a first in Australia -‐ a new online calculator which aims to help prospective students make the life-‐changing decision to study an MBA. The MBA Time-‐to-‐Study Calculator helps future students determine how they would fit MBA study into their busy schedules. Joel Abraham, AIB Joint CEO, said that the MBA Time-‐to-‐Study Calculator lets people look at their study opportunities each week in a practical and planned approach. “Even with work, family and other commitments, people might be surprised how much study time they can fit into their lives,” Mr Abraham said. The MBA Time-‐to-‐Study Calculator is also a great tool for Course Advisors to use when determining with prospective students whether the AIB Agile MBA is the right course for them. Kerry Kingham, Head of Student Recruitment, explains, “We know that most students will need to spend around 20 hours per week on all aspects of their study to complete an MBA. The MBA Time-‐to-‐Study Calculator can be used to easily establish when they could allocate time for study and whether it suits their lives.” AIB has also launched the Agile MBA ROI Calculator, which allows people to work out what an MBA could be worth to them in future earnings. The ROI calculator is based on graduate data collected in the 2017 Alumni Insights Survey, and can help future students work out future earnings over the years to come. Since softly launching to the market in August, AIB have had over 22,000 unique visitors to their tools which have resulted in 1,200 reports generated and sent to potential students. The Australian Institute of Business is the […]
United Forklift and Access Solutions is introducing to Australasia its new Haulotte HT28 RTJ PRO Telescopic Boom, featuring the latest advanced safety and sustainability innovations for optimal performance in a range of access and maintenance applications. The new Haulotte HT28 RTJ PRO boom lift has a maximum outreach of nearly 24m, below ground reach of 3m and ground clearance of 48cm. It is compact, easily transported and offers excellent rough terrain capabilities. “The HT28 is robust, easy to maintain and suitable for all industries. The latest innovations will bring the productivity and reliability that the Haulotte brand is already known for globally,” said Mr Andrew Macdonald, National Product Manager – Access Division, United Forklift and Access Solutions, which is the national distributor for Haulotte products in Australia. In the picture: Alexandre Saubot, CEO Haulotte Group, left, congratulates David Maxwell, Managing Director of United Forklift and Access Solutions, right, on receiving the first HT28 RTJ PRO to arrive in Australia. “It is ideally suited to tasks requiring access equipment in industries such as building, construction and infrastructure, ship maintenance, forestry, mining and maintenance of large structures,” said Mr Macdonald. The new HT28 boom also has an optional dual load capacity of 230-350kg. In the 350kg mode, the platform can accommodate up to 40% extra equipment weight. The unit also has an oscillating axle, 4 wheel steering, hydraulic differential wheel lock, high ground clearance, and gradeability up to 45%. Safety The new HT28 comes with in-built ACTIV’Screen technology that provides real-time diagnostics and is capable of displaying malfunction resolution, machine settings, maintenance alerts and service intervals. ACTIV’Screen’s on-board fully coloured monitor screen and diagnostic system provides precise information for operators to help avoid unnecessary service calls or field intervention on rental equipment, maximising machine uptime. By directly accessing the machine parameters […]
Technology that brings standard exhibition booths alive with video projections has launched this month. The immersive booth technology is the brainchild of Andy Roberts, the founder of Rogue Lumens, a technology company in Adelaide, South Australia. In a previous role, Roberts had travelled the world attending conferences and was constantly uninspired by the static displays of posters and logos on show. “At an exhibition in October 2016 I was standing there and it occurred to me that we could do a lot more in a booth by introducing new technology,” said Roberts. He first looked into incorporating augmented or virtual reality but found the technology was not ready for a mass market. “The uncomfortable interruption of having someone ask you to put something over your face in a crowded room is such that you just can’t do it. But we wanted to find a way we could produce an immersive type experience without having to interrupt someone naturally,” he said. Roberts and his team came up with a software program that allows projectors to seamlessly turn the three sides of a standard 9sq m booth into screens. “We built our own software and web portal to solve how we would populate this size of screen,” said Roberts. The web portal allows users to see what their booth would look like from all angles as people approach the stall, and incorporates a human outline to ensure the scale is correct. “It is all put together with a bespoke interface that companies can make with their own content – such as photos and video – and the software scales it,” said Roberts. “We’ve had the luxury of actually being in the position of being at exhibitions so we are solving a problem we’ve had ourselves. We were thinking about the tools we […]
Tritium’s new manufacturing facility will increase capacity seven fold Production capacity for 6,000 chargers per year High-tech manufacturing jobs to triple Brisbane, Australia 4 October 2017: Tritium, the Australian technology company that is an international leader in the development and manufacture of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, has officially opened its Global HQ and major manufacturing facility in Brisbane, which will enable it to increase its capacity potential seven fold. In a ceremony, attended by the Honourable Mark Bailey MP, Minister for Main Roads, Safety and Ports, Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Tritium announced the new facility will enable the company to produce 6,000 Veefil fast chargers for electric vehicles a year and will triple the number of high-tech manufacturing jobs. Tritium’s CEO David Finn explained the new manufacturing plant was a learning line “This facility will allow us to fine tune our production process, and make sure we are hitting the high quality levels we want to achieve. However, in the future we will need to be manufacturing closer to our core markets and within five years we estimate Brisbane will be just a small output in our production capacity. “Around 95% of our sales are export and we currently are seeing a lot of activity in public charging networks in Europe and the US.” “The Veefil-RT 50kW fast charger, which was ten years in development, was only launched four years ago and has been an outstanding international success, with innovative new technology developed in house. It was the start of a range of fast chargers that is continuing to grow and we are preparing for three new products to be launched next year.” The Veefil-RT is operational in 22 countries with an impressive customer base of international infrastructure providers, including ChargePoint, Stromnetz, Fortum Charge & Drive. As […]