nov15 Australian Manufacturing Technology
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.Construction & Infrastructure .Additive .Material Removal .Business .Motors & Drives
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Volume 15 Number 10 November 2015 ISSN 1832-6080
CONSTRUCTION & INFRASTRUCTURE Prefab: Sustainable innovation Collaboration can revolutionise design & construction Watkins Steel – Investing in future growth
36 42 44
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING Reducing cycle time with conformal cooling Multifab 3D-prints in ten materials at once NASA successfully tests 3D-printed rocket fuel pump Reverse engineering: the first step to 3D printing Breaking more than the sound barrier VCE – Retooling the engine
48 50 51 52 54 55
MATERIAL REMOVAL Electrochemical machining without stray attack Producing aerospace parts five times faster Haas hits the spot at Blumeprot Machining intelligently, the green way
56 56 57 58
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Japanese market blossoms for Australian exporters Seeking finance? Be prepared A growing company’s most common mistakes TheRedTagger – Simplifying The 5S sorting stage Top five Lean tools - With no consultant
62 63 64 65 66
MOTORS & DRIVES Reduce carbon footprint with energy-saving drives ANCA Motion – Delivering an edge with LinX
From the Editor From the CEO From the Industry From the Union
8 10 12 14
INDUSTRY NEWS Current news from the industry
VOICEBOX Opinions from across the manufacturing industry
PRODUCT NEWS Our selection of new and interesting products
ONE ON ONE Dr Michael Myers – Re-Engineering Australia Foundation
COMPANY FOCUS Successful Endeavours – Disrupting the doom and gloom
AMTIL FORUM Finance Law Logistics OHS
72 73 74 75
Manufacturing History – A look back in time
AMTIL INSIDE The latest news from AMTIL
nov15 AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
your industry. your Magazine.
The prefabricated housing sector provides just $4.6bn, or 3%, of the residential housing market in Australia. With the downturn of the auto industry, some automotive engineers are finding opportunities in this sector. Page 36
.ConstruCtion & infrastruC
Prefab: Sustainable innovation Prefabricated building accounts for a small but growing slice of the construction and infrastructure industry in this country which contributes $150bn (10%) to Australia’s GDP. Could this fast-developing sector represent a new area of opportunity for Australian manufacturers?
Dr Michael Myers Dr Michael Myers is the Executive Chairman of the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, which he founded in 1998 to encourage young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) via programs such as the F1 in Schools technology competition.
Construction & Infrastructure: Sustainable innovation
.Business ture .Additive .Material Removal
.Motors & Drives
AMT November 2015
Disrupting the doom and gloom Successful Endeavours is an electronics and embedded software development business quietly making a big impact on the world manufacturing stage. With a brand promise of “We make electronics work”, it has 16 major technology and business awards under its belt in the past six years.
Editor William Poole
Innovation, productivity, and value Some publications “bury” corrections, hiding them at the foot of a page near the back, but AMT believes in full transparency, and besides, it’s a good story. In August we ran an article concerning what was reportedly “Australia’s first designed, engineered and manufactured electric bus”. We subsequently received an email from AMT reader Paul Waddington contesting this claim – by about 40 years. Paul provided details of the Townmobile, an electric bus designed by Roy Leembruggen and manufactured by Elroy Engineering in Sydney, back in 1976. According to ACT state archives, the Townmobile was displayed nationwide and possibly even operated briefly in Sydney.
Editor William Poole firstname.lastname@example.org Contributor Carole Goldsmith Sales Manager Anne Samuelsson email@example.com Publications Co-ordinator Gabriele Richter firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Shane Infanti email@example.com Designer Franco Schena firstname.lastname@example.org Prepress & Print Printgraphics Australia
Let’s make our excuses first. The “Australian-first” claim was initially made in press releases from the project partners behind the eBus. It was also published by several other outlets. In retrospect we should have inserted a “reportedly” in front of “Australia’s first…”, but getting AMT out on time can be a frantic process, and things can slip through the cracks.
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Nonetheless, thanks to Paul, both for challenging the error, and drawing attention to Leembruggen, an electric vehicles pioneer and one of Australian manufacturing’s great innovators. Leembruggen designed the Tulloch rail carriage that ran in Sydney from the 1960s until 2004. However, his Townmobile never recorded the same mileage. Why? Because the relevant decision-makers couldn’t see value in the technology. Does that sound familiar?
Contact Details AMT Magazine AMTIL Suite 1, 673 Boronia Rd Wantirna VIC 3152 AUSTRALIA
Australia’s record in commercialising innovation is poor, as Christopher Pyne has noted. In his first speech as Industry Minister (see page 24), Pyne also stressed the importance of innovation in driving productivity. And it’s been interesting to see how he has emphasised productivity since taking on the Industry portfolio – in his speech he mentioned it 12 times. But what is productivity? A simplistic definition would equate it to efficiency, the ratio of output over inputs. But in modern manufacturing, it’s better defined as the efficiency with which inputs can create value. And it’s the creation of value that is fundamental to any enterprise’s success. This leads – awkwardly – to our plans for AMT. In 2016, the magazine will change to six editions a year, every two months from February onwards. There are various reasons for this, but fundamentally it boils down to delivering value. Producing a monthly print magazine is a costly undertaking, irrespective of efforts to use resources sparingly. By producing fewer issues, but making each issue thicker and more varied, we believe we can deliver a better magazine for our readers, more efficiently. Moreover, today, people get their news much faster – often as it unfolds – through TV, radio, or increasingly online. Consequently, the need for a magazine bringing the latest news (or the news for the last month) has diminished. Extending our production schedule creates more opportunity for us to develop our digital channels, while the magazine will focus more on feature content. That’s not to say we’ll be putting our feet up every second month. We’ll be producing a bigger magazine, with more features, and we’ll be putting more online. However, longer intervals between deadlines will enable a more diverse, substantial magazine. Most of our contributors come from the industry, and struggle to turn out editorial in time. With two months’ notice for each issue, that should become easier, giving us a greater pool of material for the magazine.
T 03 9800 3666 F 03 9800 3436 E email@example.com 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.
However, for readers who say they don’t find time to read the whole magazine in a month, be warned: you get more time for each magazine, but you also get more magazine each time. That just leaves me to thank our readers, contributors and advertisers for their support throughout 2015. On behalf of the AMTIL team, I’d also like to wish AMT readers, and everyone in our industry, a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year. 1292AMTsep2015
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AMT November 2015
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CEO Shane Infanti – Chief Executive Officer AMTIL
2015 Wrap-up 2015 was another year in which the manufacturing industry faced some difficulty. I say this a lot to our staff but it is important that we understand that during difficult times it is up to us to help our members as much as possible – not for them to help us. This is an ongoing dilemma for us because most of the assistance we can offer is through marketing, promotion, exposure, networking and education and all of these things cost money, so we do require our members to invest with us in order to get benefits. This past year the Board and our senior staff reconfirmed our role is to represent and promote the interests of manufacturing technology suppliers and their customers (the ecosystem). For our Manufacturing Technology Suppliers, our focus is on encouraging investment in technology. We do this through marketing and promotional opportunities, whether it be Austech, our AMT magazine, online offerings, talking to government about incentive schemes and other services. We want people buying machine tools, automation, robotics, software, cutting tools and ancillary equipment. We need to focus heavily on this area. For our Manufacturing Technology Users, our focus is on providing business opportunities, networking and capability building. We do this through identifying job opportunities and how to tap into them, looking at local supply chains, promoting our members’ capabilities through ManufactureLink, bringing people together through a number of our events around Australia or helping companies identify where their improvement can come from. We want people getting work, educating themselves and building their businesses. We ran Austech in Melbourne in May and it was a resounding success with exhibitors commenting that the quality and quantity of visitors was better than they expected. We just need to translate that into investment and everybody will be even happier. One of the new initiatives at Austech was our co-location with the 3D Printing Conference. This worked very well with our expanded Additive and Digital Manufacturing Pavilion and this was certainly a very popular area of the show this year. We again ran the Manufacturers’ Pavilion, a special focus on manufacturers’ capabilities which included a high profile speaker program on the floor of the exhibition. We were also buoyed by the feedback from visitors to the show and are already looking forward to running another strong event in May 2017. We continued to work hard to produce a high quality industry publication that gave plenty of good news stories and industry information to our readers. We have recently made the decision to make some significant changes to the frequency and size of our magazine, so from February 2016 you will see the AMT magazine expanded to a 120 page bi-monthly issue. We are excited with the
AMT November 2015
opportunity to showcase even more great companies in our industry that are putting Australian manufacturing on the global stage. I would like to thank our members that have supported our magazine over the past year. We are very proud of the regular feedback we receive which iterates AMT is highly regarded and respected in the industry. We started our regular Hotspot communication with members. This is our way of passing on anything that comes across our desks that we feel is of interest to members, whether it be opportunities for work, networking functions, information on running a business, funding prospects from Government or specific industry information, the Hotspots have been well received by members. In May, we were reappointed as a Partner Organisation for the Entrepreneurs’ Programme (EP). Our role essentially hasn’t changed from our work under the previous Enterprise Connect program. That is, giving business advice and facilitating connections with research institutes. This is a major activity for us and one we intend to be even more involved with in future. We have been working with both the Innovative Manufacturing CRC and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre as they establish themselves and we are looking forward to having an intricate involvement with both these bodies in the coming year. The work we have been doing in this area has brought us closer to other industry groups and government departments and this is certainly an advantage to us as we seek to address the industry issues facing our membership. This will be a core focus for us over the coming years. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our members that have been involved in our activities over the past 12 months. Your input is valued highly. I would also like to thank the Board and Directors of AMTIL, who have given such good guidance and support to the Institute over a long period of time. The past few years have been difficult for our members and we have certainly not been immune ourselves but it has also resulted in us having more clarity than ever before on the direction we should take. To all our readers, have a merry festive season and happy new year. Like many of you, I look forward to 2016 with great anticipation.
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Industry Innes Willox – Chief Executive Australian Industry Group
Global competitiveness index sees Australia still lagging Australia continues to rank outside the top tier of countries in terms of global competitiveness, with a number of policy areas continuing to hinder our growth and pushing us behind some key international competitors. In the latest World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2015-16 Global Competitiveness Report, Australia has moved up one spot to 21st. Countries with similar economic profiles scored better, with Canada at 13th (up from 15th in 2014-15) and New Zealand at 16th (up from 17th in 2014-15). Australia’s single largest trade partner, China, was ranked the 28th most competitive economy, the same position it held in 2014-15. So what can we learn from those leading the pack? In index score terms (on the WEF’s scale from 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest), the margin of difference between these top ten countries is small, with Switzerland scoring the top score of 5.76 (out of 7), compared with tenth-placed United Kingdom scoring 5.43 points in 2015-16. Each shows strengths in particular areas. For example, Singapore ranks highest for ‘basic requirements’ due to the excellence of its physical and institutional infrastructure, while the United States ranks first for ‘efficiency enhancers’, due to the efficiency of its goods markets, labour markets, financial markets, its technological readiness and its sheer market size.
Highly advanced large economies continue to dominate the Top Ten list. These nations are not the cheapest locations of production globally. Instead, they share key competitive characteristics.
All of the countries in this year’s WEF top ten were also in the top ten in 2014-15. Rankings at the top of the Global Competitiveness Index have remained relatively stable in recent years. Highly advanced large economies including the US, the UK, Japan and Hong Kong continue to dominate the Top Ten list, as do the more specialised and ‘boutique’ northern European nations including Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. These nations are not the cheapest locations of production globally. Instead, they share key competitive characteristics such as: • Very open and competitive trade facilities (including large and efficient ports). • Advanced manufacturing sectors. • Very high education standards. • Strong and stable financial, legal and political systems. Switzerland is in the number one position again in 2015-16, for a seventh consecutive year. Interestingly, Switzerland consistently scores first for ‘innovation and business sophistication’, but not for ‘basic business requirements’ or for ‘efficiency enhancers’. This underscores the importance of fostering innovation and sophistication in creating a truly competitive business environment. This needs to be supported by an excellent (but not necessarily world-best) standard of physical and social infrastructure, plus business regulation. Meanwhile, Australia’s rankings are disappointing – we rank 27th for company spending on research & development (R&D), and 25th for our capacity to innovate. Australia is in the top ten when it comes to the quality of scientific research institutions, at eighth. Looking at the rest of our results, our performance is mixed. We did perform well for financial and market development (seventh), higher education and training (eighth), and health and primary education (ninth). However, we continue to lag on some key areas, with Australia in 36th place when it comes to labour market efficiency, and ranking
AMT November 2015
very poorly on hiring and firing practices (126th); flexibility of wage determination (117th); and the effect of taxation on incentives to work (110th). In a separate question, respondents were asked to name the five most problematic factors for doing business in Australia. Restrictive labour regulations were viewed as the most problematic factor, followed by tax rates. Inefficient government bureaucracy, complexity of tax regulations and poor work ethic in the labour force also ranked in the top five factors that were regarded as most problematic for doing business. Restrictive labour regulations have been the most problematic factor for business since 2010-11, and tax has sat in second place for the past two years. Compared with five years ago, restrictive labour regulations is of far greater concern to Australian businesses now, while access to finance is of concern to far fewer businesses now than it was five years ago. The WEF report underlines the importance of Canberra’s new focus on shifting the policy discussion in Australia towards improving our workplace relations, taxation and innovation performance. Political circumstances have created a window for rigorous and imaginative policy debate and development in the lead-up to the election in 2016. It is critical that we make the most of this opportunity and use it as a springboard to boost domestic innovation and competitiveness.
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Union Paul Bastian – National Secretary Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Investment gaps need novel thinking Two key areas of our economy suffer similar problems and we desperately need novel policies to address these increasingly dire challenges. I’m talking about the growing investment gaps in both manufacturing and infrastructure. Both issues centre around the fact of underinvestment, with a lack of resources, planning and information playing a central role. We need to get out of the status quo investment slump in both areas, which is putting in jeopardy future prosperity and growth. We need credible, sound and novel policy thinking in a world of tight government budgets, thinking that recognises the massive opportunity as well as the challenge. If properly addressed, both investment gaps offer the double benefit of boosting desperately needed demand in the economy in the short term while increasing the supply potential and productivity of the economy in the long term.
When the majority of the discussion about manufacturing in the public debate is unfortunately pessimistic, none of this should come as a surprise.
While former prime minister Tony Abbott wished to be known as the ‘infrastructure PM’ his government’s policies didn’t live up to this promise. Average public infrastructure investment per year under the current Government is over $3.3bn lower than it was under its predecessor, while the infrastructure deficit continues to grow. Infrastructure Australia (IA), the agency tasked with long-term planning for the country’s infrastructure needs, warns that by 2031 the cost of our infrastructure deficit, in terms of lost productivity and output, will reach $53bn per year.
By providing investment facilitation through an independent agency with a commercial mandate, a MFC would also minimise the impact of investment promotion on government budgets while ensuring a return on investments for taxpayers. A significant equity injection from government, along with world-class governance, would enable the MFC to do its work independently of the politics of the day and would provide all governments with an arm’s-length mechanism to promote industry investment. This would take politics and accusations of ‘porkbarrelling’ out of the equation. And finally, by establishing a permanent MFC with its own equity, independent board and investment mandate, it would ensure investment promotion would be guarded against the periodic budget cuts that more traditional industry policies have been prone to.
A similar story exists when we look at investment in manufacturing. In the June quarter of this year real private new capital investment in manufacturing was $1.93bn, a fall of 8.8% in the year, putting investment at its lowest level since the September quarter of 2001. After reaching a peak in mid-2011, investment has fallen almost every quarter since. This fall, along with a similar trend in manufacturing value added, has transformed the long relative decline of manufacturing when compared to other sectors of the economy into an absolute decline relative to the past. As with infrastructure investment, this fall in private manufacturing investment is doubly concerning. Not only does it signal a weaker economy and a sector in trouble now; it implies a growing capability, technology and capacity gap that makes any reversal of this decline even harder in the future. While these two investment gaps have different causes, there are similarities that point to a way forward, especially in terms of government policy that can go some way to addressing both investment gaps. For two years the AMWU has been advocating for a governmentfunded Manufacturing Finance Corporation (MFC). Such a corporation would build on the success of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) model in facilitating investment in a sector that faces structural, cultural and information barriers to investment. Manufacturing businesses know they don’t face a level playing field in attracting investment, especially when it comes to novel and innovative advanced manufacturing investment. This is borne out in ABS data, which shows a lack of access to investment is a major block on innovation in the sector and it is borne out by industry groups such as the Australian Industry Group, who have identified access to finance as a major impediment to growing productivity in the sector.
AMT November 2015
A MFC would go a long way to addressing this uneven playing field by facilitating private investment, providing concessional loans or loan guarantees and providing due diligence in an area where private finance doesn’t feel confident. Crucially, it would also signal to private finance, as well as the broader community, that Australia is serious about ensuring an advanced manufacturing future and is willing to put in place significant policies to cement that future.
