oct15 Australian Manufacturing Technology
Your Industry. Your Magazine.
Simply a smarter insert.
Medical â€“ An inside look at the sector PAGE 36
.medical .Cutting Tools .Compressors & Air .Robotics & Automation .Forming & Fabrication
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ST Y CO E L H G HI ECTIV EFF
Volume 15 Number 09 October 2015 ISSN 1832-6080
MEDICAL Healthy prospects Australian lasers can reverse age-related blindness Overcoming financial barriers to export Lasers HELP medical manufacturing 3D-printing ribs in Melbourne The perfect fit for artificial hips DMG helps Osteon in global market
36 40 41 42 43 44 46
CUTTING TOOLS New coolant enhances parting & grooving Medical implant OEMs set sights on ceramics Advanced vending systems boost productivity
50 52 54
COMPRESSORS & AIR TECHNOLOGY Compressed air cooling for electronics cabinets Demystifying compressed air quality 3DPrint-AU brings 3D shapes to life
55 56 57
ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION Okuma – The power to dream Humans + Robots: A powerful team YuMi – world’s first collaborative dual-arm robot How we won the world robot soccer championship
60 62 63 64
FORMING & FABRICATION Longevity & upgrades save laser customers money Plasma beam coping eliminates manual drawbacks SafanDarley – work smarter, not harder Determining the best process for metal cutting
65 66 69 70
From the CEO From the Industry From the Union
10 12 14
INDUSTRY NEWS Current news from the industry
PRODUCT NEWS Our selection of new and interesting products
ONE ON ONE Prof. Karen Reynolds, Flinders University
COMPANY FOCUS G&O Kert – Adapting to adversity
AMTIL FORUM Import/Export IP Law OHS
72 73 74 75
Manufacturing History – A look back in time
AMTIL INSIDE The latest news from AMTIL
oct15 AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
your industry. your Magazine.
Medical – An inside look at the sector PAGE 36
& Automation Tools .Compressors & Air .Robotics
Healthy prospects Australia’s medical technology industry is growing fast, with a turnover of around $11.8bn in 2012-13. Australian enterprises specialising in this expanding and vibrant sector are showing the world what Australia has to offer.
Prof. Karen Reynolds Professor Karen Reynolds is the Deputy Dean at the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM), and Director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University. She explains the broad range of functions encompassed by the MDRI, its collaboration with industry and her own background.
Cover Australia’s medical technology industry is expanding: In 2014 there were between 500,000-1m different medical devices listed on the ARTG, representing more than 500 med tech companies. Page 36
.Forming & Fabrication
AMT October 2015
G&O Kert – Adapting to adversity Taking over a business isn’t easy at the best of times, so Ian Melville faced a tough induction when he took charge of G&O Kert just before the GFC. However, the Queensland-based company focused on diversification and managed to survive in a market that remains uncertain.
Editor William Poole
Kickstarting innovation I got a new watch recently, a Pebble. It’s a smartwatch – a bit like the Apple Watch, but with fewer features, and a fraction of the price. It talks to your mobile phone, displaying notifications when you get calls, texts, reminders, and so on. The hassle of pulling your phone from your pocket when it buzzes is probably the definition of a First World Problem, but now it’s been solved. Anyway, I mention it not because of the Pebble itself, but because of the way it was funded. Rather than setting up a meeting with the bank, or going cap in hand in search of venture capital, Pebble turned to Kickstarter, one of several online “crowdfunding” platforms that help anyone with an idea for a project or venture to get it off the ground. Kickstarter lists each project on its website, where members of the public may back it financially in exchange for a reward – usually the finished product. If a project meets its fundraising target, it goes ahead; if it doesn’t, it’s scrapped. The Pebble team developed a working prototype, then went to Kickstarter to raise the capital to go into production, and smashed records as its best-funded project ever. In doing so, they generated headlines worldwide, in turn feeding interest in the product itself. Pebble recently returned to Kickstarter with the secondgeneration Pebble Time, and broke records again. Kickstarter is interesting to surf, like a strange cross between a technology fair and a craft market. Many of the projects are creative in nature: unsigned bands with albums to release, or poets hoping to self-publish that slim volume of verse. Then there’s the technology projects, which can be pretty much anything, from desktop 3D printers, to electric skateboards, to sleep monitors. And there’s a weird middle ground where craft meets cutting-edge: handtooled wooden Bluetooth speakers, hand-tooled wooden computers… a lot of wood, actually. As you’d expect, there are crackpot schemes, but there’s also plenty of genuine innovation, in terms of the products, but also the business models behind them. Pebble has been hailed as the fresh-faced upstart taking on the Apple Watch, much like Apple was once cast as the upstart taking on corporate goliaths like Microsoft. But there are countless projects with humbler, albeit perfectly viable, ambitions: little machine shops in Montreal, Munich or Melbourne, with some spare capacity and an idea for a niche, small-batch product that might just turn a profit with sufficient interest. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. By showcasing innovative products and disruptive business models, sites like Kickstarter are in turn disrupting the very way businesses can get off the ground. But there are limits. Kickstarter’s target audience is the general public, so it inevitably skews towards the consumer market; other than the arts/crafts/hobbyist-inventor type of project, there’s a lot of smartphone accessories. You won’t find the next big breakthrough in, for instance, wind turbines, or mining equipment, or aircraft light-weighting. Take medical technology. A Kickstarter project for a sleep apnoea device is unlikely to attract backers unless they actually want a sleep apnoea device. Med tech is routinely cited as the sort of high-end, high-value-add sector where Australian manufacturing could prosper, but there are huge barriers to entry: regulatory, financial, the problems of establishing effective research partnerships. We’ve looked at some of these in our main feature this month, but such difficulties are not easily overcome.
Need Gears Need Gears on Time? on Time? 8 |
AMT October 2015
Contributor Carole Goldsmith Sales Manager Anne Samuelsson firstname.lastname@example.org Publications Co-ordinator Gabriele Richter email@example.com Publisher Shane Infanti firstname.lastname@example.org Designer Franco Schena email@example.com Prepress & Print Printgraphics Australia AMT Magazine is printed in Australia using FSC® mix of paper from responsible sources FSC® C007821 Contact Details AMT Magazine AMTIL Suite 1, 673 Boronia Rd Wantirna VIC 3152 AUSTRALIA T 03 9800 3666 F 03 9800 3436 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.amtil.com.au Copyright © Australian Manufacturing Technology (AMT). All rights reserved. AMT Magazine may not be copied or reproduced in whole or part thereof without written permission from the publisher. Contained specifications and claims are those supplied by the manufacturer (contributor)
Disclaimer The opinions expressed within AMT Magazine from editorial staff, contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of AMTIL. The publisher reserves the right to amend the listed editorial features published in the AMT Magazine Media Kit for content or production purposes. AMT Magazine is dedicated to Australia’s machining, tooling and sheet-metal working industries and is published monthly. Subscription to AMT Magazine (and other benefits) is available through AMTIL Associate Membership at $165 (inc GST) per annum. Contact AMTIL on 03 9800 3666 for further information.
For every Australian success story like Cochlear or ResMed, there are numerous tiny start-ups battling to turn a great idea into a viable product, and they need support and guidance. It takes more than just getting enough people to fill in their credit card details online.
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The buying power of associations Many industry associations can greatly assist their members through third-party providers by using the buying power of their membership to negotiate discounted rates on overhead costs. We have just gone through a number of focus sessions with our members and gathered feedback from them that the cost of inputs into their businesses is getting prohibitive and reducing their competitiveness. So I thought it would be a timely reminder that the benefits of industry associations should not be overlooked when it comes to minimising costs in your company. AMTIL offers quite a few member services including electricity brokerage, all types of insurance, foreign exchange, telephone and ICT solutions, and consulting services through William Buck. Make It Cheaper is our energy expert. The company offers a quick, easy and efficient route into what can be a murky energy market, doing everything they can to save time and money for your home or business. Their experts will compare prices from Australia’s leading energy suppliers to ensure you’re getting a fair deal. Once they have found the best prices from their panel of 14 different retail providers, they then set you up on these rates to make your life as easy as possible. We have had a number of AMTIL members who have had their electricity bill analysed by Make It Cheaper and 100% of them have been able to save money. The review of a bill is a free service just to make sure you are being billed correctly and is also obligation-free so there is no issue with picking up the telephone and checking what saving you can get. The average saving for AMTIL members per annum has been estimated at around $15,000 per company by utilising this service. Make It Cheaper also provides this service to employees of member companies. This is a great benefit to your staff as well and does not always involve a change of your current electricity provider, as there have been cases when just a check of your bill and a phone call from
Make It Cheaper has resulted in rates being lowered through your existing retailer. For more information on AMTIL membership and benefits please contact our Corporate Services Manager, Greg Chalker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9800 3666.
Innovative Manufacturing CRC update The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) recently held an election of seven Directors that were appointed by 23 Foundation Members covering industry, research providers, universities and industry associations. AMTIL is pleased to be a Foundation Member and Portal Organisation. The IMCRC will bring industry into clusters together with worldleading research capability and through the development and application of new materials, systems and technologies, will create new products, processes and business models. These will enable industry to embrace the innovative manufacturing paradigm of high value, high knowledge, customer-specific products of the future.
AMT October 2015
Through active support for research into and adoption of enabling technologies such as additive manufacturing, automated and assistive technologies and accelerated high-value product development, together with innovative business processes and models for industry transformation, the IMCRC is uniquely placed to meet Australia’s future needs in these critical areas. Congratulations to the recently announced Chairperson, Mr Philip Butler, and the Board of Directors including Prof Calum Drummond, Prof Mary O’Kane, Mr Simon Marriott, Dr Alexander Gosling, Prof Robert Saint and Mr Innes Willox. We look forward to working with the Board and staff at the IMCRC in order to help them meet their objectives.
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Industry Tennant Reed, Principal National Adviser – Public Policy, Australian Industry Group
How does the new emissions reduction target impact manufacturers? Now we’ve had some time to reflect and dig deeper into the Federal Government’s emissions reduction target announcements, what more do we know? And what does it mean for manufacturers? The Government aims to cut Australia’s greenhouse emissions – mostly carbon dioxide from fossil fuels – by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Given the most recent official projection that emissions will otherwise rise to nearly 18% above 2005 rates by 2030, this is a big turnaround.
Reductions from the RET and efficiency standards are already baked into the projected growth in overall emissions. The Safeguard Mechanism is not currently envisaged as a driver of emissions reductions. And the ERF has only limited funds to achieve the existing 2020 target.
• Phasing down HFC refrigerants. This will have transition costs for suppliers and users of refrigeration and air conditioning, though alternative refrigerants are increasingly available.
It’s a cut of nearly 40% below the businessas-usual projection, an absolute reduction in 2030 reaching more than 250m tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or more than 2bn tons cumulatively from 2021 to 2030. All that sounds very big. But what does it mean for industry? Alas, the answer is a combination of “we don’t know yet” and “definitely something”. The impact target depends entirely on the policies used to achieve it. The Government’s current policies are:
While the Government has committed $200m per year to the ERF after 2020, that may not buy much of the abatement sought – just 14m tons per year at the low prices achieved in the initial ERF purchasing round, and maybe just 2m-5m tons per year at the much higher marginal abatement costs that will apply as Australia digs deeper for reduction opportunities. If Budget funds were unlimited, buying the full whack at these higher prices would cost between $100bn and $250bn from 2021 to 2030 in nominal terms, or $60bn-$140bn if we discount that spending to a Net Present Value in 2015.
• Developing a low-emissions technology roadmap. This may involve encouragement for battery energy storage, though it is also vague.
• To purchase abatement with Budget funds through the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). This has no direct cost to industry, other than the opportunity cost of funds that could have been spent on other beneficial purposes, or not raised from business and other taxpayers in the first place. It may benefit businesses in a position to sell abatement. • To impose emissions baselines on large emitters who would be penalised if these are exceeded. This “Safeguard Mechanism” would impose costs on the liable businesses (about 150 nationwide) if their baselines are breached, but the current policy is not to penalise business-as-usual activity; we would not expect this mechanism to impose costs in the next several years. • To encourage renewable energy through the renewable energy target (RET). This has some direct costs to energy users, though emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries are now fully exempted from these; the RET also offsets these costs to energy users by suppressing wholesale electricity prices. • To maintain energy efficiency standards for many products. This involves some compliance cost for businesses directly involved in their manufacture or supply. In their current form, these policies don’t have much cost for most manufacturers. But they will not be enough to reach the target.
AMT October 2015
That level of spending is clearly not going to happen. So what will come next to bridge the gap and meet the targets? The gap may shrink without policy. Current projections are almost certainly too high, with weaker prospects for growth in coal and gas exports and their associated emissions once projects are up and running. Lower projections are likely in late 2015 but the gap will still be big. Covering will need significant new policies. So far the Government has listed a few areas for investigation: • Design of the ERF and Safeguard Mechanism. Using the Safeguard to drive abatement would come at a cost to industry, but the Government will also re-examine lower-cost international abatement opportunities, which would reduce costs to industry. • A National Energy Productivity Plan developed with the states. This is still embryonic, but regulations or expanding efficiency trading schemes will have costs, as well as offsetting benefits. • Improving the efficiency of vehicles. This would likely be through mandating fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles, though lighter-touch options will also be considered. Given the looming end of the local car assembly industry this would be unlikely to have a negative effect on manufacturers.
• Developing a strategy to improve solar utilisation. The content of this is unclear.
Estimating the costs of any of this won’t be possible until there is much more detail. It remains unclear whether the Opposition will accept the same 26%-28% target or commit to a deeper one. Whatever the target, their broad approach would be: to reintroduce a carbon price, this time through a fully-fledged emissions trading scheme linked to international carbon markets; and to boost renewable energy to 50%, though the mechanism for doing this is yet to be developed. Labor might adopt similar regulatory ideas to the Government on cars and refrigerants. If their target is similar, the minimum cost of achieving the abatement will be similar: $100bn-$250bn worth of abatement in nominal terms to 2030 based on current projections. Power prices would go up again if a carbon price was incorporated, though they will also have to rise even more to attract investment and replace existing capacity. Measures will be essential to maintain the competitiveness of trade-exposed industries faced with uneven international climate policies. Either party could cut costs with good design, like international linkage; poor policy design could further raise costs. So what is industry facing? Total confusion until after the next election. The costs could be significant – though they also need to be put in context. Even $250bn would be just around 1.5% of cumulative nominal GDP over the same period. The overall economic costs of these targets – and the deeper ones that are likely to follow – can be manageable. The challenge for policymakers is to ensure they are minimised and spread fairly – with a close eye on the competitiveness of industry
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Union Paul Bastian – National Secretary Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Manufacturing in doldrums as recession fears grow The latest National Accounts, released on 2 September, show a sobering picture of the state of the economy. Real GDP growth stalled in the June quarter to just 0.2%. If the next three quarters mirror the last one, the economy will record growth of significantly below 1% for the year. Potentially even more disturbing is the fact national real net disposable income, which is a better measure of people’s wellbeing than GDP, fell by 1.1% in the last year, meaning that many businesses and consumers are effectively experiencing recessionary conditions even if we aren’t in a technical recession. All of this has led to warnings of the first recession in Australia in 25 years. These warnings aren’t coming just from the usual pessimistic academics that have predicted seven of the last two recessions, they are now coming from institutions such as Goldman Sachs, which has warned there is a one-inthree chance of an Australian recession. More concerning for those interested in an advanced, diverse and resilient Australian economy, and by extension those who care about Australian manufacturing, is the fact that this sector is well and truly in recession. Gross value added (GVA) fell by 0.7% in the June quarter and is down 1.1% for the year. In fact, the level of GVA is now the same as it was in 2001. Manufacturing profitability is decreasing, falling to 0.3% in the June quarter, and while it has fluctuated in recent years, it remains significantly below other sectors. Hours worked is also down, as is employment. While two consecutive positive readings in the Ai Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) are a welcome sign of life, they aren’t sufficient to bring optimism to sober observers of the sector. Perhaps the most troubling indicator isn’t any of these but the state of investment in the sector. Private new capital investment fell by 8.8% in the year to June and is now at its lowest level since 2001. Investment today determines a business’ capability, efficiency and competitiveness tomorrow. With this in mind, a 15-year low for investment in manufacturing is a sign that the troubles of manufacturing are far from being overcome – they are accelerating. This investment performance could be understandable if we were still at the height of the mining boom. The fact the mining boom is well and truly over and the Australian dollar exchange rate now sits around 70 US cents, rather than over one US dollar, makes this investment performance much more troubling. In these pages, I have called for government policy of various types to lift the fortunes of the manufacturing sector. Not only because AMWU members and their families rely on the sector for their livelihoods, but because without a strong and advanced manufacturing industry the entire nation risks devolving into a simple, unsophisticated and relatively poor country.
I have called for real support for the renewable energy sector, including manufacturing from solar panels to wind towers. Australia has been instrumental in advancing renewable technologies and we have the greatest renewable resources in the world, but we continue to ignore the huge opportunities that would bring these two advantages together. I have called for a stronger anti-dumping and countervailing system because Australian business shouldn’t be undercut by unfair trade practices while their competitors in the US, the EU or Canada get real protection from the same unfair competition. I have called for a trade policy that recognises that trade needs to occur on a level playing field to maximise its benefits and that recognises Australia has more to offer than cheap beef and coal. I have called for an industry policy that links innovators, researchers and businesses together and supports the new products and new processes that must underpin our competitiveness. I have called for public support for advanced manufacturing investment just as there is public support for new clean technology investment. I have called for a common-sense government procurement policy that recognises the benefits, and not just the costs, of buying local. I have called for Australian sovereign shipbuilding capability to be recognised and treated as the crucial strategic industrial asset it is, and as a result, for our navies to be built in Australian shipyards. All of these measures would make for a more rational policy that will create jobs, investment and a strong manufacturing industry, but they were met with silence from the Government. That Government cut support for manufacturing across the board: from research and development, to university, TAFE and apprenticeship support, to innovation and investment support, to the disgrace of the automotive manufacturing industry’s closure. As new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said, it was a Government of slogans, not of achievement. If the Turnbull government believes that Australia should remain an advanced economy, one that does create and build as well as dig up and grow, it needs to heed mine and others’ words, and formulate and implement a real industry policy. Manufacturing has now had almost 20 years of absolute decline, not just relative decline. If we’re to avoid another decade of decline, our new Prime Minister needs to act, sooner rather than later. I hope he does, not just for the sake of my members, but for all of our children.
If the Turnbull government believes that Australia should remain an advanced economy, one that does create and build as well as dig up and grow, it needs to… formulate and implement a real industry policy. Manufacturing has now had almost 20 years of absolute decline, not just relative decline. 14 |
AMT October 2015
Industry responds following Prime Ministerial shift Business leaders have responded to the Liberal Party leadership spill that saw Malcolm Turnbull replace Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. On 14 September, Turnbull resigned from Cabinet and announced he would challenge Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, and hence as leader of the Liberal–National Coalition and Prime Minister. Turnbull won the leadership ballot of Liberal MPs by 54 votes to 44, and was sworn in as Prime Minister the following day. The Australian Industry Group congratulated Turnbull on his election, describing him as a “world-class advocate well able to restart our stalled national reform agenda”. “We look forward to a constructive and positive working relationship with the new Prime Minister and his team as they take a fresh approach to the substantial challenges and opportunities before us,” said Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox. “Mr Turnbull’s first statements as leader focusing on the importance of strong economic management, including by encouraging innovation, sends a positive signal to business and the broader community. “Both sides of politics have become overly cautious and risk averse in recent years and business will be looking to the new Prime Minister and his team to argue the case for reform effectively and to enlist the support of business and the broader community. Business is ready to work with Mr Turnbull to deliver the steps we need to take to put ourselves in the best possible position for the years ahead.” The Business Council of Australia (BCA) also welcomed the incoming PM, praising his emphasis on “critical themes the business community have been raising for some time, such as the importance of a growth agenda fuelled by innovation”. BCA President Catherine Livingstone said that Australians should welcome Turnbull’s statements emphasising a stronger economy and sound policies that will promote business confidence. “With massive global forces of change upon us – from digital disruption, to ongoing economic volatility, to a shift in economic activity towards a rising Asia – now is an ideal time to re-energise
Australia’s economic and social policy agenda,” said Livingstone. “A stronger economy for all will require a 10-year plan including ambitious tax reform that supports growth and fairness, a new framework for a modern and competitive workplace relations system, and a pathway to a meaningful Budget surplus off the back of redesign of programs to reduce spending growth. “It will also require a sustained focus on building a more innovative and future-skilled economy so that Australians can take on the global challenges before us, and lift productivity to ensure we maintain high living standards, and a social safety net into the future.” The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) urged Turnbull to embark on the important reforms necessary to advance Australia’s productivity and competitiveness. Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the ACCI, said: “Mr Turnbull has a track record in business and we look forward to that informing his approach as Prime Minister. Australia needs leadership that understands the country must live within its means and prepare its economy for the challenges ahead. Carnell also stressed that Turnbull should ensure that the position of Small Business Minister remains in Cabinet: “The government has recognised the vital role that small businesses play in creating new job opportunities and growing the economy. We urge Prime Minister Turnbull to put in place policies to support small business, including improving Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act to introduce an effects test. Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has shown himself as a great friend of entrepreneurs and still has unfinished business in the role. There was praise for the outgoing PM. Livingstone said: “We also want to keep the momentum on the vitally important achievements of Mr Abbott and his team including the Industry Growth Centres, the Asian free trade agreements and the national deregulation agenda.”
ACCI - Low dollar boosts manufacturing The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)-Westpac Survey of Industrial Trends showed a slight fall in its Actual Composite index for the September quarter, dropping 1.7 points to 56.7, from 58.4 in June. However, the results for the year remain well above those for 2014 and the historic average. Despite the fall, the latest index remains above the historic average of 49. The index is averaging 57.4 in 2015, up from 52.4 in 2014. According to the ACCI, the strengthening of the Composite index in 2015 is centred on new orders, output and overtime. This has broadened to a tentative stabilisation in employment conditions, following declines over recent years. Manufacturing is benefitting from a strong upswing in home-building and renovations, and some improvement in service sector investment.
Expectations are positive, centred on new orders and output. Firms expect to respond to this strength by increasing overtime and, for the first time in two years, by increasing staffing numbers. In addition, a net 19%, as in June, expect the general business environment to strengthen over the next six months. Businesses are looking to 2015-16 to be a better year for profits, driven by increased turnover and a lower Australian dollar boosting export returns, with a net 42% expecting profits to increase.
However, the cycle remains constrained. Consumer spending is below trend, mining investment is turning down sharply and global fragilities persist. Exports are rising modestly as the sector benefits from the sharp fall in the currency against the US dollar, but world growth remains sluggish. A net 7% of firms reported a lift in exports.
“Growth trends in Australia’s manufacturing sector have continued to consolidate,” said Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the ACCI. “Business confidence remains strong, with three times as many expecting improvement rather than deterioration in the next six months. While some key outcomes are more modest than three months ago these indicators come off a higher base.”
AMT October 2015
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Australia slips from first to third on global dynamism index New research has revealed that, while global leaders see Australia as a gateway to Asia with businessfriendly regulation and an attractive labour market, their propensity to invest is slipping as Australia loses its top ranking down to number three. When assessing a range of business dynamism factors in Grant Thornton’s Global Dynamism Index (GDI), Australia ranks third out of 60, behind only Singapore and Israel but slipping from number one place to third. “The GDI reflects exactly what we’ve seen in the local mergers & acquisitions (M&A) market,” said Paul Gooley, National Head of Corporate Finance, Grant Thornton Australia. “Australia has the fundamentals to be a great place to do business, and is in a prime position for companies looking to enter the APAC region. “We’re seeing interest from the US, Canada and Europe. On the flip side, we’re also seeing increased interest from companies in China, looking to invest in Australian businesses, particularly agribusiness to supply to its growing middle class. For Australian mid-size businesses looking to sell, now is the time to maximise the value of the business by ensuring scalability and a good management team is in place as global leaders look to Australia to invest.”
The drop to third place suggests particular attention must be paid to regulatory reform to keep global investors interested in doing business on our shores. “Despite the country’s stable regulatory environment, legislation of the China-Australia Free-Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is pivotal in ensuring a gateway to doing business with China,” said Gooley. “Developing a simpler, more efficient tax system must also be top of the Government’s agenda to ensure we remain competitive on the global stage.” Globally, Singapore offers the best business growth environment for dynamic businesses, according to the GDI, as a result of a strong financing environment. Israel, ranked second, has also risen six places this year. Finland (joint third) and Sweden (fifth) have both risen slightly, due to favourable business operating environments and an advanced technology infrastructure.
V8 stars join Iveco 40th birthday celebration Red Bull Racing Australia drivers Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes visited Iveco’s Melbourne manufacturing facility last month as part of the truck brand’s 40 year birthday celebration. Having spent the year using two Iveco Stralis AS-L prime movers to haul their B-Double race car transporters, the team visited Iveco to see where the trucks were assembled and modified for the Australian market. Iveco’s 300-plus workforce also had the opportunity to meet the drivers and have photographs taken with them. For Lowndes, the visit to Iveco was somewhat of a homecoming, having previously toured the plant early in his V8 Supercar driving career with the late Peter Brock, as part of the Holden Dealer Team. Lowndes commented that the facility had changed markedly since his first visit. “The manufacturing plant has been considerably upgraded and enhanced since the last time I was here almost 20 years ago,” said Lowndes. “It’s impressive to see the quality of the products that are being built and assembled here by Iveco – there’s been a lot of investment and the products being produced are world-class. “With the major local car makers exiting Australia in the next few years, it’s important that this large-scale manufacturing knowledge is retained. I think as a nation it’s important we continue to manufacturer here.” Red Bull Racing Australia’s Stralis AS-L prime movers are manufactured using approximately 55% Australian-sourced content. As well as
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directly employing 150 people in the manufacturing process, Iveco has strong links to a broader nationwide supply chain of over 200 business, resulting in employment for hundreds more Australian manufacturing workers. Holding a multi-combination truck licence, Whincup has been known to take to the wheel of the 560 horsepower Stralis B-Double from time to time. “‘Wazza’, our truck driver, is very particular about who he lets drive his truck, but occasionally he will let me have a go,” Whincup said. “A few months back I actually sneaked into our racing headquarters and took the truck from Brisbane to Toowoomba to pick-up one of my old race cars. What had slipped my mind was that to get there I’d have to cross the Toowoomba range. Luckily I was able to give Wazza a quick call and he gave me a ‘101 lesson’ on how to use the engine brake. In the end the truck handled brilliantly even with a want-to-be novice truckie at the wheel.” Iveco Marketing Manager, Darren Swenson, said it was exciting for Iveco to be associated with a professional racing outfit such as Red Bull Racing Australia: “Jamie and Craig are just great guys, and we’re very proud to be associated with them. We’re also pleased that the two Iveco Stralis AS-L prime movers are performing well for the team and we look forward to continuing our close association with them well into the future.”
Ai Group: Investing in workplace literacy pays off A new report from the Australian Industry Group has quantified the positive return on investment from language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) programs in workplaces, with research showing returns on investment of 102%–163%. With 93% of employers citing low LLN levels as having an impact on their business, the level of foundation skills in the workforce have long been a concern for businesses. Ai Group engaged the Australian Council for Educational Research to assist in the research project that resulted in the report, entitled Building Employer Commitment to Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Programs. According to Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox, it proves the value and link between investment in LLN and increased productivity and profitability. “The message for employers from this new research is unambiguous,” said Willox. “Making an effort at the workplace to lift language, literacy and numeracy skills pays off on the bottom line and makes a valuable contribution to individuals and the community. “The report captures the results of Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) projects implemented in a number of different sized businesses in a diversity of industries. All of those enterprises that agreed to participate and were able to provide the necessary data produced a positive return on investment.” As an example, the Ai Group cites Intercast & Forge, which manufactures cast iron products for railway, automotive, mining and earth moving, and construction industries. The company is a workplace that requires extensive Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) protocols and exact compliance with procedures. As a result
of a program that provided customised LLN training for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) employees, the company saw a return on investment of 163%. The implementation of the LLN program reduced the frequency of workplace errors, leading to considerable savings in lost time for supervisors and workers. Another example was Lend Lease, which took similar steps to improve the LLN of its workforce on the Barangaroo South construction project in Sydney. The program enabled employees to achieve a high level of success with WorkCover assessments, saving the company tens of thousands of dollars in WHS re-testing. “These results are extremely encouraging and while impressive, they no doubt underestimate the big benefits that accrue to companies,” added Willox. “While the cost of training is a pointin-time expense, the benefits of the training are ongoing. Some of the benefits related to productivity may also not be immediately apparent at the completion of the training and take longer to emerge. “There are many reasons why it is important to invest in workplace LLN. The benefits for individual workers, both tangible and intangible, have been known for some time. The results in this report highlight the business case for employers to invest in LLN training - it makes good business sense. Ai Group urges employers to consider LLN training as a key plank of workforce development and as a direct contributor to workplace productivity.”
Second Australian company to supply Triton unmanned aircraft Northrop Grumman Corporation has awarded a second Australian supplier contract to Mincham Aviation for the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) initial production lot. South Australia-based Mincham Aviation will manufacture aircraft structure components for the first low-rate production lot of four Triton air vehicles. This second supplier contract follows one awarded in July to Ferra Engineering for mechanical sub-assemblies. “We are pleased to be able to further demonstrate our ongoing commitment to developing and fostering capabilities in local supply chains,” said Ian Irving, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. “We will continue to look to offer opportunities to quality-focused Australian companies to be involved in the production and sustainment of Triton, which will be one of the US Navy’s and Royal Australian Air Force’s key capabilities for many years to come.” Mincham is a product design authority/AS9100C and Civil Aviation Safety Authority certified company that services the aircraft and defence engineering industries and specialises in the manufacture and repair of advanced composite and sheet metal components. Northrop Grumman’s engagement with Mincham and Ferra was
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facilitated through the Department of Defence’s Global Supply Chain program. Under the Global Supply Chain initiative, international companies such as Northrop Grumman can assess Australian industry and provide them the opportunity to compete for business around the world on a value-for-money basis. Australian companies have also received requests from Northrop Grumman for quotations to provide components for followon low rate production lots. These industry opportunities include cables, complex machined and composite assemblies, as well as special tooling and test equipment. In March 2014, the Federal Government announced its intent to purchase the Triton UAS for high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance missions. Triton can fly missions up to 24 hours and at altitudes of over 16,000m, covering vast areas of ocean and coastal regions. Its unique sensor suite provides a continuous on-station presence in a 360-degree field of view for some of the most demanding surveillance missions.
AAAA launches Council for auto component makers A new Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) initiative will promote the interests and growth of the local automotive components manufacturing sector by focusing on innovation and export expansion. The Automotive Products Manufacturers and Exporters Council (APMEC) will support Australia’s large automotive components manufacturing sector. This Council will assist member companies engaged in producing automotive products for both the original equipment and aftermarket sectors and is open to businesses engaged in research, design, product development or production. AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said APMEC is a natural extension of the Association’s operations.
The inaugural Council will be led by Dayco Australia Managing Director Arnold Mouw. “While government previously recognised and supported only the manufacturing segment supplying local vehicle manufacturers, all other automotive businesses had to work independently to build their local and international markets,” said Mouw. “APMEC will be a welcome addition to Australia’s automotive landscape. It will help companies develop products and access new markets.”
