-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.’
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 […]
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 […]
Andrew Watson, Executive Director, Efic A new financial year is an opportunity for new beginnings for small businesses. This could involve exploring a new source of revenue, a new growth channel or a new market. For manufacturers, international markets offer a number of exciting opportunities for growth across a range of industries. Export is an opportunity to penetrate new markets, magnify the scale of your business operations and gain global exposure for high quality Australian products and services. In the course of my job, I work with many Australian manufacturers that are achieving success overseas, and it’s inspiring to see. Whether your business is in wine, food, engineering, healthcare or fashion, export can be the chance to take your domestic business to the next level. Many manufacturing businesses are navigating these challenges and achieving great success overseas. One such company is Jet Engineering, an Australian business that specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of custom-built machinery for the mining and construction industries. “Our flagship product is our hydraulic tyre handler, which we developed for the Australian underground coal mining sector,” explains co-founder Shayne Ritchings. Recently, Jet Engineering won a large export contract for a modified version of its hydraulic tyre handler, which will be installed in an underground platinum mine in South Africa. “We’d done a little bit of exporting, having previously sent a crane to a mine in Papua New Guinea a few years ago,” said Shayne, “however this was nowhere near the scale of this South African project.” “The contract is for just the one attachment initially, and a critical spares kit for repairs,” said Shayne, “with possibly a second one down the track.” “Off the back of that, we’re now talking to a mine in Mongolia about the same tyre handler product as well, and we’re […]
Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said “This was a solid quarter for production, including record output at our bauxite operations. Iron ore production was in line with last year, although iron ore shipments were impacted by an acceleration in our rail maintenance programme following poor weather in the first quarter. “We believe our focus on capital discipline, maximising cash flow from operations, driving productivity and portfolio shaping will continue to support the delivery of strong cash generation and shareholder returns.” Highlights Pilbara iron ore shipments were 77.7 million tonnes in the second quarter (100 per cent basis). Shipments were impacted by accelerated rail track maintenance. Iron ore shipments guidance for 2017 is around 330 million tonnes (previously 330 to 340 million tonnes). This takes into consideration first half production and further rail maintenance in the second half to improve track conditions. Record quarterly bauxite production of 12.9 million tonnes was seven per cent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016, driven by strong production at Weipa and Gove. Third party shipments of 8.0 million tonnes were achieved in the second quarter. Mined copper production recovered compared to the previous quarter, however was six per cent lower than the second quarter of 2016 as Escondida continued to ramp up following a labour strike. Titanium dioxide slag production increased by 34 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2016, reflecting higher market demand. On 26 June 2017, Rio Tinto confirmed Yancoal Australia as its preferred buyer of Coal & Allied, after an improved offer from Yancoal of $2.69 billion. Rio Tinto shareholders have since approved the sale. The sale is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2017. All figures in this report are unaudited. All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto’s […]
Australia’s manufacturing level is the OECD’s lowest and the long-term decline of manufacturing here is atypical among comparable countries, new research shows. University of Queensland Institute for Social Science Research researcher Dr Jenny Povey said Australia lost 122,400 manufacturing jobs in the decade to 2015. Australia lost 122,400 manufacturing jobs in the decade to 2015. “The sector now accounts for only 7.1 per cent of Queensland jobs,” Dr Povey said. Manufacturing’s share of national employment dropped from 30.5 per cent in 1965 to 7.8 per cent now, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union-commissioned study. “We can no longer hope to simultaneously outsource to countries with lower production costs and keep high-skill jobs here,” Dr Povey said. “Our research illustrates the decline in Australian manufacturing output is not typical and that Australia has the lowest share of manufacturing employment of any OECD country.” Dr Povey urged Australia’s federal and state governments to increase investment and intervention. “They should learn from Germany, if Australian manufacturing is to be saved,” she said. “The German government spends AUD$3.2 billion annually funding a network of research institutes to drive innovation, and their manufacturing sector contributes 22.6 per cent of GDP, underpinned by partnerships between researchers and industry. “The German model works to drive exports of manufactured goods and create jobs. “Manufacturing provides skills to other industries, and its decline will result in skills shortages in other industries, therefore a shift in Australia’s policy direction is required now. “Increased public procurement is an important facet of that change, and this research supports the notion that when we can make things in Australia, we should.” Economist and Australia Institute Centre for Future Work Director Dr Jim Stanford said the study supported research undertaken by his institute last year. “UQ’s report confirms the drop in manufacturing work is not normal or […]
The Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia (RWTA) has called on the Victorian Government to explain why it encouraged a business with a history of serial insolvency in Europe to enter the local market. The Andrews Labor Government last week welcomed plans by Dutch-‐based cold storage and logistics company NewCold to establish its Asia Pacific Headquarters in Melbourne’s west. However, an investigation by international Forensic and Risk Services company PKF has revealed NewCold’s European Directors have a history of insolvency associated with failed companies in the same industry. RWTA Chairman David O’Brien called on the Victorian Government to disclose any subsidies or financial assistance offered to NewCold’s establishment in Victoria, and to explain what due diligence has taken place. “Our own investigation found both of NewCold’s foreign Directors have been directors of companies that have gone into liquidation in the UK. How have they proved financial viability when there is a history of serial insolvency in Europe?” Mr O’Brien asked. “This should have raised the alarm for any Australian business or Government considering entering a commercial relationship with this firm,” he said. Mr O’Brien said he was extremely concerned that if NewCold decided to buy market share by price gouging, this would lead to job losses by destroying local players. “The Premier needs to explain what data he relied upon to support his promise of the creation of 127 jobs in a business which is highly automated.” The Australian cold storage industry is estimated to be worth about $6-‐billion, and is forecast to continue growing at around 2.5% per annum.
Statement by AMMA Chief Executive Steve Knott Australia’s resource industry welcomes the Turnbull Government laying out a roadmap to bring Australia’s company tax rate into line with the OECD average. While immediate support for small and medium businesses will provide junior miners, explorers and suppliers to the resource industry with welcome tax relief, the 10-year plan to have a 25 per cent company tax rate across the board will provide a great boost for investment in new major resource projects. The resource industry is in the business of long term planning and development, with multi-billion dollars investment decisions often having lead times of more than 10-years. Thus, certainty and stability is critical for Australia’s resource industry to remain a globally competitive place to invest, employ and do business. AMMA urges the opposition to take a bi-partisan approach to company tax reform; one that will see both major parties commit to the 25 per cent target within 10 years whether in government or opposition. These important budget measures must be complemented by other reforms that maximise the proportion of Australians in jobs, paying tax and generating growth. Australia cannot allow our unbalanced, increasingly uncompetitive workplace relations system to remain in a holding pattern, creating barriers to jobs and growth. The next Australian Government must tackle the growing imperative for workplace relations reform. Implementing key recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s review of our workplace relations framework would be a very positive starting point.