The independent MFC/CEFC model has now been identified by the Labor Party as one way to address the infrastructure investment gap. Announcing its infrastructure policy in October, I was interested to note the central pillar of Labor’s policy is to turn IA into an independent public finance corporation along the lines of the MFC and CEFC. With an equity injection of $10bn, IA would partner with private finance and in particular super funds to facilitate investment in new infrastructure projects – just like the CEFC does in clean energy projects and an MFC would do for advanced manufacturing projects. Like the MFC and CEFC, this would permanently separate government support from the political process and short-term political interests, insulate it from rounds of federal budget cuts, place decision-making in the hands of independent experts and provide a long-term return to taxpayers. Infrastructure Partners Australia estimates that such a reform will create 26,000 new jobs and boost GDP by $7.5bn per year. While it is welcome news that Labor is putting forward this proposal to boost infrastructure investment and put it on a surer footing, we also need the MFC to receive similar support. Crucially, we need both the IA proposal and the MFC to be supported and implemented as soon as possible, which means the current Government should adopt both as badly needed reforms to boost the economy today and build strong foundations for the economy of tomorrow. Our greatest short- and long-term economic challenges need new and novel thinking and publicly funded, independent finance corporations to address investment gaps, both in the private and the public sectors. It’s one novel idea whose time has come.
Commonwealth hands Thales $1.3bn Hawkei contract The Federal Government has awarded a contract worth $1.3bn to Thales Australia to produce its Hawkei protected mobility vehicle for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) The contract involves the delivery of 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers. The production phase is scheduled to begin from mid-2017 and will last three and a half years, with first deliveries expected towards the end of that year. The Hawkei contract reflects the unique Australian expertise at Thales’s protected vehicles manufacturing facility in Bendigo, as well as its support centres in Brisbane and Townsville. “This is a great day for the ADF and for Australian industry,” said Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales in Australia. “We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this next generation of protected vehicles to our armed forces, and we stand by them ready to support and adapt it as their requirements evolve. We also thank our many suppliers on the program – companies in Australia and overseas that have been with us on this long journey, and who have played a significant role in shaping the Hawkei and contributing to its success. It’s a great story about what Australian industry and international partnerships can achieve. The Hawkei will become the latest addition to the ADF fleet. Soldiers on operations will benefit from increased protection and mobility in a powerful 4x4 vehicle, which can be adapted for different missions. Hawkei follows the life-saving success of the larger
© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.
Bushmaster vehicle, which has protected Australian and other troops in some of the most challenging combat environments on earth. “Hawkei is a highly capable vehicle that will serve this country well for many years to come, and we are delighted that the Department of Defence has recognised the importance of this vehicle by reaching this milestone,” added Jenkins. “As we move into the manufacturing phase, we will now be able to consolidate the work already begun across the Thales group worldwide to
ensure the export success of this impressive vehicle.” John Pollaers, Chairman of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC), applauded the announcement: “This decision to grant a significant contract is to recognise the quality and value of Australian capabilities in advanced manufacturing. Highly sophisticated and high-value manufacturing is precisely the area where Australia can do well - and frankly, already does do well. We are very pleased to see this contract fully recognising that capability.”
Australia up one spot in International Competitiveness Report Australia has ended four years of decline in the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, improving one spot to 21st in the latest global rankings. Australia achieved a Global Competitiveness Index (CGI) score of 5.1 points out of a possible 7. The CGI looks at the performance across a number of indicators drawn from a mixture of survey responses and other data. Countries with similar economic profiles scored better than Australia’s 21st position, with Canada at 13th (up from 15th in 2014-15) and New Zealand at 16th (up from 17th in 2014-15). Australia’s single largest trade partner, China, was ranked the 28th most competitive economy, the same position it held in 2014-15. The Australian Industry Group is the WEF’s official research partner in Australia. Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox noted that despite the improved rating, Australia
AMT November 2015
continues to rank outside the top tier of countries with a number of policy areas continuing to hinder growth and pushing the country behind some key global competitors. “This WEF report underlines the importance of Canberra’s new focus on shifting the policy discussion in Australia towards improving our workplace relations, taxation and innovation performance,” said Willox. “Political circumstances have created a window for rigorous and imaginative policy debate and development in the lead-up to the election in 2016. It is critical that we make the most of this opportunity and use it as a springboard to boost domestic innovation and competitiveness.” Willox noted that Australia did perform well for financial and market development
(7th), higher education and training (8th) and health and primary education (9th). However, the country continues to lag globally on labour market efficiency (36th), ranking very poorly on: hiring and firing practices (126th); flexibility of wage determination (117th); and the effect of taxation on incentives to work (110th). Australia’s innovation rankings are also disappointing: 27th for company spending on R&D; and 25th for capacity to innovate. “Restrictive labour regulations, tax rates, inefficient government bureaucracy, complexity of tax regulation and poor work ethic were listed as the most problematic factors for doing business in 2015-16,” Willox said.
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Incat Tasmania wins Sydney Ferries contract Incat Tasmania’s Hobart Shipyard has been awarded a contract to build six new ferries to operate on Sydney’s Inner Harbour. Announcing the result of a competitive tender process, the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the ferries were “a major step forward in the NSW Government’s plans to modernise and expand the ferry network”. The Sydney Ferries will service commuter and tourist travel on the inner harbour routes from Watsons Bay in Sydney’s east to Cockatoo Island in the west, stopping at the new Barangaroo wharf. The new vessel exterior is a traditional design to look similar to the Sydney First Fleet vessels; however the 35m, 400-passenger boats will have greater capacity than the current fleet. The interior will be more spacious with comfortable inside seating, outdoor viewing areas, a large walk around deck and additional features for passengers including Wi-Fi access, real-time journey information, and charging stations for electronic devices. Incat’s first task will be to take the concept design to detailed construction drawings and vessel models, with construction of the first ferry to start early in 2016. The six new vessels will be delivered progressively from late 2016 and throughout 2017. The Incat Tasmania shipyard in Hobart has around 250 staff. The yard’s Managing Director Simon Carter said: “This is a great opportunity for Incat’s highly skilled and experienced workforce to participate in the construction of ferries for the iconic Sydney fleet. An order such as this, where six identical vessels are to be built, is welcomed by the existing staff and provides an excellent opportunity for training new personnel.”
Incat has recently completed two fast ferries for London operator Thames Clippers, currently on their way to London and due to start service in October. Four fast ferries, two 24m and two 33m boats are also under construction for Sydney company Manly Fast Ferry. Incat is renowned internationally for design and construction of highquality, environmentally friendly and efficient vessels. It has built more than 70 vessels, with ships in service around the world. Incat is the world’s largest fast ferry builder by both quantity of ferries (ordered and delivered) and revenue.
AusBiotech summit to address innovationdriven advanced manufacturing Advanced manufacturing is the future of manufacturing in Australia and globally, with innovative industries such as biotech, pharmaceuticals and medical devices emerging as likely leaders. The potential for the manufacture of cutting-edge technologies to produce the desired outcomes for the Australian economy has given it prominence in the public policy agenda. With this in mind, AusBiotech will host a second Advanced Manufacturing Summit (AMS 2015) from 17-18 November, to continue discussions initiated at the inaugural summit held last year. Peter Roberts, Founder of the Australian Manufacturing Forum, long-time industry journalist and session chair at AMS 2015, said: “Advanced manufacturing is everywhere in today’s Australia and not just confined to obvious sectors such as medical devices and biotechnology. To have survived in manufacturing after decades of reform pressure and withering competition, today’s manufacturers are either in some cosy niche, or are doing something very right indeed. “We all know about Cochlear, ResMed and CSL. But how many know about Sydney computer chip manufacturer Sillana Semiconduictor, whose communications chips are installed on the Mars Curiosity rover where they relay data and pictures to and from the red planet? Or Cook Medical, whose Brisbane factory is the only one in the world to make custom aortic stents that save the lives of heart attack patients worldwide?” Export credit agency Efic will present a session about Australia’s promising outlook for manufacturing exports, entitled “Fortunes turning”. Cassandra Winzenrie, Senior Economist at Efic, said: “Australian manufacturers have endured a prolonged period of difficult export conditions. The outlook is improving, however, thanks to a
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more competitive exchange rate, recently negotiated trade agreements and a modest global economic recovery. This is fuelling increased optimism and ambition among manufacturing exporters, and should deliver higher advanced manufacturing exports.” Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will present a session to explore recent developments in the bio-manufacturing landscape in Australia. Assoc Prof Ian O’Hara of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Institute for Future Environments at QUT, said: “The bio-manufacturing industry is growing rapidly on the back of new developments in the core sciences of industrial biotechnology, green chemistry, bioprocess engineering, and additive bio-manufacturing. While significant progress is being made internationally, Australian manufacturers and end-users are also embracing bio-manufacturing technologies.” Academics from the Centre for Additive Manufacturing at RMIT University will discuss the translation and adoption of advanced additive manufacturing technologies into and by industry. Giving a compelling example, Technical Director Professor Milan Brandt said: “In a recent project with Anatomics and spine surgery specialist Dr Marc Couglan, the Centre successfully created Australia’s first 3D-printed vertebral cage titanium implant for a patient with severe back pain.” To access the AMS 2015 program, please visit www.advanced manufacturingsummit.com.au or follow the hashtag #AMSummit15 on Twitter.
Carbon Revolution opens new manufacturing facility Carbon Revolution opened a new manufacturing facility in Geelong, Vic, on 7 October that will export cutting edge carbon-fibre composite wheels to auto and aerospace manufacturers globally. Opening the new factory in the Geelong Technology Precinct at Deakin University Waurn Ponds, Industry Minister Christopher Pyne congratulated the company on commercialising its high-tech products. “Carbon Revolution is a modern Australian success story demonstrating the power of applying research and advanced manufacturing technology to develop worldleading products,” Pyne said. “The Australian Government knows that applying science and research can transform business. Our role is to provide an environment that gives Australian businesses and innovators the confidence to grow, create new opportunities and compete in both domestic and global markets.” Carbon Revolution exports a range of products to North America, Europe and Japan and recently signed an agreement with a North American aircraft landing gear manufacturer to develop lightweight wheels for use in aerospace. In July it became the first company in the world to supply mass-produced carbon fibre wheels on standard equipment for Ford USA, who will include them on its Shelby Mustang GT350R model. The company used a $5m grant from the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) to support the new $24m facility, which
will undertake commercial production of the carbon-fibre wheels, creating new export opportunities. The $29.5m GRIIF provides cofunding support for businesses investing and creating jobs across the greater Geelong region. It was established by the Federal and Victorian governments with support from Ford Australia and Alcoa of Australia as part of their ongoing commitment to the community. Sarah Henderson MP, the Federal Member for Corangamite, also congratulated Carbon Revolution. “The success of companies such as Carbon Revolution means more jobs for the Geelong region as seek to grow advanced manufacturing and other emerging industries,” Henderson said. “Carbon Revolution’s new manufacturing facility reflects the success of the transition of the local economy to innovative projects that create jobs and opportunities in smart manufacturing. “This region is realising the benefits flowing from a strong track record of collaboration between businesses and researchers, with support from the Australian and Victorian governments, to develop Geelong as a centre for carbon fibre manufacturing.”
Siemens forms new Australian defence partnership Siemens has signed a research agreement with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to advance the use of high temperature superconducting (HTS) technologies in Australia. The partnership will conduct research into HTS and its applications to Australia’s maritime defence and industrial power requirements, with the intent to transition research findings into technology that can be trialled. HTS technologies under development today in superconducting motors, generators and magnets can carry highdensity currents with virtually no loss and have the potential to reduce the size and weight of conventional motors by more than 30%. Siemens Australia CEO, Jeff Connolly, said the partnership reinforces Siemens’ legacy of Australian investment and exemplifies the benefits of defence knowledge transfer and strong bilateral relations between Australia and Germany. “For the Australian Navy, this partnership opens a pathway to more energy-efficient ships and more effective capacity utilisation,” Connolly said. “They will also have less environmental impact and will be cheaper to operate.” Siemens will invest 15 years of HTS knowledge into Australia to develop the next generation of HTS experts. An initial investment value of approximately $2m in equipment and resources and $0.5m in research and development (R&D) hours have been committed, which will increase as new R&D projects are initiated. Connolly said the partnership is aligned to the Federal Government’s vision for the future of the domestic manufacturing sector to be increasingly based
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on local R&D, adding that HTS technologies could revolutionise other high energy-use sectors such as power and transport. The DSTG has strategic alliances with 12 defence companies and research agencies and partners with 28 Australian universities to deliver future capability for the Australian Defence Force. Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinksy said the new partnership will focus on transitioning research to outcomes that address real-world problems, starting with potential defence applications. “This agreement is in line with our strategic goal to partner with the best talents in industry and academia to achieve a capability edge for defence,” Dr Zelinsky said. QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Commercialisation, Professor Arun Sharma said the University was uniquely equipped to undertake this R&D because of its expertise and facilities, including the Banyo Pilot Plant Precinct, a specialist research centre for structural, mechanical and electrical engineering. “QUT’s purpose-built facility has specialist capabilities for large-scale engineering research, testing and validation,” Professor Sharma said. “Our partnership with Siemens puts QUT at the international forefront of superconducting motor research, an area of research that has the potential to radically transform many industries.”
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ABB celebrates 60 years of transformer manufacturing in Perth ABB hosted an event on 13 October at its Malaga factory to celebrate the milestone of 60 years of transformer manufacturing in Western Australia. Guided factory tours were provided for invited guests, which included Dr Mike Nahan, who unveiled a plaque to mark the milestone in front of key customers, employees and stakeholders. The organised tours provided guests with glimpses of the behind-the-scene operations and a review of the cutting-edge technology and processes currently utilised at the transformer manufacturing plant. The 9,100sqm facility specialises in producing distribution transformers up to 10MVA and 33KV. “I congratulate ABB Australia on reaching the major milestone of 60 years of manufacturing transformers in Perth,” said Dr Nahan. “I am pleased this locally-based manufacturing capability has continued to provide an important contribution not only to the security of electricity supplies for the State, but also to the overall prosperity of WA.” “We were delighted to be celebrating this anniversary with so many of our longstanding customers, employees, suppliers and key stakeholders,” said Axel Kuhr, Managing Director for ABB in Australia. “Our Perth operation has proven itself a reliable technology partner for government, utilities and the resources sector and has helped ABB to become one of the leading brand names in the power and automation marketplace in Australia.” Its 60-year supply history has seen the factory reliably provide distribution transformers and services that
have helped to develop one of the world’s largest and most isolated electricity networks, operated by local utility Western Power. The plant has also built a strong reputation over many years as a supplier of preference for transformers designed and manufactured to suit the rigour of long-distance transport and the harsh operating conditions found in regional WA. ABB transformers whose manufacture date goes back to early 1960-
70s can still be found stabilising the power at iconic and remote mining and oil & gas operations, including Rio Tinto, Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Woodside and most recently Roy Hill. Among those present at the plaque unveiling ceremony were Paul Italiano, Chief Executive Officer of Western Power, representatives from key resources sector customers and members of ABB Australia’s senior management.
NMW 2016 to host Inside 3D Printing Reed Exhibitions Australia has announced that its flagship manufacturing event, National Manufacturing Week (NMW) will next year be co-located with MecklerMedia’s Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo. Inside 3D Printing is the largest professional 3D printing and additive manufacturing event worldwide, giving industry a first-hand look at how 3D printing is revolutionising industries including manufacturing, medicine, architecture, aerospace, and more. NMW is Australia’s largest annual showcase of manufacturing innovation, information and inspiration. Scheduled for 11-13 May 2016 at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, NMW 2016 will build on outcomes of the previous events, where visitors were updated on industry trends, sourced innovations and placed orders for new products and services. Christoph Rowen, Managing
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Director Asia-Pacific for MecklerMedia, commented that the co-location is based on a natural fit between NMW and Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo. Rowen described NMW’s Additive Manufacturing Zone – which showcases processes for building up components – as the logical home for Inside 3D Printing exhibitors, while Inside 3D Printing conference delegates will see added value in the opportunity to visit NMW 2016’s comprehensive exhibition. John Gorton, Executive Director, Reed Exhibitions Australia added: “Reed Exhibitions is delighted to announce our strategic cooperation with MecklerMedia to co-locate NMW 2016 with the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo. Inside
3D Printing is a world-leading event for a game-changing area of technology. As it evolves, 3D printing technology is transforming almost every major industry: especially manufacturing, where it is already beginning to disrupt existing processes and open up exciting new opportunities for industry. “By co-locating with the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo, NMW 2016 will give visitors a broader, deeper access to the technologies, strategies and opportunities associated with additive manufacturing. We are confident this expanded offering will maximise the value of participation in NMW 2016 for exhibitors, sponsors, conference delegates and trade visitors.”