“AAAA has operated successful Four-Wheel Drive and Performance Racing and Tuning Industry Councils for many years to support these specialist sectors of the Australian automotive aftermarket,” said Charity. “These AAAA Industry Councils actively advocate on behalf of member businesses to promote growth opportunities and also act as networking and information exchange groups. They have been very effective at expanding markets for Australian automotive components.”
While the strategy and activities of the APMEC will be determined by a leadership team drawn from its membership, the AAAA will provide resources to support those volunteers. AAAA Senior Manager Government Relations and Advocacy Lesley Yates will be the APMEC Project Manager. Yates said interest in APMEC membership is already high.
The APMEC will conduct research to identify and quantify business opportunities for Australian component manufacturers. It will also go formulate new, innovative ways for members to expand their businesses. “This is an exciting AAAA initiative. APMEC is about highend manufacturing growth and more skilled jobs for Australia,” said Charity.
“As we launch APMEC it already has 80 company members,” said Yates. “Given the wide range and high skill levels of Australian automotive design and manufacturing businesses, we expect membership to reach about 260. The automotive components sector in Australia is not dead. AAAA members are now exporting more than $800m worth of product each year. This is evidence that the global automotive market recognises Australian manufacturers’ innovation and quality production.”
Bendix celebrates 60 years of innovation Leading automotive brake manufacturer Bendix is celebrating a significant milestone having completed 60 years of innovation and technology driven manufacturing. Founded in 1955, Mintex, as the company was originally known, was established to meet the needs of Australian motorists. Located in Ballarat it initially employed just 30 people, but a short time later the company was bought by US-based Bendix Corporation, and Bendix Mintex was formed. During the 1970s Bendix Mintex developed innovative manufacturing processes for the production of disc brake pads that would see it begin exporting Australian technology overseas. These developments continued as the company began working on new friction materials to further improve the performance and pricing of brake pads. In 1993 the company’s dedication to innovation and quality saw Bendix Mintex named Manufacturer of the Year by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association. Further recognition came in 2008 when Bendix was inducted into the prestigious Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame. Investment in the plant at Ballarat has been significant, most recently with the commissioning of a $3.5m IAG moulding press as part of an $8.8m upgrade of the manufacturing facilities to deliver world-class high-tech products for the Asia Pacific region.
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AMT October 2015
Call for R&D cuts tailored to benefit mid-market A leading tax advisor has called on the Federal Government to rethink its proposed research & development (R&D) tax changes, moving away from an across-the-board tax cut and tailoring the incentive to benefit mid-sized businesses instead. Shane Crockett, Tax Director at national accounting and advisory firm William Buck, said if the Government was determined to find the proposed $810m budget savings linked to the R&D measure, it should take a bigger slice from those who don’t need it and maintain it for those who do. He said mid-sized businesses, defined as those with a turnover of between $2m and $20m, had the most to lose from the proposed cut because they benefitted most from the incentive. “A ‘one-size-fits-all’ cut is counter-intuitive because the majority of small businesses aren’t investing in R&D, and the big-end of town doesn’t need the incentive in order to undertake R&D,” said Crockett. “The R&D Tax Incentive is most valuable to mid-sized companies, namely, those businesses that need to conduct R&D for a very specific purpose to remain competitive and relevant in a global marketplace. “These businesses have generally moved beyond the start-up phase and need a helping hand from Government to take their business to the next level. New product development has the
potential to transform these businesses into the next big Australian company and that has wide-ranging benefits for employment and our economy.” The Federal Government is seeking $810m in budget savings through a proposed decrease in the R&D Tax Incentive by 1.5%. This was originally proposed in-line with a cut in the company tax rate of the same amount. However, in this year’s Federal Budget, it was announced that only small businesses would receive the company tax cut, leaving mid-sized to large companies to take a hit in their research and development bottom line. The proposed cut is currently being debated in the Senate. “The Government is challenging businesses to drive the economy forward but they are taking away some of the important tools to enable them to do it,” added Crockett. “There’s been a lot of talk about the proposed cut stifling our start-up or entrepreneurship, and it will to a degree, but it is going to have a far greater impact on the mid-sized businesses wanting to become bigger companies.”
WTIA sets scene for 2015 Conference The Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) will hold its 2015 Conference on 26 October in Sydney. Geoff Crittenden, Chief Executive of the WTIA, discusses the challenges facing Australian manufacturing. Manufacturing has long made an important contribution to Australia’s economic development. A productive manufacturing sector is crucial in maintaining a thriving economy for Australia, with the future success and sustainability of the Australian manufacturing industry (and the jobs it supports) relying heavily on our ability to compete both locally and internationally. Many of the challenges impacting Australian manufacturing today are not new – high costs, rigid industrial relations laws and, of course, the enormous growth in competition from offshore manufacturers. Offshore fabrication is one of the biggest issues affecting the manufacturing industry in Australia today; our manufacturing industry is being savaged by project owners and managers who outsource to cheap overseas fabricators. However, overseas manufacturing is often not of the same quality as projects built in Australia. There are many examples of offshore projects costing more than those
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Geoff Crittenden, Chief Executive of the WTIA.
built in Australia because of the level of re-work required to bring structures and pressure equipment up to an acceptable standard. We have a highly skilled and competent workforce in Australia but without fabrication projects onshore, we will lose the capability to deliver major steel infrastructure projects. In order to secure the future of manufacturing in Australia, we need determined action from our Government, from industry leaders and from the communities and regions who depend on the strength of the manufacturing sector for their own future. We need to reduce the burden of regulation and the cost of doing business in Australia if manufacturing is to survive. The WTIA’s mission is to promote the interests of its members in Australia. We will continue working with business sectors and governments towards securing Australian industry, as we have done for the last 25 years. I hope you’ll join us. www.wtiaconference.com.au
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$1m for SA auto Pyne named as Industry Minister suppliers to diversify Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull named Christopher Pyne as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science in a Cabinet reshuffle on 20 September. Pyne takes over the Industry portfolio from Ian Macfarlane, who had served as Minister for Industry and Science since September 2013. Macfarlane has now moved to the backbenches. Pyne was previously Minister for Education and Training and will remain Leader of the Government in the House of Representatives. Taking up his new post, Pyne said: “With a sweeping tide of new disruptive technologies that will entirely transform the way we live and the way we work, Australian industry must continue to lead the world in research and innovation, ensuring our nation can seize the opportunities ahead. We have the technical capacity and capability to remain a nation with industries that offer the jobs of the 21st century. As Minister I will be working with industry and our institutions to continue on this course and look forward to the challenges ahead.” Pyne, a South Australian representing the Division of Sturt, faces some key issues with direct implications for his state. These include the transition of local automotive manufacturers following the imminent closure of the Holden plant in Elizabeth, and questions over the building – potentially in Adelaide – of Australia’s next submarine fleet. Announcing Pyne’s appointment, Turnbull said: “Christopher is going to be at the centre, as is the whole Government, of one of our most important agendas. If we want to remain a prosperous, first world economy with a generous social welfare safety net, we must be more competitive, we must be more productive. Above all we must be more innovative.”
Three automotive supply chain companies will share more than $1m in funding from the South Australian State Government to help them diversify. Trident Plastics (SA) Pty Ltd, ZF Lemforder Australia Pty Ltd, and Australloy Pty Ltd are the latest companies to benefit from the State Government’s $11.65m Automotive Supplier Diversification Program. The five-year Program aims to help companies who’ve relied on the automotive industry for their revenue to diversify and build a sustainable future. Automotive Transformation Minister Kyam Maher said the grants will help the three companies to undertake important retooling projects. “Woodville-based Trident Plastics SA Automotive Transformation Minister will receive $500,000 to invest in Kyam Maher new tooling so it can manufacture a range of new plastic products,” said Maher. The company is confident the new products will generate excellent export opportunities. “ZF Lemforder Australia, which is based at Edinburgh Park, will receive $450,000 to help progress the development of innovative bulk goods transportation solutions, including pneumatically-operated side tipping technology. The State Government grant will help the company with Phase 1 of its plan, which involves preparing plant and equipment for manufacturing. “Wingfield-based Australloy – which has relied heavily on automotive manufacturing – will receive $84,639 to help it scale up its pilot copper casting production facility so it can make larger copper castings for operational trials at the Olympic Dam mine. “Between them the companies employ more than 210 people, so the State Government grants will help the companies secure these jobs for the future.” The Automotive Supplier Diversification Program delivers two assistance streams for automotive supply chain companies: the $7m Automotive Supplier Capability and Competitiveness program, which funds services and mentoring by specialists to help companies improve their capabilities; and the $4.65m Retooling and Diversification program, which provides direct funding to help companies retool so they can implement their diversification strategies.
$14.6m to drive innovative Australian businesses The Federal Government on 14 September announced a further $14.6m in commercialisation investments under the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs Programme. Twenty four more Australian companies will take their innovative ideas into the global marketplace under the programme. The 24 projects funded for commercialisation in this round include:
• A cloud computer platform which provides the IT tools needed for businesses to deliver and store an IT environment anytime, anywhere and on any device.
• A world-first explosion and waterproof insulated volt connection system for use in the mining, tunneling, marine, construction and power transmission industries.
• A world-first UV filter technology to be used in cosmetics, sunscreen, sunglasses, plastics, UV film, paint and wood coating industries to provide consumers with superior UV protection from the sun.
• An innovative hospital operating theatre management system for clinicians to improve hospital surgery administration, logistics and procedures.
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More information on recipients can be found at business.gov. au/ac-grant-recipients and Entrepreneurs’ Programme details can be found at business.gov.au/entrepreneurs-programme or by phoning 13 28 46.
CSIRO and NICTA join forces One of the largest digital innovation teams in the world will be created when CSIRO’s Digital Productivity flagship merges with the technology research outfit NICTA. On 28 August, Ian Macfarlane, the then-Minister for Industry and Science, announced that researchers from the two organisations will come together to form a new CSIRO entity called Data61, led by the successful and influential Australian technology entrepreneur Adrian Turner. “CSIRO and NICTA are two worldclass research organisations with some of the world’s leading scientists,” Macfarlane said. “Both have an impressive track record in digital innovation and have demonstrated their ability to take homegrown technologies to market. “Together they will be a force to be reckoned with, creating an internationally-recognised digital research powerhouse that will benefit Australian industry as it reaches into new global markets and seizes new opportunities for jobs and growth. I’d like to thank the NICTA members and the Board for embracing this opportunity to supercharge Australia’s digital research.” Turner said he was joining CSIRO at an exciting time. His vision for Data61 is to harness the start-up culture of NICTA and multidisciplinary strength of CSIRO to deliver maximum benefit to Australia.
“So much of our understanding and interaction with the world is underpinned by digital technology and data,” said Turner. “It is a fastmoving and big growth area for Australia and Australian industry, and Data61 will be well-positioned to play a leading role in defining the new economic structures and opportunities that are emerging globally.” For the past 18 years, Turner has been based in Silicon Valley, firstly working for global tech giant Phillips then building his own companies from the ground up. Turner was formerly Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Borondi Group, a company that applies emerging technologies in traditionally conservative industries such as agriculture, mining and transportation. Prior to that, he co-founded smartphone and Internet of Things security company Mocana Corporation, where he raised more than $40m dollars from institutional and corporate investors. He also authored the book “BlueSky Mining – Building Australia’s Next Billion Dollar Industries”, and was Chair of the Board of Directors for Advance, Australia’s expatriate network
Australian IP Toolkit to drive collaboration Australian IP Toolkit for Collaboration driving a greater collaboration between researchers and business. Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews said linking research with industry will allow for better translation of ideas into real goods and services, technologies and life improvements. “By providing guidance on how to develop partnerships and manage intellectual property, the government is equipping researchers and businesses with the practical tools that they need to collaborate,” Andrews said. “The Australian IP Toolkit for Collaboration is another example of the Australian Government delivering on the Boosting Commercial Returns from Research strategy which is designed to strengthen Australia’s economy.
A new online tool developed by the Government shows areas of Australia where innovative activities and business creation are taking place. Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews said the new National Innovation Map could be used to see how various regions in Australia compared in the innovation stakes. The National Innovation Map was created to support a Department of Industry and Science research paper on the Geography of Innovative Entrepreneurship, in advance of the Department’s 2015 Australian Innovation System Report. “Innovation and entrepreneurship often go hand in hand,” Andrews said. “Innovative business activity is influenced by location and proximity to other innovative activity. This map is a great way for Australian business owners to see whether their business is located in a ‘high innovation’ area.”
“Jointly developed by my department and IP Australia, the Toolkit will be particularly useful for small to medium enterprises and researchers. It will save them time and money and increase the effectiveness of collaboration.”
The new National Innovation Map drills down to major, regional and remote areas of Australia and shows: new business entry, dollars spent on research & development, patenting activity, and trademarking activity in the area.
The Australian IP Toolkit has tools for use in collaboration and, importantly, it has transparent model contracts that can be used as a neutral starting point for research collaboration. It provides key information, such as tips and case studies, in a user-friendly format.
“Not surprisingly, the Geography of Innovative Entrepreneurship report found that these activities are generally concentrated in the major metropolitan areas of Australia, particularly in Sydney,” Andrews said. “But the data shows there are some exceptional regions of innovative entrepreneurship outside metropolitan Australia, including the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and the Southern Highlands in NSW.”
“Extensive consultation with stakeholders throughout development of the IP Toolkit has ensured that it meets the needs of Australian businesses and researchers,” Andrews said. The IP Toolkit will be continually evaluated and updated in line with user feedback, to ensure it remains current. The IP Toolkit is available online at www.business.gov.au/ IPToolkit.
Visit the Australian Innovation System webpage to access the National Innovation Map or download the Geography of Innovative Entrepreneurship research paper.
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VOICE-BOX Opinions from across the manufacturing industry
Australian manufacturing needs a design vision With traditional industries disappearing and the resources sector in decline, our economic future depends on Australian manufacturers embracing design to deliver advanced products with global appeal. By Professor Guy Littlefair. Apple’s Chief Designer Jony Ive once said design was “about bringing order to complexity”. A simple statement that oozes common sense, especially when one considers the simplicity with which Apple’s designs brings complex technology to the fingertips of millions of smart technology users around the globe. However, I believe this statement has also never been truer when it comes to advanced manufacturing in Australia. Australia has been staring down the barrel of complex challenges within manufacturing for several years now, firstly as the decline of the manufacturing industry gathered pace, and now as the economy feels the pinch from a reliance on the weakening resources and commodities sectors. At this point it is difficult to see how, without a bold, courageous advanced manufacturing vision, coupled with an education framework to ensure graduates are prepared for the jobs of the future, Australia can continue with the standard of living it has become accustomed to. Interestingly, seven years ago while in New Zealand, I wrote an article foreshadowing the precarious economic position of Australian manufacturing. Since then little has fundamentally changed. No longer can Australia’s prosperity afford to rely on what it digs out of its earth, loads onto ships and sends overseas. As someone who is relatively new to Australia – I am not sure I am considered a local after five years in the country – I was afforded the perspective of an outsider’s view when I arrived here to lead Deakin University’s School of Engineering. This perspective, combined with my experience from other parts of the globe, meant I could see these challenges from the moment I arrived, and I also had an idea of the solutions. And fundamentally it comes back to design. My heritage is in the UK, where I witnessed the decline of much of the traditional manufacturing base in the 1980s. However I’d immediately come from six years in New Zealand – a place colloquially considered to generally follow the footsteps of its bigger Aussie cousin. Yet it was the things the Kiwis were doing that Aussies hadn’t yet turned their minds to that were immediately obvious to me.
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From an industry perspective, New Zealand’s focus is all about the export market. Australia, up until this point, has been much more concerned with its internal domestic market, to the detriment of innovating products with mass consumer appeal. I believe this goes some way to explaining why the car industry didn’t survive here. Australian industry must understand what the world wants, and that different parts of the world require different design functions. In other words, products that are desirable outside Australia are desirable in Australia, too. This brings us back to Ive’s statement and the cross-global appeal of the iPhone. I couldn’t help but think about how design could assist in bringing order to the complexity of a future where the jobs are now ill-defined at best, and at worst, completely unknown. When I arrived at Deakin, I saw a great opportunity to recast engineering education around product design and development, in order to drive a new type of manufacturing view built on design and advanced manufacturing delivering highly sought-after products. After all, universities should be leading the way when it comes to researching solutions and producing graduates to drive such solutions when they enter the workforce. In considering how innovation has developed, evolved and translated into success, I split the domain into three different elements: industrial technology, industrial engineering, and industrial design. Traditionally, Australia has been strong in industrial technology. We need only look to the CSIRO and our universities, which have been responsible for the development of new materials, new processes for production and material optimisation. Thanks to the car industry, Australia has also had some presence in the element of industrial engineering, which includes the development, improvement, and implementation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, equipment and materials. But Australia’s focus on industrial engineering has not been as prominent as in other countries, and with the demise of mass automotive manufacturing, there is a real risk of things actually moving backwards.
Then we have industrial design, which is creating products and systems that optimise function, value and appearance for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Successful innovators such as Apple, Samsung and Dyson have proven that industrial design should be the first thing manufacturers consider when developing products that require engineering and technological solutions. But this has not been part of the DNA of the innovation process in Australia. Considering again New Zealand and the industrial design focus in their manufacturing sphere, Methven and Fisher & Paykel would be two obvious examples – in the high-tech area Navman also springs to mind. But how to bring these elements together? As the Dean of Engineering at one of Australia’s most future industry-focused universities, it is my job to not only identify problems, but also propose solutions. Deakin’s solution has been borne out through the establishment of its Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training (CADET) and the development of a design-based curriculum built from international best practice. Deakin’s unique approach has already attracted interest from industry. Last year, I was asked to be a founding member of the Australian Precision Manufacturing Group (APMG), and CADET has been invited to host this year’s Australasian Association for Engineering Education conference, largely as a result of our design-based curriculum. It is exciting to see Australia embracing this new approach. It is my view that for too long in Australia engineering curricula has been overly focussed on science at the cost of design. If universities are to do their duty and support the economy, particularly as it moves from a resources base towards a much more smart technology base, it needs to move into the design space and produce graduate who can communicate in the common language of design. Professor Guy Littlefair is the Dean of Engineering in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment at Deakin University. www.deakin.edu.au
Beating a Chinese copycat Based in Wooragee, Victoria, Lucas Mills made headlines recently when it successfully won a $430,000 settlement as compensation from a Chinese company who had infringed the patent for its flagship product, a portable sawmill. Tracey Hendy, Special Counsel at Freehills Patent Attorneys, assisted Lucas and its Chinese lawyers to enforce the Chinese patent. TH: What value do you put on protecting and enforcing IP? WL: Over the years we’ve spent a lot of money on patents and we were probably lucky in China. But what a lot of businesses don’t talk about is the fear factor in having the patents in place in the first place. It’s hard to measure the impact of a negative – the absence of copycats and lookalikes. TH: Would you do it again? WL: Yes, most definitely. It’s about sending a strong message and I doubt they’ll do it again. TH: What three pieces of advice would you give to other Australia manufacturers in a similar situation?
Lucas’ portable sawmill allows logs to be cut into milled timber on the spot, saving the cost of transporting the felled tree to a mill. The win against the Chinese copycat was the highpoint in a long relationship between Lucas Mill and Freehills Patent Attorneys, which began with preparing and filing patent applications around the world, including China. After the win, I spoke to Warren Lucas, owner of Lucas Mill, about the case. Tracey Hendy: How did you first come by the copies? Warren Lucas: Matt, one of my employees maintains a weekly online vigil. About 18 months ago, he found a YouTube clip from the Chinese manufacturer. They were even using the Lucas name! TH: Why was it so important for you to enforce the patent? WL: We have a hugely successful product with over 15,000 units sold worldwide. We need to stop copies that pop up and cut into our market, especially when the Australian dollar is strong and we are at a labour cost disadvantage. We were also worried about safety – the sawmill in the YouTube clip was missing a safety barrier between the sawblade and the operator. Because the knock-offs looked the same as ours, even down to the green winch covers, there was a risk that the Chinese knock-offs could be confused with ours and damage our safety reputation.
TH: What was the most difficult part of the case? WL: Getting the evidence to prove patent infringement in the Chinese court – court procedures and their requirements to run a case were considerably difficult. We needed a sawmill to get us into court and the only place to buy one in China was the Chinese factory. But we couldn’t just knock on the door of the factory – that might have been risky for the buyer. TH: So what happened? WL: All members of our legal and patents teams put their heads together and came up with a plan. Chinese customs seized one of the knock-off sawmills at Qingdao port as it was being exported. This spring-boarded us into the Chinese court in Qingdao – a court far away from the Chinese factory. TH: So was it an exact facsimile?
WL: Obviously registering your patent in the first place is essential. Secondly, I think our online vigil gave us early warning that copies were entering the market. Thirdly, you need skilled Chinese lawyers and good communication channels with them. Our Australian patent attorney provided a buffer to overcome the cultural and legal barriers and was essential to managing the process. Tracey Hendy is an Australian patent attorney with over 25 years’ experience and a specialist in patent oppositions in Australia and New Zealand. Her technical background is a degree in Manufacturing and Materials Engineering and she practises in patents in the mechanical, manufacturing, mining and medical device fields. Tracey can be contacted on (03) 9288 1405 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.freehillspatents.co m Tracey Hendy
WL: Not quite. The court carefully studied the seized sawmill and saw some differences from our patent. The Chinese court didn’t get hung up on the exact wording of the patent though. The court could see the identical functions. TH: And what was the eventual outcome? WL: The Chinese court said the seized sawmill was an infringement of our patent and awarded us two million yuan [$430,000] in compensation. TH: Was justice expensive? WL: If we get the dollars from the Chinese manufacturer then we’d definitely be in front on our costs. AMT October 2015
China: Novel process for superhard material Researchers have combined diamond and cubic boron nitride with a novel alloying process for a superhard material. Diamonds are forever, except when they oxidize while cutting through iron, cobalt, nickel, chromium, or vanadium at high temperatures. Conversely, cubic boron nitride possesses superior chemical inertness but only about half of the hardness of diamonds. In an attempt to create a superhard material better suited for a wide variety of materials on an industrial scale, researchers at Sichuan University in China, have created an alloy composed of diamonds and cubic boron nitride (cBN) that boasts the benefits of both. The idea has never been demonstrated because samples obtained in previous studies are too small to test their practical performance. To synthesize diamond-cBN alloys, the researchers subjected a homogenous mixture of diamond and cubic boron nitride powder to a vacuum furnace at 1300 K for two hours, then pressed the material into 3.5 millimeter pellets under pressure and temperatures above 2000 K. The pellets were then polished and sharpened into cutting implements. The researchers tested the cutting performances of their alloy on hardened steel and granite bars on a CNC lathe. They found that the alloy rivaled polycrystalline cubic boron nitride’s wear and tool life on the steel samples, and exhibited significantly less wear when cutting through granite.The alloy also demonstrated a more preferable high-speed cutting performance than either polycrystalline CBN or commercial polycrystalline. American Institute of Physics
UK: Integrated 3D barcode joins fight against counterfeit goods Engineers at Sofmat (a UK SME), in collaboration with Bradford University, have developed the first 3D barcode that can be built into products during manufacture. It is claimed to have particular relevance for pharmaceutical, automotive and high value consumer products. Read via a laser scanner, the marker is virtually invisible to the naked eye and impossible to detect by touch. The barcode is made up of tiny indentations in the surface of the product, created by pins. Using micro actuators, the pins can be set at different heights, each step corresponding to either a letter or a number. The prototype enables over 1.7 million different configurations. Because the 3D barcode is an integral part of the product itself it is very difficult to reproduce and allows much more complexity than existing anti-counterfeit systems. The Engineer
Depending on the colour pigment and the substrate, surfaces can be hermetically sealed at 200 to 800 deg. Celsius. The thickness of these layers ranges from 2-10 micrometres. Curved and flat surfaces can easily be covered with the coating and red, black, green, white and blue colours may be produced. The production method opens up the possibilities of non-stick properties and electrical insulation. INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien
USA: 3D printer prints in 10 materials simultaneously Current printers have traditionally been limited to three materials at a time and, can cost as much as $250,000 each and require a fair amount of human intervention. The “MultiFab” 3D-prints an unprecedented 10 materials at once with no assembly required. Delivering resolution at 40 microns, the MultiFab system is the first 3D printer to use 3D-scanning techniques from machine vision and offers self-calibration and self-correction. It also has the ability to embed complex components (eg circuits and sensors), directly onto the body of an object, producing a finished product, including moving parts, in one application. This opens up new possibilities for manufacturing, allowing the creation of objects that have previously been impossible to print. MultiFab was built using low-cost, off-the-shelf components that cost around $7,000. Other multi-material printers work via “extrusion” technologies. MultiFab, however, mixes microscopic droplets of photopolymers together that are then sent through inkjet printheads. The computationally intensive process, which involves crunching dozens of gigabytes of visual data, can be much more easily scaled to larger objects and multiple materials. MIT (CSAIL)
Germany: Efficient heating for electric cars A nanotube film heats electric cars (EVs) without draining their batteries. In winter, EV drivers’ range declines markedly due to the additional energy demanded by the heating system which is powered by the engine’s battery. In some cases only half the usual distance can be driven. Researchers have developed a film-based panel heater, which is more effective than former electric heaters. The heating concept is based on a film that is coated with conductive carbon nanotubes. The heater functions according to the Joule principle: When electricity flows through the film, it comes across a natural resistance between the individual nanoparticles. These “collisions” generate heat. In order to evenly apply the film to the arched door trim, the researchers divide it into small modules and then glue them to the door trim in sections. Fraunhofer
USA: Improved robot-to-human communication
Germany: Coatings for attractive automotive parts Researchers have combined decorative coatings for automotive parts with attractive colors. Parts include colored wheel rims, brake calipers, exhausts, footboards or bodywork and engine components. The coatings have glassy and glass-ceramic properties and reduce the level of corrosion and wear, susceptibility to scratching or tarnishing and oxidation on surfaces. The team used special silicates for the coatings. They are converted into a sol-gel nanocomposite.
AMT October 2015
Researchers discovered a new way to improve human and robot safety in manufacturing scenarios by developing a method for robots to project their next action into the 3D world and onto any moving object, ie “intention projection”. Instead of controlling the robot with a tablet or from a distant computer monitor, the human worker can safely stand at the robot’s side. The team first perfected algorithms that would allow a robot to detect and track 3D objects. They next developed a second set of entirely new algorithms that can display information onto a 3D object in a geometrically correct way. Tying these two pieces together allows a robot to perceive an object, then identify where on that object to project information and act, then continuously project that information as the object moves, rotates or adapts. Georgia Tech
Unique features with FMB’s Scorpio bandsaw Queensland-based Whitelaw Engineering Machinery has released the latest model Scorpio CNC vertical automatic bandsaw from FMB, offering a range of unique features through its innovative approach to sawing and material flow. Offering a large cutting capacity of 635mm x 510mm and a vertical tilt head that tilts up to 60 degrees left and right and with a saw head that is on a three-degree slant, the FMB Scorpio offers the fastest cut available in a machine of this type. “The Scorpio CNC is an exciting development in sawing and material handling allowing the complete optimisation of material,” said Whitelaw General Manager Dimitri Zouppas. “Due to the encoder measuring system coupled with the automatic feed and mitre during the cutting cycle, the machine is unique in respect to operational speed and minimal material waste.”
ensuring optimum efficiency at low revolutions and a fly encoder roller provides accurate measurement of the material as it feeds. The material is automatically exchanged from the left to the right side of the machine in order to cut the end piece of the material. Clamping is achieved via a double vice controlled by a hydraulic cylinder with fixed jaws enabling fast easy loading. Easy operator programming and control is achieved via an 18cm colour LCD digital control touch panel with full graphic functions and an auto-diagnostic function with display alarms. There are up to 100 different programs with 100 steps for each program with easy software upgrades via a USB port. The innovative and advanced FMB Scorpio offers reduced cycle times as a result of the automated material setup and can perform single cuts in semiautomatic mode.
The Scorpio machine comes as standard with vertical clamping and can handle multiple types of material such as flat bar, square, rectangular section, tube/pipe, channel and beams. The large 34mm wide rigid blade ensures a straight cut and blade life is extended by an efficient mist spray coolant system that also maintains a clean work area. Cutting capacity of the machine at zero degrees is 510mm for round and square, and 635mm by 510mm for rectangular section.