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Pyne sees “room for optimism” for manufacturing Christopher Pyne gave his first speech as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science on 30 September, saying “There’s room for optimism for manufacturing”. Pyne was giving the keynote address at the Australian Technology Network (ATN)’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaboration and Innovation Forum. The event was held at RMIT’s award winning Advanced Manufacturing Precinct in Melbourne. “The Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio is a central economic portfolio,” said Pyne. “It is delivering the means by which Australian industry can lead the world in research and innovation and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Australia has the infrastructure to underpin this: the researchers, the universities and world-leading institutions like CSIRO, Questacon and others. The Australian Government is creating the environment to commercialise the research.” The Minister highlighted Australia’s strong economic growth compared to other OECD countries for more than 20 years. However, he noted that the same period has been challenging for Australian manufacturing, whose share of GDP and employment has declined substantially in that time. Pyne stressed the need to create “a new legacy”.
centre of fostering the innovation that will provide the framework to transition industry to high-value added products and services. Overall, the agenda plays to our strengths and tackles the critical issues facing Australian businesses to build our long-term economic growth and prosperity.” Pyne discussed initiatives such as the $225m Industry Growth Centres and the Cooperative Research Centres programme. He also highlighted a number of schemes to provide assistance for manufacturers, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the R&D Tax Incentive. “Our advanced manufacturing companies are achieving enormous breakthroughs and are confirming that there’s a critical mass of knowledge, skills and capacity to capitalise on the new opportunities it presents. Diffusing advanced manufacturing technologies across our traditional manufacturing sector could be game-changing in terms of our global competitiveness. “The impetus for change in the economy is there,” he concluded. “It needs a concerted effort.”
“There’s room for optimism for manufacturing,” the Minister continued. “Preliminary data from a study into global production shows Australia’s share of global exports of elaborately transformed manufactures has grown over the last 25 years, notwithstanding the significant exchange rate movements over that time. In contrast, the OECD share has declined during the same period. The study confirms that Australia has comparative strengths in high-value, highly transformed manufacturing.”
Promoting collaboration and innovation
Pyne cited Boeing Australia’s work for the 787 Dreamliner and Quickstep Holdings’ partnerships with some of the world’s largest aerospace/defence organisations as examples of Australian achievements in advanced manufacturing. He also pointed out high levels of innovativeness among Australia’s SMEs, who are ranked fifth in the OECD on innovation, with many SMEs supporting large Australian exporters through local supply chains.
Along with Pyne’s keynote address, there were presentations showcasing various research discoveries by ATN member universities. Associate Professor Drew Evans from the University of South Australia shared details of his team’s recent work developing thin film coatings for use in the automotive industry, while Professor Milan Brandt of RMIT discussed the latest innovations in additive manufacturing, with a particular focus on generating new intellectual property (IP). Professor Sam Bucolo of the University of Technology Sydney also gave a talk about the use of design-led innovation as a means to enable collaboration.
“Despite these positive signs, the Government is well aware of the reality for many machinery and equipment manufacturers affected by declining mining investment,” Pyne added. “Taken with the imminent closures of Ford, Holden and Toyota, the future looks particularly difficult. As an open economy, Australia needs to engage with the complex task of economic reform and restructuring, particularly addressing underlying issues of efficiency and productivity.” Pyne discussed the crucial role that innovation plays in driving productivity growth, which in turn is the key to improving competitiveness, jobs growth and ultimately living standards. He acknowledged the high quality of Australian research, but emphasised the need for that research to benefit the wider economy. He also highlighted Australia’s poor record at commercialising and patenting research outcomes, and the need to improve collaboration between industry and research bodies. “Our Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda… sets out a new industry policy paradigm by placing science and research at the
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The ATN Forum was part of a series of four events commissioned by the Federal Government’s Department of Industry focusing on key sectors of national importance. The event gathered manufacturers from the textile and geosynthetics industries, senior representatives from global automotive and aerospace organisations, as well as innovative researchers in the advanced manufacturing sector.
In addition, Professor Göran Roos of the SA Economic Development Board led a facilitated group dialogue on how to foster innovation and promote collaboration between industry and research bodies such as universities. ATN Executive Director Renee Hindmarsh said the Forum was an opportunity to drive genuine progress towards enhancing collaborative research outcomes. “It is vital Australia embraces Advanced Manufacturing to ensure we are a world leading, value-adding economy,” said Hindmarsh prior to the event. “Today’s forum will examine technology game-changers that will drive innovation, and discuss approaches to bridging the gap between industry and research outcomes. The ATN welcomes the Prime Minister’s focus on improving collaboration between universities and business, and the ATN forums are an important step towards achieving this.” www.atn.edu.au
The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What it means for manufacturers Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the biggest global trade deal in 20 years, were concluded in Atlanta, US, on 5 October. According to the Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, the TPP will establish a more seamless trade and investment environment across 12 Pacific Rim countries that represent around 40% of global GDP. In 2014, one third of Australia’s total goods and services exports – worth $109bn – went to the TPP countries, which also include Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. “Australia and the Asia-Pacific region are undergoing significant economic transformation,” said Robb. “The TPP allows us to harness the enormous opportunities this presents as we look to build a modern Australian economy that can face the challenges of the 21st century.” The TPP has significant implications for Australian manufacturers. Australia’s exports of manufactured goods to TPP countries were worth an estimated $27bn in 2014. According to Robb, the pact eliminates or significantly reduces tariffs on iron and steel products, ships, pharmaceuticals, machinery, paper and auto parts. New market access outcomes under the TPP will include: • Immediate elimination of tariffs on iron and steel products exported to Canada, and to Vietnam within 10 years. • Elimination of ship tariffs in Canada over 5-10 years. • Elimination of tariffs on pharmaceutical, machinery, mechanical and electrical appliances, and automotive parts to Mexico within 10 years. • Elimination of tariffs on pharmaceuticals to Peru over 10 years. • Elimination of duties on paper and paperboard to Peru over 10 years. • Elimination of tariffs on automotive parts to Vietnam over 10 years. In addition, Australian businesses will now be able to bid for tenders to supply goods (such as drugs and pharmaceutical products, electronic components and supplies) used for government purposes in Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
The TPP will also promote further growth and diversification of Australian outward investment by liberalising investment regimes in key sectors such as mining and resources, telecommunications and financial services. In regard to intellectual property, TPP will not require any changes to Australia’s patent system and copyright regime. The opposition Labor party welcomed the finalisation of negotiations for the TPP. Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Penny Wong said: “The TPP has significant potential benefits for Australia including improving market access for our goods and services in 12 countries accounting for 40% of global GDP. The TPP could also be a stepping stone to closer economic engagement across the Asia-Pacific region.” Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said the deal had the potential to “transform Australian industry’s engagement across the Pacific”. Willox said: “A significant amount of global trade now consists of goods that are inputs into global value chains, which is why multi-lateral agreements such as the TPP are highly valued among manufacturers with an international focus. “While many Australian companies are already well entrenched in major global value chains, they will appreciate the competitive advantage that the elimination of industrial tariffs will give them over competitors. When Australian companies are able to compete on the back of quality and innovation, they invariably succeed.” The Australian Made Campaign issued a reminder to businesses to boost country-of-origin branding on products to leverage the new export opportunities available via the TPP. “The TPP will significantly reduce trade barriers, opening up new markets for Aussie growers and manufacturers, but it is important that they make the most of the marketing opportunity presented by ‘being Aussie’,” said Australian Made Chief Executive Ian Harrison. “Prominent country-of-origin branding will play a key role in driving sales in the Pacific region, which has demonstrated increasing demand for Australian products and produce.”
SA moves to support local jobs The South Australian State Government has announced new incentives for companies seeking Government contracts to support jobs in the state. Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the State Government is increasing the minimum weighting for “local jobs” within tender evaluations to 15% for Government contracts worth $220,000 and above. Under current arrangements, the minimum weighting is set at 5% or 10% depending on the project. “That means the more South Australian jobs supported, the better a business or company’s odds of winning a State Government contract,” said Koutsantonis. Contracts relating to the $93m Northern Adelaide infrastructure spend, announced in the 201516 State Budget, will require a 20% weighting for economic benefit from local jobs. Projects include upgrades to schools, children’s centres and public housing, as well $55m over three years to build a new Gawler East Collector Link Road. Koutsantonis said when tendering for State Government work – whether it is a major infrastructure project or providing goods or services – companies are required to cover a range of factors within
their bid including capability, cost and the economic benefit from local jobs. “By increasing the ‘local jobs’ weighting, this gives companies who support South Australian workers an advantage when bidding for Government work,” he said. “It will encourage tenderers to partner with local sub-contractors and suppliers to boost their chances of success. In addition, these changes make it more likely that a close tender will be won by the bid with more SA jobs supported. The State Government is taking these steps to ensure the power of its $3bn annual procurement drives greater employment creation and supports local jobs and innovation.” Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said a new 20% weighting will also apply to the recently announced $985m Northern Connector project, jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments.
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VOICE-BOX Opinions from across the manufacturing industry
Economic complexity is the answer to Pyne’s innovation problem Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tasked new Innovation, Industry and Science Minister Christopher Pyne with making Australia’s economy more innovative. By Professor Göran Roos. The purpose of industry policy is to ensure Australia is prosperous, both now and in the future. But a nation’s potential to create prosperity is a direct function of its economic complexity. Countries with high economic complexity have a highly diverse portfolio of firms all producing and exporting offerings few other nations are able to produce. These offerings require a multitude of inputs, a high share of which are sourced in country since they also have high economic complexity. In this environment, system integrators tend to have higher economic complexity than the producers of the components that make up the system; producers of production equipment tend to have higher economic complexity than the producers using this capital equipment; and producers of physical goods tend to have higher economic complexity than the providers of the necessary input services. This explains why manufacturing is critical for the creation of prosperity in any nation and why prosperous nations, as a consequence of their high economic complexity, have a large share of systems integrators and advanced manufacturers in their economy (for example Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden). Against this backdrop it is very worrying that Australia’s economic complexity has declined over the last 25 years – it ranked 53 among all countries in 2012. The top three were Japan, Switzerland and Sweden. The worry is magnified when you consider the automotive sector – the highest current contributor to Australia’s economic complexity –- will disappear over the coming two years. This is likely to lower Australia’s economic complexity by a further 5-15%, while at the same time reducing the share of manufacturing in Australia’s economy to below 5% (compared to Switzerland’s 20%). So how can Australia use its industrial, innovation and science policy to increase its economic complexity?
1. Choose areas of comparative advantage This means focusing on sectors like mining equipment, technology and services (METS), a $90bn industry with $15bn in exports. The objective here must be to accelerate the
AMT November 2015
export-oriented and science and technologybased growth of this industry with a realistic objective of doubling exports to $30bn in five years. Other target sectors could include: agricultural equipment, technology and services; medical equipment, technology and services; and sophisticated defence equipment, technology and services.
2. Focus on increasing the valueadd to raw material production This would mean learning from the failure to capture sustainable prosperity from the mining boom through the lack of valueadd, and the late development of the METS industry. We should not repeat the mistakes of the mining boom with the Asia food boom. This means driving high-value-add food production like science-based foods (e.g. gluten-free bread, lactose-free milk, fortified products) and luxury food products (e.g. selected spirits, wines, cheese, seafood). Both of these will also require a highly competent packaging industry. Other sectors that fall under this heading would be the cellulose value chain (e.g. engineered timber products, high-value chemicals, composite and fibre materials), and high-value-add products originating from minerals (e.g. spherical graphite, metal powders for additive manufacturing use, specialised alloys).
3. Develop tomorrow’s industries based on our comparative advantages in research Examples here would be: high-value chemicals from seaweed; advanced fibre material-based production; advanced health and care solutions; advanced solutions for real life robotics applications; quantum computing; cell factory solutions.
4. Prepare for ‘industrial euthanasia’ Manage the transition out of yesterday’s industries into tomorrow’s highly servicebased advanced manufacturing. In this world most manufacturing activities will take place in a virtual space with many of the key enabling technologies and their associate production systems spread across the whole manufacturing activity system. This has major implications for both productivity
improvements as well as the role of people in these manufacturing activities. For most firms the productivity improvements will outstrip the underlying demand growth. This means tomorrow’s demand can be satisfied with fewer employees, unless we dramatically grow the number of firms and move into domains where the market growth is high.
5. Ensure major government projects are not bought off-theshelf Instead, they should include a component of solving problems never before solved. Doing this in-country maximises the spillover effects, and as a result is important for growing economic complexity.
6. Align labour market flexibility with structural change in the economy The shift in activities will generate very large skill gaps, meaning firms will need to vary their labour costs via new contractual arrangements with employees (more parttime work, more flexible work). These changes need to be managed with respect for the individuals concerned, recognising that the responsibility to maintain labour market relevance rests both on the employer and the individual. A successful new industry, innovation and science policy is imperative, not only to secure our future prosperity, but also to address the already visibly declining ability to generate prosperity in our nation. Göran Roos is Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This article was originally published in The Conversation. www.uts.edu.au www.theconversation.com
Manufacturing matters more than ever Manufacturing is crucial to securing Australia’s continued prosperity, and all local manufacturers have a part to play in ensuring it survives and thrives. By David White, Director of Advanced Robotic Technology (ART). Manufacturing drives innovation and technological change. It accounts for a quarter of Australia’s private sector R&D expenditure. Manufacturing is the sector that contains and advances the skills and capabilities that prescribe membership in the ranks of the advanced nations of the world. For research and innovation, manufacturing provides the essential ground from which future streams of products and incomes can emerge. Furthermore, without a manufacturing base, Australia would need to import more consumer and capital goods, reinforcing our chronic inability to run a positive trade balance. Additional borrowing to do so, together with the repatriation of resource profits, would expose serious vulnerabilities in our external position. So manufacturing matters – more than ever – and every local manufacturer can contribute to keep our manufacturing base up and running. This country’s innovative capacity in the advanced manufacturing sector is also in strong demand in global supply chains within the high-growth AsiaPacific region. Australia’s capabilities tend to be focused on high-technology, high-valueadd, and high-skill manufacturing, which uses advanced design, processes, materials and technologies. Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) has always been – and always will be – proud to be a 100% Australian manufacturer, with all our ART-branded products, including plasma cutters and routers, manufactured to the highest standard, equipped with advanced design features and the latest CNC and automation technologies to make our customers more competitive. ART, like many of Australia’s specialised automation and robotics system suppliers, is able to deliver innovative and efficient automation solutions for many processing, manufacturing, material-handling, assembly and packaging requirements, which is what our industry needs to survive in the long run. ART invests a lot of resources into developing new features and functionality into our products. Our machines have a lot of highend features that are focused on productivity and versatility. Many of the functions that we have on our machines are simply unavailable on other machines. For example, we develop our software from front to back. Because
our software developers work closely with our mechanical and electronics engineers, as well as our own in-house CNC operators, we have an extremely short development cycle time. This also allows ART to respond to the needs of customers by developing processes to suit their needs. Australian manufacturers need to keep ahead of the competition in order to prosper. Australian manufacturers also need to keep their eyes open and watch the market in order to identify industry’s needs or shortcomings. Looking at diversifying into other metalworking industries, we studied the needs of every steel fabrication shop in Australia, from small to large, and have developed the Metaltek XB series to answer the demand for fully-automated structural steel processing in one machine. Our steel coping machine is an automated, versatile machine, giving steel fabricators around the country a competitive edge. 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, the Metaltek XB series answers the need for fully-automated structural steel processing in one machine, backed with local support. The whole machine is designed to reduce labour and double handling while increasing productivity and profits. There is another important reason why Australian manufacturing will survive: local support. As the market is being infused with cheaper imports, it is ever more vital that Australian manufacturers pull together to provide not only world-class products, but also the necessary support structure that is lacking with many overseas products.
Australia is a long way from the rest of the world. While it is becoming increasingly popular to purchase technology over the internet, a lot of companies are left high and dry when something goes wrong. ART encourages Australian manufacturers to focus on quality and service. That is where the real value is. When customers invest in a machine or any manufactured product, they are not just buying a piece of hardware. They are investing in the future of their business. The critical component that sometimes is sadly overlooked is the backup and support that can be provided through a local manufacturer. Australian companies are starting to rethink their outsourcing strategies and ask if offshoring really makes sense in light of extremely complex supply chains, quality, intellectual property issues, and the higher costs of shipping goods. Nonetheless, an increase in imported products due to the strong Australian dollar has put increasing pressure on Australian manufacturers to be more efficient. The challenge is to increase productivity without compromising on the safety and quality of the product or the level of after sales support. One of the major advantages we have over imported products is the ability to customise each machine to the specific needs of the customer. Almost all of our products are custom-ordered, with sizes and accessories configured to the specific requirements of the customer. Our entire sales process is focused around the needs of the client. That is the only way we can be sure that they get the machine that they need. Australian manufacturing is important because of the strong connection between manufacturing and developing a knowledgebased economy. It’s true that we may no longer be as competitive as we used to be in textiles, garments and footwear, or mass production, given the competition from low-wage economies. But by embracing modern methods of manufacturing, particularly through the use of automation, local manufacturers will be able to boost productivity and help to balance out some of the inherent costs of manufacturing in our country. We can bring manufacturing back into our country if we provide the right service and technology. www.advancedrobotic.com
AMT November 2015
Australia: Solar cell breakthrough Dyesol - an Australian manufacturing innovator - has taken the first steps towards commercializing a potentially cheaper and highly efficient solar cell, thanks to $449,000 support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Perovskite cells have been demonstrated at laboratory scale but have never before been mass produced. Most current generation solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are made with silicon, but there is growing interest in developing third generation solar technologies such as cells constructed from perovskite. “Perovskite is abundant and cheaper than silicon and there are signs it may be more adaptable than conventional silicon, providing enhanced performance in low light conditions and being better suited for integration into external building components, such as windows and facades.” Said Dyesol Chief Technical Officer Dr Damion Milliken
USA: Ultralight heavy metal
AustrAliAn MAnufActuring technology
your industry. your Magazine.