Whitelaw Engineering Machinery has been the appointed agent for FMB in Australia and New Zealand from more than 25 years and currently has a Scorpio machine available in stock for demonstration. www.whitelawmachinery.com.au
The unlimited material feed uses rollers driven by a brushless motor
New II-VI Infrared products from IMTS II-VI Infrared, a world leader in laser optics, has introduced the most compact and versatile onemicron sheetmetal cutting head in its class, as well as its innovative FiberMate industrial laser collimator. The FiberLight S and FiberLight 90 have a sleek modular design, which provides the end user with the most economical cutting solution. The FiberLight is capable of processing a variety of materials and thicknesses, and it supports both inert and active gas types. The FiberLight achieves the perfect balance between superior performance and low cost to the end user. The FiberMate, II-VI Infrared’s industrial laser collimator, is designed to take the diverging light from a fibre cable of a high-power fibre laser and provide the end user with a parallel beam of light. The II-VI Infrared diffraction limited single lens design is made of high-quality fused silica of ZnS (MS) and produces the highest level of beam quality along with the optimal design for limiting thermal focus shift. IMTS Laser Specialists is the exclusive partner of II-VI Infrared. IMTS stocks more than 1,000 OEM-approved optics and consumables for next-day delivery and/or service. www.imts.com.au
Very simple and economic single insert dispenser. Modular design means ToolPort is truly plug and play. • • •
Stocks up to 1600 inserts Fastest dispenser of any system No repackaging of inserts required
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Talk to your IMC dealer! Tungaloy: email@example.com 03 9755 8147 Taegutec: firstname.lastname@example.org 1300 8234 8832
www.toolport.com AMT October 2015
German RepRap upgrades X1000 large-format 3D printer German RepRap gained a strong reputation in the industrial sector with its X400 professional 3D printer. However, it became apparent that there was a demand for a model that could print large components or several parts at once. The company’s new jumbo 3D printer X1000 was announced at the Euromold 2014 trade fair. In recent months, the large-format 3D printer has been provided with some significant enhancements, including a heating bed, and is now available as the X1000 V2. Besides the large build envelope of 1,000mm by 800mm by 600mm, the main focus of the X1000 development was to meet industrial requirements. The closed build envelope, for example, prevents any disturbance from air currents during printing. The door is automatically locked when the printer is in operation. This increases safety by preventing any access during printing. An integrated automatic two-fold CO2 fire extinguishing system is available as an option to meet any fire safety requirements. The CO2-based, integrated fire extinguishing system increases flexibility in terms of the installation location, such as when the necessary fire extinguishing equipment is not present or in order to eliminate the need for sprinkler systems. The X1000 V2 3D printer offers some important features, such as material management with a two-point sensor system, which
measures the filament at two points and prevents print errors caused by material running out. A pause function makes it possible to replace the filament roll at any time without impairing the print result. The Direct Drive DD3 extruder with full metal hot end allows a variable contact pressure. A dual extruder and heating bed are now also optionally available with version 2. The X1000 can process PLA, Performance PLA, Laywood as well as PVA support material. The hot end is suitable for nozzles with openings between 0.4mm and 1mm. The larger nozzles make it possible to print large draft models within a reasonable time. The X1000 can print finer detailed objects with layer thicknesses of up to 0.1mm, though with a large part this would take accordingly longer. The German RepRap X1000 V2 can be integrated in a network via Ethernet or Wifi and comes with the Simplify3D print software, which includes features such as a print preview function and the manual positioning of support material. The X1000, as with all German RepRap 3D printers, works with non-proprietary filament and is built as an open architecture with easily accessible components. www.germanreprap.com
Blue Photon Gripper – meeting workholding and work support challenges Dimac Tooling is the sole agent for the exclusive ‘new to the market’ Blue Photon Gripper, a revolutionary workholding system that instead of using traditional clamps, uses a unique gripping technology to hold difficult and complex part shapes. The Blue Photon System can hold parts on just one side and is adaptable to the shape of the part. The system can save considerable time and money by eliminating the common causes of scrap related to workholding. D r a m a t i c production savings are realised by simplifying part loading through common fixtures, regardless of part shape. No hydraulics are included and it is suitable for prototype and production. The system uses an adhesive that is applied to the gripper face. The workpiece doesn’t need to be flat as the uncured gel-like adhesive fills the gap and conforms to the workpiece shape. The workpiece is then positioned in place and a UV light source activated for 30-60 seconds depending on the adhesive joint thickness and required holding strength. “The key benefit of this system is that it’s great for holding oddshaped workparts that you want to get right around – it’s perfect
AMT October 2015
for five-axis machining,” says Dimac Managing Director Paul Fowler. “There is no gripping stress, and therefore thin or delicate parts can be held without the fear of part distortion or damage. It can also hold complex part shapes as well as ceramic/ composite parts and 3D printed parts. The other key feature is that it’s also great for work support not just workholding.” Dimac has over 30 years experience in CNC machine tool accessories and is the agents for many highly respected brands such as Kitagawa, Cooljet, Reven and Eron. The company also manufactures soft and hard jaws in their own CNC equipped machine shop. “Like all the products we sell, Blue Photon is supported by the full back up and support of Dimac technical personnel to ensure the product operates at optimum performance,” Fowler concluded. www.dimac.com.au
DecoGlaze adds second waterjet after 12 years Established in Sydney, Australia in 1998, DecoGlaze is a world leader in glass manufacturing, specialising in the measuring and installing of coloured glass splash backs. With distributors now in the ACT, South Coast, Hunter Valley, Central West and Central Coast, DecoGlaze is committed to providing the highest-quality products with a commitment to customer satisfaction. The 17-year-old glass cutting specialist typically cuts kitchen, bathroom, and office splash backs and mirrors, for both the residential and commercial markets. All of these products are difficult to cut, but the job is made easy with a GlassMaster Waterjet Cutting System from Techni Waterjet. The waterjet software imports ready-to-cut files with just a click of a button, and minimises pre-production time with a single set-up for all applications. No tooling is required, and there is an easy-load system for handling with safety and comfort. “Adding the GlassMaster Waterjet Cutting System has opened up doors for us due to the high demand for our product,” said Jason Hedges, Managing Director at DecoGlaze. “We are now able to keep up with the constant demand of our coloured splash backs. It’s important to us to meet our goals and even more important to exceed customer expectations.” DecoGlaze first purchased a Techjet 3000 (5’x10’) in 2003. This machine has now accumulated more than 15,000 operating hours and cut over 100,000 linear metres. This time around, DecoGlaze went with a bigger machine - the Intec 612 G2 GM (6’x12’). “We have experienced 12 years of long-term hassle-free production from the Techni waterjet,” stated Hedges. “We knew adding a second Techni Waterjet was the right choice because of their superior technology and the fact that they produce the waterjet, hopper and pump. Not all waterjet companies can say that. That matters to us.” DecoGlaze is so confident in the quality of their coloured splash backs they offer a 10-year written guarantee on every splash back they install. Their dedication to quality is a high priority for them. “Quality of the end product and superb customer service are two components we will refuse to give in on,” stated Hedges. “We wanted a waterjet company that holds those values as much as we do, which is why Techni Waterjet was a clear choice for our second machine.” www.decoglaze.com.au
AMT October 2015 MTIQualos_Bison HalfVert.indd 1
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MTConnect – setting the communication standard At AeroDef 2015 exhibition recently held in Dallas, Texas, Mazak put the spotlight on advanced multitasking technology for complex part production, demonstrating its Integrex i-200ST machine featuring the new Mazatrol SmoothX CNC and giving show attendees the opportunity to learn how MTConnect can be the communication standard for an entire factory. The small-footprint Integrex i-200ST MultiTasking machine features dual turning spindles, a lower turret and milling spindle for Done In One® production of mid-size complex components up to 658mm in diameter. Both turning spindles on the Integrex i-200ST provide equally high performance with spindle speeds of 5,000rpm and C-axis turning control to 0.0001 degrees of precision. Each also has a maximum bar work capacity that measures 65mm in diameter. For C-axis contouring versatility at either turning spindle, the Integrex i-200ST’s 22kW, 12,000rpm milling spindle is equipped with a B-axis range of -30 degrees to +240 degrees. Mazak’s unique roller cam drive for the B-axis ensures high accuracy of 0.0001 degrees with high rigidity, while providing zero backlash. The machine’s lower drum turret carries nine tools and can work at either the main or second spindle with the same tool, allowing the turret to perform balanced cutting operations on one part working in tandem with the machine’s milling spindle. There is also the option for milling capability with the lower turret. AeroDef attendees were the first to experience the Integrex i-200ST with Mazak’s latest SmoothX CNC. Made for easy and efficient processing on complex, multi-axis machine tools, Mazak has engineered the CNC to offer maximum speeds that are four times faster than previous generation controls. The SmoothX CNC coincides with the company’s new Smooth Technology process performance platform that spans the entire part production landscape, from programming to metal removal to
data collection. As a result, aerospace part manufacturers can dramatically shorten machine cycle times, enhance simultaneous five-axis operations and more. With a minimal floor space requirement of 4,910mm by 2,800mm, and a modern ergonomic design, the Integrex i-200ST allows for easy installation and hassle-free maintenance. Plus, the machine’s standard 36-tool and optional 72-tool changers are front-mounted for quick and easy access. The design also gathers all of the machine’s lubrication points and gages into a single panel for ease of viewing and upkeep. AeroDef attendees at the Mazak booth also had the opportunity to hear Neil Desrosiers, Applications Engineer and MTConnect specialist for Mazak, discuss the value of MTConnect, an open, royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications. Desrosiers explained how data-driven manufacturing intelligence gathered via the MTConnect open communications protocol continues to advance Mazak’s manufacturing operations along with the machine tool technology it offers to aerospace manufacturers. Currently, MTConnect is a key enabler of the company’s iSMART Factory concept as well as its Smooth Technology platform that encompasses the new SmoothX CNC and latest version 1.3 MTConnect specification adaptors. Mazak CNC machine tools are sold and supported throughout Australia by John Hart Pty Ltd www.johnhart.com.au
Automated Control rolls out West CAL thermostat range The CAL thermostat range from Automated Control and West Control Solutions is a family of small format thermostat devices offer basic heating or cooling control for applications that benefit from the inbuilt indicator and timer features. Simple panel clamp design ensures quick installation and an easy to configure menu helps to shorten commissioning time. The thermostats have a large clear display that consists of 12.5mm digits, providing excellent visibility. With a simple programming menu and a compact design, the CAL thermostat range caters for many applications within the process, furnace and HVAC industries. The ET2011 is an easily programmable standard thermostat for PID heating control. Incorporating an integral timer, four-digit display and a range of sensor inputs, the ET2011 offers automatic selftuning calculation of PID parameters while providing the flexibility to configure output relays for either alarm or control functions. CAL’s range of EDT defrost units have many unique features to ensure optimum control and performance of refrigeration systems. They offer an output for defrost or fan control in addition to an option
AMT October 2015
for an external digital input to trigger defrost. With a real time clock, these devices support different energy saving and defrost cycles such as compressor shutdown, electric defrost or heat generation defrost. An RS485 option is available to provide remote monitoring and reporting if required. Automated Control specialises in the national supply of process and automation control equipment to a diverse range of industries that encompass the industrial, water, food, mining and petrochemical markets. Automated Control prides itself on being able to supply the client with an exclusive range of products from major international suppliers which includes AMCI, STS, Weber, Pepperl + Fuchs, West Instruments, ASM, Hiquel, Kiepe, Hengstler, Conductix-Wampfler, Monitouch, Rittmeyer, Pulsar and FEAS. www.automatedcontrol.com.au
BySprint Fiber 6000 6.0 kW Fiber Laser cutting
Full lights out automation Automatic nozzle changing CutControl-cut quality monitoring ByPos Fiber-automatic focal control
Fast Efficient Profitable
Available in 3.0 x 1.5m or 4.0 x 2.0m www.bystronic.com
31-33 Sullivan Street Moorabbin Victoria 3189 Tel: (03) 9555 5525 Fax: (03) 9555 2970 Web: www.lmclaser.com.au Email: email@example.com
Airwolf Axiom – 3D printing with 40+ materials The new Airwolf Axiom 3D printer combines the versatility of printing in over 40+ thermoplastic materials and a build volume of 1,000 cubic inches, up to three times larger than competing products, to offer a high performance yet affordably priced desktop 3D printer for manufacturing high-precision prototypes and custom functional parts. Axiom’s fully enclosed chamber and heated bed guarantees a consistent heat environment and minimal warpage when printing very large parts and guarantees a high-resolution output with layer heights as low as 40 microns. The Axiom’s 315 degrees Celsius hot end supports a wide range of 40+ thermoplastics – from low-temperature materials like TPU and PLA, through to high-temperature materials like nylon and polycarbonate. Ease of use has been paramount in the design, with features such as print bed auto-levelling, an “Easy Feed” filament system and stateof-the art CoreXY motion control system. Prior to every 3D print, the Axiom’s four-point print bed auto-leveling system automatically calibrates the print bed ensuring the proper initial layer height and orientation, and then actively maintains that levelling throughout the entire print process. The “Easy Feed” filament system automatically draws filament into its print head, reducing jamming and blockages. The CoreXY motion control system allows faster movement than Gantry Systems, providing a print speed of 250mm per second and a more precise control of the print head. “We took a clean sheet of paper and set out to solve the issues that users have in operating desktop 3D printers,” said Erick Wolf, Founder and Chairman of Airwolf 3D. “The conceptualisation, design and testing took us almost two years to get perfect and we could not be more pleased with the results. Axiom offers higher resolution, more material capabilities and better ease-of-use than printers costing more than three times the price.” Represented in Australia by Emona Instruments, Axiom 3D printers are manufactured in America at Airwolf’s facility in Costa Mesa, California, and come standard with a 12-month warranty. www.emona.com.au
Faro releases new Freestyle3D X handheld laser scanner Faro Technologies has released the new Faro Scanner Freestyle3D X Handheld Laser Scanner, a 3D Laser Scanner designed to transform the way 3D data can be documented through easy to use, intuitive data acquisition. The new Freestyle3D X incorporates state-of-the-art scanning technology that delivers enhanced scanning accuracy of one millimetre at a range of one metre. The Freestyle3D X is available with a US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable calibration accessory to provide users with verifiable data accuracy – which is critical for highly regulated industries. On-site calibration data is exportable to PDF format allowing information to be easily shared with other team members. The Freestyle3D X also incorporates an automatic flash mode enabling users to scan objects in a variety of lighting conditions. New software tools deliver an intensely detailed visualisation of the created 3D point cloud, and an integrated best-point filter enhances the quality of the scan data by reducing noise levels by up to 35%. Finally, post-processing functions have also been improved, offering up to saving speed up to five times faster, to further improve productivity on the job site. The Freestyle3D X can be employed as a standalone device or used in concert with Faro Laser Scanner Focus3D X series laser scanners. Point cloud data from all devices can be integrated seamlessly – even in grey scale. “The Freestyle3D X sets the industry standard for ease of use and verifiable accuracy among professional, portable scanning devices,” stated Joseph Arezone, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director – Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. “The new features such as automatic flash mode, best point filter and new algorithms decisively enhance the overall scanning experience and enable users to carry out more projects with better quality at the same time,” added Arezone. “Moreover, the new Freestyle3D X will allow the most demanding users to achieve better accuracy in their projects.” www.faro.com
AMT October 2015
Mapal expands milling cutter range for lightweight materials The trend towards lightweight construction is resulting in the constant development of new materials with a very wide range of properties, which is in turn placing new demands on the machining sector. Tool manufacturers have to react to these new demands, as reliable machining is no longer assured with the normal geometries. Accordingly, Mapal has now expanded its extensive milling cutter product range that has been well-established on the market for many years to include four new high-performance milling cutters. Thermoplastics are widely used in the automotive sector, for example in the production of instrument panels. Due to its low melting temperature, the material requires special tool geometries in order to avoid melting. Mapal has therefore developed the solid carbide OptiMill-Thermoplastic with very sharp cutting edges for the reliable machining of thermoplastics. Its special geometry not only ensures the optimum discharge of the chips, but also minimises the build-up of heat during milling. Mapal also offers the OptiMill-Thermoplastic-FR for the machining of special fibre-reinforced thermoplastics, predominantly carbon fibres. As carbon fibres are very abrasive, the solid carbide milling cutter is diamond coated. Thanks to the arrangement of the cutting edges around the circumference, the fibres are cut off cleanly without burr formation. The solid carbide end milling cutter, OptiMill-Composite-
UD, was added to the milling cutter range for the milling of parts made from fibre composite materials such as carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) that are either very thin or are difficult to machine. Thanks to its cutting edge geometry, it achieves a simultaneous pulling and pushing cut with compression effect in the part, thus preventing delamination and fibre projections. The milling cutter is diamondcoated for a long tool life. Due to their low weight and flexural strength, honeycomb structures are used for support and reinforcement between the inner and outer skin of aircraft or in the vanes of wind energy converters. The difficulty when machining this very light material is its comb structure. Mapal has developed the OptiMill-Honeycomb to meet the special demands of machining honeycombs. The eight-bladed solid carbide end milling cutter has extremely sharp cutting edges, a helix angle of 15 degrees and very fine serration. The new OptiMill-Honeycomb reliably machines even honeycombs with a wide variety of outer layers or with fillings. The new milling cutters, OptiMill-Thermoplastic, OptiMill-ThermoplasticFR, OptiMill-Composite-UD and OptiMill-Honeycomb are immediately available in a wide range of dimensions. www.mapal.com.au
Brushless DC motors for use in vacuum maxon motor has released a new brushless DC motor suitable for use in ultra-high vacuum. The 22mm 24V brushless DC motor is unique in that it is an off-the-shelf solution for an application that traditionally requires high levels of customisation. The all stainless steel construction, SmCo magnet-based brushless motor features very low outgassing and can be baked out at 240 degrees Celsius. It is also vibration-tested to MIL-STD810F. Scientific and vacuum applications for DC motors are extremely varied – an example being the Watt balance, a machine developed to compare masses with electrical values in a vacuum. Its purpose is to redefine the measure of a kilogram. In the past we have relied simply on a known set of platinum-iridium weights that have varied with one another over time. The Watt balance seeks to overcome this problem using Planck’s Constant to define the kilogram in terms of voltage and current. The vacuum capable motor has allowed scientists to build a three-axis robot providing the necessary mass movements for the experiment. Detailed information on the motor and the Watt balance will be released in a white paper in October 2015, available on the maxon motor website. www.maxonmotor.com
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AMT October 2015
Healthy prospects Australian enterprises specialising in innovative medical devices are showing the world what our technology and design have to offer. By Carole Goldsmith.
Australia’s medical technology industry is growing fast, with turnover of around $11.8bn in 2012-13 (including in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and dental), up from $10bn in the previous year. Med tech was responsible for 43,952 medical device entries on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) in 2014, estimated to represent between 500,000 and one million different devices, according to the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA). The MTAA’s 2014 Fact Book, Medical Technology in Australia: Key Facts and Figures, reveals that over 500 med tech companies had products listed on the ARTG.
An engineer by profession, Wilkinson established MinFAB in 2002 with co-founder Dr Erol Harvey. He speaks excitedly about two of the many projects MiniFAB has been working on.
MiniFAB – Sustained success
“Another one, the Monarch Project, is for global medical technology company Becton Dickinson, USA. We designed the disposable cartridge used to detect AIDS and these are now being sold into Third World countries.”
A world-leading provider of custom-designed medical and diagnostic devices, MiniFAB is one of Australia’s great manufacturing success stories. In just 13 years the company has completed 900 projects globally and exported millions of units, specialising in contract product development and manufacturing of polymer micro-engineered systems (including microfluidics, biosensors, cell and tissue devices) for the health, biotech, agri-food and aerospace industries. Located at the Small Technologies Cluster (STC) in Scoresby, east of Melbourne, MiniFAB’s production facilities are certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 (medical devices quality standard), with the bulk of its manufacturing undertaken in Class 1,000 and 10,000 cleanrooms. MiniFAB Chairman Mike Wilkinson explains that the STC assists in the uptake of small technologies in industry, with office and laboratory space available for people starting up businesses, and a number of innovative technology firms in residence. Wilkinson gives AMT magazine a tour of MiniFAB’s development and manufacturing laboratories, which take up much of the STC’s premises. Staff move about fully gowned from head to foot; one employee is preparing medical devices’ plastic substrates, which will then be cut to a pattern in the Excimer laser machine nearby. MiniFAB employs 120 people across a wide range of disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, material science and commercialisation.
AMT October 2015
“We are developing a Bionic Eye with Monash University,” says Wilkinson. “The Monash Vision direct-to-brain bionic eye project is a four-year Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded development program. MiniFAB’s role is to design and fabricate an implant and a surgical tool, to assist implant surgery. We are also providing guidance to Monash on the regulatory framework for ISO13485 compliance.
Passing the packaging room, Wilkinson points to a large consignment of TearLab biosensors, which are being packed for export to the USA. This is one of the company’s top selling products, with the bulk of the TearLab customers in the USA.
Disposable cartridges for point-of-care medical diagnostics. Image courtesy of The McDevitt Lab.
MiniFAB component of the TearLab eye disease diagnostic. Image courtesy of TearLab Inc.
“The TearLab detects a disease called dry eye, by looking at the osmolality of the tear fluid,” Wilkinson explains. “This project came from product development that we did for [US company] TearLab initially. Then we transferred the TearLab manufacturing to our premises and we have been making the product here for the past five years.” MiniFAB does product development and manufacturing for many global clients. The US and Europe are its main export markets, and the company has satellite offices in Rochester, New York state in the US, and Bristol in the UK. Continued next page
AMT October 2015
Manufacture of medical products in MiniFAB’s cleanroom facilities.
“The clamping force measurement is transmitted to a smartphone app, which can then be loaded to the PeriCoach portal or PeriCloud, where physicians can monitor the female patient via the web portal. This enables physicians to remotely determine if a woman is performing her pelvic floor exercises correctly, and so prevent or improve her incontinence condition. We are trying to get people talking about incontinence and our job is to prevent and fix women’s incontinence.”
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“A company may contract us to develop an assay or a new method to detect a disease state and ask us to develop it into a point-of-care application,” says Wilkinson. “With that in mind, our R&D team use its knowledge and expertise to design and develop it for the customer.” Wilkinson believes that tax incentives are needed for Australian manufacturers. There should be expanding accelerated depreciation rules to encourage Australian manufacturers to invest in automation and efficient processes. According to Wilkinson, MiniFAB’s future plans are to keep growing the manufacturing business, especially in the medical technology area. “Traditionally we were seen as an engineering company,” he says. “But we are a manufacturer first, developing and making products with high resolution and fine features that enable state-of-the-art medical devices and diagnostics.”
Analytica – Pioneering e-health Brisbane-based Analytica’s lead product is the PeriCoach™® system, an e-health treatment system for women who suffer Stress Urinary Incontinence. The PeriCoach system’s electronics are manufactured in Dandenong, east of Melbourne, and the plastics are made, assembled and tested at Villawood in western Sydney, using ISO 13485-qualified contract manufacturers.
PeriCoach devices being charged prior to shipping.
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Analytica CEO Geoff Daly explains how the system works: “The PeriCoach system comprises a sensor device, web portal and smartphone app. The wireless device has biosensor technology to monitor the squeeze and lift of a woman’s pelvic floor muscles. Development of strong clamping force enables a female to stop urine leaking through the urethra, thus preventing incontinence.
Daly, who has been at Analytica since 2005, is a chartered biomedical and mechanical engineer with almost 20 years’ experience in the medical devices industry. The company’s employees are scattered along Australia’s east coast, with global marketing managers in Denver, USA, and Lyon, France. Analytica’s registered office is in Brisbane. “The entire design team works in Brisbane and all 10 employees, as well as myself, work from home,” he adds. “The advantage of this is that we can hire the best people regardless of where they live. We also use expert consultants and suppliers when the product development and commercialisation lifecycle requires.” The PeriCoach system can be purchased on Analytica’s website for around $300, which includes the sensor device, the smartphone app, and a 12-month fee for the PeriCoach portal. Analytica is currently selling the PeriCoach system in Australia and New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and the US. “Eventually, we want to sell everywhere,” says Daly. “We have patents (pending), trademarks and design registrations in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, China, India and Europe. Japan has the highest per-capita spend in continence products and double the expenditure in the US, so Japan could be a future market.”
SomnoMed – tackling sleep disorders A global leader in Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT), SomnoMed® provides clinically proven diagnostic and treatment options for sleep-related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and sleep bruxism (teeth grinding). SomnoMed’s innovative custom-made medical devices have helped treat thousands of OSA sufferers globally. “Severe OSA sufferers have 50, 60 or even more sleep interruptions per hour,” says Dr Peter Neustadt, SomnoMed’s Executive Chairman and CEO. “They will get up in the morning and think they have slept, but they have not. This can result in headaches and falling asleep at work, plus it can also contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Severe cases are life-threatening – breathing can stop for minutes and prevent the brain from receiving oxygen.”
A dentist fitting a SomnoMed device.
the patient’s upper and lower teeth as well as a bite record, which is sent to SomnoMed. The device is then custom-made for the patient, before being fitted and adjusted by the patient’s dentist, in a process that typically takes 15-30 minutes. Patients are then referred back to their medical practitioner. In June, the company received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its DentiTrac compliance control system. It is the only device in the US with an FDA-approved insertion of a micro-recorder that objectively records compliance data that can be assessed by sleep specialists. Collected minute-by-minute throughout the night, it records the number of hours the device is worn and whether the patient adopts a supine or non-supine head position. “We operate successfully across 27 countries, with 55% of our sales in the US, 35% in Europe and 10% in the Asia Pacific,” says Neustadt. “US unit sales increased by 35% from 2013 and our European sales climbed by 65% over the same time. Within the next few months we will reach the milestone of having fitted 250,000 patients around the world.”
Founded in 2004., SomnoMed today employs 300 people globally, including 30 in in Australia. The company has achieved record earnings in recent years, with revenue jumping from $10.7m in FY2010 to $34.4m in FY 2015. Over the same period unit sales jumped from 19,543 to 51,355. Today SomnoMed’s head office and product development centre is in Crows Nest, Sydney, but it has 16 global logistic hubs and service centres across the US, Europe, Japan and South Korea. “Very early in the development of the company, it was obvious that we would be a global business,” explains Dr Peter Neustadt, SomnoMed’s Executive Chairman and CEO. “We have patents for our devices in every country they are sold. One difficulty we’ve experienced in selling medical devices globally is that in Europe, every country has its own regulation and insurance system, plus there are many different languages to deal with. That is why we have local people in every country that we sell in, responsible for device registration, fulfilment, service, marketing and sales.” SomnoMed makes a wide range of patented products. The company’s principal product is the SomnoDent device, which is custom-made for each patient to holds the lower jaw in a slightly forward position, helping to prevent OSA. “The SomnoDent device is a very sophisticated mouthguard, made with special proprietary materials under the ISO 13485 medical devices manufacturing regulations,” says Neustadt. “It is certified and contains a microchip, which measures its compliance on a nightly basis. We are reaching 85%-90% compliance on treatment on an all-night, everynight basis, compared to alternative treatments with CPAP masks of 60%-70% compliance only, on a minimum of four hours per night on a 21 nights-per-month basis.” Neustadt explains that when a patient is diagnosed with OSA, their sleep specialist or GP will refer them to a dentist who takes an impression of A SomnoMed Classic device.
“The vibrant med tech industry is expanding in this country,” says Glenn Cross, Chief Operating Officer of AusBiotech. “[That’s] according to the figures, plus the interest of 396 delegates at our AusMed-tech conference this May, with increasing numbers every year. However the industry needs end-to-end tax incentives.” AusBiotech, along with the MTAA, Glenn Cross, Chief Operating Cook Medical and the Export Officer of AusBiotech. Council of Australia, submitted a joint report to the Federal Department of Industry and Science in April. Entitled ‘Australian Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Incentive – Who Cares about Australia? We do.’, the report urges the government to implement a patent box-style tax incentive that would offer a reduced tax rate on qualifying profit from IP. The AIM report says that, though Australia supports the R&D phase of innovation via the R&D Tax Incentive, the resultant IP is vulnerable to being sold, managed or manufactured overseas, due to a lack of supportive manufacturing tax incentives in Australia. Subsequently the economic benefits of the IP creation, such as jobs, exports, manufacturing and clinical trials, head overseas to countries that are providing patent box tax incentives, like the UK and several EU countries. “Obviously the R&D tax incentives need to continue,” says Cross. “But to increase Australia’s global competitiveness in innovation and manufacturing, we need a patent box-style tax incentive to keep manufacturing in this country.” Cross advises that as a result of the AIM report: “Treasury came back to us expressing interest in a manufacturing tax policy. To complete the tax reform story, we are currently producing a white paper on an investor incentive to encourage investors to ‘park’ their funds in prerevenue companies for lengthy periods.” Cross is positive about the Medical Research Future Fund, passed by the Federal Government on 12 August. There is currently $10bn in the fund, potentially rising to $20bn in the future. “This is a great nation-building program,” Cross says. “But there is a risk that all the money in the fund will go into early research, and we believe that a proportion of it should be dedicated to the commercialisation of this research.” www.mtaa.org.au www.minifab.com.au www.analyticamedical.com aus.somnomed.com www.ausbiotech.org AMT October 2015
Australian lasers can reverse age-related blindness Age-related blindness will be stopped and even reversed by world-leading medical lasers developed in Australia. The innovative technology, which can also treat major eye diseases including cataracts and glaucomas – the top cause of blindness globally – has boosted an Adelaide-based company to be the international leader in the niche field. Ellex Medical Lasers launched its newest product targeting age-related blindness in Barcelona in September.
Picture: Nat Rogers.
It is one example of a wave of modern medical advancements coming out of South Australia, as documented by Invest Adelaide. According to the 2015 Comprehensive Report on the Global Ophthalmic Laser Market (Market Scope), Ellex has 50% of the market share for glaucoma treatment lasers as of May 2015, up from 41% just 12 months earlier. It also places Ellex second for sales in the industry overall with 14.2% of the market share; just 0.3% behind the market leader, US company Lumenis. Ellex chief executive Tom Spurling said the report reinforced the company’s ‘positive momentum’ as an industry front-runner. “This demonstrates that Ellex’s investment in leading edge technology can successfully translate into increased sales and market share,” said Spurling. “And we intend to continue to build our pipeline of product innovation in the ophthalmic space.” In the 2014-15 financial year, Ellex recorded its highest ever annual revenue of $62.5m, up by 15% on the year prior. This includes a $2.5m net profit before tax, double that of 2013-14. Ellex was established in Adelaide in 1985, evolving from a manufacturing company of primarily OEM products, to the direct marketing of its own branded products through subsidiaries in the US, Japan, Germany, France and Australia. Ellex products are now distributed in more than 100 countries with 20,000 systems delivered to the market. It is Ellex’s work around reversing the macular degeneration of cells that has attracted the most widespread attention. One in seven Australians aged over 50 suffer from Age-Related Macular Degeneration. “Macular degeneration is becoming the biggest spend by governments and insurance companies around the world,” says Spurling. Ellex’s latest product – the 2RT – is currently undergoing a clinical trial with 290 participants. If successful it is likely to become the company’s flagship product. Although Ellex has a clear hold on the international market, the company continues to push the agenda and develop talent at home in Adelaide. Through the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) at Flinders University, Ellex and its joint ventures have provided industrydriven projects, mentorship and guidance to the development of new products in their infancy. The MDPP links research & development (R&D) with manufacturing companies and clinical representatives to support the delivery of revolutionary products to consumers. According to MDPP Innovations Manager Aisha Sirop, these connections are crucial to both researchers and industry. “The medical device and assistive technology industry in South Australia is made up of lots of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” says Sirop. “So given their size, they often don’t have inhouse all the expertise, facilities and resources required to develop and commercialise technologies. To overcome this they can benefit from collaboration with universities. “Traditionally that approach came with other barriers including different motivations, different timelines and other technical delays. However, the MDPP model has streamlined the process by offering a simple and efficient model to deal with the traditional legalities of research and development and intellectual property.”
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Projects involved in the MDPP scheme undergo due diligence and commercial and technical brainstorming through confidential workshops to identify the true commercial potential of each product and reduce the risk to researchers and industry before investing resources into further development. Identified members from industry and the clinical community are invited to participate in the review and assessment of technology proposals to provide expert opinion. Based on this review, a technical project is scoped, with each project founder receiving up to 250 hours of R&D assistance, including prototype development, proof of concept or clinical validation. This represents significant benefit to MDPP clients: not only do they receive access to R&D services from university research experts, but they are able to obtain direct feedback from a range of industry and clinical specialists. Industry may be consulted further following adjustments and development or have the opportunity to engage with the client for longer-term partnerships. The MDPP also supports service providers to offer special rates to MDPP clients: in one case this led to a series of IP seminars hosted by leading Australian patent and trademark attorneys Madderns. One device now in market that was developed with support from the MDPP is Austofix’s Ezy-Aim Electronic Digital Targeting System – a pair of eyes for orthopaedic surgeons inserting nails and screws to repair broken bones – that removes the need for multiple costly and time consuming x-rays. “Adelaide has a wealth of skilled professionals across all stakeholder groups,” says Sirop. “It’s a great environment to make good connections and develop knowledge of local capabilities, such as manufacturing, while there is also a real willingness to collaborate among researchers, industry and clinical representatives.” www.ellex.com
How medical manufacturers can overcome financial barriers to export Medical technology is an area where Australian manufacturers have the potential to thrive, but securing the necessary funding can present challenges. Andrew Watson, Executive Director – Export Finance at Efic, offers some advice on how they can be overcome.
Australia has a strong reputation for innovation in medical devices and technology. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s best medical experts, world-leading technology, and sophisticated research & development (R&D) facilities. This environment creates some great opportunities for Australian manufacturers to develop products that are in demand all over the world. Many medical manufacturers are already exporting their products overseas and are enjoying great success. However, even established exporters can face challenges in securing the finance they need to export their products internationally. Manufacturing can be cost-intensive, and without the finance to support production, many Australian manufacturers may be held back from achieving export success. One such Australian manufacturer that has faced this challenge is Compumedics, a Melbourne-based company that designs and manufactures computer-based medical products. Compumedics specialises in the sleep medicine market, as well as the associated fields of neuro-diagnostics and brain research. The company has designed and developed world-leading software to tackle debilitating conditions such as epilepsy, and has made its name by consistently innovating technological solutions to meet the needs of its sleep diagnostic and neurological monitoring customers. Established in 1987, Compumedics began exporting in 1996 when it won an exciting contract with NASA to supply the aeronautics agency with its sleep diagnostics devices. The company has grown and expanded rapidly since then, and now exports approximately 85% of its products. Compumedics’ most important export market is the US, the world’s largest medical device market. After the US, Germany and Japan are key markets, as well as a number of other European countries. China is increasingly important, offering some great growth opportunities for medical devices. The company is headquartered in Abbotsford, where all of its R&D and a significant proportion of manufacturing still takes place.
Growing pains Off the back of a strengthening US market and a number of new contract wins, Compumedics has recently embarked on a strategy to grow its neurology business significantly over the next few years. As the business has been growing, new contracts have started stacking up and the business has found itself facing a constant backlog of orders. As with many businesses in the manufacturing sector, lead time from receiving orders to delivering products can be an issue for Compumedics. This period is typically capital-intensive, which can put a strain on the business before payment from buyers is received. In order to keep pace with the rate of growth, Compumedics needed to invest in its manufacturing capacity and make upfront payments to its component suppliers to keep production on track. However, Compumedics’ bank was unable to provide the additional finance required by the business. Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, provides financial solutions for Australian exporters in situations just like this. Efic was able to provide a $1m export working capital guarantee to enable Compumedics’ bank to release the additional working capital the business needed to fulfil contracts for six overseas buyers located in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait and Italy. With the financial support of Efic, Compumedics is now able to focus on growing its neurology business significantly and continuing to expand its sleep diagnostic business. The additional funding will enable Compumedics to invest in its manufacturing capacity to meet the demand as the business grows. Many manufacturers may find themselves in a similar predicament to Compumedics – demand for product is strong but the business lacks the finance to be able to meet this demand. Fortunately, there is financial support available for exporters through organisations such as Efic, which can help manufacturers secure the finance they need to grow their business overseas. www.compumedics.com.au www.efic.gov.au
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Lasers HELP medical manufacturing Medical device manufacturers are overcoming the challenges of marking their products through the HELP process from FOBA. Amid increased life expectancy, Australia’s aging population is determined to remain active and independent, fuelling the growth in orthopaedic implants. With that growth come challenges for manufacturers of surgical components and tools, faced with expectations for improved quality, performance and product life, and stringent traceability requirements. Production of medical devices is complex, requiring tight controls along the entire process. Making a metal femoral stem, for example, includes key steps of forging, trimming, drilling, cone-finishing, bead-blasting, and finally plasma-etching to create the microporous surfaces essential for bonding the bone to the implant. On completion of this manufacturing process, each individual item requires a permanent identification mark, placed in a precise location with exacting precision to meet standards regulated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (ATGA). Increases in efficiency are imperative given the global forecasts for orthopaedic implants, predicted to reach US$41.8bn by 2016, with the number of medical implants expected to grow at an annual rate of 7%-8%. Australia saw the number of hip implants reached 39,260 in 2012-13 at a cost of over $1bn, according to the National Joint Replacement Registry. Demand for knee implants was even greater, reaching 49,551. However, replacements of implants appear to be decreasing amid improvements in durability of parts and an increase in surgical experience. Manufacturers face a significant challenge in meeting regulatory requirements by creating accurate, individual permanent markings that are easily traceable. Ensuring that the marking is clear, accurate and easily readable at the point of distribution has not always been easy to achieve. Some manufacturers still use unsophisticated product-marking practices, resulting in ‘glitches’ occurring in the text. Marks can be misaligned, operators can get distracted, and manufacturers can even experience hardware failures. Correcting the resultant marking defects presents a real challenge that can take up time and erode cost-effectiveness. Even worse, marked defects are often not found until they are about to be used, which can really create problems. To date, manufacturers use solutions such as inspection stations and specifically designed fixtures to minimise the risk of errors and faults. Now German laser company FOBA has developed a new lasermarking process called HELP (Holistic Enhanced Laser Process) that increases the accuracy of the laser mark, and a visual identification facility to check the location and the mark with the machine builtin camera system IMP (Intelligent Mark Positioning). Distributed in Australia by Raymax Applications, FOBA’s laser marking machines, software and built-in vision system offer a readily accessible lasermarking solution for manufacturers and distributors of medical devices. Based on in-field observations, FOBA engineers developed the HELP process to overcome many of the laser-marking challenges that medical device manufacturers have been facing. The process includes built-in automatic inspection, alignment and validation tools. The validation techniques for authentication of a part work by inspecting its shape and dimensions; the tool will automatically notify the operator of any mismatches, and the laser will not initiate a mark. One scenario where part inspection is often critical is in differentiating between femoral stems that are manufactured in different increments of between one and two milimetres, a difference not easily observed by a busy operator. Additionally HELP software will flag any part that has already been marked, stopping the laser from double-marking, a problem that can arise with very small parts such as bone screws.
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Intelligent Mark Positioning (IMP) works to ensure that parts are accurately aligned prior to laser-marking by tracking the positional location on each individual part as it is placed in readiness. With bone screws, where laser markings use characters only 0.2mm in height that must then align to an arced segment on the screw head and the laser-mark applied to a curved surface, vision-based laser technology is able to provide the sufficient degree of accuracy. Laser marking-is the preferred identification process for medical components as it provides permanent, high-quality and precise markings with text smaller than the eye can see. While data matrix codes are generally preferred over human-readable text, the attraction is in the data storage content of a 2D code that can fit 30 traceable characters into a millimetre square. Today’s laser-marking capabilities provide solutions to meet the demands of medical manufacturers and health administrators with precise, permanent and traceable codes applied on small items. Turnkey laser systems are highly powerful and more intelligent than their predecessors. 2015 is the International Year of Light, and this is just one example how laser technology is assisting the growth and development of just one health sector - that of orthopaedic implants. www.raymax.com.au
Cancer patient receives ribs 3D printed in Melbourne In a world-first surgery, a Spanish cancer patient has received a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib implant that was designed and manufactured in Melbourne. Suffering from a chest wall sarcoma (a type of tumour that grows in and around the rib cage), the 54-year-old man needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced. The patient’s surgical team, Dr José Aranda, Dr Marcelo Jimene and Dr Gonzalo Varela from Salamanca University Hospital, knew the surgery would be difficult. This part of the chest is notoriously tricky to recreate with prosthetics, due to the complicated geometries in the chest cavity and intricate structures involved. The surgical team from Salamanca University Hospital determined that a fully customisable sternum and rib cage was the best option. “We thought, maybe we could create a new type of implant that we could fully customise to replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs,” Dr Aranda said. “We wanted to provide a safer option for our patient, and improve their recovery post-surgery.” That’s when they turned to Melbourne-based medical device company Anatomics. After assessing the complexity of the requirements, Anatomics CEO Andrew Batty said the solution lay in metallic 3D printing. “We wanted to 3D print the implant from titanium because of its complex geometry and design,” Batty said. “While titanium implants have previously been used in chest surgery, designs have not considered the issues surrounding long-term fixation. Flat and plate implants rely on screws for rigid fixation that may come loose over time. This can increase the risk of complications and the possibility of reoperation.” Through high resolution CT data, the Anatomics team was able to create a 3D reconstruction of the chest wall and tumour, allowing the surgeons to plan and accurately define resection margins. “From this, we were able to design an implant with a rigid sternal core and semi-flexible titanium rods to act as prosthetic ribs attached to the sternum,” Batty said. Working with experts at CSIRO’s 3D printing facility Lab 22 in Clayton, the team then manufactured the implant out of surgical grade titanium alloy. “We built the implant using our $1.3m Arcam printer,” said Alex Kingsbury from CSIRO’s manufacturing team said. “The printer works by directing an electron beam at a bed of titanium powder in order to melt it. This process is then repeated, building the product up layer-bylayer until you have a complete implant.
“The operation was very successful,” Dr Aranda said. “Thanks to 3D printing technology and a unique resection template, we were able to create a body part that was fully customised and fitted like a glove.” Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane congratulated CSIRO on its role in the international collaboration that led to the world-first surgery. Macfarlane said this type of collaboration can transform the way industries operate and compete in international markets. “This breakthrough is an impressive example of what can be achieved when industry and science come together,” Macfarlane said. “This collaboration crossed disciplines and international boundaries, with a clear benefit for both this individual patient and for surgical practice. Collaboration is the key to boosting Australia’s innovation performance.” www.csiro.au www.anatomics.com
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“3D printing has significant advantages over traditional manufacturing methods, particularly for biomedical applications. As well as being customisable, it also allows for rapid prototyping – which can make a big difference if a patient is waiting for surgery.” Once the prosthesis was complete it was couriered to Spain and implanted into the patient.
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AMT October 2015
Fraunhofer – the perfect fit for artificial hips When a patient receives a new hip, it is usually adjusted only approximately to leg length. Greater accuracy requires a more precise measuring process as well as adjustable implants. Now, researchers in Germany have developed a new type of measurement method coupled with a modular implant that should allow orthopaedic surgeons to precisely calibrate leg length after the operation so it matches its original length. A painful hip that feels unstable and no longer has the same range of motion: for many patients, this means they need a prosthetic hip – something that happens to more than 200,000 people each year in Germany alone. Implant manufacturers face numerous challenges; for example, the artificial joints may eventually break. In addition, orthopaedic surgeons currently have no suitable method for precisely measuring leg length before the operation or for adjusting the implants accordingly. The result is that after the operation, the leg can actually be longer or shorter than it used to be. This leads to problems with the spine, which have to be resolved using shoe inserts. There’s a better solution on the horizon: with the completely new measuring technique developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, orthopaedic surgeons will be able to measure their patients’ leg lengths much more precisely. The Fraunhofer researchers collaborated on the new system with several project partners: the Clinic for Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Plastic Surgery at the Leipzig University Hospital; the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau and its Research and Transfer Centre; and the companies AQ Implants and MSB-Orthopädie-Technik. “The margin of error in our process is less than one centimetre,” explains Dr Ronny Grunert, a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute. “Eventually we’d like to get that down to five millimetres.” Currently, the usual procedure calls for the doctors to determine leg length with a tape measure, which can lead to errors of up to two centimetres. Here’s how the new process works: with the patient in a prone position, the doctor affixes a small plastic box containing two LEDs to the patient’s shin. The doctor then takes hold of the patient’s heel and lifts it upward. With that motion, the two lights trace an arc that is recorded by a camera positioned about 1.5m to the side of the patient. The principle is similar to that of a compass. The hip joint, from which the leg “hangs”, is essentially the point of the compass, while the LEDs act as the pencil. If the distance between the two changes (ie. if the leg becomes shorter or longer), that will change the arc traced by the LEDs. The doctor takes this measurement twice – once right before the operation and once after the implant has been temporarily inserted. The box remains on the leg during the operation. A software program compares both arcs to determine if the leg is the same length it was before the procedure. If necessary, the doctor can make adjustments to the artificial hip. Initial testing of a measuring system prototype has already met with success at the Leipzig University hospital. There are plans for a clinical trial later this year, and the new system could be on the market in about two years.
Unbreakable, adjustable hip implants Fraunhofer’s researchers also optimised the hip implants, again working together with partners from industry, medicine and research. “We’ve developed an implant that can be adjusted to each individual patient,” says Grunert. The trick was to do away with prefabricated implants in various sizes and use a modular system instead. In this method, the doctor can select the right hip stem as well as the right neck for each patient. Special screw connections are used to attach the individual parts to each other and the combined unit is implanted in the hip for testing. The doctor now measures the leg length, and, if necessary, can easily separate the implant’s various components to exchange them for better-fitting parts or adjust them as required.
AMT October 2015
Another advantage is that the artificial hip is less prone to breakage than conventional modular models with a conical clamping ring. Currently, the doctor connects the stem and the neck of the prefabricated artificial hip during the operation with a well-placed stroke of the hammer. This puts tremendous stress on the connection point, a conical clamping ring. Furthermore, once the parts have been joined together, it’s virtually impossible to separate and adjust them. That’s not the case for the specialised screws that hold the parts of the new implants together. The point where they connect is mechanically stable and prevents the implant from breaking. www.fraunhofer.de
3D printed skull implants A biomedical engineering team based at the University of Sydney has developed a new low-cost method for producing bone replacement implants for severely damaged skulls. The group worked with a Sydney neurosurgeon to create the new 3D printing technique that enables clinicians to produce a patientmatched implant in a matter of days rather than several weeks. “Serious head trauma can lead to significant loss of skull bone,” says Dr Phillip Boughton, head of the Faculty of Engineering’s cutting edge Implant Design and Manufacture Laboratory and supervisor of the project. “The current procedure requires a surgeon to stretch and stitch excess skin around the wound and wait until a suitable implant can be produced. Our new rapid templating method makes it possible to generate patient-matched, safe, sterile cranioplasty implants using polymer-based bone cement within days of receiving a patient’s scans.”
“Existing 3D printed implants are weaker; they are also associated with a higher risk for contamination that can lead to infection or inflammation,” says Dr Van Gelder. “I was particularly interested in working with biomedical engineers to create implants for individual patients. Implants that could be customised based on radiology and my specific requirements for the patient. “Anatomical matching of patient’s skull bone is important for improving a patient’s quality of life post-operation. With this new technique we are able to create a sterile template of the patient’s damaged region, then in a sterile environment apply bio-compatible polymer bone cement to that patient’s specific template to produce their personalised implant.”
The rapid templating craniosplasty technique is not only faster but also significantly cheaper than current methods used to match a patient’s anatomy, according to Annabelle Chan, PhD researcher on the project.
The pioneering technique has successfully been used on several patients. The team of biomedical researchers responsible of the rapid templating craniosplasty also includes David Shen, and Jeremy Kwarcinski.
“Cranioplasty implants widely used to reconstruct smashed bone include titanium meshes and 3D printed parts or bone cement moulded by hand,” says Chan. “They can cost as much as $5,000.”
“We’ve had some great initial clinical success for cranioplasty and the next steps will be to help regenerate bone and cartilage via our rapid templated scaffold implant systems,” says Kwarcinski.
The biomedical engineers worked with Dr James Van Gelder, lead neurosurgeon at Liverpool Hospital.
Stratasys launches compact 3D printer for smaller dental labs Stratasys has introduced the Objet30 Dental Prime, a high-quality, low-cost 3D printer designed to allow smaller dental labs to produce a wide range of models and appliances in-house. While compact in size, the Objet30 Dental Prime is big in versatility, beginning with a choice of 3D print modes: High Quality and High Speed. The High Quality mode 3D prints models with superior surface finish and intricate, delicate features required for precise fittings on crown, bridge, and prosthetic models (in 16-micron layers). The High Speed mode 3D prints at accelerated speeds to produce orthodontic models and surgical guides with increased productivity (in 28 micron layers). Together, these two print modes enable smaller labs to produce a wide range of dental and orthodontic appliances in-house – changing the economies for smaller dental labs by increasing productivity, shortening delivery times and improving patient satisfaction. The Objet30 Dental Prime’s versatility continues with a choice of three PolyJet 3D printing materials: • VeroDentPlus (MED690) – dark beige material that offers excellent strength, accuracy and durability to create intricate models. • Clear Bio-compatible (MED610) – medically approved for temporary in-mouth placement; essential for producing surgical guides and investment castings for chromium cobalt removable partial denture (RPD) frames. • VeroGlaze (MED620) – opaque bio-compatible material with A2 shading designed to provide accurate colour matching; ideal for veneer try-ins, diagnostic wax-ups and clear aligner trays. Key applications for the Objet30 Dental Prime 3D printer include: crown & bridge models; RPD casting patterns; diagnostic wax-up; surgical guides; veneer try-in; and clear aligners. By enabling smaller dental labs to produce their own models and appliances in-house, the Objet30 Dental Prime 3D Printer reduces the need for outsourcing and enables smaller labs to be more competitive.
“The introduction of the compact, versatile Objet30 Dental Prime 3D Printer continues Stratasys’s commitment to providing a variety of solutions to meet the different needs of dental and orthodontic labs, small and large,” said Steffen Mueller , General Manager, Dental Solutions at Stratasys. “This addition to our entry-level desktop family brings superior-quality 3D printing available to all dental labs who want to provide competitive digital dentistry services to their clients.” www.stratasys.com AMT October 2015
DMG MORI helps Osteon Medical take bite of global market Specialising in facial reconstruction implants, Osteon Medical is enjoying growing success in export markets worldwide, helped in part by the flexibility and reliability of DMG MORI machining technology. A person’s face is the most recognisable feature and the one that is central to an individual’s identity. Damage or disfigurement to our face is both physically and psychologically traumatic. Modern dental and facial reconstruction technology helps improve the quality of life for patients in countries around the world who suffer from congenital malformations or have lost some or all of their teeth as a result of trauma, longterm lack of oral care, or illnesses such as cancer. Osteon Medical is an Australian medical implant framework manufacturer that is supplying patient-specific reconstruction implants to patients throughout the country as well as England, South Africa and New Zealand. According to Michael Tuckman, Osteon’s Managing Director, the company has established a strong customer base over the past five years and now would like to focus on building our market in Asia.” “The jobs that come in most regularly are for patients who have lost all their teeth,” says Tuckman. “These people may not have sufficient jaw left, either in size or strength, and require a good mechanically sound base for artificial teeth to be attached.” Osteon regularly works with hospitals around the country, in addition to various hospitals overseas. The prostheses manufactured by the company are used in jaw reconstructions or to create frameworks for rebuilding prosthetic eyes, ears and noses. The technology behind Osteon’s success was co-developed by the Department of New Manufacturing at Swinburne University in Melbourne’s inner Eastern suburbs. Tuckman, a qualified dental technician, had returned to university to study mechanical engineering and successfully applied for a grant to research and develop the techniques and processes that might be combined to custom-design and build dental and facial implant prostheses. Subsequent research and development at the University led to the successful commercialisation of products and technology, culminating in the formation of Osteon Medical in 2008. The new company was successfully “spun off” from the University and now operates out of its own state-of-the-art facility in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, which coordinates sales, customer service and technical support. To create its products, Osteon chose equipment from worldleading machine tool manufacturer DMG MORI, because it gave the company the
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Michael Tuckman, Managing Director of Osteon Medical, with the company’s DMG MORI machining centres.
flexibility and reliability to quickly design and build unique, patient-specific implants for both local and international markets, while adhering to the basic tenets of innovation, integrity, excellence and customer value. DMG MORI supplies innovative precision machine tool solutions suited to a wide range of Australian manufacturing applications. The company operates in all market segments, from entry-level jobbing shops through to high-performance aerospace engineering, automotive and medical manufacturing. According to Paul McDermott, National Sales Manager for DMG MORI Australia: “Our machines cover 95% of all metal cutting applications. We are very active in all markets from small parts like the dental industry through to the larger heavy industries.” Tuckman’s company uses proprietary modelling and control software to generate the designs for its prostheses, which are then loaded onto the machining centres. “We take scans of a patient to generate point cloud data, from which we create a 3D-rendered model of the affected area,” says Tuckman. “The patient’s practitioner can then be given access to the model for the clinical team to view on a remote computer, and take measurements and refine the design before the file is finalised and sent to the appropriate DMG MORI machine.” Osteon can produce a completed implant in between five and seven days. The company uses medical-grade alloys of titanium, cobaltchrome, zirconia and PEEK (polyether ether ketone), from which the implants are milled. Zirconia is a hardened ceramic that can be machined and then sintered, while PEEK is a highly wear-resistant thermoplastic polymer
A customised framework implant prosthesis produced by Osteon Medical.
that is often used as part of an artificial joint. Osteon currently has three DMG MORI five-axis milling machines supporting its advanced implant prosthetic work, which Tuckman says are operating up to 18 hours per day. Modern machining centres must be productive, flexible and easy to operate. The company’s most recent purchase, an ecoMill 50, clearly illustrates these features. The strong and stable C-frame design provides the greatest rigidity and precision, along with lower space requirements. The practical SLIMline user-interface makes it easy for both novices and seasoned professionals to exploit the full potential of the machine. Another DMG MORI model machining dental implants for Osteon is the DMU 50 evo. This CNC Universal Machine features a range of innovative machine construction technology, with digital drives in all axes, and a rapid traverse up to 24 metres/min. The high-power motor spindle rotates at up to 18,000rpm and delivers up to 130Nm and 35kW.
The DMG MORI DMU 50 evo CNC Universal Machine.
The DMU 50 evo offers some of the greatest flexibility through the optional table configurations available. The simultaneous table allows advanced fabrication of complex workpieces in no more than two operations. Avoiding elaborate equipment saves money while significantly increasing precision. Enhanced precision and rigidity are provided through the latest cross-slide design with a ribbed cast-iron column. The latest DMG control technology and 3D-software for the machines guarantees the highest operational speed, as well as precision and reliability. DMG MORI’s DMU 50 is an affordable entry into the world of fivesided / five-axis simultaneous machining. DMG MORI recognises that machining centres and lathes are major investments for any company. To ensure that what the company delivers meets the needs of its customers, the sales engineers will often spend weeks discussing their requirements. They need to fully understand how a machine will be used to ensure that the correct device is supplied. Each of Osteon’s machining centres can hold multiple tools fitted in special mounting holders, which are then installed into designated locations in a carousel or belt within the machine. The computer control program can change the required tool in the machining head within five seconds as
the mounting table positions the part being formed. The machines have 16, 30 or 60 tools available, with each tool and holder costing up to $2,000. Tools include drill bits for holes, router blades to shape the block, and dyes to cut threads on which to mount other parts. All machines supplied in Australia are unified under the DMG MORI brand and utilise the CELOS control panel. CELOS simplifies and accelerates the process from design to finished product by providing consistent management, documentation and visualisation of order, process and machine data. “The next generation of designs will feature an extended window to increase accessibility and visibility without compromising safety,” says McDermott. Another priority is to improve energy efficiency for customers, both through design and retrofitting of existing machines with energy-saving devices. “We know that manufacturing in Australia is changing with companies adapting their products and technologies to develop new designs and applications,” McDermott adds. “We want our customers to know DMG is a supplier that is here to support the local market.”
Each of Osteon’s machining centres can hold multiple tools fitted in special mounting holders, which are then installed into designated locations in a carousel or belt within the machine.
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One on one
Professor Karen Reynolds is the Deputy Dean at the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM), and Director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University. AMT: Let’s start with the Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI). Tell us about its work. Karen Reynolds: The MDRI is basically a house for our research interests in the health tech space across the university. It is a flagship research institute within Flinders University, and we’ve got about 100 members; so a significant group of people. As a consequence it covers a broad range of interests as well. The research interests go across things like biomechanics and implants, looking at new kinds of prostheses, through things like signals from the body that you can measure, like electrical signals of your brain or your heart – trying to make sense of those through signal analysis, but also to find new ways of measuring or monitoring them. It looks at rehabilitation engineering and assistive devices, to try and provide technology for people in the assisted living space that can allow them to stay in their homes and stay as independent as possible. And also devices for people with disabilities – how we can help them through things like mobility and communication devices. It also goes into the more data and computer-type space – we’re expanding at the moment into the digital health and e-health domains. It’s a broad spectrum, but really the common theme is devices and technologies with an emphasis on improving healthcare. And to a certain extent it’s about preventative devices, as opposed to those based around once you’ve got a problem – can we actually provide devices to allow people to stay out of hospital? So a very broad range in that respect. AMT: Tell us your background and how you came to establish the MDRI? KR: I’m actually a biomedical engineer. I trained as a physicist originally, but always with the intention of becoming a biomedical engineer. I read about biomedical engineering back when I was still at high school. I was based in the UK at the time. I had a real interest in medicine and health, but I didn’t think I wanted to be a doctor. I also had a passion for problem-solving and tinkering with things. I read about biomedical engineering and thought “Well this combines my two interests together”. At the time there was no undergraduate course in biomedical engineering in the UK, so I went into a physics degree but always with the intention of moving into biomedical engineering. And here I am! AMT: What might a normal day entail? KR: I wish there was a normal day! At the moment, because I’ve moved very much into a leadership/management role, I spend most of my days in meetings. I came into this with a passion for research, so what I would like to say is that my normal day is going into the lab, developing new devices, tinkering. I still do that, but more through meeting with other people. I have a team of research assistants so I talk with them about projects – I’m not the one who ends up in the lab doing it, but I provide input and expertise in developing new technologies and devices. A lot of what I do is around connecting research to other stakeholders in the process, particularly the clinical and end-user community, but also working closely with the companies to see if we can get some of these things out more effectively through the commercialisation process.
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AMT: There does seem to be a strong emphasis on collaboration with industry. How important do you regard that collaboration and strengthening those links? KR: I think it’s vital, to be honest. What I’ve learnt over the years is that it’s all very well us doing the research, but I’ve done a number of things where, for example, we’ve talked to an engineer or clinician who says “We need one of these”, and then you develop it and you don’t have an industry partner who’s interested in taking it out, or perhaps the market’s not big enough. So from that perspective you try and talk to the companies, because in medical devices and assistive technologies, the companies are generally very small, particularly in Australia, and they don’t necessarily have the in-house expertise to do some of the research, they don’t necessarily have the facilities, and they also can find it very difficult to get in to talk to the clinicians. But all those stakeholder groups are necessary. So it’s a case of when it works, it almost seems to have been by good luck rather than by good judgement. I guess where I’ve been trying to push hard is to see whether we can facilitate those collaborations so we can actually get people together more effectively and in a targeted way, so that we’ve got more chance of success. AMT: We often see that from a manufacturing perspective – the difficulties in facilitating collaboration and commercialising innovations. How can those difficulties be overcome? KR: Good question. That’s why I put the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) together, to try and address those issues, based on the experiences I was having. Firstly, companies find it very difficult to talk to the universities, primarily the small companies. They don’t necessarily know who to talk to, where to go. They’re not quite sure what they’re letting themselves in for and they’re a bit worried that universities don’t necessarily work on the same kind of basis. Obviously we have different motivations; we tend to go also for longerterm bluer-sky kind of research. At the same time, the companies haven’t necessarily engaged particularly effectively with end-users or clinicians, because that can be quite hard. There’s a lot of clinicians out there with great ideas who really don’t know where to go with them. They don’t necessarily have the technical capabilities and the links to the manufacturers or companies. So the idea of MDPP was to look at all those different barriers and saying “Can we break them down?” Basically how it works is we’ve become almost a one-stop shop whereby anyone with a good idea, or a problem with the beginnings of a solution, or even a company that’s already selling a device but looking for another market and needs more clinical input or vision… they can come to us even if they don’t really know what they want at that stage. What we’ll do is put a group of people around that idea, and they will be fairly diverse and multi-disciplinary. There might be researchers from different areas of universities, there might be a manufacturer, there might be somebody with expertise in regulation, there might even be an investor – whoever’s necessary. And we shake them around a bit for a couple of hours and get lots of free-flowing conversation, say “What’s possible here, where could we potentially go and try and push this idea forward?” And assuming that there is some potential – that it’s a good idea and a reasonable commercial kind of prospect, a market we can see – then
the Program will fund a short project that puts some pairs of hands on the idea. It’s relatively short, only a 250-hour project, but it’s enough to underline that collaboration and say “Look, by putting these people together we can actually achieve something that’s progressing this idea”. At the end of it everything’s handed over to the industry client together with a plan as to how we could continue to take this project to the next step. It’s not a long, onerous project, there’s no need to go through long, protracted legal agreements to get things running – it’s a two- or three-page letter almost. It’s a carefully controlled situation, we put all the right people in the room together in the beginning so we hope we’ve got the right mix of expertise and we can actually get things happening. At the end of the day what the program will probably deliver might be an early-stage prototype, it might be a proof-of-concept, it might be a clinical validation, it might be focus groups. But we’ve just put this group of people together to say “Okay, this is what we can achieve”. It’s highly unlikely that we’ve got to the end of the project, we don’t have a commercial product at that stage, but we’ve gone a bit further down the track and potentially made those relationships that can really take it through to the next phase. I put the Program together in 2008, so it’s been running seven years. We get 40-50 enquiries a year, and a substantial number are really solid ideas and exciting opportunities. What we’re trying to do is get the right people around those ideas to move them forward.
AMT: What strengths can Australian manufacturing bring in this sector? KR: I think firstly the ability to innovate. We have a lot of innovative companies, particularly in medical technology. The companies are small, but as a result they’re quite nimble, agile and flexible. They have the ability to take innovative ideas and move them forward. There’s a high skills base. Our companies and also our universities have quite highly qualified people. I guess the other thing we have is that the medical devices industry is so broad and the products are diverse and niche, but they’re aiming to a certain extent at the same end-user communities, whether it’s hospitals or whatever it might be. So we’ve found there’s quite a willingness between companies to work together and help each other, to give each other advice, because they’re not necessarily competing directly on an individual product. I think there’s actually more opportunity to share capability, share knowledge, share distribution channels, work together as a medical device industry to help each other, as opposed to always acting as direct competitors. Certainly I’ve seen quite a willingness among some of the companies I’ve been working with to talk to each other and help each other and give each other advice. Perhaps we could do a bit more of that. www.flinders.edu.au/mdri
AMT: Can you give some examples where it’s really borne fruit? KR:: Sure. There’s one we finished a couple of years ago with a local company in South Australia called Austofix, who do orthopedic implants. They wanted some assistance with a new technology to assist in surgery to put long pins down broken bones. We did the 250-hour project, they then came back with some ongoing work so we continued to work with them beyond the end of the project. They launched it onto the market earlier this year, and are getting some really positive feedback from across the globe about what a great product it is. That’s one example. At the bigger end of town, ResMed – one of the biggest medical device companies in Australia – came through the MDPP. On the strength of the 250-hour project we did with them, they filed a patent and then came back to us to do a longer-term project. They’ve been funding a PhD student to further develop that research. In terms of commercial prospects they obviously think it has some, because they filed a patent on the IP. And there’s loads of examples like those two. AMT: Medical devices are often cited as an area of potential growth for Australian manufacturing, particularly following the demise of traditional industries such as car-making. What’s your view on that? KR: I think medical devices and assistive devices offer a great opportunity for Australia. Where it offers potential is in that it’s a high value-add industry. It’s moving away from the very traditional manufacturing industries – and automotive was to a certain extent one of those – towards smaller-volume, higher-markup, knowledge-based industries. If Australia’s going to compete in the manufacturing space, they have to move into that more knowledge-based, service-based part of the manufacturing chain, as opposed to the more traditional manufacturing that you might have seen a few years ago, and certainly where South Australia has built its manufacturing expertise. I think it is a big opportunity because it’s based around innovation, there’s a lot of innovative, niche-type products out there. In terms of volume, the chances of it replacing our automotive industry in total is unlikely, though I like to think it would. But it’s definitely got a future.