Boeing has announced that, in collaboration with HRL Laboratories, it will develop new ultra-lightweight materials for future NASA aerospace vehicles and structures, based on an innovative “microlattice”, enabling reductions in the mass of spacecraft by 40%. The microlattice material developed by HRL – originally a front page story in AMT’s June 2012 edition – is claimed to be 99.99% hollow due to its 3D open-cellular polymer structure. The structure is made up Micro-managed: of interconnected hollow tubes each with a wall Developing 1,000 timesnew thinner products based than a human hair, resulting in a metal that is 100 ontimes nano lighter than PAGE 44 components in styrofoam but strong enough to be used as structural airplanes. Microlattice displays unprecedented mechanical behaviour for a metal, including complete recovery from compression exceeding .AUSTECH Review .Education & Training .Forming & Fabrication .Lean .Nanotechnology .Cutting Tools 50% strain and extraordinarily high energy absorption. Lighter and stronger cores with innovative truss architectures will be developed. Mixed
Australia: Space suit inspired by Cathy Freeman An RMIT-invented SkinSuit developed in collaboration with scientists from the MIT, Kings College London and the European Space Agency and manufactured by Italian firm Dainese, has been worn in the International Space Station for the first time and has undergone trials. Inspired by the bodysuit worn by Cathy Freeman at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the developers spent more than 15 years getting the suit into space. Skin-tight and made of bi-directional elastics, SkinSuit has been designed to mimic the impact of gravity on the body to reduce the debilitating physical effects space flights have on astronauts’ bodies. The special design means it can impose a gradual increase in vertical load from the wearer’s shoulders to their feet, simulating the loading regime normally imposed by bodyweight standing on earth. RMIT
USA: Naturally derived flame retardant Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic. The team found that a synthetic coating of a polydopamine-based nanocoating (derived from the natural
AMT November 2015
compound dopamine) can be used as a highly effective, cheap and easy water-applied flame retardant for polyurethane foam. The coating’s ability to reduce a fire’s intensity is about 20% better than existing flame retardants. To the team’s surprise, they did not have to change the structure of the polydopamine from its natural form. It was coated onto the surfaces of a polyurethane foam by simply dipping it into a water solution of dopamine for several days. “We weren’t expecting to find a flame retardant in nature” said the team leader. University of Texas at Austin
Spain: Infrared camera detects gas leaks A new low-cost infrared camera for the quick and efficient detection of gas leaks has been developed. It can detect gas leaks that are normally invisible to the human eye thanks to a camera that recognises the infrared signature of these compounds. Called Gas Sensing System, it is possible to visualise a wide range of industrial gases such as methane, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gases, coolants, etc. The benefits have been validated through pilot prototypes in different industrial environments. There are several gas-detecting instruments already on the market, but none have the advantages of this new method, ie: working remotely, in real time, intuitively, and at a cost that is five to ten times lower. The system can also be placed on drones. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Spain: Self-repairing material Researchers have developed a flexible polymeric material capable of self-repairing. The material, a type of transparent resin, has the property of healing itself; eg, when it is cut with scissors in half and put back in contact, it rejoins itself within 10-15 seconds with no external source. The cutting-joining process can be performed in water or in any other fluid substance. This could pave the way to the development of different materials in sectors such as medicine, cosmetics, space industry, automotive, and many others. The material possesses shape memory - even if it is crushed and kneaded, it recovers its original shape in a few seconds. The material is also biocompatible.” University of Alicante
USA: 3D printed fetus head 3D printing has helped doctors determine whether baby Conan would need a lifesaving procedure during delivery when an ultrasound revealed a lump on the unborn child’s face which could prevent him from breathing after birth. Using an MRI of the fetus in the womb, doctors used a 3D printer to print models of the fetus’ face, helping determine exactly where and how dangerous the soft tissue mass was. The extra information gained helped doctors determine that Conan would not need a complicated and risky procedure and he was born safely via C-Section. University of Michigan
“No-one has been able to do what we’ve been able to do. Even the aerospace industry couldn’t figure out a way to do it” - CEO of Australia’s Carbon Revolution, Jake Dingle, referring to “worldfirst” Australian-produced carbon-fibre wheels which are as strong as alloy wheels. The Geelong (Vic.) wheel manufacturer won a multimillion-dollar contract to supply these wheels for some of the fastest cars - the limited edition Mustang 350-R and Ford’s modern Ferrari-fighter.
Amada opens its doors for Techtember Amada Oceania opened up its showroom in Bella Vista, NSW, in September for its Techtember sales and networking event. The two-day event provided a comprehensive showcase for Amada’s extensive range of innovative sheet metal technology. These included its latest line of press brakes, equipped with new controllers designed to enable the machine to run much more quickly while minimising the potential for user error, thereby making operations much more efficient. There was also a big push on lasers, with two machines on display. Amada’s new 3.5kW machine has been designed as an entry-level product, but comes with features more common to elite models, such as fast drive speeds, quick cutting, and instant piercing capabilities. Towards the back of the showroom was a larger machine suitable for any jobbing shop that can cut tube to 0.2mm precision as well as flat sheet. In addition Amada was promoting its latest automation technology, while its Amada Miyachi subsidiary was demonstrating its laser marking systems. While these products were a key focus, Techtember was as much about providing an opportunity for Amada and its customers to get together and socialise. Refreshments were available throughout the event, with beers and a barbecue laid on in the evening. For Sami Serhan, Consultant Engineer at Amada, the idea was to try a different approach in engaging its customers. “Everyone’s doing the normal shows, seminars and so on,” he explained. “We thought we’d tackle it from a different angle by making Techtember a networking event more than a sales event. This event is more about building up peoples’ knowledge about the industry, giving them new information on the latest innovations out now.” In addition to exhibiting its own products, Amada brought in a number of partners to exhibit at Techtember, in areas ranging from software and IT, to financing. Companies exhibiting included BOC, InterCad, Pulford, Creative Innovations, IPLaser, Kobot and Interlease, effectively making it a kind of mini trade show. “We tried to get everyone we could in the sheet-metal industry, so people can come along to see not just what we offer, but what the industry can offer,” added Serhan. “It’s more industry as a collective; all of industry working as industry together.” According to Serhan, the response from Amada’s customers was highly positive: “It’s been an open event, people come and go as they please. And they’ve appreciated being able to talk to us about issues they’ve been having and then go to someone who’s an expert in that field, for an open discussion. What’s been really successful is that this event allows people to see more than an ad or the technical specs. People have brought in parts and asked us ‘How can we do this? How can we improve on making this quicker?’ People can’t see that from specs.” BOC was participating in Techtember to promote its Cryospeed laser gas supply solution. Cryospeed provides hands-free delivery of argon, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen to storage vessels situated on-site, eliminating any disruption to ongoing operations, while doing away with the need to continually be switching
and replacing gas cylinders. In addition, it offered a demonstration of cutting-edge welding technology, with its GMA and TIG Projector. According to Kyle Scott, Business Manager – Specialised Manufacturing at BOC, partnering with a company like Amada and being involved in an event like Techtember is imperative: “This is the launch of our partnership with them, and the quality of people here are of a very high standard. It’s the owners and directors of businesses that are coming here.” For Serhan, following the success of Techtember, plans are already underway for the next event: “We do want to hold them annually and there is talk of doing it quarterly.” www.amada.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
ToolPort dispenses up to 80 different inserts Records inserts dispensed by user, job number, time, and date.
Connects straight to mobile phone network
Available for $0 based on minimum monthly spend
Talk to your IMC dealer! Tungaloy: email@example.com 03 9755 8147 Taegutec: firstname.lastname@example.org 1300 8234 8832
www.toolport.com AMT November 2015
Speedy laser beam melting with SLM 500LH system SLM 500LH quad laser technology from SLM Solutions offers four fibre lasers (4 x 400W) or alternatively two fibre lasers (1 x 400W + 1 x 1000W). These laser beam profiles may be used independently or in parallel and simultaneously, offering not only optional processing, but unmatched speed in performance. This fast and precise bi-directional process produces highly accurate parts layer by layer using a large number of different metals in powder form. Metal powder flow is continuous and automated from an external unit increasing operator safety and eliminating time-consuming fills and powder handling. A range of powders is available to meet specific production requirements, from aluminium and titanium alloys, to tool and stainless steels, cobalt chrome alloys and nickel-based alloys. A critical advantage is that whatever powder is selected, the mechanical properties of the original material are preserved. In a selective laser melting process, laser additive manufacturing occurs by depositing thin layers of metal powder that are exposed to laser radiation and melted. An enormous advantage lies in the reuse of 95% of excess powder not used in the build. The SLM 500LH has the largest build envelope on the market, at 500mm x 280mm x 320mm, allowing manufacturing of a range of product sizes. Once completed, the finished build cylinder is transported out of the system. The cooling process takes place in the unpacking unit leaving the build area immediately available for processing.
Open software architecture and system parameters allow modifications of production requirements and alterations following testing and iterations. The system is equipped with Materialise, the leading software for additive manufacturing, as a standard feature, enabling ‘slicing’ and ‘support’ generation producing complex and uniform parts. The software also includes modules for monitoring, auditing and quality assessment to ensure optimal quality control in production. www.raymax.com.au
Efficient CAT three-wheeler from United Forklift United Forklift and Access Solutions’s range of nimble, safe and environmentally efficient CAT three-wheel electric lift trucks deliver quiet, operator-friendly handling and features for a wide range of unit loads, including pallets, pallet boxes and stillage cages. The advanced green AC power of the ECTCB series trucks – available in capacities from 1.3 to 2.0 tons - cuts emissions while giving greater performance, longer shift cycles and simpler maintenance. The ECTCBs have some of the largest battery capacities in the market, with 20% greater power reserves enabling them to work harder for longer. The trucks can be configured to function at a particular power level to best suit the lifting task. Energy conservation and regeneration is an important feature of the EP-TCB’s advanced AC Energy Regeneration System, which channels power back into the battery during simple activities like braking, plugging or even decelerating. Trucks will shut down automatically after 15 minutes when left in standby mode. Their intelligent Advanced AC Power Control System, with highcapacity motors, provides powerful acceleration, even on an upslope. Advanced electronics enable very precise inching and control. Maintenance is also reduced due to the absence of carbon brushes in these high performance AC motors. For warehouse applications, the latest CAT electric forklift trucks are both quick and easy to manoeuvre, with tight turning circles complemented by rounded rear surfaces to enhance manoeuvrability and minimise collision and damage risks in confined spaces. Their typical maximum lift height of 7.5m makes them well suited to most standard wide aisle racking operations, while their clean operation
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makes them eminently suitable for food, beverage, pharmaceutical and sensitive and refrigerated goods handling. Another plus is their hydraulic shock absorption, which virtually eliminates load impact caused by bumps. The compact but highly stable design means they can be crossutilised to perform both duties in situations where traditionally two types of forklifts are being used: four-wheel counterbalanced trucks outside, transferring to reach trucks inside. The trucks’ vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) is located at the right front of the cab so as not to obstruct the driver’s view of the forks while allowing quick viewing and monitoring of important vehicle information. The ECTCB’s VFD display is easy to read even under direct sunlight and bright conditions. Information on traveling speed, battery discharge status, current time and key-on hours are displayed in real time. The advanced Mast and Travel Interlock System helps protect operators by initiating a series of protective actions if operators leave the normal seated operating position. To help operators manage preventative and regular maintenance with a minimum of downtime, CAT electric forklifts are equipped with high energy efficiency, on-thego system monitoring, self-diagnostic and fault memory monitoring. In addition, on all models, a built-in service reminder can be programmed so that maintenance can be scheduled at intervals to suit shift patterns. www.unitedequipment.com.au
Equipped for parting and grooving
Imagine a machining process where tool life is long and machine stoppages are few. That is now made a reality with tools equipped with over- and under coolant. The coolant, delivered through the tool right to the cutting zone, breaks the chips with perfection. As both chips and temperature are controlled you can speed up your cutting data while still getting excellent surface finish. For the most perfect parting and grooving with coolant in action, switch now. Switch to CoroCutÂŽ QD or CoroCutÂŽ 1-2. www.sandvik.coromant.com/make-the-switch
maxon releases DC linear actuator for positioning
ABB’s YuMi robot arrives in Australia
maxon motor has released a new 6mm micro linear positioning drive with internal gearing. It is available in metal and ceramic versions.
Following the global launch of YuMi to a huge fanfare at the Hannover Messe in April of this year, the world’ first truly collaborative robot is now available in Australia. The robot has the ability to work side-by-side on the same tasks as humans while still ensuring the safety of those around it – thereby eliminating the need for protective barriers or safety zones. Its lightweight yet rigid magnesium skeleton features a floating plastic casing wrapped in soft padding in order to absorb impacts.
Micro DC motor linear positioning systems are suitable for applications that require accurate positioning and high forces while maintaining minimal weight and a small footprint. For example: syringe pump actuation and lens or sensor adjustment in a production or laboratory environment. The linear speed, length and forces can be controlled and adjusted by combining a suitable brushed or brushless DC motor, encoder and motor drive electronics. Up to 11N continuous and 15N intermittently can be achieved with linear speeds of 25mm/second. The ceramic version gives high efficiency and longer lifespan whilst for less demanding applications, the metal version is more cost-effective. With a linear actuator, thrust bearing system and planetary gearhead in one assembly, a weight of only 2.9g is possible, making the device also suitable for specialist robotic applications. www.maxonmotor.com.au
After a much anticipated wait, ABB’s YuMi collaborative robot is now available in Australia.
While YuMi is particularly suited for small parts assembly and pickand-place applications within the electronics industry, its ability to work alongside humans is expected to enable it to drive efficiencies across a wide variety of innovative applications – particularly due to its inherently safe design. “We have received strong levels of interest in YuMi across a variety of industries, including the education sector,” said Peter Katsos, Business Unit Manager, ABB Robotics. “The first robot for Australian delivery was sold recently, even before it hit our shores.” www.abbaustralia.com.au
Kaeser launches quiet, compact, highly efficient boosters Kaeser recently launched its completely redesigned range of boosters. With drive powers ranging from 22kW to 45kW, the new DN C series boosters are space-saving, energy-saving and maintenance-friendly. The boosters are designed for applications that require high-pressure air such as PET bottle production, process air applications, and nitrogen generation. Half the size of its predecessor, the new DN C series boosters have a small footprint, offering a solution where space is at a premium. Optimised for low vibration and low noise emissions, these compact units also run noticeably quieter thanks to an enclosure with integrated after-cooling as well as a low-vibration basic structure. For the ultimate energy-efficient solution, the DN C series boosters are available with Sigma Frequency Control (SFC). Incorporating a variable speed drive ensures superior harmonisation of the booster on the input side with the upstream compressor output. This in turn allows for the reduction of the relatively high switching frequency characteristic of some booster applications. The powerful SFC functionality helps adjust the free air delivery as consistently as possible to meet the needs of the system. This reduces switching differentials on both sides, as well as potentially
AMT November 2015
resulting overpressure, leaks and machine load – all of which contribute to energy savings. All serviced parts are easily accessible from one point, with an intelligent component layout that makes the DN C series boosters extremely service-friendly. The boosters also include an integrated Sigma Control 2 controller, equipped with special booster software, to ensure optimal system operation while also enabling convenient connection to master controller systems via Ethernet. Since all individual components can be perfectly co-ordinated with one another, the entire station can be optimised to provide maximum efficiency and performance. Integration is also possible within an Industry 4.0 environment. Ready for immediate electrical connection upon delivery, thereby minimising installation time and costs, the DN C series boosters from Kaeser are available with drive powers from 22kW to 45kW and free air delivery of 2.9-19.6 cubic metres per minute. www.kaeser.com.au
Remote video inspection in the palm of your hand Building on more than 100 years of optical and 40 years of endoscopic inspection experience, Olympus has developed the Series C videoscope, designed to provide quick and easy inspections in difficult-toreach areas. “This entry-level videoscope is our most affordable and adaptable videoscope that comes with many premium features that are not usually available at this price point,” said Brendan Slaven, RVI Product Specialist at Olympus. One premium feature of the Series C is its advanced image processors that can operate in much lower light levels than its competitors and resolve the finest detail such as corrosion, burrs and small defects or cracks. The videoscope combines Olympus optical and precision device expertise to allow an operator to inspect areas that have access ports down to 6.2 mm and captures the clearest possible image by combining eight brightness settings, glare reduction, high intensity LED and light sensitive CCD camera chip technologies. The carrying case holds everything needed for the majority of inspection projects. This latest unit yields rapid return on investment for customers by maximising operational availability. Ergonomically designed to fit in the palm of either hand and weighing less than a kilogram, the portability, durable construction and ease-of-use means that the Series C can be used for remote inspections for the full 120-minute battery life, and even longer when connected to mains power. “Applications for the Series C are quite broad,” said Slaven. “We now have a professional, premium videoscope available to businesses whose basic inspection requirements do not necessitate a high-end unit.”