AMT October 2015
New coolant application enhances parting and grooving The deeper the cuts and grooves, the greater the need for the effects of high-pressure coolant (HPC) to help ensure the increasingly essential combination of high performance, secure process and good-quality parts. In todayâ€™s machining, productivity and reliability are the essentials for keeping production running smoothly. Parting and grooving are some of the more common operations, prone to operational risk, which can benefit greatly to the developments in HPC. The challenges of applying HPC as a performance enhancer in parting and grooving operations can today be overcome by a number of technology developments. Newly developed tooling for this area provides accurately aimed nozzles for coolant jets to impact the right places and to penetrate into spaces and grooves where it can make a real difference to machining and thereby minimise risks. Maintaining a parallel, laminar jet at pressure is critical once the coolant leaves the nozzle. The jet should have a positive effect on the contact length and shear-plane angle between chip and tool, have a cooling effect, and provide lubrication where it is needed. To achieve this, delivering the coolant at sufficiently high volume and pressure through all the machine, holder and tool interfaces has to be established with a minimum of involvement. Tool changing and coolant-supply connecting must not be time-consuming. Parting and grooving operations are an area that presents typical challenges when applying HPC to achieve potential benefits. Satisfactory chip control, for instance, is vital to avoid unplanned stops or tool breakage. In particular, parting operations with deeper cuts can give rise to long, stringy chips that can wrap around the tool and also get stuck in the chip conveyor, causing unplanned stops. If chips are not properly formed and not shrunk in width, they can become stuck in the groove that the tool is cutting, causing an excessively high load on the tool and thereby an unreliable process as well as poor surface finish. Coolant as a lubricant is also essential in parting operations. It is generally not recommended to part off long chipping materials without the lubrication effect of a coolant. When the long, slender parting tool is fed deep into a workpiece, it is important to establish measures that enable sufficient coolant to reach the cutting zone, where it is most needed, as an effective jet. Even when good, traditional coolant setups have been used, most of the coolant will inevitably be blocked by the chip being formed. A coolant-jet is critical. The HPC-coolant measure is also needed to help prevent built-up edges, especially when the cutting speed slows down towards the centre of cut in parting bar. This is when the machine reaches its spindle speed limit. In bar-feed machines the bar-feeder equipment and the long bars require a lower spindle-speed limit than the machine itself. When cutting speed drops well below a recommended value, material welding to the cutting edge starts to take place in many materials and a built-up edge starts to form.
Parting and grooving.
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The CoroCut QD deep parting-off concept makes extensive use of high-precision coolant at pressure.
CoroCut QD The CoroCut QD provides more and better possibilities for deep parting off operations, as well as deep grooves, with newly developed inserts, rigid clamping, new tool-blade design and material and also efficient HPC-coolant supply. For manufacturers using bar-feed, process security in terms of good chip control and long reliable toollife is critical to efficient production. To meet these needs the QDsystem combines strong tools, inserts with rigid clamping, and plugand-play coolant supply. Good chip control is further achieved by combining over-and-underedge coolant supply. This keeps the temperature down at the cutting edge for less tool wear to develop and a more stable performance to be upheld, while at the same time providing efficient chip evacuation out of the groove. A rail insert seat ensures stable, precise insert position. This tool system, with HPC facilities, has been developed for bar-feed machines with bar diameters from 38mm and larger and for sliding head machines with bar diameters above 32mm. A modern, deep-groove parting tool system today has to have a qualified high-precision coolant supply. It has to have high-technology nozzles providing high-pressure, laminar-jets of coolant precisely aimed in two directions: at the top on the chip-forming face of the insert and from the bottom along the clearance side to lubricate between tool and material. Inserts have a specially developed channel as part of the geometry to further ensure that coolant and lubricant reaches the right place at the cutting edge and onto the chip forming part. Tools are connected to the coolant supply on the machine with dedicated adaptors to make it user-friendly and to avoid any need for tubes or hoses for the coolant connection. Parting blades can also be adjusted to achieve optimum tool-overhang with maintained correct coolant supply.
Parting off with CoroCut QD.
Coolant or lubricant is used in turning to minimise friction at the cutting edge, heat at tool and workpiece, and tool-handling and set-up, but it is also used to keep the machine clean and lubricated, prevent rust and transport chips. All CoroCut QD tools, being available with overand under-coolant, can make use of the varying impact and advantage to suit different materials. Different coolant media, emulsion or oil will give different results: oil has a higher lubricating effect but the cooling effect is lower than emulsion.
On the smaller side of machining CoroCut XS is a tangentially mounted system for precision machining in sliding-head machines. The system is used for external parting, grooving, turning, back-turning and threading applications where very sharp cutting edges perform best at low feeds. The benefits of the system includes high precision, easy indexing, with a variety of insert widths, ideal for internal grooving at very small diameters – and available with modern application of HPC. The QS-shanks can easily be connected to HPC in different ways: mounted in an adaptor, such as VDI or Coromant Capto. The QS adaptors and tools can be used with coolant pressures up to 150 bar, if needed and if provided. Connections are available for the most common machine interfaces, such as shank turrets, VDI, star and face turrets, Coromant Capto, HSK-T. Machine-specific clamping units are available for different machine brands and types. A webbased tooling site – www.toolbuilder.sandvik.coromant.com – makes it easy to find the right combination of adaptor and tool. When it comes to face-grooving, HPC has a clear positive effect on chip control and evacuation – this is when the pressure is in the region of 70 bar or more. Chip control/breaking is often a major problem to solve in face-grooving, and HPC can often be a substantial problem solver in many common materials.
Over or under-supply Depending on machining conditions, a choice can be made between using the through-tool coolant applied over or under the cutting edge. In many cases, a combination is the ideal. Over-coolant improves chip control, which is the key to long tool life and fewer machine stoppages. Coolant from above also reduces build-up edge formation. Coolant applied from below reduces temperature from friction and the amount of flank wear, as well as contributing to chip evacuation. Reduced temperature in the cutting zone allows the use of softer, tougher insert grades with tool life and cutting data maintained and sometimes even increased. It also provides the basis for more predictable tool life and more secure machining process. Coolant from below is advantageous in long cuts, deep grooves, where temperature often is a negative factor.
CoroCut QD offers vastly extended tool life in comparison with competitor systems.
Coolants applied at pressure have a varying impact depending on workpiece material. The effect from HPC is the greatest when machining materials with low thermal conductivity, such as some stainless steels, titanium and heat-resistant super alloys. HPC also has a larger impact on smearing materials such as low-carbon steels, aluminium and duplex stainless steels, where chip control is also an issue.
Conclusion The use of HPC as coolant and lubrication has a large impact on performance and process security in parting and grooving. If applied right, it reduces temperature at the cutting zone and improves chip evacuation. When external coolant is applied conventionally in parting and grooving, the amount of coolant that actually gets into the groove is very small and the effect is minor, especially when machining deep grooves. With qualified, high-precision pressure-coolant application, coolant jets properly access the cutting edge even in deep grooves. Advantages with modern through-tool HPC are typically: • Scope for higher cutting data or the use of tougher insert grades. • Good chip control and consistent surface finish. • Longer tool life. • Short, easy tool changing and set-up. The application of HPC might involve some issues to consider, but in modern machinery, 70-bar coolant pressure is usually standard or an option and provides the basis for making much better use of coolants through new technology as a serious performance improver. www.sandvik.coromant.com
AMT October 2015
AMT October 2015
Medical implant OEMs set sights on ceramics Practically all of the major medical implant OEMs are actively pursuing, in one way or another, the viability of manufacturing various common implants from ceramic materials. This is presenting significant challenges when it comes to machining. By Don Graham, Manager of Education & Technical Services, Seco Tools. Ceramics are perfect for implant use. They provide much higher levels of strength, wear resistance, smoothness and biocompatibility when compared with metals and polymers. However, ceramics lack one very important quality - machinability. Mention ceramics, and most people visualise dinner plates or coffee mugs that easily shatter when dropped on a hard surface. This isn’t the case when it comes to industrial and medical ceramics. Those are much tougher, denser, and therefore not as brittle and, unfortunately, not that easy to machine using conventional methods. Thankfully though, laser beams may offer a remedy. Currently, a very select few of ceramic implants are being produced. They are simplistic in shape because they are produced using grinding machines with diamond wheels that have limited capabilities when it comes to accessing contours and pockets and other complex part shapes. The grinding process is also slow, making manufacturing costly and, in turn, the implants extremely expensive – so much so that limited numbers of patients opt for them over the more affordable metal implants. The majority of implants produced today are made from titanium, cobalt chrome or stainless steel. The most common implants are for knee and hip replacements, but femoral, articular and tibular components are also prevalent. The average lifespan of metal implants depends on use. The more active the implant recipient is, the faster the implant will wear. In some instances, this may only be a short time of about ten years, possibly 25 years for a less active person. This means that, for younger recipients of metal implants, the initial implant would quite possibly have to be replaced one or two additional times in the course of the person’s lifespan. And it should be noted that the rehabilitation for such orthopaedic-type operations as knee and hip replacements is quite painful and extensive. Now consider ceramic implants, which would last on average 75 years – basically a person’s lifetime. An implant recipient would undergo only one surgery and a single recuperation period. Plus, there would be no implant abrasion to generate foreign particles in the body, as occurs with metal implants when they wear. On the flip side, none of the benefits of ceramic implants will be realised until the
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material can be cost-effectively machined, making those implants more readily available and affordable. This is why manufacturing shops, universities and other research facilities have been exploring and testing different approaches to successfully machine ceramics using conventional machine tools. And so far, one technique that involves a laser is generating some very promising results. Key elements of this cost-effective ceramics machining process are specially designed cutting inserts and a radical use of a laser mounted on a multi-tasking machine tool. The machine precisely positions the laser beam ahead of the cutting insert to plasticise the workpiece material, making it easier to cut. Developments in cutter technologies that are advancing the cost-effective machining of ceramics include polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and cubic boron nitride (CBN). CBN shows strong potential in several ceramic applications. Additionally, extremely hard carbide tooling has been tested for ceramics. To date, laser-assisted machining has made it possible to successfully turn, mill and thread ceramic materials such silicon nitride, zirconium and alumina. But most significantly, the system increases cutting tool life and reduces processing times for
these materials, while also allowing parts to be produced that were previously impossible to make. Those entities involved with the development of laser-assisted machining techniques will continue to gain a better overall understanding of the ceramic cutting process, and great strides will be made in the use of ceramics within the medical industry, as well as for other applications such as automotive and aerospace engine components and bearings. Currently, however, there must be more testing to gain a better understanding of cutting tool edge preparations and chemical interactions between cutting tools and specific ceramic materials. Further testing will also help increase efficient use of the laser to heat the ceramic materials faster and improve precision in regard to the portions of a workpiece that need heated. If progress with the laser-assisted method continues at its current pace, the machining of ceramics could more than likely replace diamond wheel grinding in much the same way that hard turning replaced grinding 20 years ago. And while the method is in its infancy, a major milestone has been passed in the quest to reduce the cost of manufacturing medical implants and components from industrial ceramics. www.secotools.com
Advanced vending systems boost productivity Industrial vending machines have offered an efficient means of storing and issuing consumable tooling for more than 20 years. While the US was the first county to seriously adopt such convenient systems, over the past two decades their use has become widespread throughout global industry. Today there are tens of thousands of units in service. By Raoul Rapke, Director CTMS Division, IMC Group. The use of these systems continues to grow as users realise the multiple benefits they deliver. As multi-national companies diversify their geographic manufacturing bases, a host of best practices, including the efficient dispensing of cutting tools to the shopfloor, tend to migrate across borders. Industrial vending machines, such as Matrix from Iscar, bring major mutual benefits to both the cutting tool provider, in particular the distributor or integrator, and the end-user.
In a modern manufacturing environment, the importance of tool availability cannot be understated. Machine tools that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars are chosen for their speed and performance. Suppliers compete for orders based on speed of delivery. If the required cutting tools are not in stock, spindles remain idle, leading to delays in supply of goods. The indirect costs and risk of inefficient tool management are unacceptable.
Sellers are eager to provide their customers with easy, reliable access to their products as a guarantee of repeat business, and are keen to exploit potential growth opportunities. A vending machine strategically located on a shopfloor helps to stabilise the business relationship between customer and vendor and ensure that business is not lost to competitors who deliver cutting tools in a traditional, less convenient way.
Although predictability is a key factor in ensuring availability, the most recent software packages offer clever user-defined features that allow users to customise stock levels for items that are used infrequently. This can be achieved by overriding the calculated minimum stock level, or inputting changes in relevant parameters such as frequency, usage and lead time, automatically generating changes to the calculated minimum stock level. Changes can be achieved on the spot, rather than waiting for a weekly or month-end process, so that the system is always up to date.
Meanwhile, purchasers aim to guarantee instant availability of tools to ensure production does not stop. In addition, they see the implementation of an industrial vending machine system as a way to minimise the cost and risk of ownership of stock, by optimising stock levels or entrusting the ownership of stock with their supplier through consignment arrangements.
There have also been significant advances in a range of other areas that make these newgeneration systems extremely intelligent. It is vital that only the right tools are used for a job. The Bill of Materials normally defines the required cutting tools, but to be sure that only these tools are actually used, a limitation can be defined in the software, so that at the time of issue, the user inputs the part number, after which only the tools in the Bill of Materials can be issued for use.
In the last few years, there has been an exponential growth in vending businesses, with many major players investing heavily in new equipment installations. Average return on investment is estimated at 6-18 months, while data indicates that vending-based distribution returns double the growth rate of non-vending-based business. The type of systems available vary from basic helix-style machines designed for simple supply-andreplenishment tasks, to sophisticated, high-end systems that provide users with full control over hundreds of stock items in a single unit, together with the advantage of powerful tool management software. For instance, Matrix is particularly attractive to more advanced users and medium-to-large customers, who need the innovative functions, built-in flexibility and superior reporting capabilities not offered by more basic machines. Cutting-edge systems have a number of key advantages. Their storage arrangements are based on more convenient drawers or carousels, and include multiple, individually locked bins per drawer or shelf. Each separate bin can store a different stock item – ideal for users who carry a large variety of cutting tools and other items in lowto-medium quantities. This format enables a more comprehensive management of stock, as many more products can be securely stored, and the issue of tools is effectively controlled and closely monitored. Moreover, the ergonomic nature of these systems means space is fully utilised, so less hardware is needed, keeping capital costs down. Recent advances in software functionality now provide even greater benefits. More advanced vending systems such as Matrix use clever logistics algorithms to maximise availability of tools while minimising stock levels and obsolescence.
AMT October 2015
The issue of items based on cost centres, such as a part, has other important implications. It allows production planners and shopfloor managers to track the ‘real’ cost per unit (CPU), rather than basing decisions on a theoretical cost. When interfaced with the customer’s ERP, production batch data can be imported, and the Matrix tool management software not only presents the CPU data, but can also report deviations from a benchmark CPU. In this way, changes in tool life, due to the cutting tool, coolant management, machining parameters or maintenance, can be identified and corrected in a timely fashion. As customers look for new ways to improve their productivity, intelligent vending solutions that incorporate easy-to-use yet sophisticated management software will become more popular and gradually supersede the simple traditional systems that have been previously used. www.iscar.com.au
Compressors & Air
Compressed air cooling for electronics cabinets After record hot weather caused a catastrophic meltdown in one of its customers’ laser-cutting shop, Compressed Air Australia found a solution in the form of compressed air cooling. The story is all too familiar. As a manufacturer, your best customer places an important order for a custom-made product needed as soon as possible. They even pay rush charges to speed the delivery process. You give the company a firm delivery date and don’t foresee any problem getting the job shipped on time. The raw materials are on hand, the job is set up, and everything is running fine. Then suddenly, disaster strikes! Half-way through the production run, the machine grinds to a screeching halt. That’s exactly what happened last summer to a manufacturer of precision laser-cut metal parts. Most of the country experienced scorching record-breaking hot weather last year. Unfortunately, this manufacturer fell victim as it caused the electronics of the laser cutting machine to fail. Those hot days combined with heat put out by the machine took the temperature of the non-air-conditioned shop to over 38 degrees Celsius. The computer produced a lot of error messages and stopped the operation. Numerous attempts to get the program running delivered no success. As it turned out, the main CNC circuit board had failed and required shipping to the manufacturer for repair. It took three days to get a temporary replacement computer cabinet. Moreover, the heat in its free-standing control cabinet was shutting the computer monitor off. This meltdown left the company no choice but to move the job to another laser cutting plant until the repairs could be made. The urgency to keep its good reputation and meet delivery times made finding the proper cooling product its first priority. Opening the panel doors wasn’t an option due to safety concerns of having exposed electronics around the personnel. Mounting panel fans made no sense because the temperature in the shop was too hot to provide cooling. Heat exchangers would be too impractical since there was little difference between the hot cabinet temperature and the outside surroundings. Freon-type air-conditioners would entail the ongoing hassle of keeping the filters clean and the Freon charged. Finally, the company turned to Compressed Air Australia, which stocks compressed air-powered Cabinet Coolers from Exair. These coolers incorporate a vortex tube that purges the enclosure with cold air. The laser shop’s Manager was surprised how easy they were to use and mount. While waiting on the repaired computer board, the company outfitted the cabinet for the laser cutter with the UL-listed Cabinet Cooler System. They also purchased a second NEMA 12 Cabinet Cooler System to mount on top of the monitor control panel.
Numerous features made Exair’s Cabinet Cooler the best choice. It was easy to install, compact, maintenance-free, quiet, reliable, readily available and inexpensive. Cabinet Coolers mount in an ordinary conduit knock-out hole and have a built-in air relief. They include a cold air distribution kit, incorporating vinyl tubing with adhesive clips, which permits routing of the cold air to those electronic components most susceptible to high temperature. Best of all, there are no moving parts to wear out, making the Cabinet Coolers maintenance-free. The only requirement is to supply clean, dry, oil-free compressed air. Exair’s system provides a filter/separator for removing dirt and water from the compressed air to keep the enclosure contaminant-free. The laser shop purchased models that included a thermostat control that maintained 35 degrees Celsius inside each cabinet. This adjustable thermostat kept the electronics cool enough without going so cold that it would waste compressed air. The company soon realised an additional benefit. Previous to installing the Cabinet Cooler, dust and smoke in the environment always seemed to infiltrate the electrical enclosures. It was typical to open the door of a machine and find a black “sooty” mess covering the insides. The Exair Cabinet Cooler kept the enclosures sealed, preventing dirt and dust from getting inside. The company made a wise decision: they put a low-cost Cabinet Cooler in stock as a good insurance policy against the summertime heat conditions. The meltdown had cost $15,000 to get the equipment back up and running. They don’t want that problem ever again! www.caasafety.com.au
How the Exair Cabinet Cooler works Compressed air enters the vortex tube-powered Cabinet Cooler and is converted into two streams: one hot and one cold. Hot air from the vortex tube is muffled and exhausted through the vortex tube exhaust. The cold air is discharged into the control cabinet through the cold air distribution kit. The displaced hot air in the cabinet rises and exhausts to atmosphere through the cabinet air exhaust at a slight positive pressure. Thus, the control cabinet is both cooled and purged with cool, clean air. Outside air is never allowed to enter the control panel. AMT October 2015
Compressors & Air
Demystifying compressed air quality In most manufacturing sectors, a lot rides on the quality of compressed air. The smallest trace of contamination may be all it takes to halt production, spoil products, damage brands, or worse — harm consumers. William Chan, Product Manager for Gas and Air Treatment at CAPS, addresses some frequently asked questions regarding compressed air quality. AMT: How is compressed air quality measured? William Chan: The quality of compressed air is determined primarily by measuring three contaminants: solid particles as measured by their size or concentration; water vapour content as measured by pressure dew point temperature; and oil content as measured by concentration. The contamination level is influenced by the environment, type of compressor, dryer, filtration, and other related components used. AMT: What is the Australian standard for compressed air quality? WC: Australia typically adheres to the international standard ISO 8573.1, first established in 1991. The standard specifies purity classes (class X being the least and class 0 being the most pure) of compressed air with respect to particles, water and oil, independent of the location in the compressed air system at which the air is specified or measured. This standard has been amended over the years and the most recent amendment was put forward in 2010. Purity classes are designated in the following format: ISO 8573-1:2010 [A:B:C], A = particles, B = water, C = oil. For example, the Compressed Air Purity Designation – Direct Contact with Food (as outlined in the Food and Beverage Grade Compressed Air Best Practice Guideline) is ISO 8573-1:2010 [2:2:1]. AMT: Should compressed air users be concerned by air quality standards? WC: They should certainly be conscious of them. Many industries, including food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and those that involve breathing air systems, are regulated on either state or federal levels. These regulatory bodies use the purity classes specified under the ISO standards to form their guidelines. Other industries that may not be strictly regulated will still have to pay attention to air quality best practices or their end product may be of inferior quality. Besides, some processes simply will not work if the air quality is poor. Long story short, manufacturers have a responsibility to uphold the quality of their products and should adhere to the law, seek expert consultation, and use common sense. AMT: Should I update my system if ISO 8573.1 is amended? WC: Not necessarily. The ISO reviews standards annually and tends to make amendments every 3-5 years. These amendments may be driven by a range of factors, including elevated stringency or
AMT October 2015
environmental changes. If you are concerned that an amendment might affect your processes, it is probably best to arrange for a compressed air expert to conduct an audit. Regardless of amendments to the standard, best practice suggests manufacturers should have their systems reviewed by a professional at least every five years to ensure everything is operating optimally. AMT: Earlier you mentioned “class 0” air. What exactly is it? WC: Good question. Technically it can be defined as “specified by the equipment user or supplier and more stringent than class 1”. Basically, class 0 air is exceptionally pure air. Air for critical applications such as breathing, medical or food typically only requires air quality to class 2.2.1 or class 2.1.1. However class 0 ensures higher product purity and process integrity. AMT: What are some important factors when considering air treatment for a compressed air system?” WC: You must first identify the quality of compressed air required for your system at each usage point. Depending on the application, your air quality requirements will likely differ. The quality of air produced should be guided by the degree of dryness and filtration needed and by the minimum acceptable contaminant level to the end uses. For instance, when the usage point involves direct contact with the product, a
much higher level of contaminant control will likely be required. The climate where the manufacturing facility is located has a significant impact on what air treatment, specifically the dryer, is required. You cannot assume that the same system will be suitable for the same results without considering different climate conditions, especially given Australia is known for climate disparity and most manufacturing facilities are not climate-controlled. AMT: Is it ever okay to use “technically oilfree” compressors in food, beverage or pharmaceutical manufacturing? WC: Yes and no. There is no straightforward answer to this question because it really depends on the specific application — there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Many food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers use technically oil-free compressors at different points in their production lines because the risk of contamination is negligible. For others, the consequences of contamination at any point may be significant so it is best to completely eliminate any risk by going oil-free. The best advice I can give is to seek expert consultation because every production line is unique and some manufacturers are using oil free compressors at points in their production when a technically oil free compressor would suffice. www.caps.com.au
Compressors & Air
3DPrint-AU brings 3D shapes to life with quality compressed air 3DPrint-AU recently invested in a Kaeser SM9T rotary screw compressor to meet its requirement for a reliable supply of high-quality and clean compressed air in its new dedicated 3D printing facility in Auckland. 3D Printing Systems is Australia’s leading distributor of 3D printers. The company recently expanded its capabilities by opening its own dedicated 3D print services facility – 3DPrint-AU – that services consumer and business customers Australia-wide. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process whereby a real object is created layer-by-later from a 3D design. Originally developed for rapid prototyping, 3D printing has become increasingly popular for the production of end-use component parts. Utilising Elite Selective Sintering (SLS) 3D printers, 3DPrint-AU can print a range of products, from hobbyist models, smartphone cases and life-critical orthopaedic surgical gloves, to strong and flexible functional nylon parts for industry, such as component parts for the automotive sector. Each component can have a highly complex design. The SLS printing process involves a laser being aimed into a bed of nylon powder. The laser fuses (or sinters) the nylon powder, layer upon layer. Once cooled, excess powder is then brushed off to reveal the three-dimensional shape. Compressed air is an integral part of the SLS 3D printing process. The atmosphere in the printing chamber must be tightly controlled. This is achieved by using nitrogen as an inert gas, and this is produced by passing compressed air through a nitrogen generator. Crucially, the compressed air must be clean and dry, and therefore free of water and oil vapour contaminants, which if present could cause product spoilage. As a result a reliable supply of compressed air is a must in the 3D printing process. As Bruce Jackson, Managing Director at 3DPrint-AU explains: “If the compressor system were to fail when we were printing, it would deteriorate the quality of the end product. We cannot open the printer up mid-job, therefore we only find out if a print job has been successful once it has completed. And, with a typical print job running continuously for 40 plus hours, you can understand why it was imperative that we sourced a reliable supply of compressed air!” Having learnt that Kaeser compressors were renowned for their reliability, in setting up the new 3D printing production facility in Auckland, 3DPrint-AU called upon authorised Kaeser distributor
Plummer Compressors to supply the compressed air system. Plummer Compressors recommended, and subsequently installed, a Kaeser SM9T series rotary screw compressor with integrated refrigeration dryer, to reliably meet their demand for high-quality compressed air. The compact SM series rotary screw compressors from Kaeser provide a reliable and energy-efficient supply of compressed air to the smaller compressed air user. Quiet and dependable, the Kaeser SM series is available with an integrated refrigeration dryer (SM T), with variable speed control (SM T SFC), or as a complete compressed air package; where both the compressor and refrigeration dryer are mounted on a compressed air receiver (AIRCENTER). The series boasts a drive power ranging from 5.5kW to 9kW, working pressures of 8, 11 and 15 bar, with free air deliveries from 0.60-1.50 cubic metres per minute (fixed speed) or 0.34-1.24 cubic metres per minute (variable speed). At the heart of every SM series compressor lies a premium quality screw compressor block that features Kaeser’s Sigma Profile rotors. Designed to ensure maximum energy efficiency, the Sigma Profile rotors can achieve power savings of up to 15% compared with conventional screw compressor block rotor profiles. For maximum performance, reliability and efficiency, the screw compressor block is powered by a premium efficiency IE3-rated drive motor that complies with, and exceeds, prevailing Australian MEPS regulations for three-phase electric motors. In addition, the SM T models include an integrated energy-saving refrigeration dryer. Linked to the operational status of the compressor, the refrigeration dryer automatically shuts down when the compressor is not in use for the ultimate energy-saving solution. 3DPrint-AU continues to rely on Plummer Compressors for its ongoing compressor maintenance requirements. Jackson concludes: “The Kaeser compressed air system has proven to be reliable in operation. In fact we are so impressed with its performance that we are now recommending the Kaeser equipment to our 3D printing customers.” www.3dprint-au.com
AMT October 2015
G&O Kert – Adapting to adversity Taking over a business isn’t easy at the best of times, so Ian Melville faced a tough induction when he took charge of G&O Kert just before the global financial crisis (GFC). However, the Queenslandbased company survived and continues to battle for its place in a market that remains uncertain. By William Poole. G&O Kert was founded in 1974 by its namesakes, George and Olympia Kert, as an enterprise run from their house. The Kerts eventually moved on, but the business continued to flourish over the subsequent years, retaining their names through several ownership changes. Ian Melville joined in 1993, as the company was undergoing the transition from a pure manual machine shop into a CNC-based operation, and he became the fourth owner of the business in September 2008 – a date that would prove symbolic in many ways. “I took over about three weeks before the GFC hit,” he recalls. “We were extremely close to going out of business for probably the first four months. Our income stream dropped more than 50%. And from that period, I never want to go through that again, so we focused on diversification right from that point.” While the company got through that tough initial period, it has encountered markedly different market conditions in the years since. Many of its customers have lost the stable, predictable work streams that they used to enjoy, which has impacted in turn on G&O Kert. Demands are far higher in terms of turnaround times, quality and cost, and the company has had to change its approach accordingly. “We were born as a small-batch production engineering company and have grown that way from the 1980s and 1990s and into the 2000s,” says Ian. “But a lot of that market has disappeared for Australian manufacturers. We’ve found we’ve had to be a bit more agile, a bit more fleet-of-foot and a bit more flexible in our approach to the work we do.” This in turn has seen the administrative burden increase significantly, as the company has had to continually go out and pursue new work and one-off jobs. Traditionally 70% of the business’ work was repeat work, but according to Ian that has now been turned on its head. With repeat work only accounting for around 15-20%, more resources have to be allocated to drafting, re-engineering and in-office processing before anything even gets into the workshop.
AMT October 2015
Nonetheless G&O Kert has adapted to meet these challenges, and Ian attributes the company’s ability to do this to his team – a workforce of 25 including three apprentices, based at its plant in Acacia Ridge, 15km south of central Brisbane. “I put it down to the guys,” he says. “We’ve got about 300 years’ experience between us, and I put it back to them to come up with solutions. One was to put a second shift on, so we’ve been running that for a couple of years now. It gives us a bit more flexibility and adaptability, in that we can service those quick-turnaround, demanding customers. That’s worked for us.” Transport, resources and infrastructure have traditionally been G&O Kert’s key markets, and it still has exposure in those sectors, but their overall share has declined as the company has diversified. It has established a foothold in aerospace and defence, including the manufacture of a component for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project. It also does some work with both conventional and alternative energy companies. “At the moment, we’ll look at any work opportunities that comes along,” says Ian. “It sounds a bit vague, but I think it’s probably a fair reflection of our market, that we don’t really see a clear slot anymore in the marketplace. It’s really whatever work becomes available. We adapt and apply ourselves to it.” Although G&O Kert continues to seek out new opportunities, Ian adds that they are often slow to develop. He’s candid about the scale of the challenges facing his business, and the options available for overcoming them. “I guess our short-term plans are about survival, making sure we keep the company Lean, and improve on efficiencies where we can. Our future’s a little bit cloudy: unfortunately we’re not generating the income stream that we need to be upgrading equipment, so we’re really just marking time until we see some sort of positive outcome in our customer base and our profitability.”