Olympus’ entry-level videoscope provides exceptional articulation, durability and great optics to get the image needed. The instrument is built for use anywhere and packed with features usually reserved for more expensive units. Designed for long product life, a Series C unit features an abrasion-resistant insertion tube with a tungsten outer braid. The proprietary spring neck design of the distal end reduces stress when navigating through tight bends. The protective cap on the distal end can easily be replaced resulting in more inspections being done with minimum downtime. The Series C provides the latest technology in videoscope instrumentation, in line with the Olympus tradition of keeping operators at the cutting edge of non-destructive testing. www.olympus-ims.com
AMT November 2015
Vollmer – universal sharpening of circular saws Vollmer’s CHP840 and CHP1300 grinding centres are designed for the universal sharpening of carbidetipped circular saw blades up to 840mm and with the option of 1,300mm diameter. The next-generation grinding centre has four CNC-controlled axes for the accurate grinding and polishing of virtually all tooth geometries in a single cycle. This groundbreaking grinding concept delivers ease of use with an ingenious new multifunction hand wheel and programs for the aluminium, plastic, wood and metal cutting sectors. The machines deliver precision, productivity and flexibility for the universal machining of TCT saw blades up to 1,300mm in diameter. The latest addition to the Vollmer line boasts a compact footprint to save floorspace, a 10-inch LCD colour display with a multi-function hand wheel for fast and safe operation, and a large operator-friendly viewing window. The CHP machines are fully enclosed for maximum safety, noise and emission protection, all on a robust vibration-free platform for optimal sharpening performance. The four axes on the CHP permit the complete machining of all commonly used tooth geometries in a single cycle – this includes axial angles and group-toothing geometries. With oscillation grinding as standard and motor driven hook and clearance angle adjustment, the CHP provides high material removal rates with the flexibility to rapidly switch from face to top grinding. This productivity is further enhanced by an optimum movement co-ordination for short movements that reduce non-grinding times considerably. For the saw mill, solid wood and furniture producing sectors, the CHP has diagonally integrated feed pawl with pneumatic lift that ensures even chipper segments pose no problem for the new machine. The new CHP also has a wide-opening blade clamping mechanism for processing saws with a collar or reinforcement ring. As an option,
the CHP can be supplied with an optional second feed pawl for tooth pitches up to 180mm and a hollow face grinding device for processing hollow face saws. For the metal cutting market, the CHP840 and CHP 1300 incorporate a powerful motor with a variable grinding speed for high grinding efficiency that can optimise the process and machining parameters. Specifically for the metal cutting sector, the CHP has an adjustable grinding barrel for the flexible machining of chip-breakers, while the software includes negative tooth face geometries and chip breaker machining as standard. This remarkable flexibility permits chip guide notching, negative hook angle machining and chip breaker machining as well as bevel angle grinding on TCT and HSS saws with the storage of up to 4,000 programs possible in the machine control database. The new CHP marks a new operating philosophy for Vollmer, with its multi-functional hand-wheel that makes work easier and faster, ensuring the axes are controlled by one module. This prevents the possibility of incorrect operation, and the wheel can also be used as a potentiometer to conduct speed and feed adjustments in automatic mode. Errors are minimised by the feed pawl sensor system that eliminates the need for tooth pitch input, while the automatic adjustment of the hook and clearance angle through digital detection also avoids operator errors. As with all next-generation Vollmer machines, the CHP guarantees to reduce costs, cycle times and environmental impact whilst improving flexibility, productivity, efficiency, precision, quality and profitability. www.vollmer-group.com
BOC launches auto-darkening high-impact helmet BOC has announced the newest addition to its Weld Guard protective products range with the launch of the new Weld Guard high-impact helmet for welding and grinding. The new auto-darkening helmet, with stand-out graphic design, gives welders the flexibility to work with different processes such as MMA stick welding, MIG/MAG and TIG welding (above 20 amps), offering variable controls that rapidly adjust the shade from light to dark within three milliseconds. Joe Martinez, Safety Products Manager at BOC, explains the new Weld Guard helmet offers high protection and is an affordable option that can save users both time and money by welding and grinding with one helmet. “This Weld Guard helmet allows users to conveniently switch from welding to
AMT November 2015
grinding mode for pre- and post-welding clean-ups,” says Martinez. “The new shell design offers full coverage and is high impact resistant to give the user maximum protection. It is also lightweight and comfortable for a full day’s work and allows magnifying lenses to be fitted, as an optional extra, giving clarity for near-sighted welders.” The Weld Guard high-impact helmet comes with a two-year conditional warranty and is now available to purchase from BOC Gas & Gears across Australia online. The full Weld Guard protective products range includes helmets, gloves, jackets, aprons and other accessories. www.boc.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
Construction & Infrastructire
Sustainable innovation Prefabricated building and off-site construction account for a small but growing slice of the construction and infrastructure industry in this country. Could this fast-developing sector represent a new area of opportunity and innovation for Australian manufacturers? By Carole Goldsmith.
The Australian construction industry contributes $150bn (10%) to this country’s GDP. Of this, the prefabricated housing sector provides just $4.6bn, or 3%, of the residential housing market, according to the Manufacturing Excellence Taskforce of Australia (META)’s Prefab Housing Hub. With an estimated total of 155,000 houses built in Australia each year, prefabricated houses – including kit and transportable – account for just 4,650 of these. Shortened from “prefabrication”, prefab refers to any part of a building manufactured at a place other than its final location. PrefabAUS is the peak body for Australia’s off-site construction industry, with a diverse membership of almost 200 companies. PrefabAUS CEO Warren McGregor explains that the group’s members include manufacturers of prefabricated buildings, architects, building designers, other construction and supply chain professionals, affiliated industry associations and research groups. “Around 50 % of our membership is in Victoria and with the downturn of the auto industry, some automotive engineers are finding opportunities in the prefab industry,” says McGregor. “One example of this is where a GM Holden auto-engineer now works in prefab manufacturing after a period at another of our member companies, the Hickory Group.” The mining downturn has had a significant effect on some sections of the prefab industry, advises McGregor: “Accommodation camps known as dongas or portable modular buildings have long been used in the mining industry. Some of our members that supplied the mining industry are now turning their skills into other types of prefab manufacturing.”
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McGregor has a diverse background, mainly in management consulting across Australia and South-East Asia and with a property focus for the past ten years. Most recently he has been consulting with Thinc Projects, and last year wrote an assessment of advances made in the prefab space entitled ‘The Changing Face and Place of Construction’. In the report McGregor explains that prefabricated projects have been undertaken in Australia for a diverse range of projects, including: houses, low-rise apartment buildings, hotels, student accommodation, medical clinics, community halls and school buildings (not the portable classrooms of old), a variety of display suites for residential development, and even a RSPCA animal shelter. He cites examples such as: a McDonald’s restaurant manufactured by Prebuilt, based in Kilsyth, Victoria; and the new Mitcham Railway station, east of Melbourne, made by Modscape. Both companies are PrefabAUS members. McGregor agrees that prefab or modular buildings need more exposure in Australia and the industry would like to see a prefab showcase centre. “Preconstruction has made the industry global and you can buy an entire prefab hotel and ship it overseas,” he says. “Toyota is also a large producer of prefab houses. In Australia we are characterised by smaller innovative prefab firms, but the competition we are confronting here are often the big conglomerates overseas. The Victorian Government wants this state to be the prefab centre of excellence and this is part of its push for job creation. We can create a new type of factory job for people, including those currently working in the auto industry.”
Construction & Infrastructire The Mirvac residential display suite at Docklands, Melbourne, manufactured by Modscape.
ARC-CAMPH: Training future prefab industry leaders A joint initiative project of PrefabAUS and the University of Melbourne, the ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing (ARC-CAMPH), aims to grow Australia’s prefab building industry by creating sustainable training between the industry and Australian universities across the country. The Centre will train the next generation of engineers and scientists in advanced manufacturing practices in prefab modular buildings, with training at the universities involved and on-site at prefab manufacturers.
The University of Melbourne is leading the Centre’s forward charge with $4m in funding over four years, received from the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Centres Scheme, and $6m from the prefab industry. Associate Professor Tuan Ngo, Director of the University of Melbourne’s Advanced Protective Technologies for Engineering Structure, and the ARC Centre’s Research Director, spoke about the centre’s exciting future plans. Contined next page
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Construction & Infrastructire PrefabAUS CEO Warren McGregor.
Dr Tuan Ngo at the Francis Smart Structural Laboratory, University of Melbourne.
Continued from previous page
“The Centre will commence operations this November with an official launch early next year,” Dr Ngo explains. “We need to provide training facilities for around 30 people, including 14 PhD students, as well as prefab and construction industry engineers and other manufacturing professions.” He adds that the other universities involved in the centre are the University of Sydney, Curtin University in Perth, and Monash University in Melbourne. Innovative design for manufacturing and assembly, offsite construction and prefabricated technologies training will also be conducted at their sites. Among the training to be offered at University of Melbourne is: development of new lightweight building and sustainable building materials; new technologies to assist in faster construction; energy efficiency and zero carbon housing; innovative methods of reducing building life-cycle costs; and methods of recycling up to 80% of site waste. Dr Ngo explains that as part of the PhD student’s training, they will work under prefab industry supervisors on-site. “Also together with PrefabAUS, we will be offering advanced off-site modular construction short courses for prefab industry employees,” he adds. “We also collaborate with the Auto CRC to identify training needs of people working in the auto industry and upskill them for the construction field. Around 200 companies in the auto industry have been identified and this comprises around 230,000 people who will need retraining, when the major auto manufacturers close in 2017.” Dr Ngo advises that his University’s Francis Smart Structural Laboratory will continue to provide a vital part of advanced manufacturing testing and training for PhD students and the prefab industry. On a tour of the laboratory, which is equipped with a range of building testing equipment, Dr Ngo points to a number of innovative products being developed with leading companies. These include pultruded lightweight composite framing and floor systems, as well as an ultra-lightweight cement-free concrete made of waste materials such as fly ash and slag. During the tour, two PhD students were testing coal ash material while another was checking material for earthquake resistance on the earthquake shaking table. Dr Ngo adds: “If a prefab company wants to use the lab, contact PrefabAUS or the ARC CAMPH via its website prefab.org, which will be active in November.”
Modscape: Custom-made prefab buildings When PrefabAUS founding member Modscape first commenced business nine years ago, it had some set designs developed for potential residential customers. Founder/owner and Managing Director Jan Gyrn advises: “In response to customer demand, we quickly changed the process. We then started custom-designing and manufacturing our modular buildings to suit each individual customer in the residential and commercial sphere.” All Modscape’s innovative prefab houses and commercial buildings are made using modules based on a fully welded structural steel frame that uses insulated panels to create a highly insulated cell. Based in Brooklyn, west of Melbourne, Modscape operates a design and construction office as well as factory where the modular buildings are
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manufactured. The company has 55 employees, with 20 office staff including architects, interior design and building professionals, and the rest working in the factory. Subcontractors such as electricians and plumbers are brought in when required. Around 40% of Modscape’s construction is in residential property and 60% in commercial buildings. Gyrn provided AMT Magazine a tour of Modscape’s display suite and manufacturing site. Walking through the site, several construction workers were busily building the modules. Gyrn explains that a complete residential property takes just 12 weeks to produce within the factory, complete with electrical fittings and all plumbing. The modules are then transported by truck and the team are typically onsite for one week to connect to services. A 36-module hospital for Shepparton, in regional Victoria, was also being constructed at the Modscape factory. Disabled bathrooms and toilets had already been installed in several of the modules during the tour. “It will take 40 days on-site to install the hospital modules and connect the fittings, once the hospital is built at the factory,” adds Gyrn. “The building’s basement, lift shaft and fire stairs are now being built in parallel on-site.” He describes two recent projects that his company is particularly proud of: “In collaboration with Mirvac’s marketing design and construction teams, we built the Mirvac residential display suite for Mirvac to sell all their apartments at Docklands in Melbourne. This took ten weeks in our factory to manufacture, one day to install and two weeks on site once we installed the modules.” Unlike more traditional sales suite designs, the Mirvac building adopts an ambitious architectural style, with an ellipsoid-shaped modular form and a glass front that symbolises the wharf’s entrance and delivers unobstructed waterfront views. “Another project is the Mitcham Private Hospital which was built over 14 weeks in our factory and it took two days to install. Then we worked six weeks on site connecting all the fittings such as power, plumbing and oxygen connections.” Gyrn and his company pride themselves on sustainable building practices: “It is the way we build it, the design of what we build, the material we use, and how the building operates. By building in a factory, we can control the waste. Reconstituted recycled products are used such as aluminium windows frames, which can also be recycled at their end of life. LED lighting and double glazing is used in all of our modules. We see sustainability as reducing the impact on the environment.”
AIM: galvanised steel for infrastructure projects Cairns-based Australian Infrastructure Manufacturing (AIM) manufactures high-volume galvanised steel products for infrastructure projects. It has ongoing contractual work for Queensland utility companies and the state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads. AIM also provides infrastructure products and services to utility companies in Western Australia (WA).
Construction & Infrastructire
Mitcham Private Hospital, manufactured by Modscape.
Manufacturing Manager Chris Wilson advises that the company’s founder Rod Pollard started the business in 1966 as a galvanising plant in Cairns. This plant moved to Townsville in 2010 because of a greater demand for galvanising there. The manufacturing division continued in Cairns, and AIM currently has 30 employees, with extra labour brought in when required. Every evening AIM transports its manufactured steel by B Double tandem trailers, to its parent company Australian Professional Galvanising in Townsville for galvanising.
capability allowed us to produce and deliver in excess of 5,000 units in a 16-month timeframe. Misand Holdings was able to install 30 Power Beams per day, completing the contract six months ahead of schedule.”
Speaking about AIM’s infrastructure projects, Wilson explains: “As a regional supplier to Ergon Energy at five different Queensland sites – Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Toowoomba – we produce Power Beams or pole nails for electricity poles. AIM is a Queensland Government quality assured supplier.
Wilson explains that the company’s manufacturing capability includes a 6.1m, 500-ton five-axis CNC press, 21 MIG welders, thread cutting machines, section rollers, centre lathe and a radial drill, as well as several overhead gantries for lifting and handling. Among the ongoing products AIM provides to the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Transport as well as road construction companies are: galvanised steel road lighting poles; truss bridges; rolled steel girders; bridge traffic and balustrade rails. All of these are compliant for AS 7,000 and AS 4680 (the Australian standard for hot dip galvanising).
AIM owns the IP on the Power Beam pole nails, which are manufactured at its Cairns factory. On site, the power nails are hammered into the ground beside the electricity pole and this forms a pole splint. The Power Beams can extend the life of a damaged electricity pole by up to 20 years. AIM has sold them into New Zealand and the USA, and plans to export more in the future. Wilson says proudly: “In 2013, AIM manufactured and transported Power Beam pole nails to Esperence in WA, and these were installed in remote south-west WA by Misand Holdings. Our high-volume
In the same year AIM also produced and delivered 184 tons of galvanised steel for the Laura River South Bridge project in Cape York Peninsula. The cambered (slightly arched) beams produced for the project enabled bridge spans of more than 30m.
When asked how the company is going, Wilson says: “Business is steady and if we can pull a couple of extra small contracts, we will have the best quarter since 2014.” www.prefabaus.org.au www.arc.gov.au www.prefab.org www.modscape.com.au www.ausim.com.au
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Construction & Infrastructire
UoS to develop new 3D-print Microtimber Macadamia shells are already used as a biofuel. Researchers at the University of Sydney (UoS) are now proposing to use the nut’s extraordinary properties as a basic element in a new Microtimber made using pioneering 3D-printing technology, with the potential to revolutionise Australia’s building industry. Until now, this technology has been primarily used for small-scale, industrial design products. However, the research team led by UoS architecture and engineering experts has received funding to investigate ways to 3D-print a new gradient timber panel using forestry waste and by-products, including the discarded shells of the popular Australian bush nut. The threeyear study, partially funded by the Forestry and Wood Products Association, aims to break new ground in the use of agricultural waste and 3D printing. Dr Sandra Löschke, Director of Architecture, Design and Technology and co-leader of the research team, says that the innovative work lies in the micro-layering and fusing of different 3D-printed timber compositions, to provide a unique material and geometric gradient suitable for large-scale building projects. “We want to create innovative, environmentally-resilient panels that are customised to react optimally to structural stress and weather exposure of a building,” said Dr Löschke. “We aim to not only provide sustainable but aesthetic alternatives to standard timber products. The aim is to establish scientifically-informed design principles for materially-graded elements, which will help industry meet cutting-edge demands in construction in the future. This will be made possible by bringing together a team of multi-disciplinary experts from across the University.”