Strategy and values While market conditions are difficult to say the least, it is clear that G&O Kert retains a clear set of values that underpin its overall strategy. “We’ve built a strong reputation, based on reliability and quality,” says Ian. “We’re serious about the relationships we form with customers, suppliers and employees. Those relationships are the cornerstone to the business, we want them to be real and ethical, and that’s what we try and do in our dealings. And that’s what we expect in return as well. I don’t know if ethics is something you can afford to have in the current market but we intend to still operate on that basis.” The focus on customers saw G&O Kert secure its ISO certification for quality assurance in 2012. According to Ian, achieving the certification was in itself a time- and resource-consuming process, but the resulting benefits justified the effort. A commitment to internal training has also helped to ensure that staff can adapt to meet the requirements of a changing market. Meanwhile the company has invested heavily in top-end equipment, with an emphasis on multi-tasking machines that offer the flexibility and capability to take on more advanced machining work. Ian cites reliability as crucial, and while this comes at a cost, it’s one that’s worth paying. “The last bit of gear we put in was a VTC 800 SR machining centre from Mazak,” he adds. “That’s a bit bigger than our normal range of machines, so it allows a broader scope of work. With that machine I thought if we put something in that’s less common throughout the Australian market it would give us the opportunity to get work where there’s less competitors. And that’s worked in our favour.” The ability to change and adapt seems to be one of G&O Kert’s clear strengths, but Ian maintains that it was something the company was forced to do. “We’ve had no choice. I think we had a fairly comfortable run for the last 15-20 years, and I don’t know that those days are coming back in the short term. As a group we’ve got to be able to change, and change is difficult for anyone. I don’t know that I always enjoy it. But I don’t think we’ve got the option to not be open to change. Equipment, processes, people.”
testing and getting involved with pneumatics and hydraulics, where before we wouldn’t have even entertained that sort of stuff. We call ourselves machining specialists and that’s really been our focus for the last 30-odd years.” The company is also increasing the value it can offer its clients by forming partnerships with other companies that can offer services that G&O Kert can’t perform in-house. “That’s been part of our programme, to look at what the market needs that we can’t offer, whether it be wire-cutting or waterjet cutting, folding and bending, or different treatments or coatings, powder coating, zinc coating … any process that someone else has already done their homework on, we’ll try and partner with those guys. We try and sell their work, and in turn they’ll try and sell our capabilities. We’ve seen that start to develop in the last eight or ten months.” G&O Kert has weathered some of the toughest years manufacturing has seen, and the company continues to navigate a challenging landscape. But Ian remains refreshingly positive about the state of the industry in this country, and believes Australian manufacturers can still act to define what the future holds for them. “Look, I think if people could stop looking at the negative that would be a big step forward,” he says. “It’s up to us, it’s up to manufacturing to create a bit of momentum. There’s a lot of talk about blaming the government and blaming everyone else, but really we’ve got to get our finger out and create the opportunities. And there are a lot of Australian companies doing that. There’s some big Australian manufacturers that are really kicking some goals. “Manufacturing is weak, there’s no question about that. But if you get out there and try and be a bit smart with your approach, there are opportunities. You have to work harder to get them than ever before, but there are opportunities there.” www.gokert.com.au
Future plans “I’m going to buy a post office,” laughs Ian when asked about plans for the future (and given the recent reports about proposed hikes in postage costs, it could be a lucrative move). However, joking aside, he is pragmatic about the difficulties facing Australian manufacturers, and what G&O Kert needs to do to overcome them. As well as diversifying in terms of the sectors in which it operates, the company is taking steps to broaden what it can offer to the market. “Obviously we’re working for survival – that’s the main aim,” he explains. “But we’re moving into some areas we wouldn’t have looked at before. We’re doing a bit more assembly work, making not just the machined components, but the full-assembly fabricated frames, and AMT October 2015
Robotics & Automation
Okuma – The power to dream Okuma’s new DS1 (Dream Site – Number 1) manufacturing facility is a showcase for the latest in state-of-the-art automation and flexible manufacturing. Phil Hayes takes us on a tour. In 1898, a young and aspiring innovative engineer named Eiichi Okuma established the Okuma Noodle Machine Co. to manufacture and sell noodle-making machines. It may seem an unusual field of technology to enter, but the consumption of noodles was (and still is) very high in Japanese cuisine and an invention to cut down the massive labour content in producing them was indeed revolutionary. Eiichi Okuma went on to make several automated machines, most notably cigarette-rolling machines and even textile-knitting machines a little later. However, it was in 1904 that machine tools became Okuma’s focus as industrialisation really took hold, and by 1918 Okuma Machinery Works Ltd was formally established and the volume production of the OS Lathe commenced. By 1937, Okuma was the number 1 machine tool producer in Japan by value. The company’s growth remained rapid through the 1950s, and in 1963, it launched the OSP control with its unique absolute position feedback encoder, thus becoming the only machine tool builder to build its own machine and control – a remarkable feat that remains valid among the major builders of today. In 1973 Okuma established the Okuma Melbourne Liaison Office, the predecessor to Okuma Australia, marking the Australian operation as the first overseas office for Okuma. Okuma Australia remains based in Melbourne, and now has offices in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth with affiliated branches in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand. Together, the Australian and New Zealand markets are home to about 2,600 Okuma CNC lathes, machining centres and grinders. In Japan, Okuma Machinery Works Ltd changed its name to Okuma Corporation in 1991, and today has grown into one of the world’s largest machine tool builders.
Leading the way from the factory floor Few people connected with heavy engineering, fabrication and assembly would not know of the typical plant layout and the overall process consequences of this type of business. Lots of work in progress and general environmental “mess” have accompanied just about every 20th Century active manufacturing facility – and right up to today! It is taking time to break the mould, but the exceptions to the old ways are now delivering fantastic outcomes. Okuma decided that the direction that it should take to the future had to change. Big time. The company first rewrote the factory design books with the construction of the 1.13m-square-foot unmanned complex at Kani, some 45 minutes from its main plant in Oguchi. In 2007, Okuma added its largest single-roof building, known as K5. Dominating the skyline, K5 is the assembly ‘hall of all halls’ for the flagship trademark Okuma double-column machining centres. About 40 of these huge machining centres are assembled at once inside the K5 plant. Each machine is meticulously assembled in individually-adjustable assembly pens, with a unique multi-crane system that provides lifting within each pen as well as the movement of major components or completed machines to and from each pen. Up to 60 tons can be moved right over the top of all the assembly pens. The Global CS Centre at the main Oguchi plant includes: a display area with more than 30 machines on permanent display; a presentation area to introduce the latest machining technologies and applications; a retractable theatre; and an NC School where visitors can deepen their understanding of Okuma machine tools in a short time through effective and practical training. The Global CS Centre enhances communication with customers to help them overcome difficulties through technical innovations and information on advanced technology.
AMT October 2015
Adjacent to the CS Centre, a Memorial Gallery has been established. It offers a view of Okuma’s past, with exhibits ranging from their famous noodle-making machine (it still works) on which the company was founded, to the LB15 lathe, a model that was central in spreading the use of NC machine tools worldwide. The more than 20 machines and controls on display in the Gallery all gave rise to universally adopted innovations in their time. The exhibits serve as a broad introduction to the importance of machine technology and the contributions have been delivered to day-to-day life.
But the best was still to come In 2013, Okuma opened the new DS1 (Dream Site - Number 1) facility, after just 12 months of construction. Automation and flexible manufacturing are keys to the advanced productivity levels achieved in the new facility, which boasts energy-efficient operation as well. DS1 actually looks like a factory of the future because of its blend of machine technology, automation, and expertise. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, DS1 has enabled twice the production of machinery with half the lead time previously required, while maintaining roughly the same amount of workers. As for energyefficiency, attached to the side of the facility and covering most of the gigantic roof of DS1 are around 5,000 solar panels, which are reducing energy costs by 30 – an incredibly valuable system in light of recently imposed power capacity limitations throughout Japan. Automation was another mandatory area of focus. The principal way the plant expanded capacity was not by adding space or people, but by taking advantage of time and space that previously went unused. In the past, plant operations ran two shifts a day and no weekends. However, with flexible robotic loading of machine tools, relatively free capacity is now possible after hours and on weekends in a ‘lights-out’ environment.
Robotics & Automation
In addition, with machining centres in a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) environment, high volumes of tools tend to add greatly to the required floor space. In DS1, many of the machining centres have very large tool magazines that are relatively vertical and use free space above the machine, rather than taking up precious floor space around them.
Beyond the investment in automation and machines within the facility, there is a lot of software and hardware behind the scenes that underpin the success realised with DS1. The production control implementation delivers the necessary information to co-ordinate accurate startto-finish scheduling, for on-time part delivery to the machines in assembly. And as Okuma’s on-line statistical production records show, it works seriously accurately! The result is the elimination of extensive warehousing of parts.
However, the most visible and extensive type of automation in DS1 is the FMS, whose technology was drawn from experience gained from the eight FMS lines installed at the Kani 2 semi-unmanned plant. Various lines in the facility consist of multiple Okuma machining centres united by an RGV (Rail Guided Vehicle)-style pallet-loading system, which in turn draws work from a multi-story rack of pallets accommodating the set-ups for the parts requiring machining by part number. By swapping pallets in and out of the machines as frequently as needed, this configuration enables the machining centres to keep running efficiently even though batch sizes are small and the variety of machined parts is large. The approach even makes sense when the parts themselves are large.
• Features such as solar panels and natural lighting reduce energy costs by 30% while reducing the environmental burden.
The biggest of DS1’s FMS cells is 120m long. The RGV pallet system in this case unites four Okuma double-column machining centres, which each have 2.5m between columns. This FMS for large parts machines 80 of the plant’s biggest parts.
More than a century in the making, a start in noodle-making has followed a phenomenal path for Okuma today. Plans are under way for more expansion at the Oguchi site, following the lead set by Okuma’s amazing Dream Site No 1 – no doubt there is more to come.
Following an approach that could be termed “intra-sourcing”, the DS1 plant seeks cost efficiency by combining nearly all of the steps in machine tool production under one roof. Raw material input, machining, kitting, subassembly, final assembly, inspection and shipping all occur within the one facility.
Phil Hayes is the Managing Director at Okuma Australia + New Zealand. www.okumaaustralia.com.au
To summarize the DS1 accomplishments: • Productivity is doubled. • Manufacturing time is halved. • FMS, Robots and Automation systems all work 24/7, lights out at night. • Self-contained, start-to-finish processes run from raw materials input to shipment.
A philosophy of consolidation drives the plant’s approach to assembly as well. Machines do not move from station to station as they are being built. Instead, for greater simplicity, each machine carcass is laser-levelled and then remains in one place on the assembly floor, with components and subassemblies all carted to the machines as they are needed.
AMT October 2015
Robotics & Automation
Humans + Robots: A powerful team As demand for industrial robots continues to increase in Australia, some apprehension remains as to the role they will play on the factory floor, and if this will result in fewer jobs for workers. By Shermine Gotfredsen, APAC General Manager of Universal Robots. The opportunities provided by collaborative robots differs significantly to traditional industrial robots – not only due to their flexibility and ease of use, but also because their collaborative nature enables them to work side by side with staff, while maintaining a safe environment. A new generation of automated technology is helping bridge the gap between robots and humans, acting not only as a collaborator but a job creator. Rather than replacing their human counterparts these devices work alongside people in manufacturing and processing to promote optimal efficiency. New studies have found that collaborative robotics can increase employment opportunities within businesses, as they bolster productivity and encourage upgraded skillsets. While a traditional robot works behind a cage and requires a specialised technician to operate it, lightweight robots can be operated by anyone on the factory floor, making it easier for staff to view it as a helpful tool rather than a piece of machinery from which to keep their distance. In our experience at Universal Robots, companies opt for robots to address increased demand and improve productivity. In 2013 New Zealand’s Talbot Technologies deployed two UR10 industrial robot arms to perform in-mould modelling, transfer moulding and comoulding tasks on the company’s Christchurch production line. Talbot immediately reported an increase in productivity, reliability, quality and costs savings, with the safety of their staff – who continue to work alongside the robots – a major consideration when making their investment. Certainly robots have taken over some of the repetitive and tedious tasks once performed solely by humans, but the beauty of collaborative robots is that by taking on some of the more mundane or physically demanding aspects of production, their human co-workers are freed up to perform more nuanced responsibilities. Employees tasked with more challenging and interesting assignments are more likely to have satisfaction and longevity in their roles and contribute more to the company. Increased productivity for manufacturers leads to greater profit and opportunities for growth and job creation. Traditional industrial automation has not been an economically viable option for most SMEs. In addition to high initial product costs, any necessary adjustments or maintenance thereafter required the services of an expert – costing time and money. Collaborative robots are significantly less expensive and the return on investment is rapid. Universal Robots’ robotic arms, for example, have an average payback period of just six months. Collaborative robots are designed to be trained and adjusted by all levels of production staff, leaving the companies and their workers in full control of their investment and without the need to hire external help. Collaborative robots are an excellent option for production tasks inherently dangerous to humans or those that lead to physical strain over time. The use of robotics in this area arguably frees up funds that would otherwise be used for health and safety expenses. On a global scale, studies have shown that robots increase labour productivity, raise countries’ average growth rates and increase wages. It has been argued that robots’ contribution to the aggregate economy is comparable to past major technological advancements such as railroads or – more recently – information technologies.
A powerful team Despite their increasing sophistication, robots are simply incapable of performing many tasks that require ingenuity and critical thinking. Even many of the physical tasks that are simple and intuitive for us as humans are far from simple for a robot.
AMT October 2015
Generating new concepts, proposing better ways of working, problem-solving, performing dexterous tasks, communicating ideas – these key business contributions remain firmly in the human realm. And it is these attributes that will gain greater significance in hiring decisions over time. This is precisely why human-robot collaborations are so effective. Leveraging and combining the strengths of automation and human ingenuity leads to stronger output than either humans or robots alone. Far from eliminating jobs, the rise of robotics in the workplace will actually create many new roles – many of which did not exist even a few years ago and others that we will see in time. As the scope of technology in all aspects of our lives – robotics included – continues to increase, so too the need for professionals to service these areas. The robotics field alone will require an increasing number of engineers, programmers, business developers, repair people, marketers and project managers, just to name a few. Rather than replacements for staff, collaborative robots should be viewed and utilised as tools that work in tandem with humans to enhance production, improve overall efficiency and provide opportunities for employee and company growth. The specific skillsets necessary in the workplace of the future will certainly evolve, as they have throughout time. But there will always be a need for humans on the factory floor. www.universal.com
Robotics & Automation
YuMi – the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm robot At Hannover Messe – the world’s leading industrial technology trade fair – in April, power and automation technology group ABB introduced YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm industrial robot. YuMi heralds a new era of robotic coworkers that are able to work collaboratively on the same tasks with humans while still ensuring the safety of those around it. YuMi’s introduction is another step in ABB’s Next Level strategy aimed at accelerating sustainable value creation. “The new era of robotic coworkers is here and an integral part of our Next Level strategy,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “YuMi makes collaboration between humans and robots a reality. It is the result of years of research and development, and will change the way humans and robots interact. YuMi is an element of our Internet of Things, Services and People strategy - creating an automated future together.” In 1974, ABB introduced the world’s first microprocessor-controlled, all-electric industrial robot and kickstarted the modern robotics revolution. ABB now has an installed base of more than 250,000 robots worldwide. With the introduction of YuMi, ABB is once again pushing the boundaries of robotic automation by fundamentally expanding the types of industrial processes that can be automated with robots. Few production arenas are changing as quickly as small parts assembly. The electronics industry, in particular, has seen demand for products skyrocket past the supply of skilled labour. As conventional assembly methods diminish in value, manufacturers are finding it strategically and economically imperative to invest in new solutions. BCG Research for example predicts that by 2025, adoption of advanced robots will boost productivity by up to 30% in many industries and lower total labour costs by 18% or more in countries such as South Korea, China, the US, Japan, and Germany. While YuMi was specifically designed to meet the flexible and agile production needs of the consumer electronics industry, it has equal application in any small parts assembly environment thanks to its dual arms, flexible hands, universal parts feeding system, camera-based part location, lead-through programming, and state-of-the-art precise motion control. YuMi can operate in very close collaboration with humans thanks to its inherently safe design. It has a lightweight yet rigid magnesium skeleton covered with a floating plastic casing wrapped in soft padding to absorb impacts. YuMi is also compact, with human dimensions and human movements,
which makes humans co-workers feel safe and comfortable. If YuMi senses an unexpected impact, such as a collision with a co-worker, it can pause its motion within milliseconds, and the
motion can be restarted again as easily as pressing play on a remote control. YuMi also has no pinch points so that nothing sensitive can be harmed as the axes open and close. www.abbaustralia.com.au
Machining PowerPac – ease of use, optimised processes ABB Australia has released its latest RobotStudio add-in, the Machining PowerPac. The Machining PowerPac software is ideal for programming of applications such as machining, deburring, polishing, grinding and deflashing. It also can be used with a variety of CAD model-based path generation applications, and allows users to configure specific applications in a sequence of steps simultaneously. “ABB puts a lot of effort into creating innovative solutions that address the needs of our customers,” says Daniel Pintar, Product Manager – Machine Tending, Material Handling and Machining, at ABB Robotics. “The Machining PowerPac add-in for RobotStudio addresses our customers’ leading concerns. It is easy, fast and flexible and allows users to generate precise robot paths without having to teach them. In addition, the integrated post-processor generates accurate robot paths from the CAM software so the robot machining application can be completed more rapidly than ever before.”
The Machining PowerPac from ABB provides several strategies to generate machining path and curves. By optimising the speed, acceleration or axis setting you can dynamically preview the tool path and ensure the right target robot configuration. Furthermore, the Machining WAVE Paths and Tool Axis Interpolation features are instrumental for extending the lifetime of the machining tools by creating smooth tool axis changes and flexible tool contact points.
AMT October 2015
Robotics & Automation
How we won the robot soccer world cup In July a team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) defeated team B-Human from Germany 3-1 to claim back-to-back Robocup SPL World Championships. Sean Harris, a PhD student in robotics and artificial intelligence at UNSW, explains how they did it. The competition involved fully autonomous robots, with no remote control, competing against each other in 5-on-5 soccer. Each team used the same robots, so the competition is focused on software and artificial intelligence (AI) development, not on hardware construction. The final was a nail-biting match locked at 1-1 with less than three minutes remaining. Both teams had strong strategies and well-tested code, but in the end, our speed proved too fast for the Germans to keep up with. We went into halftime with a 1-0 lead after dominating field position for most of the ten-minute half. Despite playing mainly in the German’s side of the field, we struggled to score many goals against their heavily defensive strategy. At one stage the Germans brought all five robots back to their goal box in an attempt to stop us from scoring. The second half saw things briefly fall apart for us midway through. We had three robots lose power as a result of heavy falls and were suddenly reduced to only two active robots on the field. The Germans capitalised, and equalised with around three minutes remaining, leading to us calling a time-out to revive our injured robots.After our time-out though, our robots got things back on track. With five robots now on the field, we pulled the momentum of the game back in our favour and scored two late goals to secure our second title in as many years. Our strategy for winning was focused on exploiting our fast walking speed. Our robots are able to accelerate much faster than most teams’ and they reach a top speed of about 30 centimetres per second (about 1 km/hour). Although this is slow compared to humans, in robot soccer it’s really quick! When the ball is in our half of the field, we don’t bother trying to pass it to a teammate, we just try to boot it up the other end of the field. The idea is that we kick the ball deep into their half, then use our fast walk speed to reach the ball before our opponents have time to clear it away. This leads to us playing most of the game in our opponent’s half of the field, where it’s hard for them to score goals, but easier for us to score. The competition changes the rules each year to make the games more challenging. This year, all the finals matches were started by a referee’s whistle, instead of the regular Wi-Fi message. This meant that the robots had to listen out for the whistle before each kick off. We were the only team to reliably start all our robots on the referee’s whistle. A big reason for this was that the team decided whether or not they had heard the whistle, together. If
AMT October 2015
only one robot heard a whistle, but the other four didn’t, they decide that the one robot must have been wrong, and don’t play. If three out of the five hear a whistle, but the last two don’t, then they decide the two must have missed it and they all start playing. This majority vote system was crucial in ensuring our team listened to the whistle reliably. Another of the major reasons we think we were successful is the development and testing practices we have as a team. Each week we run a series of standardised tests to see how fast we can score a goal. We start the robot in the same set of places each week and time how quickly it gets to the ball and shoots it into the goal. This quickly highlights how effective the past week’s worth of development has been and where we need to improve. It also quickly shows us any major bugs we have introduced with the latest set of changes. We also play small practice games of 5 vs 0 or 3 vs 3 as we get closer to competition. Firstly, this shows us how well our robots position and
play as a team, which is crucially important in a team sport like soccer. Secondly it shows how well we are able to perform in a changing environment, playing against a live opposition. It’s always much harder to score when you’ve got opponents getting in the way! Winning two world championships in a row has put a huge target on our back now. All the other teams will be closely watching our progress and focusing their strategies to beat us next year. We will spend the next 12 months continuing to innovate and ensure that we bring an even better team to the competition next year. Robocup also announced that it is coming to Sydney in 2019! Although it’s a long way off yet, we are looking forward to having a home ground advantage in a few years’ time. This article was originally published in The Conversation. www.theconversation.com www.unsw.edu.au
Forming & Fabrication
Longevity and upgrades save laser customers money Keeping a machine at optimal performance cuts set-up time, reduces scrap rates, and increases parts per hour coming off the machine. If you can extend the life of the machine while still operating within those parameters, you are ahead of the game. “It’s not just about speed when you are laser processing” says Richard Ladley, Technical Director of Industrial Laser. “Our customers demand consistency of process which is directly affected by the service and the serviceability of the machine over its entire life.”
Andrew Miles, General Manager of General Laser.
This is where Industrial Laser offers expert tailor-made solutions to their customer’s problems concerning machine life. With a philosophy of upgrading machines whenever possible, Industrial Laser has maintained systems that are over 20 years old but remain to this day highly reliable, highly accurate and very competitive within their market segment. Indeed, the upgraded machines often end up “better than new”, becoming easier to use with the addition of enhanced functions available from retrofit CNCs. Industrial Laser has retrofitted the latest generation CO2 and fibre lasers, giving Australasian customers the cutting edge in laser technology and service, and resulting in a lower running cost per hour and a reliable extended life span. This also is true when buying quality used laser systems from Industrial Laser. Each system can be upgraded within the customer’s budget and specifications, to deliver the best possible outcome. An example of this was General Laser, based in Sunshine, Victoria, which recently came to Industrial Laser with a specific brief to supply a laser system that would be used to cut mild steel plate, predominantly 16mm thick but occasionally 20mm. The machine would also be expected to cut 12mm clean cut stainless steel. The system needed to have a high level of reliability, to be easy to use, and to have low running costs. Moreover, the machine had to be installed for less than $350,000. A new machine was not possible within that budget as it would cost nearly twice the price. Instead, Industrial Laser recommended using a second-hand refurbished constant beam path motion system to give the consistent laser cut quality required. The motion system (X-,Y- and Z-axis and mechanical framework) normally has the longest longevity within the system, and is also the most expensive to produce. The motion system was completely stripped down, inspected and repainted. All the electrical wiring, hydraulics, gas systems and mechanicals were inspected and replaced as required at Industrial Laser’s facility in
Hallam, Victoria. Laser power came from fitting a new 4kW gas-efficient PRC laser from the USA. With its oil-free turbines, GEM filter technology and life-time glassware, the PRC laser has a proven track record in the harsh laser job shop environment. To allow for the protective film to be left on the stainless steel, a new Precitec capacitive height sensing system was retrofitted. Industrial Laser also installed a new Windows-based touch-screen CNC, which featured all the latest laser smarts as well as the expected laser machine functions, such as dynamic power control and retrace. Simple intuitive HMI screens and thoughtful button placement helps keep this Australianmade CNC a favourite for its operators. With the system now in full production for several months, continued feedback from Andrew Miles, General Manager of General Laser, has been extremely positive. “I have the production capacity and reliability of a new high power machine that exactly fits my business model” says Miles. “The technical knowledge of the team at Industrial Laser in this field is unique within Australia, and as a customer they have offered me many cost-saving solutions over the past 12 years.”
One other example Miles cites is the purchase from Industrial Laser of a state-ofthe-art laser water cooling system within the factory. Originally General Laser had three individual chillers next to its three high-power laser systems, which had some 130kw cooling capacity. Industrial Laser proposed an upgrade to link the three laser systems to one 100kw multi-compressor water-to-air refrigeration chiller designed for Australian conditions. Now all the lasers and beam delivery circuits are accurately cooled to within one degree Celsius, independent of heat load. “The electrical energy savings are significant” says Miles. The system was designed and manufactured in Melbourne, with an emphasis on spare parts being easily accessible locally, in line with Industrial Laser’s philosophy of longevity, reliability and serviceability. Before going down the path of purchasing a whole new laser system or retiring your old one, it may be worth contacting Industrial Laser to explore all the options available to you. www.industriallaser.com.au
AMT October 2015
Forming & Fabrication
Robotic CNC plasma beam coping eliminates manual drawbacks Brisbane-based Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) has introduced several incremental updates to its state-of-the-art Metaltek XB1200 CNC beam coping machine, making it even more productive and versatile since its inception two years ago. Traditionally, beam coping has been done manually by marking the dimensions for coping on the workpiece as per the drawings and then manually cutting out the cope from the steel beam using oxy-fuel gas torch. This method leaves a rough cut requiring considerable chipping and grinding to improve the finish. Coping machines provide high speed and quality, eliminating all the drawbacks of manual coping. While there are many different machines from well-known overseas manufacturers on the market, ART has studied the needs of every steel fabrication shop in Australia, from small to large, in order to develop an automated, versatile machine made at its manufacturing facility in Brisbane. The machine steel fabricators around the country a competitive edge – not only by creating an efficient automated machine, but also by offering local service and support. “We developed the Metaltek XB series to answer the need for fullyautomated structural steel processing in one machine,” explains ART Director David White. “To eliminate as much manual labour as possible we included full material handling, and all functions are automated and simple to operate. The whole machine is designed to reduce labour and double handling while increasing productivity and profits.” With a footprint of 3,750mm by 3,600mm, Metaltek XB offers full foursided plasma processing for the steel fabrication industry, advanced CNC robotics, high-definition plasma cutting and in-house developed user-friendly software and control interface. Moreover, three-axis material handling conveyor systems and cross-transfer conveyors for loading and unloading eliminate a large percentage of lifting, flipping and moving of steel members between machines. The operator simply prepares the next length of steel for loading while the previous one is cutting. A tick box on the touchscreen lets the controller know that the next length is ready to load. The drawbridge is able to extend 2.5m into the cutting envelope to support the material, clamp and draw for hitch feeding, and roll out the finished part. The drawbridge feed and synchronised rollers are both servo-controlled to ensure highly-precise material feeding. The CNC controller can also automatically feed the next piece of material from the cross-feeds onto the in-feed roller conveyor for automatic cutting. Inside the cell work area, the machine automatically senses material dimensions, and an extra-articulated robotic arm performs the desired cuts, even underneath the beam. In conjunction with the gantry system, the arm achieves unparalleled reach.
AMT October 2015
Cutting profiles, plates and pipes Since its introduction in 2013, the ART team set out to add a huge array of extra functionality that would enhance the productivity of the Metaltek XB 1200. Originally designed to cut all four sides of square tube as well as etch marking underneath beams and channels, the machine now comes with the ability to process pipe efficiently up to 610mm diameter and a wall thickness of up to 32mm. Full weld preps are easy to perform, as well as any style of holes, notching, slots, mitres, frog mouths, complex branches and so on. There is no limit to the length of pipe that can be processed. Additionally, the XB1200 can automatically load and process plate right alongside other profiles using interchangeable shuttle tables. The plate is loaded onto a pallet style carrier that is queued up on the in-feed conveyor. The plate is then automatically loaded, cut, then unloaded automatically. Different thickness plates can be set up on multiple pallets. If only a few parts are needed then the plates can be stored on the pallet. New parts can be added to the nest and the plate can be reloaded later to cut a few more posts from the plate remnant. Of course, the machine efficiently processes hot- and cold-rolled structural steel profiles, including RHS, SHS, UB, UC, PFC, TFC, EA and UA, with maximum beam cross sections of 1,220mm by 610mm. All copes, mitres, square cuts, slots and holes can be cut automatically. Full bevel weld preps can be applied to all surfaces including underneath. Plasma etch marking is also a standard feature for part numbers, welding instructions, alignment marks and so on.
Forming & Fabrication
Di Candilo Steel City adds value with Trumpf Di Candilo Steel City in Western Australia has over 40 years’ experience supplying steel products for the mining, oil and gas and government industries. According to Lou Shabani, General Manager at Di Candilo, the company has seen an increase in business size, growing from 20 to 50 employees. With their extensive knowledge and insight into the industries they service, the team at Di Candilo have what it takes to meet their customer’s needs. Today Di Candilo is seen as one of the leading processing steel suppliers in Western Australia “Our speciality is the processing of steel products and meeting our clients’ needs with short lead-times at a competitive price,” says Shabani. “We take pride in delivering a high-quality processed product and meeting our customer’s expectations.” Over the years, the company has seen a shift in how different industries are performing. As the economic climate is tough, there is always a need to find new ways to remain ahead of the competition. “The economic climate is very tough at the moment, competition is harsh and margins are eroding,” says Shabani. “It is important to be able to offer the client a more complete package to become more favourable within the marketplace. Having various types of processing machines allows us to have a competitive edge within the market as well as diversity. Offering additional services and adding value to products is what we are about.” In addition to profile machines, plasma machines, bandsaws, guillotine, punch/cropping equipment, Di Candilo’s workshop boasts a Trumpf TruLaser 5060 flatbed laser machine. Now they have installed a second Trumpf TruLaser to assist them with customer demand and product precision.
Cutting direct from CAD We are all creatures of habit, so being forced to learn new specialised steel software to generate machine-oriented NC1 files can be a nuisance. ART has eliminated this hurdle – the Metaltek XB1200 now cuts structural steel and pipe directly from any 3D CAD program using 3D solid and mesh files such as .stp, .iges, .stl, .obj and others. Additionally, the machine supports .dxf files of simple 2D CAD drawings, which can be loaded into the machine and nested alongside NC1 files.
Enhanced cutting performance For improved rigidity and cutting performance, ART improved the machine’s robotic arm. The twin-bearing wishbone-style arm joints were implemented with great success, which enabled faster, more aggressive movements and consistent positioning. Larger zerobacklash robotic gearboxes were chosen as were larger brushless AC servomotors with absolute encoders for better performance.
“It was important for us to move with technology and embrace the new industry standard in sheet/plate cutting,” says Shabani. “It is also important for us to put high-quality machines within our business that is accompanied with a high level of service and backup.” Di Candilo and Headland Machinery have worked together for a number of years and Shabani says that the customer service they have experienced has been exceptional. “The service organisation and team at Headland are second to none,” he adds. “They have proven they are extremely knowledgeable and are always looking not only to fix any issue so production can continue, but also find out why it happened so they can reduce the risk of it happening again.” www.dicandilo.com.au www.headland.com.au
The Metaltek XB1200 features a Hypertherm HPR260XD plasma power system, which gives precision at unprecedented speed, yet extends consumable life beyond competing plasma systems. Automatic surface tracking along with the ART 3D motion controller ensure accurate pierce and cut heights. The bevel torch head can achieve up to +/-50 degrees on all faces, while ART recommends a maximum cutting bevel of 45 degrees. The robotic arm, in combination with HyPerformance technology by Hypertherm coupled with ART’s machine motion control systems and software, takes plasma cutting to a whole new level. www.advancedrobotic.com www.metaltekcnc.com AMT October 2015
Forming & Fabrication
SafanDarley – Work smarter, not harder The purchase of SafanDarley electric press brakes from Sheet Metal Machinery has allowed Laser Wizard to achieve quick and accurate levels of production. Overseas competition has taken its toll on the Australian manufacturing industry. We have sadly seen many well established manufacturing companies close their doors. However, despite these tough prevailing economic conditions, there are still countless Australian companies who are continuing to grow and expand.
Sheet Metal Machinery’s Director Ed Stavar (second right) with Ron Thomson (second left) and the team from Laser Wizard.
Laser Wizard, a once small start-up, is one such example of how investing in the latest machinery and diversify your service offering, can enable businesses to remain competitive within the industry. The old saying “Work smarter, not harder” is often emphasised across the manufacturing industry, but at Laser Wizard the team are actively putting those words into practice. Laser Wizard is an Australian family-owned laser cutting business based in St Marys, Western Sydney and servicing clients throughout the country. Commencing business in 1999, Laser Wizard initially comprised of only two staff, the company’s owner and founder Ronald Thomson, as well as a laser operator. They had purchased a second-hand 2kw laser machine, rented space in a shared factory in St Marys, and tried their luck in the contract laser cutting business. In the years since, Laser Wizard has continued to grow, and Thomson noticed that there was a demand for added services, including bending, welding and linishing, to name but a few. Clients often preferred to use one company to cut and supply all their profiles. It was for that reason Laser Wizard decided to invest in a press brake. After careful research, it was determined that a SafanDarley electric E-Brake press brake would best suit the needs of the business. “We decided on this machine as it was economic to run and it was fast,” says Thomson, who remains the Director of Laser Wizard. “The SafanDarley electric E-Brake only consumes power when it is producing parts and is much quicker and quieter than the hydraulic machines that we looked at. We needed a machine that was accurate and reliable. The SafanDarley E-Brake gave us both these features.” The company has subsequently bought two more SafanDarley servo electric E-Brake presses, an E-Brake 65T-2550, and an E-Brake 200T-4100. This year the company upgraded its older hydraulic press brake to a new SafanDarley electric press brake from Sheet Metal Machinery. “We needed something for high-volume, small, light components,” says Thomson. “We chose the SafanDarley 35T 1250 E-Brake Ergonomic press brake as it fitted
AMT October 2015
these requirements. The operator is seated on a fully adjustable chair. Arm rests, processing height and stacking height are also fully adjustable to suit the operator. A recess in the front of the machine allows room for the operator’s legs and an adjustable foot support.”
a full range of services including: laser and waterjet cutting; folding up to 4m long; Mig, Tig, spot and stud welding; linishing; nut insertion; drilling; countersinking; and tapping. Other services including powder coating, plating and galvanising are also available.
The SafanDarley E-Brake concept is built around a servo-electric drive based on a pulley principal that results in a very even distribution of forces, such that in 95% of cases no crowning table is required. Similarly the latest generation of software makes the E-Brake’s operation extremely fast, easy and precise.
“By providing these additional add-on, in-house services and by benefiting from economies of scale, we are able to maximise cost savings and pass these on to our customers” comments Thomson.
In combination with low noise levels, up to 50% reduced energy consumption, extremely low maintenance costs, integrated safety systems, shorter cycle times, and machine options ranging from 20-300 tons and working lengths of 850mm to 4100 mm, it is easy to see why the E-Brake electronic press brake series appeals to so many manufactures. Far from being simply a laser cutting contractor, Laser Wizard offers customers
The company’s constant drive to minimise costs while improving productivity and accuracy is exemplified by the SafanDarley electric E-Brake press brake series. “We have received very positive feedback from our customers about our sheet metal bending and folding services,” concludes Thomson. “The new SafanDarley Electric E-Brake press will save Laser Wizard and our customers even more time and money”. www.sheetmetalmachinery.com.au www.laserwizard.com.au
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Forming & Fabrication
Determining the best process for metal cutting Deciding which of the four major metal sheet and plate cutting processes is best for a given task is not always simple. Jim Colt, Application Technology Manager at Hypertherm, looks at which system would best suit a particular application. thickness range 6m-150mm. Cutting speeds are better than other processes on material thicknesses over about 50mm. It is easy and inexpensive to add multiple torches to a CNC machine to cut multiple parts simultaneously.
• The attributes of a cutting process that are most often important from a metal fabricator or job shop perspective are as follows. Capital equipment cost. While each process requires sophisticated CNC motion control and fume control equipment, as well as CAD and CAM software to unlock the best potential, there are differences in these requirements for each process. As an example, motion control systems on a laser designed to cut thin steel at high speeds are required to have much greater accuracy than motion control for waterjet or oxy-fuel systems that operate at lower speeds. These requirements have a direct, often large effect on capital equipment cost differences. • Cutting cost per part or per metre. This type of cost calculation must include consumables and utilities. In some cases, amortised capital equipment cost may also be included, as well as labour costs. It is necessary to ensure that the same type of inputs is used for each system when comparing relative costs. The cut costs should be broken down per-metre or perpart as opposed to per-hour, as this levels out the speed advantages of some processes. The cost per metre calculations will always show large advantages to the processes with the cut speed advantage. • Ease of use. This attribute puts the heaviest weight on software (especially CAM) as well as CNC control capability. Today’s best systems have relatively short learning curves, with embedded expertise often minimising the need for expert operators. While difficult to put a value on these advantages, it is necessary to think about this when introducing sophisticated systems. • Productivity. Often called throughput, this is essentially the amount of parts that are cut to specification at the end of a shift. Productivity or cut speed is the biggest influence on the real cost per part. In some cases, accuracy can be reduced in favour of a process that provides dramatically lower cut costs and a bigger pile of parts in less time. • Cut part accuracy. There are many ways to measure the accuracy of the wide variety of parts produced in metal fabricating. Often the outside contours
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• Capital equipment cost. US$40kUS$50k for a turnkey system (relatively simple machine due to low speed requirements). • Cutting costs per part or meter. Gas usage is fairly high and cut speeds are slow, but the cost of cut parts gets more competitive with plasma as the steel gets thicker. Typically oxy-fuel has a moderately high cost per metre and gets better on 50mm and above.
of parts have much looser tolerances compared to inside details such as holes. Also, often only the top of a part is measured, yet the bottom (based on edge taper) will be substantially different in dimension. For simplicity, plus or minus expectations for tolerance as measured from the top of the part will be used here, as well as a reference to edge angularity for each process. • Edge quality and metallurgical effects. All of these processes will produce different effects on the cut-edge metallurgy that can affect machinability, formability and weldability. • Service and maintenance. Some of the long-term operating cost calculations with each form of these systems will be affected by the need for maintenance, as well as the level of expertise required to perform that maintenance.
• Ease of use. Oxy-fuel cutting on a CNC machine requires a high skill level to get the best cut and maximum speed. Constant monitoring is generally required. • Productivity. This is a relatively slow process with its advantages being based on lowest capital cost and the ability to cut very thick steel. • Cut part accuracy. With a good operator, oxy-fuel can typically achieve tolerances in the +/-0.75mm range and with edge angularity of less than one degree of edge taper. • Edge quality and metallurgy. A large heat-affected zone is produced due to low speeds, with edges typically rough and some dross removal required. • Service and maintenance. Simple to maintain, typically in-house.
High-definition plasma uses a hightemperature ionised gas to produce a high energy density cutting arc capable of cutting any conductive material. The latest systems can be almost completely automated and do their best work on 0.5mm-50mm steel thickness with a maximum up to 80mm, and do well on steel and aluminium from 0.5mm through to 160mm.
Oxy-fuel cutting is by far the simplest of the cutting technologies being discussed. The process essentially uses a fuel gas to heat steel to its ‘kindling’ temperature of around 980 deg. Celsius. Once the steel is at this temperature (preheat), a pure oxygen jet is activated to create an exothermic reaction, rapidly eroding the steel. Oxy-fuel can cut only mild steel, and does a good job in the
Capital equipment cost. US$75k-US$90k. Higher speeds are possible, but torch height control systems and better fume control are necessary for HyDefinition-class plasma cutting (HyDefinition is a patented consumable technology of Hypertherm that uses vented nozzle technology to deliver sharper top-edge quality, smoother cut surfaces with minimal angle deviation, and
For the following comparison, a ‘complete system’ capital equipment cost will be calculated. This would be the landed cost of a turnkey system on the shop floor, with a 1.5m x 3m cutting area, an industrial quality CNC machine, and CAD and CAM software.
Forming & Fabrication precise motion control as well as a light tight enclosure for safety. • Cutting costs per part or metre. The big advantage of laser is with materials thinner than 6mm. Above this the speed is considerably reduced, though excellent cut quality and accuracy are maintained. It provides the lowest cut costs on thin materials, but is higher than plasma on steels above 6mm.
long nozzle life). Cutting costs per part or metre. Plasma has the lowest cost per part on 6mm-50mm thick steel. Ease of use. With the latest technology CNC and software, plasma is extremely easy to learn and use as expertise is embedded in CAM software. Productivity. This is definitely the fastest, most productive process, being faster than laser on >6mm and faster than oxy-fuel up to 50mm. Cut part accuracy. Typical cut part accuracy on steel is in the range +/- 0.38m-0.5 mm. Cut-edge angularity is two to three degrees on steel under about 9.5mm, and about one degree on steel 12.5mm-38mm thick. Edge quality and metallurgy. A relatively narrow heat-affected zone is produced, typically less than 0.25mm, with very little edge hardening and excellent weldability, and smooth edges with minimal dross on steel. Service and maintenance. Simple to maintain, typically in house or with factory phone tech support.
3kW fibre laser Fibre lasers are the latest technology in laser cutting. These systems, using a solid state laser generator or power source, are far more efficient than the CO2 laser systems they are quickly replacing. Fibre lasers operate at a light wavelength that allows them to deliver the beam to the cutting head using a flexible fibre-optic cable, rather than the mirrorand-tube system used by CO2 lasers. This provides a simpler layout that requires far less maintenance. The laser uses a properly focused, high-energy laser to melt a small spot and an assist gas (typically oxygen for cutting steel) to remove the molten metal. A 3kW fibre laser can cut with similar speeds and power to a 4kW-5kW CO2 laser. Cut capability on steel is from thin gauge to about 20mm. • Capital equipment cost. US$400500k. Laser systems require more
• Ease of use. Probably the easiest process to use. It can be fully automated with the best CAM and CNC systems and operator expertise can be low. • Productivity. Slow on steels, but better on aluminium. • Cut part accuracy. By far the best cut part accuracy, typically within +/0.127mm, and less than one degree of cut-edge taper.
• Ease of use. With the best technology CAM software and CNC control the system is as easy to operate as the newest plasma systems. All settings can be automated.
• Edge quality and metallurgy. Cutedge smoothness and quality can be controlled by cut speed and the grit size of the abrasive. There is virtually no effect to base material metallurgy.
• Productivity. By far the best productivity on gauge thicknesses upwards of 1mm, but speeds are similar to plasma at around 6mm.
• Service and maintenance. Simple to maintain, typically in-house.
• Cut part accuracy. The best technology fibre lasers can produce cut part tolerances in the range +/0.25mm. This is better than plasma and almost as good as abrasive waterjet. Edge angularity on most materials and thicknesses is less than one degree.
Hypertherm recently displayed 12.5mm steel parts that had been CNC cut with five different processes; a Powermax105 air plasma; a MAXPRO200 LongLife oxygenbased industrial plasma; a HyPerformance HPR130XD high-definition class plasma; a HyIntensity 3kW fibre laser; and a HyPrecision abrasive waterjet.
• Edge quality and metallurgy. Slightly narrower heat-affected zone compared to plasma. • Service and maintenance. Maintenance requirements have reduced dramatically and can generally be handled in-house in conjunction with phone technical support.
Abrasive waterjet Waterjet technology has been used for decades cutting materials from cake to granite. Softer materials can be cut with a pure high-pressure waterjet forced through an orifice to increase its velocity and energy density. Abrasive water jets inject an abrasive (usually garnet) downstream of the orifice. Today’s best systems have pumps that can boost water pressure to as much as 6,900 bar, enhancing higher cutting speeds, but this has historically increased downtime for maintenance when pump seals fail periodically. The latest systems have improved rebuildability, allowing minimal downtime. No heat-affected zone is produced and abrasive waterjet can cut almost anything, at the best tolerances. The biggest downside of waterjet is that cutting speeds are lower compared to the other processes. • Capital equipment cost. Relatively simple motion control with relatively low speeds keeps the cost lower than laser and slightly higher than plasma. • Cutting costs per part or metre. Because cost per part is affected by cut speed, this is the most expensive cutting process. The consumable garnet also adds to costs.
On superficial inspection, all parts appeared identical. However up close, edge taper and hole taper on the air plasma cut could clearly be seen. Furthermore, on examining the more expensive processes the angle of the taper diminishing, with less taper on the oxygen plasma, was almost completely absent with the high-definition plasma, and virtually nonexistent with the laser and waterjet. While the cuts were very nice with all of the systems, the systems with higher capital and operating costs clearly offer cut quality and metallurgy advantages. Only using 12.5mm steel to compare processes may not be completely fair for those that desired excellent cut quality at the lowest price, as that would likely force the choice of the high-definition plasma. If the sample had been 3mm aluminium, the waterjet and laser would definitely be the most productive, most accurate processes. If the criterion is low capital cost with looser tolerances, perhaps the air plasma would be adequate with its extremely low capital cost. Selecting the best cutting process is difficult as it depends on the specific application, the business needs and what areas are most critical. Oxy-fuel is limited to mild steel and is not effective on stainless or aluminium; it is typically used for very thick plate. Plasma provides an optimal mix of cut quality, productivity and operating costs for mild steel, stainless and aluminium across a wide range of thicknesses. Laser provides excellent cut quality and productivity on material less than 6mm and can be used up to 20mm. Waterjet can be used to cut a wide variety of materials, provides the best tolerances, and there is no heat affected zone, though cut speeds are lower. www.hypertherm.com/en AMT October 2015
forum – import/export
China Free Trade Agreement Chris Mckirdy and Doug Tozer explain the anticipated favourable conditions for Australian manufacturers via the ChAFTA. Global imports into China from the world was US$2 trillion in 2014. This is a rise of 7.6% on 2012 trade reports. The China Australia free trade agreement (ChAFTA) is anticipated to be finalised by December 2015. Australia needs Free trade Agreements (FTAs) to level the playing field by reducing other countries’ duties down to where Australia is zeroing our import duty to stimulate our export potential through diversity of new products into niche markets. Australia is not alone in securing an FTA with China. China has an FTA with over 20 countries if one includes those countries covered within the China ASEAN FTA. However opportunities also exist with those same countries that Australia has similar agreements with. Partnerships could be established for part-manufacture of goods and final production that meets the origin requirements of China from any of their FTA countries. The China, Korea and Japan agreements are under negotiation and Australia has FTAs with both Japan and Korea. Korea is China’s largest importer with $196bn in 2014 followed by Japan with $163bn. With the Government’s White paper on developing Northern Australia, Chinese companies making significant investments in Australia and the imminent entry into force of the ChAFTA, Australian manufacturers and exporters can anticipate favourable conditions for an increase in not only international trade, but in the local market also. Australian manufacturers will be in an ideal position to supply the local market when Chinese companies release details on the specific infrastructure investments - believed to be in the vicinity of more than $150m. Having a positive approach and taking advantage of the closer economic trading with China will help to create confidence and co-operation between the countries. All sectors - from service providers to manufacturers - have the opportunity to benefit from the Chinese investors and their projects. There will be requirements to cater for the necessary amenities, housing, office works, machinery, tooling, consumables and inputs. China is Australia’s top trading partner, with 2012 imports from China totalling $47bn and exports to China of $81bn. Australia was China’s 7th largest trading partner in 2014. Most trade was from Chapter 26 (ores, slags, ash); Chapter 27 (mineral fuels and oils); Chapter 74 (copper and articles of copper) and Chapter 99 (non-merchandise trade). This demonstrates not much product traded in finished goods or components, but the opportunity to diversify and look outwards to new export markets with China under an FTA. This is certainly worthy of investigation. From 2011 to 2014 and after the introduction of the FTA between New Zealand and China, trade from New Zealand increased from $5bn to $10bn. China and Switzerland signed their FTA in July 2013 and Switzerland’s imports to China grew by 76% to US$40bn in 2014. With the FTA between EU countries, Switzerland has opened the EU into China’s market.
ChAFTA advantage over USA 2014 trade from the USA to China, which does not participate in a joint FTA, was US$159bn. The data below shows the USA’s top 5 chapters (commodities) imported into China and the corresponding values. When the ChAFTA is in force, Australia will have the FTA advantage over USA and other counties that don’t have FTAs or preference arrangements (lower duty rates). • Chapter 1201 Soya beans - World import to China: US$40bn. USA share: US$16bn.
AMT October 2015
• Chapter 8411 Turbo jets, propellers and other gas turbines - World import to China: US$5bn. USA share: US$3bn. • Chapter 8542 Electronic integrated circuits - World import to China: US$67bn. USA share: US$11bn. • Chapter 8802 Helicopters, spacecraft, satellites, spacecraft launch vehicles - World import to China:US$25bn. USA share: US$15bn • Chapter 8703 Motor cars and other vehicles designed to transport people - Total import to China: US$60bn. USA share: US$9bn. If Australian manufacturers, producers and service providers can take just a portion of the USA share of the Chinese market, that would be a great result. Given that many tariff items support the manufacture of vehicles, can Australia turn around the loss of local supply to auto companies through export of components? Our focus could be on either the manufacture of the machinery to create these high-volume commodities for China’s manufacturers or utilising the Australian machinery to produce products for the Chinese market. Tradefox Express, an online Tariff tool for international trade, captures Australian FTA data and when you have access to this sort of information and further analyse the data, you can expose a great deal of opportunities in areas such as food right through to high tech products. You may also identify the areas where Australian manufacturers and service providers can compete more successfully in the international trade market, especially with China which dominates world trade - exporting $2.3 trillion in 2014. Here is a sample list of countries importing into China in order of highest import values. Many do not have the raw material resources of Australia and some have similar living standards. So added value production in Australia should have the advantage over these countries in the cost of local raw materials that flows into components and finished goods. Rep. of Korea, Japan, USA, Other Asia, NES, China, Germany, Malaysia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Thailand, Angola, Singapore, Iran, France, Canada, Indonesia, Oman, United Kingdom What is preventing a high-skills-based country like Australia from exporting? Ms Chris Mckirdy, a licensed Customs Broker is Director, SAC Import Clearance. SAC Import Clearance offers assistance on any aspect of Customs clearance, logistics and freight-forwarding – at reasonable rates. Ph: 0428-782-557. Email:admin@ sacimportclearance.com www.sacimportclearance.com Doug Tozer is President of Tradefox Inc. which develops import export compliance libraries for customs brokers, consultants, importers and exporters. Ph: 0487 670 733 or email email@example.com www.tradefoxinc.com
forum – IP
3D printing and intellectual property: A new challenge for IP owners 3D printing raises a number of issues for intellectual property (IP) owners already facing the challenges of the internet and other digital technologies. Existing IP laws will evolve and reforms may be necessary but it remains to be seen if 3D printing will have the major impact some commentators believe. Guy Provan explains. What’s the fuss about? Put simply, 3D printing can be another form of copying and IP laws exist to stop illegal copying. The photocopier copies documents. Digital technologies and the internet have resulted in the copying of films and music. Now with 3D printing, three dimensional objects can be easily copied. And the copies can be mass produced or custommade, potentially depriving the IP owner of substantial revenues.
IP rights Existing IP rights can potentially be invoked where a 3D article is made. A patent is infringed when a functional article is made without the licence of the owner of the patent provided that it comes within the scope of the claims of the patent. A registered design is infringed where an article is made without the licence of the owner of the design provided that the article is identical or substantially similar in overall impression to the registered design. It is also possible to register shapes as trade marks (although the scope for this is limited). So any party engaging in copying using 3D printing is potentially at risk of patent, registered design or trade mark infringement. But most products will not be protected by such rights. And a check of the patent, registered designs or trade mark registers can be carried out to determine if there is a risk or not. But copyright raises different issues. There is no system of registration and copyright automatically subsists in original “works” including “artistic works”. Drawings, including engineering drawings depicting articles, are artistic works and can be infringed by making a copy in either two dimensions (i.e. a copy of the drawing itself) or three dimensions (i.e. by making an article in accordance with the drawing). So making a 3D article may infringe copyright in drawings of the article if made without the licence of the copyright owner.
Policy of copyright law However, it has long been recognised that copyright is not intended to protect or give a monopoly in relation to the copying of products which have been mass manufactured and sold. If a product has novel and inventive functionality, it can be protected by a patent. If the product has a distinctive look, it can be protected by a registered design or even a registered trade mark. But in the absence of such protection, the policy of the law is that IP laws should not be used to prevent copying of mass-produced products.
The overlap provisions So the law has evolved a body of law sometimes known as the “copyright and designs overlap provisions” which are intended to
implement the policy of the law. These provisions are complex and have frequently given rise to dispute with copyright owners attempting to enforce copyright in drawings of articles where there is no patent or registered design involved. The gist of these provisions is that a copyright owner cannot enforce copyright in a drawing of an article where the copyright owner or its licensee has made and sold articles in accordance with the drawing. Further, articles or drawings made during a process of reverse engineering will not infringe copyright. This is a simplification of a complex area of law but generally it implements the policy of the law that copyright is not intended to protect the mass production of products. Inevitably there are exceptions. Copying a building (i.e. a structure of any kind) is not subject to the defences in the overlap provisions. And more significantly for someone engaging in 3D printing, copying “works of artistic craftsmanship” may still infringe copyright. A work of artistic craftsmanship can include things such as pottery, jewellery and some furniture, and can include functional articles provided that “the work’s expression must be unconstrained by functional considerations”. This is an area of law which will be tested by the growth in 3D printing. There are other issues which may arise: can suppliers restrict the ability to copy spare parts relying on contractual provisions? Can a copier rely on the overlap provisions where only one article is made and sold by the copyright owner (eg. a one-off item of machinery). Given that copyright provides limited remedies to the IP rights owner, there may be an increase in the use of patents, registered designs or trade marks to protect the articles which could otherwise be copied. Indeed, given that a 3D copy may be a slavish copy of the original article (having been digitally scanned from the original) there may be an increase in the numbers of registered designs applied for. Among others, IP lawyers await developments with interest. Guy Provan is Director, Legal Professional Services, Watermark Watermark has a proud 156 year history in Intellectual Asset Management (IAM). It is Australian-owned and employs over 100 people nationally, among whom are 40 practising Intellectual Property (IP) professionals. Services include: Patents and Designs, Trade Marks, IP Lawyers, IP Strategy & Management, R&D Tax, Competitor Business Intelligence Services. Watermark has offices in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia and the international presence is strengthened with a global network of Associates in over 50 countries, giving access to local support in the United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Asia and the sub-continent. Ph: 08 9222 0113 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.watermark.com.au AMT October 2015
forum – law
Project Manager not an “officer” in due diligence test case A recent decision by the ACT Industrial Court has clarified the definition of an “officer” under the new Work Health and Safety laws. Luke Holland explains. A recent decision by the ACT Industrial Court in Mckie v Al-Hasani and Kenoss Contractors Pty Ltd  has clarified the definition of an “officer” under the new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, determining that a project manager’s role does not fall under the definition because the role’s responsibilities are primarily operational, rather than organisational. In doing so, the Magistrate has increased certainty surrounding who owes a duty of care within workplaces and has reaffirmed existing concepts of due diligence under the laws.
Background The case involved the death of a 48-year-old truck driver, Michael Booth, who was electrocuted after his truck came in contact with live power lines while tipping his load. Mr Booth was an employee of David O’Meley Truck Hire, a company subcontracted by Kenoss Contractors. On the day of the incident, Mr Booth was directed to take the truck’s load to the main compound; however, he was not given any direction and instead ended up at the small compound. Kenoss’ workers had been previously told not to use the small compound due to its dangerous, low-hanging wires, yet the site was left unlocked with no visible warning signs regarding the presence of live power lines which were also obscured by foliage. As a result, Mr Booth had little to no knowledge of the surrounding dangers when he drove his truck into the small compound, where the incident occurred. Both Kenoss and its Project Manager, Mr Al-Hasani, were charged with committing a category 2 offence, which is contrary to s 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (the Act), and Mr Al-Hasani was charged as an officer of the corporation, under to s 27 of the Act. The maximum penalty for a category 2 offence under the legislation is $1,500,000 for a body corporate and $300,000 for an officer. Industrial Magistrate Walker found that the risk of electrocution was obvious and could have been eliminated or mitigated through the introduction of simple safety measures. Consequently, it was found that Kenoss had clearly breached their duty of care to subcontractors and their employees.
A project manager is not an officer In determining whether there was a breach of duty, the Magistrate first considered whether Mr Al-Hasani was an officer under the Act and, if so, whether he had exercised due diligence as required by the Act. By examining the tasks performed by Mr Al-Hasani, the Court held that he did NOT meet the definition of an officer. In coming to this decision, the Magistrate looked at Section 9(b) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), which defines an officer as a person: - who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the corporation’s business, or - who has the capacity to significantly affect the corporation’s financial standing, or - in accordance with whose instructions or wishes the directors of the corporation are accustomed to act (excluding advice given by the person in the proper performance of functions attaching to the person’s professional capacity or their business relationship with the corporation’s directors). The Court examined Mr Al-Hasani’s role in detail and took a broader approach than the definition of “officer” under the Corporations Act. Mr Al-Hasani gave evidence that he had no authority to hire or pay any workers and further that he had to submit all prices to management
AMT October 2015
and get their approval before he could go ahead with work. However, he did agree that he undertook “all of the work one would expect of a project manager. Magistrate Walker concluded that she was not satisfied that Mr Al-Hasani’s role amounted to the level of an officer because the role was purely operational. She did however indicate that he breached his obligations as a worker, but that a charge under this provision had not been presented.
The charge against him was dismissed. It is also worth noting that the Court heard that Mr Al-Hasani did not exercise due diligence because he was aware of the risks associated with the small compound but failed to take reasonable steps, as specified under s 27(5) of the Act, to address these risks. His failures included using an inadequate Safe Work Method Statement, not ensuring all subcontractors were aware of the risk and the lack of a process to ensure safety compliance.
Where to from here If the reasoning of this case is to be followed in the harmonised states, it appears that an individual’s role must be organisational in order to meet the definition of officer under the WHS Act. These considerations may be determinative in future decisions where state regulators are looking to prosecute officers. Because the ACT is a harmonised state, this case is obviously of significant importance for the harmonised jurisdictions. In a postharmonised world, this is likely to be the first of many cases that examines this definition. Our advice is to stay tune for updates as courts in each of the harmonised states are asked to confirm their interpretation. Luke Holland is a partner in the Workplace Group at Sparke Helmore Lawyers. The firm has more than 600 people working from nine offices across Australia. Our expertise spans corporate and commercial to construction, workplace to insurance, IP to IPOs, mining to manufacturing, and property to procurement. Ph: 08 8415 9875, email@example.com, www.sparke.com.au Sparke Helmore would like to acknowledge the contribution of Georgia Wells and Josh Stewart to this article.
forum – OHS
Confronting sexual harassment: An employers’ guide Despite being outlawed for more than 25 years, sexual harassment remains a problem in Australian workplaces, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) concedes. In fact, nearly one in five complaints received by the AHRC under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984 (Commonwealth) relate to sexual harassment. Brendan Torazzi explains. Sexual harassment comes at a considerable cost, both to affected individuals and to business, AHRA says. It is important that employers take active steps to prevent sexual harassment and respond effectively when it occurs, its Sexual Harassment: Know where the line is report says.
What is sexual harassment? AHRC’s report says sexual harassment is defined in the Sexual Discrimination Act as “any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated”. Tackling violence, harassment and bullying and building community understanding and respect for human rights are two of the AHRC’s priority areas. Sexual harassment is also one of five priority areas for action contained in the commission’s Gender Equality Blueprint 2010. Employers and unions, meantime, are doing their bit to defeat discrimination, joining with the commission in a tripartite partnership called the Know Where the Line Is. The national awareness-raising strategy is a combined effort by the commission, employer body the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions to prevent and reduce the harm of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
Sexual harassment prevalence surveys While falling, harassment rates still remain unacceptably high, latest AHRA figure suggest. Since 2002, the commission has conducted national sexual harassment phone surveys every five years. The aim of these surveys is to provide robust evidence on the prevalence, nature and extent of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The commission’s third sexual harassment survey, conducted in 2012, found that approximately one in five (21%) people over the age of 15 years experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the previous five year period. It also found that sexual harassment continues to affect more women than men, with 33% of women having been sexually harassed since the age of 15, compared to fewer than 9% of men. An earlier commission survey, conducted in 2008, found that 22% of females and 5% of males had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace at some time, compared to 28% of females and 7% of males in 2003. It also found a lack of understanding as to what sexual harassment is. Around one in five (22%) respondents who said they had not experienced sexual harassment then went on to report having experienced behaviours that may in fact amount to sexual harassment under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).
Bystander approaches In July 2012 the commission released a new research paper, Encourage. Support. Act!: Bystander approaches to sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a comprehensive examination of the way bystander intervention can be applied to addressing sexual harassment in workplaces. Bystanders are individuals who observe
sexual harassment firsthand, or are subsequently informed of the incident. This paper examines the role bystander intervention strategies are already playing in other areas such as whistle-blowing, racial harassment, workplace bullying and anti-violence.
Amendments to the Act In June 2013, the Sexual Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 (Cth) extended the list of circumstances to be taken into account when assessing whether or not sexual harassment has occurred, AHRA says. Specifically, the Act replaced “marital status, sexual preference” from the existing list of circumstances in section 28A(1A)(a) of the Sexual Discrimination Act with the following circumstances: “sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status”. The amendment to section 28A(1A)(a) recognises that a person’s “sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status” may influence whether or not a reasonable person “would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated”.
AlertForce response AlertForce has responded to the incidence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces by offering convenient and cost-effective sexual discrimination training to employers, in the form of an online module Prevention of Sexual Harassment. The course can be scheduled wherever and whenever it suits managers and staff. The courses are carried out swiftly and simply, making it easy to meet responsibilities while keeping the business moving. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment training covers compliance requirements under Equal Employment Opportunity, Sexual Harassment Prevention and/or anti workplace bullying legislation and codes of practice.
Anti-bullying While treated in its own right through various codes of practice, workplace bullying often features in sexual harassment matters. It is best dealt with by taking steps to prevent it from occurring and responding quickly if it does occur, Safe Work Australia’s (SWA’s) Dealing with Workplace Bullying guide recommends. The longer the bullying behaviour continues, the more difficult it is to address and the harder it becomes to repair working relationships, the guide says. The guide provides information for persons conducting a business or undertaking on how to manage the risks of workplace bullying as part of meeting their duties under the work health and safety laws. It includes advice on what workplace bullying is, how it can be prevented and how to respond to allegations that may arise. Brendan Torazzi is chief executive officer of AlertForce, a registered training organisation. AlertForce specialises in compliance training for workplace health and safety by offering quality online, face-to- face and/or blended training approaches to create fast, flexible and competitive WHS training and compliance solutions. Ph: 1800 900 222. For more specific details and training, see AlertForce’s Sexual Harassment module. www.alertforce.com.au
AMT October 2015
Big wheels & little wheels – the story of Sir Laurence John Hartnett (1898 – 1986)
Wireless no more in Johore
UK-born Sir Laurence Hartnett arrived in Australia in 1934. He was known as Australia’s ‘Father of the Holden’, but he was much more than that as he tirelessly devoted himself to the country he loved via his visionary “Made in Australia” campaign. Apart from commencing the remarkable revitalisation of GMHolden in Australia in 1934, his other contributions to Australia included being appointed Director of Ordnance Production in World War II, setting up the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and numerous other ventures. In this instalment, Laurence continues his stint in the Far East; then part of the British Empire. It is 1924 when an unusual assignment comes his way: How should Laurence induce a country with NO radio transmitters to buy radio receivers? Why, you simply start the first radio station in Malaya, which is precisely what Laurence did!
ingapore, 1924. While working at Guthrie’s as the months went by, my connections among the business community of Singapore and Malaya became more widespread. In tours through the hinterland of Malaya to visit the dealers appointed to handle Buick sales, I got to know the people of the country - rich, poor and middle class - very well. Car-selling and servicing them, was the first function of the operation, but occasionally Head Office would toss something entirely new my way, something not even remotely connected with cars. One of these off-beat assignments started with a letter from the London office of Guthrie’s, which said that the Burndep wireless firm had suggested there should be a good market for wireless receivers in Malaya and Singapore. That was a remarkable deduction - at the time there wasn’t even a radio transmitter anywhere in Malaya, so why should people buy receivers until they had something to receive? There was an obvious answer: start a radio station and give them something to listen to!