The project will advance previous research into 3D printing techniques by co-leader Professor Andy Dong, Warren Centre Chair for Engineering Innovation at the UoS. “Timber is an important primary industry for Australia,” said Professor Dong. “Architectural and structural design aspirations are driving innovations in new value-added timber products, including the conversion of so-called waste material into a bespoke product. The anticipated outcomes of the research are highly significant for the forestry industry. It could fundamentally change the way Australia produces timber-based products.” Researchers will experiment and test different material compositions using timber flours, including hardwood, softwood and macadamia shells. The team will produce prototypes for a sustainable and highly marketable Microtimber, which may be adapted for a wide range of building features such as walls, cladding, internal screens or louvres. As part of the research, the team plans to design and fabricate a demonstration prototype that showcases the benefits and potential of the new Microtimber. The project is the first stage of a long-term research initiative by the UoS exploring new design principles, material and production processes using cutting-edge fabrication technologies, which will deliver sustainable, alternative products for the Australian building industry. www.sydney.edu.au
Swedish university project to 3D-print houses Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden are working with external partners to develop a technology to make full-scale 3D prints of cellulose-based material. It is not a matter of small prints – the objective is to make houses. “The idea of the project is to develop a technology that can be used in reinforcing the manufacturing industry in the region,” says Marlene Johansson, director of Umeå University’s Sliperiet facility. “For Sliperiet the project, entitled the +Project, is a part in the strategy of forming collaboration in an open and interdisciplinary innovative environment.” One goal of the project is to produce cellulose-based materials for full-scale 3D printing, which can be anything from printing weatherstripping and doors, to walls and, in the end, complete houses. Together with various collaborating partners, Sliperiet has received 17.6m Swedish Krona ($2.91m) from EU Structural Funds in an interdisciplinary development project aimed at building a strong area of innovation and a regional cluster in digital manufacturing, sustainable building and 3D technology. In total, the collaborative project is worth SEK35.3m ($5.84m). The target audiences for the +Project are small and medium-sized industries in the construction and wood sector as well as creative markets such as architecture, design and IT. Entrepreneurs, creators and companies will, in collaboration with the university and research institutes, develop prototypes for products and services based on the regional infrastructure and raw materials – prototypes that can be commercialised by regional companies and entrepreneurs. The plan is also to explore new circular models for business and production
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and to create a competence centre for sustainable building and administering. “There are rapid developments within the area of digital manufacturing in construction,” says Linnéa Therese Dimitriou, Creative Director at Sliperiet. “With our project, we hope to help put the region at the forefront of this innovation area. Digitalisation, and through it masscustomisation, can provide incredibly exciting opportunities for the regional forest and construction industry, and create sustainable business opportunities based on our natural resources.” www.umu.se
Construction & Infrastructire
KingFlor reigns across Australia’s construction industry Manufactured by Fielders in Keswick, South Australia, Fielders’s KingFlor flooring system is paramount to the success of a variety of high-level commercial construction developments across Australia. The KingFlor composite steel formwork system was first released in 2000. Used between levels on multiple-storey buildings, it has since become the largest formwork range in the construction industry. According to Nathan Jack, National Commercialisation Manager at BlueScope Building Components, the system’s adaptability has made it the product of choice for several notable recent developments. “We’re currently working with architects and builders to supply KingFlor to a range of projects across the country, with the product consistently improving project efficiencies due to reduced concrete, labour and propping requirements,” says Jack. “One key advantage is the versatility in the different deckings available, meaning we’re able to deliver an effective solution regardless of the demands of the project.” Fielders has recently been contracted to provide 20,000sqm of KingFlor CF210 decking for the prominent $200m Meriton residential tower in North Sydney, the first high-rise residential building in Australia to be constructed purely from structural steel, eliminating the use of the traditional concrete frame building method. “Historically, traditional steel construction depth varies from 450mm to 650mm, which has generally precluded the use of steel-framed structures in apartment building design given the increase in the overall height of the building and therefore construction costs,” says Jack. “Through the use of the CF210 SlimFlor system, we are able to reduce the construction depth of the flooring down to 290mm, which competes favourably with concrete-framed buildings and will contribute to a significantly faster construction time and reduced costs for Meriton.”
Tim Boulton, Director at enstruct Group, developed and led the structural design and documentation for the North Sydney project. Boulton explains how KingFlor CF210 was the best solution for the development as a reliable, adaptable decking capable of achieving the spans required within the available floor depth. “The KingFlor CF210 system is a versatile, trusted building solution used widely across UK and Europe for many years in a range of developments,” says Boulton. “CF210 is a critical key component to the Meriton development, which has assisted us in bringing the steel-frame concept to life.” Fielders has also been contracted by Crown International to supply 70,000sqm of KingFlor KF40 material at the V by Crown apartment complex in Parramatta, NSW. Currently in construction, the $309m development will be Parramatta’s tallest building, standing at 29 storeys high and housing 500 apartments. “KF40 was chosen for this project in Parramatta due to its trapezoidal shape, saving the project 16mm of concrete across the entire project,” says Jack. “The unique design with wider coverage will not only save on preparatory costs, it also allows for the floor-laying to be executed faster.” Both the North Sydney and Parramatta projects are currently nearing completion thanks to efficiencies that the KingFlor system delivers. As part of the KingFlor offering, Fielders offers a suite of technical design tools to support the architect and builders in planning and implementation, allowing the most challenging of structural designs to become a reality. www.fielders.com.au
Amsterdam to get 3D-printed steel bridge Using robots that can “draw” steel structures in 3D, Dutch start-up MX3D plans to print a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Dutch company researches and develops robotic technology that can 3D print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form, on a larger scale and more efficiently than has been possible until now. The intricate, ornate metal bridge will be designed by Joris Laarman, in a project run in collaboration between MX3D, design software company Autodesk, construction company Heijmans and others. “I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in ‘the new craft’” says Laarman. “This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form.” MX3D equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing hardware that can print metals, plastics and combinations of materials in
virtually any form. From large construction to small parts, this technique enables printing of strong, complex structures made of durable material. According to MX3D, the process is much more cost-effective and scalable than current 3D-printing methods, and offers creative robotic production solutions for art, construction, manufacturing, and more. “What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the Box’ principle,” says Tim Geurtjens, Chief Technical Officer at MX3D. “By printing with six-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique.” www.mx3d.com
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Construction & Infrastructire
MEMKO – Collaboration can revolutionise design and construction Prior to forming technology service provider MEMKO, Miro Miletic spent 20 years at Boeing, and he believes that architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) can learn a lot from the aerospace industry. When Miletic began his career with Boeing in the 1990s, the aviation industry was at the precipice of tremendous change. Although designers still produced paper drawings for each aircraft, 3D CAD was emerging as an alternative. With the 777 aircraft, Miletic was part of the first team to design and build an aircraft using 3D CAD as the master model. The next step was the 787: the first aircraft designed without paper using Model Based Definition (MBD). Everyone from supply to production worked from digital models. The design process realised incredible new efficiencies with this move. Today, Miletic urges the AEC industry to recognise the efficiencies it too stands to gain from a digital transition. His decades as a Boeing executive gave Miletic an appreciation for the art of integrating solutions across industries. Since founding MEMKO in 2007, Miletic has been more focused than ever on that goal. MEMKO provides technology solutions, engineering and training for industries including aerospace and defence, as well as AEC. However, Miletic has seen within the AEC sector a potentially crippling reluctance to learn from other industries. Eagerness to adopt solutions from other sectors was one of Boeing’s greatest strengths, he notes. For example, when the company switched to the use of large-scale carbon-fibre composites with the 787, experts looked to other industries using those materials, from yacht manufacturing to sporting goods. “The learning is not directly transferable but you can adopt those ideas to suit your industry,” Miletic says. “It’s very important to learn from other industries and then modify to suit your particular industry requirements — but I think it requires a certain person and organization that has an open mind.” Miletic sees this transfer of knowledge across industries as a potential solution to a problem plaguing not only Australian AEC, but the industry worldwide: inefficiency and waste. But it is the possibilities for creating solutions to this problem that attracts Miletic to the AEC field. “The opportunity for breakthrough changes in addressing these challenges is phenomenal,” he says.
Getting buy-in In many regards, Miletic finds that projects owners are ready for innovative new solutions for reducing inefficiency. Improving design and construction productivity is a particularly
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Gehry Technologies used CATIA advanced design software from Dassault Systèmes to make Frank Gehry’s impossible facades possible such the University of Technology Sydney’s recently unveiled Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.
big concern for the Australian Government, as it remains the major funding source for most of the country’s infrastructure projects. “The Australian government realised quite early that the lack of productivity in the sector is costing it and, ultimately, the taxpayers money,” Miletic explains. “So there was an inquiry into the productivity of the Australian AEC industry sector about five years ago.” While Australia has not gone so far as, for example, the United Kingdom with its mandate requiring use of building information modelling (BIM) on government projects, the country is supporting research from industry associations, academia and others to improve productivity. In addition, as traditional manufacturing sectors such as automotive decline, the Australian government is urging manufacturers across those supply chains to move into the AEC sector. Miletic predicts that this will naturally lead to greater “crosspollination” of ideas across industries. Many of the country’s AEC companies seem reluctant to adopt this mindset of finding value outside of the traditional way of doing
things. However, the aerospace industry once shared that reluctance. Miletic recalls arguments against adopting the automotive industry’s total quality management concept in the 1990s. “In aerospace we were saying ‘we’re different, we don’t have the volume of production that automotive has’. Now I’m hearing similar things from my AEC colleagues,” he says. Critics who say that the investment in tools that simplify the design process is unjustifiable because “every building is unique” are not looking at the bigger picture. “It’s not true. Instead of focusing on products, you focus on process,” Miletic says. Integrated design tools such as BIM can allow designers and contractors to simplify common elements across their unique projects, speeding each project’s time to market while providing more successful projects.
Exploring new solutions Miletic sees big opportunities for improving AEC industry productivity in the project
Construction & Infrastructire
planning and execution phases, primarily by taking modelling and simulation to a greater level of detail than is currently practiced. In the BIM projects he sees, he finds architects, engineers and fabricators may do just enough modelling to create a detailed drawing for their own use, but rarely does he see these efforts integrated. This lack of data integration leads to change orders and other slowdowns in the field.
maintenance and future design teams to retrieve asset engineering data. Should the building owner want to upgrade or modify one of their properties, the design team simply needs to search and retrieve the current information related to the asset, do their design work and then, once the design is finalised, the building owner can upload new information for future access by their maintenance provider.
“There’s a lot of problem solving onsite, and all of this is waste,” Miletic says.
But there’s another area where greater use of integrated modeling tools can drive efficiency, and that’s in facility management and operations. “The design and construction phase is really minimal compared to the 40-50-year lifecycle over which the building has to be maintained,” Miletic says. “Managing that information through the life of the effort is really the biggest opportunity.” In that regard, MEMKO was able to use the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform from Dassault Systèmes, for whom MEMKO is a valueadded reseller, to help one Australian Government Agency to digitally structure its building data from hand drawings dating to the 1890s to today’s CAD files.
“The challenge they were facing was to manage that information so it’s easy to retrieve for their maintenance and design providers,” Miletic explains. MEMKO used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create an electronic drawing management system that stores and indexes building information, making it easier than ever for
For now, the evolution to more integrated design and construction teams is still at the beginning. There are great opportunities to improve efficiency in entire lifecycle. AEC customers need to consider how to connect architectural design to the fabrication or construction phase by using sophisticated BIM solutions like 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Miletic points out that Australia is a country of growth, and as the growing population drives the need for more infrastructure and other construction, it will become increasingly necessary for AEC professionals to bring projects more quickly, affordably and successfully to market. To do so will require greater collaboration across companies and, perhaps, industries. www.memko.com.au
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Construction & Infrastructire
Watkins Steel – Investing in future growth By adopting an end-to-end digital workflow system, Watkins Steel, an innovative mid-sized steel fabricator and installer based in Queensland, was able to significantly increase accuracy, reduce rework and deliver more to its clients. A family-owned business, Watkins Steel has been delivering steel fabrication and metalwork services to south-east Queensland since 1968. Watkins Steel specialises in metalwork, small structural steel, urban artscapes and architectural structures, and employs 50 staff across steel detailing, fabricating, drafting, estimating and installation. With steady growth since its establishment, Watkins Steel is currently operating from a 3,500 sqm factory in Brisbane. The company knows that its recent investment in technology will play a huge role in their future growth. Watkins Steel has a significant focus on refurbishments, which are not easy, clean or straightforward. These jobs generally involve two people having to be on site for three to four hours and then revisiting two or three times just to get the initial site measurement correct. Often it is the case that this work needs to be done outside of normal business hours so as not to disturb operations or create hazards for customers. The process is highly inefficient and puts increased pressure on those measuring up and working on site. Frustrated with losing margin because of guesswork and rework, Watkins Steel director Des Watkins and two other members of his management team attended a design-led innovation workshop in 2015 run by Professor Sam Bucolo from the University of Technology Sydney. The opportunity to interview people from the construction industry about their pain points, showed the team that they were really being judged on how well – and how quickly – they could react to the problems that they encounter on site. “That’s what the construction industry is all about, overcoming problems on site,” says Des. “So we started to think, what if these problems didn’t exist in the first place? Taking out the human error was the only way we could truly solve this.” Watkins Steel has been using Tekla Structures, a Trimble Buildings software package for structural detailing, since 2009. The company was already aware of other solutions available from Trimble, so it engaged with Trimble’s local distributor BuildingPoint Australia to find out more. At the same time, Watkins Steel began looking at robotic steel fabrication machines from Voortman that would work direct from the Tekla models. Watkins invested in four new pieces of technology that would work with the Tekla Structures software that the company already had. These were: • A Trimble laser scanner and Realworks software for site measurement. • A Voortman V808 coping machine for automated and precise steel fabrication. • Trimble Robotic Total Station and Field Link software for onsite steel installation. • Trimble Connect for sharing models with clients in the Cloud. Trimble’s philosophy is to take technology that has traditionally been programmed for surveyors and develop simplified, industryspecific workflows so it can be put directly in the hands of industry professionals. This has meant that, with a few days of training and getting their technology out to site, the team at Watkins Steel have been able to get to know the basics of the laser scanner and the layout solution.
Right first time, every time The investment in technology has delivered some impressive outcomes, with close to 100% accuracy in site measurements from a laser scan taking five to eight minutes, in shop drawings carried out in Tekla, and in layouts with the Trimble layout solution. Meanwhile the
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Watkins Steel’s Director Des Watkins (left) and Estimating Manager Tony Dickinson.
Voortman V808 allows the company to perform fabrication to plus or minus 1mm over 12m. The new technology has saved Watkins Steel 500-800 man hours per month in steel fabrication. In the recent refurbishment of an historic train station, the technology really came into its own. Traditionally this would have been an incredibly challenging project. However, with the new technology, work was carried out without disturbing the public, with no need for on-site fabrication of steel, and everything went 100% to plan. Watkins Steel is all but weeks into their journey and the team feel they have only unlocked 10%-20% of the potential of the technology. They are using the new technology to do existing work more efficiently, so rather than having to develop a market for it, they are already using it on every single job that comes through the door. The improvements they have seen through the entire workflow have been significant. “We’ve gone from so much rework and projects taking far longer than anticipated, to being able to guarantee parts of our workflow 100% first time,” says Des. “For me it’s all about eliminating the human error so we can deliver a better result to our clients. “The first step is the laser scanner, which guarantees our site measurements with 100% accuracy. By adopting the latest version of Tekla Structures, we can guarantee our shop drawings and because Tekla feeds the Voortman and flatbed plasma machine, the fabrication is processed to plus or minus one millimetre over 12 metres, so you’re getting close to guaranteeing 100% accuracy on the steel. No longer are we onsite for hours and hours taking potentially inaccurate measurements and then sometimes even having to fabricate onsite. Ben Yu, Project Manager reviews point clouds in Real Works.
Construction & Infrastructire The Voortman V808 coping machine is able to fabricate, cut and mark the steel.
We’ve taken all of the guesswork out.” Communicating with the client throughout the process has also become far easier. Now, when Watkins Steel responds to a Request for Information (RFI), rather than a paper plan, they will share the existing model with the Tekla plans overlaid via Trimble Connect. This means that the client can see exactly what they are going to get and any clashes are evident right from the beginning. Tony Dickinson, Estimator and Business Development Manager, has been with the business for twenty years. He says: “Now when I go to site, instead of spending hours worrying about whether we’ve got all of the right measurements, it only takes five to eight minutes to do the scan. During that time I can be talking to the client or the site foreman, developing my relationship with them and talking about what we are doing.”
Next steps Des is passionate about innovation and is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the way Watkins Steel operates. “Even though we’ve only unlocked some of the potential of the laser scanner, we are getting more and more confident with that
technology,” he says. “Our next step is to really come to grips with the layout solution and begin to embed that into our processes. We are already looking at new Voortman technology to increase the capacity of our automated steel fabrication and we’ve also only recently taken on the Trimble Connect Cloud platform as well as a Trimble handheld scanner. “When you know you’re onto a winning thing, you can’t stop there. I’m passionate about constant innovation to deliver better to our customers and that’s what we’ll continue to do.” www.watkinssteel.com.au www.buildingpoint.com.au
Hygrade creates intricate designs with Trumpf Hygrade Laser Profiling has established a reputation for itself as one of the best laser cutters in Sydney. With 25 years of experience under their belt, the team at Hygrade have made a name for themselves producing quality work for all their customers. Michael White is the company’s Director and owner and has seen significant changes to the company over two decades. Michael and his team at Hygrade are determined to provide the very best quality laser cutting, robotic welding and metal bending services to their customers throughout New South Wales. The company doesn’t manufacture its own products – Michael describes the business as “just a job shop,” where they simply construct specific parts for their customer. “We don’t specialise in producing just one type of product, we are certainly flexible with what our customers require,” Michael says. “At Hygrade we are determined to produce products that are precise and that are at a high standard. If they are not up to scratch, they don’t go out.” Servicing an extensive range of industries encompassing everything from transport to architecture, Hygrade has been involved in a number of projects that has required the company to accurately cut sheet metal into intricate shapes. Recently, Michael and his team created thousands of metal leaves for a wall mural for an apartment complex in Sydney’s CBD. Hygrade assisted Architectural Metal Consultancy & Fabrication with the job, helping the architects to create a work of art. “No matter where you stand looking at the artwork, it is definitely a beautiful sight to see,” says Michael. “Since we used our laser cutting techniques to manufacture every single one of those leaves, we knew that they would all be cut exactly the same resulting in uniform pieces. It is amazing how they actually flutter in the wind, it was quite impressive of the architect … it is certainly architectural brilliance.” Investing in new technology plays a big role in keeping up with the competition, and Michael believes that this is the reason he and his team can produce products of a high calibre.
“In order to produce products that our customers will be happy with requires machinery that is well serviced and current,” he says. “Trumpf technology has certainly provided us with a means to tackle intricate designs like the leaf project. Investing in new technology means we can continue to provide exceptional service to our customers and create unique pieces for them.” www.hygradelaser.com.au
www.headland.com.au AMT November 2015
One on one
Dr Michael Myers is the Executive Chairman of the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, which he founded in 1998 to encourage young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) via programs such as the F1 in Schools technology competition. He spoke to William Poole. AMT: Tell us about the REA Foundation and its aims. Michael Meyers: It’s fundamentally about getting kids engaged with STEM. When I started, my background led me to be more focused on attracting students to engineering, but this expanded significantly as I grew to understand that, in attracting students to professions that build a nation, the problem was much broader. At the time there wasn’t much around that gave students much reason to be interested in STEM subjects. The education system really isn’t designed to get kids interested in careers; I don’t think the system’s at all attuned to the skills industry needs or wants. Our political system has over a long period of time facilitated the development of a set of educational silos. There’s Maths and English and History and Science etc, and they all have their own departments and a mentality based around defending their own space at the expense of what industry and the country needs. We need skills developed in our children like collaboration, communication, presentation, problem-solving, teamwork … soft skills, they’re often termed. And none of these needs are directly addressed by the education system. Each silo is determined to stand alone, with few if any linking what they teach to the life skills we need our students to have. AMT: What activities is the Foundation engaged in to address this? MM: I’ll give you a bit of history. Back in 1998, my business (engineering consulting practice CONCENTRIC) was supplying high-end computer-aided engineering technology across the AsiaPacific region. Three of my four daughters were at high school, and I hadn’t done anything with the school. I went to the headmaster and said: “I feel guilty, I haven’t done anything around the school. Is there something I can do?” And he said: “The kids are building Mileage Marathon cars on Monday nights. You’re an engineer; you could probably help.” I turned up the first Monday night thinking ‘I’m going to blow these kids out of the water’, and they rolled out this carbon-fibre monocoque car that had the world record at 3,200 miles per gallon. And I fell off my perch. I turned to one of the kids and said “How did you do this?” And he looked at me and said “No-one said we couldn’t.” I thought ‘I’m sitting here with the best technology in the world. What could happen if we gave that technology to kids, and set them free?’ That’s how it started. We initially had a university competition to encourage engineering, which was fabulous, but we soon realised those kids were already committed to doing engineering, and we needed to get to kids earlier in the educational process. On my travels I’d seen the origins of F1 in Schools in the UK, so we brought that back to Australia. We added in the industry connections, the collaboration, the communication. Since then we’ve worked with the English to build up the whole F1 in Schools concept, and now it’s in 44 countries and around 17,000 schools. On top of that we’ve created additional programs with the same underlying principles to develop employability skills and teamwork, using methods commonly known as “action learning” – learning by doing, or project-based learning. It’s about throwing kids in at the deep end, so they’ve got to work their way out of a problem. In addition to F1, we’ve got 4x4 in Schools and Subs in Schools. Each
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of these are stepping stones, offering more and more complexity. While students can enter any of the programs we’ve found F1 in Schools brings the largest increase in employability skills. The students learn an awful lot from the process, and once they’ve done F1, the other projects are like water off a duck’s back. AMT: It sounds like fun. How do the kids respond? MM: Well let me step back a little in time. When we started, what we did was instinctive, what felt good, what I would have responded to. In the process of raising money, however, Governments kept asking “Where’s the research to back it up?” I think that’s an excuse not to give you money. There wasn’t any research that I knew of, so I went back to Uni and completed a Doctorate on the Motivational Drivers for Children’s Career Decision Choices. I wanted to know if there was there something theoretical behind what we were picking up anecdotally. And we got a whole truckload of stuff about how to motivate and engage kids - kids aged between five and 85 - and much of this is genetically wired and applies to how we motivate and engage employees. One thing we found was that giving boys Lego and leaving them alone in the corner, and giving the girls the dolls, is completely back to front. Boys should never be left alone – they constantly seek out human contact. So with the boys, what we’re doing has nothing to do with the cars; it has to do with who they’re going to meet and work with along the way. They’re continuously seeking out a need to work with people in teams. For boys, role models are absolutely critical. Girls on the other hand don’t seek out human contact, they don’t respond to role models. They respond to an understanding of the complexity of a situation, because they want to manage it. They seek out knowledge about their environment. What we haven’t done with girls is tell them how much work’s needed to manage STEM environments and the part they can play. If you inform girls how they can influence those environments they’re easily attracted to STEM careers. So to answer your question, we’re providing an environment that satisfies the genetic requirements of boys and girls, and they love it, they absolutely have a ball. We try and attune what we do with what we know from research to be the basic things they respond to. The result is they put a huge amount of work into what they do, because “no-one said they couldn’t”, or shouldn’t. They do it because they want to. AMT: Tell us about your professional background. MM: When I was a kid, my father had an engineering business, so from ten years old I grew up sweeping floors, welding, getting my hands dirty, and unfortunately learning to swear too early in life. I grew up understanding the creativity of what you can do with your hands, what you can make with them. So it was natural for me to go into engineering. In 1983 I went out on my own. CONCENTRIC was solving complex engineering problems all around the world. At the small end we worked with the craniofacial unit at Adelaide Hospital reconstructing children’s faces that had deformities. We would take CAT scans of the children’s skulls, then rapid-prototype 3D models that the doctors could perform the
operation on before the kids ever went into theatre. We led the world with that, but we struggled to get Government behind what we were doing. On the bigger side, we undertook a great deal of design work inside the Holden Monaro, with Toyota on the Camry, and with Mitsubishi. And I had engineers working on the Boeing 777, 787 and Airbus A380 projects. We did that right across Asia, in collaboration with companies from France, Japan, India, Germany and the US. So my background could be described as high-end engineering of trains, planes and automobiles. AMT: What might an ordinary working day entail for you? MM: Probably about 90% is spent breaking arms of politicians and industry for funding. I spend a lot of time making presentations, explaining what we’re achieving. Right now I have four people who do most of the legwork in terms of day-to-day operations, so most of my time is marketing, getting the message out, and nagging Governments till they give in. What we have done over the past 17 years is play a key role in driving the need of STEM education as a driver of the nation’s future. We’ve been plastering the STEM message out there so long the broader population are finally starting to understand its importance. Now my focus has moved toward selling the capability of our kids. People need to know how good our kids can be given the right opportunities.
AMT: We often hear of skills shortages as a problem facing Australian manufacturing. How can they be remedied? MM: I’ll give you a fundamental first. I was talking to a futurist in the US, and he was saying he’d done two PhDs in mathematics because he’d thought of it as “getting closer to God” – his words. But he found it was boring. He said the people who are closer to God are the engineers and architects, who can take an idea and turn it into reality. We’ve completely lost, at a political level, the importance of this ability to take an idea and create it. For some reason we’ve never been able to sell ourselves, as engineers or as manufacturers, the importance of that. We’re silly enough to be conned by things that happen in other places in the world instead of taking the lead. It’s all about taking the lead. There’s no reason why we can’t manufacture anything in this country. I worked a lot with Toyota and losing Toyota was just suicidal – they’re an amazing company to work with, and they do so much for everybody around them. We’ve got to get back to making and doing things, and we can only do that if we change the minds of the country’s leaders, or get leaders that will do it. We need more engineers in politics, for a start. AMT: What would you like to see Government doing? MM: The problem with the Government is this: the REA Foundation has been doing this for 17 years and we’ve had amazing success, but you go to Government and their attitude is “What are other people doing?” They’re always looking overseas for solutions instead of looking here. We have other countries ringing us up saying “Can you come and help us to do what you’re doing because you’re doing such an amazing job?” And yet we can’t get politicians to see that. It’s this total disbelief that Australians know anything. In the last few years we saw so many good companies go to the wall; they had huge amounts of IP, but they couldn’t get Government to support them, or the Government always says “Oh we’ll get it overseas.” The submarines are a perfect example. The political agenda has got in the way of an opportunity to create a whole set of industries around the skills needed in this exercise, in the design process. Developing skills – that’s what we need. AMT: How do you see the industry evolving in the coming years? MM: My belief is it will probably only evolve based on individual people with the passion to drive what they’re doing, because the chance of getting government support is not there. It will be driven by individuals who are passionate and believe in what they can achieve. There’s a lot of talk by Governments about promoting new industries, but it’s absolute lip service, which is about all Governments are usually good at. With a focus on demand-side economics, there’s no way Governments will get behind industry because their scared of picking winners. Could you imagine a bunch of bureaucrats at a horse race? The bookies would have a field day. In our case the bookies are every other nation in the world, as our politicians continue knobbling Australian industry with their economic rationalism and approaches to (NOT) supporting innovation. It’s going to be driven by individuals and not Government. Those individuals will need to get out there, travel overseas, see how poorly everyone else does it, and then come back and do it better. We have the brains, we have the cultural attitude to have a go, we’re instinctively innovative – we’re like that kid who said “No-one said we couldn’t.” www.rea.org.au
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Reducing cycle time with conformal cooling New techniques in additive manufacturing are delivering major benefits in injection moulding processes by enabling significantly more effective cooling performance. By Professor Milan Brandt, Dr Maciej Mazur, and Associate Professor Martin Leary of the RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing, and Dr Paul Brincat, Dr Chris Friedl and Robert Larson of Autodesk Australia. The effectiveness of an injection moulding cooling system is directly linked to productivity and part quality. Cooling efficiency is particularly dependent on cooling channel proximity to the mould cavity, as variation in the proximity can result in uneven heat dissipation, leading to: increased cycle time; part warping and sink marks; internal part stresses; and reduced tool life due to thermal stress. The design of conventional cooling channels in injection moulds is constrained by traditional manufacturing constraints such as the linear nature of the drilling process, limiting the ability to conform the channel to the contour of the mould cavity (for example Figure 1 (i)). Hot spots are traditionally addressed by the inclusion of targeted bubblers or baffles that channel coolant to a specific location; however, these are not always feasible due to interference with other mould components. In particularly challenging cases, mould halves have to be sectioned, and cooling channel profiles machined into each mating section before assembly into the final mould. This not only significantly increases tooling costs, but often shortens the life of the mould, resulting in productivity and part quality losses. However, emerging additive manufacturing techniques such as selective laser melting (SLM) can enable the construction of injection moulding tools with significantly improved cooling system performance, by allowing new design freedom in comparison with traditional manufacturing methods. SLM is a process for building solid metal parts additively using a laser beam which selectively melts and fuses accumulating layers of powder. A range of metals can be processed (such as high strength and stainless steels as well
as aluminium alloys) to form fully functional parts with highly customised and complex geometry in short lead times. The design freedom enabled by SLM can allow for the manufacture of injection moulds with integral cooling channels, which conform to the mould cavity shape and improve heat dissipation, addressing the limitations of traditionally drilled cooling channels (Figure 1 (ii)). Additionally, the geometric flexibility of SLM can enable the manufacture of cooling channel cross sections with varying profiles and surface finish as well as the design of separate heating and cooling channels, for further performance and productivity gains.
Demonstrable benefits The performance benefits of conformal cooling have been recently demonstrated by researchers at the RMIT University Advanced Manufacturing Precinct and Autodesk Australia, through the design, manufacture and testing of a conformally cooled injection moulding tool. The objective was to: • Investigate the SLM manufacturability of injection mould tooling from highstrength H13/DIN 1.2344 tool steel. • Experimentally compare performance of conformally and conventionally cooled tooling. • Quantify the predictive performance of Autodesk Moldflow Insight injection moulding simulation software. The test mould developed for investigating conformal cooling improvement is designed around a rectangular box moulding (Figure 2 (i) upper), the geometry of which exhibits dimensional sensitivity to cooling nonuniformity; inward deflection of side walls is expected when cooling uniformity is poor. The i
associated mould assembly accommodates: exchangeable core inserts; a traditionally machined and conventionally cooled insert with four cooling baffles (Figure 2 (i)); and SLM-manufactured inserts with integrated conformal cooling channels (Figure 2 (ii)). Both inserts were integrated with channels for thermocouple inserts to record temperature. The manufactured mould tool is shown in an open configuration in Figure 2 (iv). Following careful experimentation, material testing and analysis to identify optimal laser processing parameters, the conformal mould insert was manufactured at RMIT facilities on an SLM Solutions 250 HL selectively laser melting machine out of H13 tool steel powder. The manufactured insert was stress relieved after SLM manufacture and subsequently machined to achieve the required surface finish (Figure 2 (iii-iv)). The manufactured mould inserts were experimentally tested at Autodesk Australia’s laboratory to compare cycle time, temperature uniformity and part quality. The results of the experiments were compared with simulation predictions generated using the Autodesk Moldflow Insight 2016 simulation software. A Nylon6 (BASF Ultramid B3WG6 BK00564) polymer was used to mould the part. Thermocouples channels positioned on the mould cores and cavities were used to record temperatures thought-out the cycle. Figure 3 (iii) shows example thermocouple channels within the conformal insert; the temperature was recorded at the upmost tip of each channel. A typical example of the experimental in-cycle temperatures recorded for the traditionally cooled (baffle) and SLM manufactured conformal inserts is shown in ii
Figure 1 – (i) Poor heat distribution in injection moulding tooling with conventional drilled cooling channels. (ii) Good heat distribution with conformal cooling channels.
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Figure 2 – (i) Box moulding (upper) and mould core (lower) with conventional baffle cooling channels. (ii) Box moulding and mould core with conformal cooling channels. (iii) SLM manufactured H13 tool steel conformal channel mould core insert, including sectioned corner piece and partially machined complete part with graphical channel overlay. (iv) A manufactured mould tool. i
Figure 3 – (i) Thermocouple temperatures recorded for conventionally cooled (baffle) and conformal mould inserts. (ii) Comparison of the experimentally measured and predicted temperatures by Autodesk Moldflow Insight. (iii) Thermocouple locations: 1-4 blue; 5-10 green; 11-16 red.
Figure 3 (i). Generally, the conformally cooled insert was as much as around 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the baffle-cooled insert depending on location. Furthermore, the temperature uniformity on the conformal insert was noticeably superior to the conventional mould. The lower temperature and improved uniformity resulted in a cycle time reduction of approximately 20% for the SLM manufactured conformal cooling insert. To test the conformal cooling system temperature prediction capability of Autodesk Moldflow Insight 2016 simulation software, experimental data obtained for mould moving
and fixed inlet temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius were compared to simulation estimates. A 3D Cool FEM analysis was applied to simulate transient temperatures within the conformally cooled insert throughout the injection, packing and cooling phases. A comparison of the experimentally measured and predicted temperatures by Autodesk Moldflow Insight 2016 is shown in Figure 3 (ii). Generally there is a good agreement in the temperature peaks, where the simulation prediction follows the general pattern based upon the sensor’s location. As such conformal cooling designs can be
simulated quite accurately with the Moldflow Insight Cool (FEM) solver to predict the mould temperatures throughout the cycle. The result highlighted in this project demonstrates the cooling advantages associated with additive manufacture of conformal cooling mould tools with SLM. The extensive research, design and manufacturing capabilities of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct can assist the local injection moulding industry to pursue productivity and quality gains. www.rmit.edu.au www.autodesk.com.au
RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct The RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct is a world-class $20m+ research and teaching facility focused on additive manufacturing, which aims to assist local companies and other institutions such as research facilities and hospitals, to transition to new manufacturing technologies. The facility is unique in Australia in covering research, design and manufacturing capability in a broad
range of metal and polymer-based additive technologies as well as high-end traditional machining and mechanical testing. As the core of the RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing (RCAM), the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct is engaged in a broad range of applied research projects involving industries including tooling, biomedical, aerospace and automotive applications. Work at the Advanced Manufacturing
Precinct is focused on exploiting the advantages of additive manufacturing in enabling the manufacture of products which can be mass customised, with high complexity and rapid turnaround time. Particularly exciting projects have recently been conducted in injection mould tooling design, design and manufacture of titanium biomedical implants and repair of aerospace components.
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Multifab 3D-prints in 10 materials at once Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a multi-material 3D printer that can print in an unprecedented 10 different materials using machine vision to self-correct and embed components, saving users money, time and energy. 3D printing is great, assuming that all you need to do is print one material for one purpose, and that you’re okay with it taking a few tries. However, the technology is still far from where it could be in reliably producing a variety of useful objects, with no assembly required, at a viable cost.