I suggested this to London, who referred it back to the Burndep Company - who promptly shipped out to Singapore all the equipment for a radio transmitting station. The transmitter duly arrived with a note to me saying: “This might be in your line.” On the same ship, Burndep’s sent a supply of radio receivers. This gave us no excuse to back out: now we had the transmitter, and the means by which people could tune in to whatever we chose to transmit. We sold several receivers, promising the buyers that when enough customers had sets in their homes, we would go on the air. The Sultan of Johore* sent across to buy one of them for his palace. Here was a chance for some fun! My team ran an aerial up from the roof of our building at Grange Road, and I enticed a couple of fellows from the Eastern Telegraph Company to install the transmitter and get it working. In no time they had assembled everything, and we were in the broadcasting business. No wireless authority had been set up to prepare standards for broadcasters, so I chose my own wave-length, switched on the power and announced that the first commercial radio station in the history of Singapore and Malaya was open. Our first programmes were news items of local interest, music and talks. Our customers were delighted. The sessions came in very clearly - and so did the ads. I spoke, praising the new range of Buicks which could be inspected at the Grange Road showrooms of Guthrie and Company. There was a rush to buy radio receivers, and soon we were out of stock. After the first few broadcasts, all hell popped. The Navy and the Post Office screamed loudest of all. We had no authority to broadcast. No official permission had been given, and the bureaucrats forbade us. So we had to stop. But the Sultan of Johore had become a radio fan and he demanded that the broadcasts continue. I told his physician,
a Dr. Garlick, that we had been forced to stop. “The sultan wouldn’t hear of stopping”. Dr. Garlick said, “We’ll settle the screamers. Why not send all the equipment over here, and broadcast from Johore? The sultan’s crazy about radio.” That suited me fine. A week or so later, we had the transmitter transported over to the sultan, set it up again, and on Sunday afternoons “Radio Johore” went on the air. Dr. Garlick had bought a piano in Germany for a song when the German mark took a nose-dive and he got pianists in to play for the broadcast, including his proficient wife. All kinds of people wrote in saying it was wonderful; then once more the heavy hand of Colonial authority fell. This infuriated the sultan. He said it was none of their business. If they tried to stop his broadcasts, he stormed, he’d stop the mail-trains coming through the State of Johore. The arguments went back and forth for three or four weeks, and all the time the Sunday afternoon broadcasts continued. But eventually the official protests became more determined, and the sultan decided the diplomatic thing would be to call a halt. So, against his wishes and mine, the station went off the air. It had been fun, and highly educational, to those who made the broadcasts, and also to the listeners. All this happened in 1924. It was many years later that regular broadcasting came to Malaya again.
To be continued… This is an extract from ‘Big Wheels & Little Wheels’, by Sir Laurence Hartnett as told to John Veitch, 1964. © Deirdre Barnett.
AMT October 2015
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Supported by: Machinery Forum (NSW) Pty Ltd 43 Brodie Street, Rydalmere NSW Pty Ltd Phone: +61 2 9638 9600 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shane Infanti – Chief Executive Officer AMTIL
Don’t delete a business opportunity I’ve always found that the best way to find out about AMTIL members’ concerns has been to get out and talk to them face-toface, and this month provided a great example of that. During a meeting with one of our members, it emerged that they tend to delete most emails they receive from AMTIL, without even opening them. It was an interesting, and admittedly quite depressing, revelation. But to be honest, I could kind of understand this member’s point of view. We live in an age where the sheer volume of electronic communications – emails in particular – can become quite overwhelming. Faced with an overflowing inbox, the only option is sometimes to delete in blocks. From time to time I’ll take a moment to unsubscribe from a few redundant mailing lists, but sometimes it seems as if even more messages come streaming in to take their place. At AMTIL we’re very conscious of this, and we put a lot of thought and effort into minimising the volume of emails we send out, restricting our communications as far as possible to ensure we only send material that will hopefully be relevant to our time-poor members. The tracking data we get back on our mailouts suggests that this policy is proving effective, with the number of recipients opening messages and clicking through for more information shown to be consistently high by industry standards (and this is backed up by the feedback we receive from members). However, there’s no escaping the fact that a lot of these emails will go straight in the recycle bin. What was particularly disappointing about the meeting last month was the fact that this member would have thrown away a clear business opportunity. One of those emails that ended up in “deleted items” was our monthly HotSpots newsletter. HotSpots provides AMTIL members with exclusive access to a wealth of useful information and resources relevant to our industry, ranging from the latest manufacturing sector statistics to advice on accessing government assistance programmes. In addition, it includes opportunities for AMTIL members to grow their businesses. For example, September’s Hotspots included a request from a potential buyer looking for a type of machine that this member specialises in supplying. Well, we’ve tipped off the member in question, and hopefully it can result in some good business being done. HotSpots is a service we’re very proud of, and as is often the case, it depends heavily on you, AMTIL’s members, to make it work… and not just in terms of checking your emails. To ensure that the service is delivering value, and that the emails are worth opening, we need to fill it with the sorts of business opportunities that AMTIL member companies are likely to benefit from. And that’s where you can help. Maybe your company has a piece of work that requires capabilities you don’t have in-house. Maybe you need new equipment, outside expertise, or another company to take some of the work off your hands. Contact AMTIL and, if it meets the criteria for inclusion as a HotSpot, we can send word out to over 1,000 key decision-makers from across the Australian manufacturing sector. And if you’re talking to a client, supplier or any business contact and they are faced with the same sort of problem, put them in touch with us – we might be able to find a solution. As always, we welcome any suggestions on how to improve our email communications. But in the meantime, keep your eye on HotSpots. The chance to grow your business could be a mouse-click away.
Make It Cheaper – Energy-savings made easy If time is tight, your profit margins are tighter, or it’s been a while since you last reviewed your energy spend, now could be a great time for your business to get in touch with our service partner: Make It Cheaper, to ensure you aren’t paying over the odds for your businesses electricity or gas bills. As you may be aware, AMTIL entered into a service partnership earlier this year with Make It Cheaper to bring their energy saving expertise to our members. Make It Cheaper analysed over 6,000 business energy bills and discovered that 75% of businesses are paying too much for their power. That is a huge majority, and both AMTIL and Make It Cheaper want to decrease this figure and ensure that manufacturing businesses are within the 25% who are paying a fair amount for their gas and electricity bills. But why are energy bills so high for businesses? Often this overpayment on energy occurs due to business owners not having enough time or enough information to know when or how to negotiate better energy rates. Power bills are often neglected (understandably) by business owners and left to fester, and as such, this means that they are placed on standard rates by energy suppliers, rather than the market rate for a company’s individual energy usage needs. It is this neglect of reviewing energy rates that can lead to companies overspending on their power bills, and this is what AMTIL hopes our members will avoid, thanks to our partnership with Make It Cheaper.
The service offered by Make It Cheaper aims to bring some clarity in the often murky world of business by giving you, the business owner, crystal clear advice regarding your energy supplier options. Switching with Make It Cheaper is simple, because they do all the hard work for you; once you give them a call, a member of their energy savings team will take a look at your current energy usage and conduct a comprehensive comparison against other rates available to you. They will even sort out your new contracts so that you don’t have to!
AMTIL knows how much hard work goes in to running a successful manufacturing business, and we understand how tight profit margins can be. With Make It Cheaper helping businesses to save an average of $1,151 per year on their energy bills, think about how much wider your profit margins could be! To begin saving your business money on its energy bills, talk to an expert at Make It Cheaper about switching your gas or electricity supplier, by calling 1300 839 899.
At your service. AMTIL supports its members through its select range of AMTIL Service Partners. 1252AMTIL
AMT October 2015
AMTIL members visit Sutton Tools, Lab 22 AMTIL’s program of plant tours for its members got underway in August and September with visits to Sutton Tools’ factory in Thomastown and CSIRO’s new Lab 22 facility in Clayton. Since its establishment in 1917, Sutton Tools has continued to develop an expanding portfolio of cutting tools. Today, while its products are exported worldwide, the company remains a proudly Australian family business. The tour took in the entire production process, from raw materials to warehousing and distribution, providing fascinating insights into its specialised areas such as coatings, heat treatment and the company’s dedicated regrinding facility. One highlight was a look at the inspection process on a line of tiny forming taps that Sutton supplies to Foxconn in China for the production of Apple’s products. Sutton produces more than 10,000 of these taps a year, and each one must be meticulously checked for quality. Sutton’s Chief Manufacturing Executive, Peter Sutton, was particularly happy with the tour, saying it allowed the company to showcase its world-class facility and demonstrate that manufacturing can continue to exist in Australia. “We really enjoyed hosting the tour,” said Sutton. “It was a great networking opportunity to meet others from the industry, share our experience and build future relationships. All our staff were proud to show off what they did and appreciated the positive feedback given from the visitors.” While Sutton offered an insight into the cutting edge of traditional subtractive manufacturing, the latest innovations in the fast-evolving world of additive manufacturing were on show at Lab 22. Launched by CSIRO in May, Lab 22 is a $6m facility established to
Sutton Tools’s headquarters in Thomastown.
Lab 22 tour – the very latest in additive manufacturing technology.
provide Australian companies with affordable access to specialist additive manufacturing equipment and expertise in the field of 3D printing with metal.
Founded in 1974, ANCA has gone on to become a world leader in quality CNC grinding machines and CNC systems. In 2008, sister-company ANCA Motion was founded to focus exclusively on OEM CNC applications. One of the few Australian companies producing machine tools today, the ANCA Group has been identified as a true ‘Hidden Champion’ of the manufacturing industry worldwide.
With CSIRO staff acting as expert guides, the tour offered a close-up look at Lab 22’s extensive range of state-of the-art equipment. Visitors also had the chance to find out more about what Lab 22 can do to help Australian manufacturers who want to bring additive techniques into their business. Both events were followed by networking sessions where visitors could interact with each other and their hosts, to find out more and to explore the opportunities arising from what they had learned.
Watch this space AMTIL is planning further site tours over the coming months, at locations nationwide. Next up are two great success stories of Australian manufacturing: ANCA, in Bayswater, Vic; and Rode Microphones, in Silverwater, NSW.
Meanwhile, Rode Microphones has gone from humble beginnings in the 1990s to a globally respected designer and manufacturer of world-class audio equipment. Today it produces some 500,000 microphones every year, exporting them to over 4,000 retailers in more than 100 countries. Rode’s focus on robotic automation has allowed it to ensure that its products continue to be manufactured in Australia. We’ll have more details on these and other events as they’re finalised. Keep an eye on AMTIL’s website to find out more. www.amtil.com.au/Events/Local-Events
AMTIL Events – Don’t miss out AMTIL has a packed schedule of events between now and the end of the year, but they’re filling up fast, so book now. AMTIL’s annual general meeting (AGM) will be held at the Riversdale Golf Club in south-east Melbourne on Thursday 22 October. The AGM is free for AMTIL members, with a fee of $70 for nonmembers. Visit the AMTIL website to book your place. AMTIL Annual General Meeting Date: Thursday 22 October 2015 Time: 5.00pm – 7.30pm In addition, AMTIL will be holding a range of Christmas events in the run-up to the festive season, with our ever-popular corporate Golf Day, and Christmas meals in Sydney and Brisbane.
AMT October 2015
• Tuesday 1 December AMTIL Sydney Christmas Dinner – Ribs & Rumps, Paramatta, New South Wales. • Friday 4 December AMTIL Corporate Golf Day & Christmas Lunch Riversdale Golf Club, Mount Waverley, Victoria. • Friday 11 December AMTIL Brisbane Christmas Lunch – Ribs & Rumps, Fortitude Valley, Queensland. www.amtil.com.au/Events/Local-Events
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ENGINEERING (VIC) PTY. LTD. TOOLMAKERS & PRECISION ENGINEERS
JAR Engineering (VIC) Pty Ltd 18 Colbert Road Campbellfield, VIC 3061 T: 03 9357 9133 email@example.com www.jareng.com.au
Merlion Tools (Blaser Swisslube) 7/2 Peace Street Springvale, VIC 3171 T: 0406 246 880 firstname.lastname@example.org www.merliontools.com
PhoenxPLM Technology Office Park, 62 Brandl Street, Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane, QLD, 4113 T: 1300 519 144 email@example.com www.phoenxplm.com.au
Stainless Services Pty Ltd 28 Mercedes Drive Thomastown, VIC 3074 T: 03 9464 4700 firstname.lastname@example.org www.stainlessservices.com.au
AMT – Exciting changes for 2016 We’ve just released the 2016 Media Kit for AMT – and with it we’re announcing some changes to the magazine for next year. As of February, we’ll be producing six editions of AMT per year, instead of ten. As opposed to the current monthly schedule (excluding December and January), each new magazine will come out every second month: February, April, June, August, October and December.
MOTORSPORT & AUTOMO TIVE: NANOTEchNOlO gy & • MININg & RESOURcES : BUSINESS MANAgEMENT MIcRO-MAchININg • AEROSPAcE & DEFENc E: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIc & clEAN TEch: RAIl • MEDIcAl: cONSTRUcTION • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD S & INFRASTRUcTURE & BEVERAgES: BUSINES NANOTEchNOlOgy & S MANAgEMENT • MOTORS• RENEWABlE ENERgy MIcRO-MAchININg • AEROSPAcE : BUSINESS MANAgEMENT PORT & AUTOMOTIVE: • MEDIcAl: cONSTRUcTION & DEFENcE: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIcS • • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD MININg & RESOURcES & INFRASTRUcTURE & BEVERAgES: BUSINES S MANAgEMENT • MOTORS • RENEWABlE ENERgy & clEAN TEch: RAIl MIcRO-MAchININg • AEROSP PORT & AUTOMOTIVE: • MEDIcAl: cONSTRUcTION AcE & DEFENcE: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIcS NANOTEchNOlOgy & • MININg & RESOURcES & INFRASTRUcTURE • : BUSINESS MANAgEMENT BEVERAgES: BUSINES RENEWABlE ENERgy S MANAgEMENT • MOTORS & clEAN TEch: RAIl • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD AEROSPAcE & DEFENc & E: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIc PORT & AUTOMOTIVE: NANOTEchNOlOgy cONSTRUcTION & INFRAST & MIcRO-MAchININg S • MININg & RESOUR • cES : BUSINESS MANAgE BUSINESS MANAgEMENT RUcTURE • RENEWABlE ENERgy & clEAN MENT • MEDIcAl: TEch: RAIl • AgRIcUl • MOTORSPORT & AUTOMO TURE, FOOD & BEVERA DEFENcE: TRANSPORT TIVE: NANOTEchNOlO gES: & lOgISTIcS • MININg gy & MIcRO-MAchININ & RESOURcES : BUSINES INFRASTRUcTURE • RENEWA S MANAgEMENT • MEDIcAl g • AEROSPAcE & • MOTORSPORT & AUTOMOBlE ENERgy & clEAN TEch: RAIl • AgRIcUl : cONSTR UcTION TURE, & lOgISTIcS • MININg & RESOURTIVE: NANOTEchNOlOgy & MIcRO-MAchININ FOOD & BEVERAgES: BUSINESS MANAgEMENT g • AEROSPAcE & DEFENc cES : BUSINESS MANAgE ENERgy & clEAN TEch: MENT • MEDIcAl: cONSTR E: RAIl • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD UcTION & INFRASTRUcTUR TRANSPORT & NANOTEchNOlOgy & & BEVERAgES: BUSINES E • RENEWABlE MIcRO-MAchININg • S MANAgEMENT • MOTORS AEROSPAcE BUSINESS MANAgEMENT PORT & AUTOMOTIVE: • MEDIcAl: cONSTRUcTION & DEFENcE: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIcS • • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD MININg & RESOURcES & INFRASTRUcTURE & BEVERAgES: BUSINES : S MANAgEMENT • MOTORS• RENEWABlE ENERgy & clEAN TEch: RAIl MIcRO-MAchININg • AEROSP PORT AcE & & DEFENc AUTOMO E: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIc TIVE: NANOTEchNOlO • MEDIcAl: cONSTRUcTION gy & S • MININg & RESOURcES & INFRASTRUcTURE • : BUSINES BEVERAgES: BUSINES S MANAgEMENT S MANAgEMENT • MOTORSRENEWABlE ENERgy & clEAN TEch: RAIl • AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD AEROSPAcE & DEFENc & E: TRANSPORT & lOgISTIc PORT & AUTOMOTIVE: NANOTEchNOlOgy cONSTRUcTION & INFRAST & MIcRO-MAchININg S • MININg & RESOUR • RUcTUR cES : BUSINESS MANAgE E • RENEWABlE ENERgy BUSINESS MANAgEMENT MENT • MEDIcAl: & clEAN TEch: RAIl • • MOTORSPORT & AUTOMO AgRIcUlTURE, FOOD TIVE: NANOTEchNOlO & BEVERAgES: gy & MIcRO-MAchININ g • AEROSPAcE &
While this means AMT readers will get twice as long to read their copy of the magazine, there will be a lot more in each issue for them to get through. Next year we’ll be including a broader range of features in each issue, with each feature exploring its subject in greater depth. The new, bi-monthly schedule allows us to cover a greater array of industries and a more diverse range of products over the course of the year. In addition we’ll be continuing to expand our coverage via our online channels, via www.amtil.com.au/News.
Media Kit 2016
For information about advertising in AMT Magazine, please contact our Sales Manager, Anne Samuelsson, by calling 03 9800 3666, or by emailing asamuelsson@ amtil.com.au. To submit articles or to discuss editorial ideas, contact AMT’s Editor William Poole on 03 9800 3666 or email@example.com. AMT Magazine’s 2016 Media Kit is available online at www.amtil.com.au/AMT-Magazine. may15
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
your industry. your Magazine.
your industry. your Magazine.
your industry. your Magazine.
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
your industry. your Magazine.
your industry. your Magazine.
your industry. your Magazine.
Austech 2015: Back bigger and better
Aerospace: A window of opportunity PAGE 36
.AerospAce .Forming & Fabrication
.Cutting Tools .Quality & Inspection
Austech 2015: Getting back in business
Motorsport & Automotive: StepPreview on it.Quality & Inspection .Material Removal .Compressors .Composites .Austech PAGE 36
Agriculture: Harvesting & Law .Workholding & Automation .Software .Finance opportunities .Austech review .Robotics
.Motorsport & AutoMotive .Additive Manufacturing .Material Removal .Software .Safety
.Mining & ResouRces .Cutting Tools .Additive .Forming & Fabrication .Materials Handling .Agriculture .Cutting Tools .Additive Manufacturing .Motors & Drives .Forming & Fabrication
Mining: After the boom
AMT October 2015
AMTIL FOOTY TIPPIng 2015 Oh so Close!
Equal tips with a margin of thirty-two points separates the top two after a long twenty three week battle. AMTIL’s Footy Tipping competition for 2015 had a thrilling and tight finish. Brendan Smith and SECO both locked in at 145 tips each at the end with only the margin separating the two! $1000 to Brendan, $500 to SECO with Conrad Willis Brummelshaw one point away picking up $300 – a great effort by all. Football wise the first two weeks have been run and won seeing Richmond bomb out again, Footscray being pipped at the post in a highly entertaining game against the Crows and now see both Preliminary Finals being played in Perth for the first time. Hawthorn will make their second trip in three weeks to battle Fremantle and North Melbourne set to take on West Coast –could we see an all West Australian Grand Final? A big thanks to Bec for running the tipping show and look forward to seeing you all again next year. Siesta time for me, Sanchez.
Round 23 1 Brendan Smith 2 Seco 3 Conrad Willis B’shaw 4 Damian 5 Josh Pearce 6 Dawks 7 Jeff Hedger 8 Garry-Mackay 9 Nicole Sinclair 10 Raff - (Parish Eng)
145 (808) 145 (840) 144 (863) 143 (805) 140 (785) 139 (834) 139 (846) 139 (850) 139 (876) 139 (888)
Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited
Keeping it Simple. One Membership, Many Benefits.
connect.inform.grow. MeMbershIp pAckAges AvAILAbLe AMTIL membership for companies, individuals and supporters within the precision engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. For more information visit www.amtil.com.au or contact corporate services Manager greg chalker on 03 9800 3666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note: It is recommended to contact the exhibition organiser to confirm before attending event
INTERNATIONAL Metalex Deburring Expo Germany, Karlsruhe 13-15 October 2015 Trade fair for deburring and polishing technology www.fairxperts.de/en/deburringexpo IMTES (Stankoexpo) Russia, Moscow 13-16 October 2015 Metalworking equiment, tools, robotics, welding, lasers, software,, measurement, consulting. www.stankoexpo.com/eng AmCon USA Utah 27-28 October Michigan 10-11 November 2015 Design & contract manufacture expo from prototypes to production parts. Printing; forming/ fab; machining; engineering; prototyping; assembly. www.amconshows.com Industrial & Tool show USA Springfield: 28-29 October 2015 Oklahoma: 4-5 May 2016 West Texas: 8-9 June 2016 Showcase of industrial products and services www.expoindustrialshows.com Korea Metal Week South Korea, Kintex 28-31 October 2015 Includes the latest technology for suppliers, manufacturers and traders in metal/machinery industry. Co-located with eight fairs: Fastener & Wire Korea, Die Casting & Foundry Korea, Automobile & Machine Parts Korea, Press & Forging Korea, Tube & Pipe Korea, Metal Surface Treatment & Painting Korea, 3D Printing and Aluminum Korea. www.korea-metal.com/en Blechexpo/Schweisstec Germany, Stuttgart 3-6 November 2015 International trade fair for joining technology. The only event in the world that deals with the complementary technologies of sheet metal processing and joining technology. Presents relevant mechanical and thermal joining and connecting procedures as well as thermal welding processes. www.schweisstec-messe.de/en/schweisstec Metalworking & CNC Machine Tool Show China, Shanghai 3-7 November 2015 Emphasis on the most advanced sheet metal working technologies and equipment. www.metalworkingchina.com/en Composites Engineering Show NEC UK, Birmingham 4-5 November 2015 UK’s only dedicated Composite materials, design and processing event. Includes the latest in composites materials, moulding & processing equipment, trade processors & fabricators, design, simulation, test & automation partners. www.advancedengineeringuk.com/ composites-engineering-show
AMT October 2015
Fabtech USA, Chicago 9-12 November 2015 North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. Includes the latest industry products and developments and tools for metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing www.fabtechexpo.com Metal Expo Russia Russia, Moscow 10-13 November 2015 Exhibitomg the whole array of ferrous and nonferrous products, contemporary solutions and the most state of the art equipment. Leading metallurgical and medium-size steel enterprises from Russia and more than 30 other countries will take part, showcasing new products and new industrial capacities launched in Russia, www.metal-expo.ru/en Advanced Manufacturing Canada Canada, Montreal 18-19 November 2015 Includes advanced manufacturing technologies, including automation and robotics, additive manufacturing/3D printing, materials and software www.amexpo.ca Plastics & Rubber Indonesia Indonesia, Jakarta 18-21 November 2015 Includes plastics, rubber, moulds and dies, machinery, equipment and accessories. www.plasticsandrubberindonesia.com Metalex Thailand, Bangkok 18-21 November 2015 ASEAN’s largest machine tool and metalworking technologies show. www.metalex.co.th Mactech Egypt, Cairo 26-29 November 2015 Regional manufacturing, trading and networking forum serving the markets of the Middle East and North Africa. www.mactech.com.eg Kolhapur Industrial Expo India, 22-25 November 2015 Focusses exclusively on the machinery, industrial & engineering sector. www.visionindustrialexpo.com Manufacturing Indonesia Indonesia, Jakarta. 2-5 December 2015 International manufacturing, machinery, equipment, materials and services exhibition. Co-located with Tools & Hardware Indonesia, and Industrial Automation & Logistics Indonesia. http://manufacturingindonesia.com Midest Maroc Morocco 9-12 December 2015 Includes sheet metal manufacture, plastics, machine tools, electronics. www.midest-maroc.com
Machinex India, Punjab 11-14 December 2015 Includes machinery & machine tools, engineering products, automation technology and allied products. http://machinex.in
2016 EUROGUSS Germany, Nuremberg 12-14 January 2016 International trade fair for die casting. Includes innovative solutions for die casting processes (aluminium; magnesium; or zinc die casting). Includes rapid prototyping, die casting machinery, material testing & 3D printing). www.euroguss.de/en Steelfab United Arab Emirates 17-20 January 2016 For the steel fabrication and metal working industry. www.steelfabme.com Nortec Germany, Hamburg 26-29 January 2016 Trade fair for the manufacturing technology and metalworking industry. http://nortec-hamburg.de/en Expomanufactura Mexico, Monterrey 2-4 February 2016 The event plays a key role in connecting the Mexican industrial community with the manufacturing and transformation sectors in the northern region of the country. www.expomanufactura.com.mx/en Aerodef USA, California 8-11 February 2016 Leading exposition and technical conference for the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. Co-located with Composites Manufacturing. www.aerodefevent.com Singapore Air Show Singapore 16-21 February 2016 Asia’s largest and one of the most important aerospace and defence exhibitions in the world. Includes the latest state-of-the-art systems and equipment, displayed by top aerospace companies around the world. Also features two high-level conferences - the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit and the Asia Pacific Security Conference. www.singaporeairshow.com MACH 2016 UK, Birmingham 11-15 April 2016 Biennial premier manufacturing technologies event, dealing specifically with engineering based manufacturing. Features new zones, innovative technologies and a vibrant seminar program www.machexhibition.com
industry calendar local Motorclassica 2015 Melbourne 23-25 October 2015 Australia’s premier event for rare and exotic, historic, vintage veteran classic and collectible cars & motorcycles. Celebration marques include 50 years for the Supercar, Dino, Shelby and Mustang; 70 years of MV Agusta and 50 years of the Bugatti Club Australia. www.motorclassica.com.au Australian Construction Equipment Expo Melbourne Showgrounds 12-14 November 2015 Includes the latest equipment, products and innovations in the construction industry. Includes exhibitors from civil engineering and construction, public works, Government, earthmoving and demolition. http://aceexpo.com.au Queensland Gas Conference & Exhibition Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 24-25 November 2015 Dedicated to the latest developments and issues surrounding Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Queensland. Rises in LNG exports of 8% pa for the last five years, predicted revenue for the CSG industry to grow 148% in 2015 and Qld holding over
92% of Australia’s CSG reserves, provide a perfect basis for personnel from the gas sector learn and share better production strategies. www.queenslandgasconference.com.au AusRAIL Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre 24-26 November 2015 Largest rail event in Australasia. Features a larger biennial ‘AusRAIL PLUS’ event. The ‘PLUS’ year features a larger exhibition, bigger conference and more social functions. www.ausrail.com Materials Innovations in Surface Engineering Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology 24 - 26 November 2015 Surface engineering includes the application of organic and inorganic coatings, surface modification by heat/chemical treatment or alloying, plating, weld overlays, thermal or cold spraying. The conference goal is to achieve high quality academic and industrial papers, providing delegates an insight into the innovative developments in the industry. www.mise2015.com.au
Motorworld Melbourne, Sandown Raceway 25-29 November 2015 Presents the Australian automotive industry to buyers throughout Australia and Asia. Includes the latest release motor vehicles and motor bikes in motion. Includes 23 dedicated feature zones www.motorworldmelbourne.com
2016 LNG18 Perth 11-15 April 2016 18th international conference & exhibition on liquefied natural gas. Features the largest number and highest level of LNG industry leaders worldwide as plenary speakers. For the first time the CEOs from Shell, Chevron and Woodside will jointly open the plenary program The Transformation of Global Gas. www.lng18.org Mining & Engineering WA Perth 3-5 May 2016 Mining industry exhibition that focuses on the unique needs, challenges and opportunities facing Western Australia’s mining industry. www.miningandengineeringwa.com.au National Manufacturing Week Sydney Showground 11-13 May 2016 Fully integrated annual manufacturing exhibition showcasing the latest products and constantly evolving technologies in the expanding manufacturing market. www.nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au
Advertiser Index Hardman Brothers 8 ADFOAM 10 Hare & Forbes 9 Alfex CNC 15 Industrial Laser Impact Card 50-51 Amada Oceana 86-87 ISCAR 2-3 AMTIL AMT 23, 41 Kennametal front cover AMTIL AMT Impact Card 66-67 LMC Laser 33 AMTIL Hotspots 69 Machinery Forum 77 AMTIL Membership 83 MTI Qualos 31 AMTIL ManufactureLink 81 OKUMA 7 Applied Machinery 17 OSG Asia Pty Ltd 4-5 BOC 13 Sandvik 53 Compressed Air Australia 19 Taegutec 29 Delahenty Machinery 35 TELSTRA 88 Dimac 21 Walter AG Singapore 11 Flecknoe Pty Ltd 43
nov15 Australian Manufacturing Technology
Your Industry. Your Magazine.
CONSTRUCTION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Would you like to advertise in Australia’s No. 1 precision and manufacturing magazine? Call Anne Samuelsson of AMTIL on 03 9800 3666 or email email@example.com
Our last edition of 2015 examines Australian manufacturers seeking out new business opportunities within the construction industry and major infrastructure projects. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING BUSINESS MANAGEMENT MATERIAL REMOVAL MOTORS & DRIVES
AMT October 2015
Press brake keeps custom, diversiﬁed work in-house
“Our customers are just blown away with the technology and the ease of it all.” “Amada Oceania have been absolutely fantastic. From start to finish and ongoing. I couldn't speak more highly of their service and support.” John Koenig, C & C Industries, Wollongong, NSW, Austalia. In business for over a quarter of a century Wollongong-based C&C Industries’ passion for perfection has seen the company grow and diversify from a small Electrical, Mechanical workshop shop doing contract work into the Steel and Mining industry, industr manufacturing their own unique product: the Koenigs Visual Isolators, a machinery lockout device. “Isolators are a key safety tool in Resources sector,” explains company General Manager John Koenig.“My father and company founder Colin Koenig invented this visual isolator, which is mounted on the plant near isolato the motor, ensuring the electric motor is isolated when work is to be carried out around the apparatus.” To date, the company has produced more than 16,000 isolators for all major mines, Ports and Heavy Industry in the country. “Koenig is the isolator by choice for mining engineers,” John says. However, when the
industry started to slow down, John and his team decided it was time to reorganise the business in order to remain competitive. “We used to outsource our sheetmetal work, ” he explains. “But with the amount of boxes we are producing and the increasing need for just-in-time as well as custom manufacturing, we decided it was time to bring some of the sheetmetal work in-house.” An Amada HDS 1303 press brake is the company’s latest investment that is moving to bring more core work in-house while also diversifying its customer base - two goals, which have formed the backbone of C&C Industries’ strategy. The HDS 1303 press brake features Amada’s unique hydraulic-controlled "Hybrid Drive System" powered by highly responsive AC servomotors. The result is quick movement of rams and bending precision in microns. “We are now IP66 accredited and are actually value-adding to our product,
making our own boxes,” John says. “We can meet delivery times and realise custom work with quick turnaround times, gaining a crucial competitive advantage. It won’t be long until the machine, which also brought in more employment and higher-skilled people, is running 12 hours, five days a week.” Why he chose Amada? Reputation and service quality, he says. “I did a lot of research and talked to other manufacturers with Amada machinery. They raved about the service from Amada, here in Australia and overseas. Amada Oceania and Andrew, their sales rep, have been absolutely fantastic. From start to finish and ongoing. I couldn't speak more highly of their service and the guys that helped us out and installed the machine. We are very excited about where we are going with that machine.”
Ease-of-operation: “The ease-of-operation is outstanding. My engineers absolutely love the machine, the programming, the 3D modelling.” Productivity: The innovative HDS 1303 press brake’s enhanced back gauge speed achieves phenomenal high speed and high precision. Programming & software: Amada’s AP100 CAD system along with Dr.ABE Bend off-line programming software further increases the high productivity offered by the HDS 1303 press brake.
AMT Magazine October 2015