Tom Buehler, MIT CSAIL.
In recent years companies have been working to tackle some of these challenges with multi-material 3D printers that can fabricate many different functional items. Such printers, however, have traditionally been limited to three materials at a time, cost as much as $250,000 each, and still require a fair amount of human intervention. However, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) say that they’ve found a way to make a better, cheaper, more userfriendly printer. In a paper accepted at the SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in September, a CSAIL team presented a 3D printer that can print ten different materials at once by using 3D-scanning techniques that save the user time, energy and money. Delivering resolution at the level of 40 microns, or less than half the width of a human hair, the MultiFab system is the first 3D printer to use 3D-scanning techniques from machine-vision, which offers two key advantages over traditional 3D printing. First, MultiFab can self-calibrate and selfcorrect, freeing users from having to do the fine-tuning themselves. For each layer of the design, the system’s feedback loop 3D-scans and detects errors and then generates so-called “correction masks.” This approach allows the use of inexpensive hardware while ensuring print accuracy. Secondly, MultiFab gives users the ability to embed complex components like circuits and sensors directly onto the body of an object, meaning that it can produce a finished product, moving parts and all, in one fell swoop. “The platform opens up new possibilities for manufacturing, giving researchers and hobbyists alike the power to create objects that have previously been difficult or even impossible to print,” says Javier Ramos, a research engineer at CSAIL who co-authored the paper with members of Professor Wojciech Matusik’s Computational Fabrication Group. The team has used MultiFab to print everything from smartphone cases to LED lenses. They envision an array of applications in consumer electronics, microsensing, medical imaging and telecommunications,
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among other things. They plan to also experiment with embedding motors and actuators that would make it possible to 3D-print more advanced electronics, including potentially even robots. MultiFab system was developed by CSAIL researchers from low-cost off-the-shelf components that cost a total of $7,000. Besides Ramos and Matusik, the team includes lead author and former CSAIL postdoc Pitchaya Sitthi-Amorn, former graduate students Joyce Kwan and Justin Lan, research scientist Wenshou Wang, and graduate student Yu Wang of Tsinghua University.
Why multi-material printing is hard There are many technical challenges to creating a printer like MultiFab. Different materials have to be printed in specific ways with regard to factors like pressure and temperature, and so printing something complex usually involves printing all of the individual pieces separately, and then having a person assemble them by hand. But with MultiFab, you simply put the components into the platform, which automatically scans their 3D geometries and uses that information to print other objects around them. For example, you can put an iPhone right into the printer, and program the system to print a perfectly-sized case that is directly affixed onto the phone. Other multi-material printers work via “extrusion” technologies, using syringes in much the same way that you would put frosting onto a cake. Such techniques, while sufficient for certain uses, often lead to lowresolution items that don’t look realistic. MultiFab, meanwhile, mixes microscopic droplets of photopolymers together that are
then sent through inkjet printheads similar to the ones you see in office printers. The computationally-intensive process, which involves crunching dozens of gigabytes of visual data at a time, can be much more easily scaled to larger objects and multiple materials.
What’s next? Ramos says that he could imagine printers like MultiFab being used by researchers, manufacturers and consumers. Companies could edit and finalise designs faster, allowing them to bring products to market sooner. Big-box stores that have already installed single-material 3D printers could graduate to multi-material ones, for use by casual hobbyists and small-business owners alike. “Picture someone who sells electric wineopeners, but doesn’t have $7,000 to buy a printer like this,” says Ramos. “In the future they could walk into a FedEx with a design and print out batches of their finished product at a reasonable price. For me, a practical use like that would be the ultimate dream.” www.csail.mit.edu
NASA successfully tests 3D-printed rocket fuel pump One of the most complex 3D-printed rocket engine parts ever made, a turbopump, got its “heartbeat” racing at more than 90,000rpm during a successful series of tests with liquid hydrogen propellant at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama in August. The tests, along with manufacturing and testing of injectors and other rocket engine parts, are paving the way for advancements in 3D-printing of complex rocket engines and more efficient production of future spacecraft. Additive manufacturing is a key technology for enhancing space vehicle designs and enabling affordable missions to Mars. The turbopump is a critical rocket engine component with a turbine that spins and generates more than 2,000hp – twice the horsepower of a NASCAR racing car engine. Over the course of 15 tests, the turbopump reached full power, delivering 1,200 gallons (4,500 litres) of cryogenic liquid hydrogen per minute – enough to power an upper-stage rocket engine capable of generating 35,000 pounds (16,000kg) of thrust. “Designing, building, and testing a 3D-printed rocket part as complex as the fuel pump was crucial to Marshall’s upcoming tests of an additively manufactured demonstrator engine made almost entirely with 3D-printed parts,” said Mary Beth Koelbl, Deputy Manager of Marshall’s Propulsion Systems department. “By testing this fuel pump and other rocket parts made with additive manufacturing, NASA aims to drive down the risks and costs associated with using an entirely new process to build rocket engines.” The 3D-printed turbopump has 45% fewer parts than similar pumps made with traditional welding and assembly techniques. Marshall engineers designed the fuel pump and its components and leveraged the expertise of four suppliers to build the parts using 3D-printing processes. To make each part, a design is entered into a 3D-printer’s computer. The printer then builds each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser – a process known as selective laser melting.
Engineers prepare a 3D-printed turbopump for a test at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Using a completely new manufacturing technique allowed NASA to design components for an additively manufactured demonstration engine in a whole new way.” In addition to sharing test data with industry, the innovative engine designs can be provided to approved companies developing future spaceflight engines. The engine thrust class and propellants were designed within the performance parameters applicable to an advanced configuration of NASA’s Space Launch System, referred to as Block II. It will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever built and provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 tons to enable missions even farther into our Solar System to places like Mars. www.nasa.gov/sls
“NASA is making big advances in the additive manufacturing arena with this work,” said Marty Calvert, Marshall’s design lead for the turbopump. “Several companies have indicated that the parts for this fuel pump were the most complex they have ever made with 3D-printing.” During the tests, the 3D-printed turbopump was exposed to extreme environments experienced inside a rocket engine where fuel is burned at greater than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,315 degrees Celsius) to produce thrust. The turbopump delivers the fuel in the form of liquid hydrogen cooled below 400 degrees Fahrenheit (-240 degrees Celsius). Testing helps ensure 3D-printed parts operate successfully under these harsh conditions. NASA has made the test data available to approved companies working to drive down the cost of using this new manufacturing process to build parts that meet aerospace standards. All data on materials characterisation and performance are compiled in NASA’s Materials and Processes Technical Information System (MAPTIS), which is available to approved users. “Our team designed and tested the fuel pump and other parts, such as injectors and valves, for the additive manufactured demonstrator engine in just two years,” said Nick Case, a propulsion engineer and systems lead for the turbopump work. “If we used traditional manufacturing processes, it would have taken us double that time.
This rocket engine fuel pump has hundreds of parts including a turbine that spins at over 90,000rpm. It was made with additive manufacturing and had 45% fewer parts than pumps made with traditional manufacturing.
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Reverse engineering: the first step to 3D printing Product development company 3D Hub made innovative use of reverse engineering and 3D printing to adapt a US-manufactured truck to suit right-hand drivers. The HandySCAN 3D handheld scanner.
Based in New Zealand, 3D Hub specialises in mechanical products, helping companies turn product ideas into assets and reducing manufacturing costs with computer-aided engineering (CAE). 3D Hub now uses 3D scanning as part of its service catalogue, which features product and industrial design, mechanical design, reverse engineering, structural optimisation, prototyping, CAD modelling, finite element analysis (FEA), and much more. Among its many projects, 3D Hub has played a central role in adapting US-manufactured, left-handdrive vehicles for right-hand drivers in Australia and New Zealand. 3D Hub was called upon to convert a left-hand heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit into a right-hand unit to fit the modified interiors of Chevrolet and GMC trucks. The project was carried out both at the customer’s premises and 3D Hub’s offices. The entire project took approximately three months to complete over the course of several visits. The main challenge was the reverse engineering aspect to the project: the team wanted to develop a right-hand HVAC unit by acquiring the 3D measurements of the current left-hand components and integrating them within a CAD environment so that the designs could be converted and then manufactured via the company’s 3D printing processes. “All the complex functionalities had to fit into a right-hand space that was smaller than the original left-hand HVAC unit,” explained Craig Russell, Director and mechanical engineer at 3D Hub. “Moreover, the reusable components, such as fans, sensors, servo motors, airflow flaps, and so on had to be integrated in the CAD design.”
Converting the HVAC The HVAC unit was one of a number of components (dashboard, steering column, electrical) that were to be converted for the opposite layout. This was not going to be a simple mirror image. The first step was to disassemble the truck... The original dashboard was cut into critical sections (glove box, centre console, etc.) and moved to their new positions on the righthand-side of the vehicle. The dashboard components were mounted onto the dashboard support bar and then removed as one from the vehicle. The dashboard pieces were then joined, hand-shaped and
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formed to create the final dashboard. From this final shape, a plug was made to create future fiberglass dashboards. Meanwhile, the steering wheel and column were removed and repositioned to fit in the opposite side of the engine bay. With the dash removed, the original HVAC unit could be removed and the firewall easily accessed for 3D scanning. First, positioning targets (datum targets) were applied onto the firewall surface. It is important to note that, for this project, the positioning targets would not be removed before the end of the project: they would prove to be useful for precise positioning and alignment later in the development process.
Reverse engineering and 3D Printing With the HVAC removed, it could be reverse engineered. 3D Hub began 3D scanning the unit, and the resultant scan data was used to lay out the new HVAC with its major components. The recirculation unit was positioned in the vehicle to verify fit and final placement. Once it was in the final position, it was scanned relative to the original positioning targets on the firewall. This data was brought into the CAD environment in exactly the same place; no alignment was necessary thanks to the retained positioning targets throughout the project, which significantly reduced processing time. Once the reformed dashboard was completed and positioned in the vehicle, 3D scanning enabled operators to inspect the underside of the dashboard with the electronics and ducting in place. The scanned data was aligned to the original target location on the firewall. The HVAC unit could then be checked that it cleared critical components like the dash bar, the glove box and so on. The converted HVAC unit was now ready to be 3D printed in SLS nylon. The prototype was mounted and tested in the vehicle. Due to the accurate scanning data, only minor adjustments needed to be made before a final product could be manufactured and could perform to the same high standards as the OEM unit. Although this reverse engineering project could have been carried out using other 3D scanning technologies, it would have certainly required a longer preparation time. The use of a HandySCAN 3D, as opposed
The real HVAC unit and its 3D printed replacement pictured right.
The original HVAC unit installed in the truck, and the 3D printed version in place pictured right.
to other 3D scanning technologies or mounted scanning systems, was the best option. The HandySCAN 3D’s flexibility, its autopositioning and the fast and accurate localisation of the part ensured by the positioning targets were key in selecting the equipment to carry out this project. “The ability to scan anywhere, move the parts during the scanning process, and split the job up over periods of time was what made us choose the HandySCAN 3D,” explained Russell. “Scanning is now
an integrated part of our design development process. This particular reverse engineering project and the outcome for the customer led to a referral to another company who does similar work in Australia.” 3D Hub’s initial work with the HandySCAN 3D clearly demonstrates how the scanner can be easily and effectively used for all types of reverse engineering projects, including those that involve subsequent 3D printing of the components to accelerate the overall manufacturing process. www.3dhub.co.nz www.creaform3d.com
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Breaking more than the sound barrier Renishaw has collaborated with the Bloodhound Project to produce a prototype for a critical component of its supersonic car. The Bloodhound Project’s aim is not only to break the sound barrier but also to be the first land vehicle to exceed 1,000 miles per hour (1,609km/hr). At this speed it will be travelling the length of 4.5 football pitches every second. The majority of the cockpit and nose is made from carbon fibre reinforced epoxy. During the record attempt the car will experience more than 20,000kg of skin drag. However as the nose tip is on the ‘leading edge’ it will experience a greater proportion of this load, at up to 12,000kg per square metre. Although the outer surfaces of the polyhedron appear flat, there are in fact subtle curves that contribute to the aerodynamics. Renishaw calibrates the laser that it uses to make the part to an accuracy of ±50 microns over the 250mm bed so it is able to reproduce accurately the geometry in the CAD model.
Bloodhound aerodynamic pressure map showing concentration at the nose tip.
Titanium alloy (Ti6Al-4V) hollow nose tip showing internal structure.
The hollow pocket depth is 130mm, and it tapers. If the nose tip is to be machined, as a deeper cut is made, a thicker cutter is required to maintain stiffness and this dictates the shape that can be made. With additive manufacturing, though some design rules apply, there is much more scope to manufacture novel shapes with ease. “We believe that the key benefit of using an additive manufacturing process to produce the nose tip is the ability to create a hollow tip to minimise weight,” says Dan Johns, Materials, Process & Technologies Engineer at the Bloodhound Project. “To machine this component conventionally would be extremely challenging, result in design compromises, and waste as much as 95% of the expensive raw material.”
Titanium alloy, minimal waste Titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V, is easily processed using additive manufacturing, and complexity can be built in at no additional cost. Exotic materials take the same time to process as more standard materials, and, as only the material required is consumed, it may be more cost effective than expected. The honeycomb internal structure is more complex than a uniform wall and uses less material, so is cheaper to manufacture. The hexagonal honeycomb is an intrinsically strong design; to manufacture this on internal surfaces would be very difficult in any other way. Currently, physical manufacturing capabilities outstrip digital design capabilities. Software is rapidly improving to capitalise on this new design potential – expect to see more designs inspired by nature, as well as iterative methods such as topological optimisation. Renishaw engineers and Bloodhound designers collaborated to model weight-reducing features in the nose tip: the resultant prototypes were printed shortly afterwards. The beauty of this supply chain is that there are no external delays: traditionally there would be holdups waiting for the correct material to be supplied (often with a minimum order quantity), tooling, design review and sign-off (if a significant amount of money is to be spent on the tooling, the design needs to be agreed and ‘frozen’).
Additive manufacturing reduces the development and prototyping cycle from months to days, freeing engineers and allowing prototypes to be made without part-specific investment. The prototype can be tested and refined to establish further improvements.
Production-ready Although great for prototypes, Renishaw is keen to emphasise that this technology can also provide a production-ready solution and currently uses it in-house to manufacture dental implant bridges and custom dental abutments, as well as mould tool inserts. The parts are ‘fully dense’ – that is to say better than castings, greater than 99.5%, and suitable for many applications. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) is a well-established post processing technology that can be employed to ensure density and further improve material properties. This can be used if parts are likely to be pushed to their design limit. Renishaw has a dedicated team concentrating on materials science and development to generate materials performance data and ensure that all its materials meet or exceed current industry standards for traditional methods. Renishaw also provides a design review service to anyone considering its laser melting systems as a production solution. Components or assemblies will be reviewed by Renishaw’s applications engineers who can make recommendations on DfM (Design for Manufacture), digitally process the model, and grow a sample component in one of its on-site AM250 machines. A pre-build report, inspection report, and component price estimate can also be provided on request. www.bloodhoundssc.com www.renishaw.com
Renishaw’s laser melting system.
The Bloodhound supersonic car. Image courtesy of Siemens NX.
AMT November 2015
VCE – Retooling the engine Volvo Construction Equipment (VCE) reduced prototyping time by 18 weeks and achieved 92% cost savings by adopting 3D printing. VCE is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction equipment. The company’s broad product line includes haulers, loaders, excavators, compact equipment and road equipment. Volvo engineers in the US recently designed a new water pump housing for the company’s A25G and A30G articulated haulers. Engineers used simulation to optimise the design of internal flow passages in the housing, but needed to build a prototype to perform functional testing to validate the new design. Until recently, the company would have invested in tooling. The tooling cost for this project would have been approximately $9,090, with the part cost around $909. The lead time for producing the prototype would have been 20 weeks minimum. VCE management tasked the engineering team with cutting development costs and reducing the lead time on large engine projects from 36 to 24 months. Engineers felt that 3D printing would be a good benchmark to determine if printed parts could withstand functional testing. Water pump housing prototypes must be able to survive the heat and high pressure of the engine compartment. As a step toward achieving this goal, the company utilised a Stratasys Objet Eden260VS 3D Printer from its site in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. VCE engineers 3D printed the housing in a transparent material called FullCure 720. They mounted nine threaded inserts into the part and sealed the housing with epoxy resin and hardener to prevent any leakage. They fastened the jacket to a water pump and then mounted the pump to an A30G. Engineers took water flow and pressure measurements from both the existing water pump and the water pump with the new housing. The newly designed housing passed the tests. Since 3D printing the prototype cost $770 and took only two weeks, including both design and development, VCE completed its testing much sooner than traditional methods would have allowed. VCE is now ramping up production of the new part.
Future gains This project demonstrated the feasibility of integrating 3D printing into VCE’s engine development process. Each new generation of engines typically requires between 15 and 20 new cast metal parts and 12 to 15 profile moulded hoses for each engine. 3D printed prototypes can be produced in about one tenth of the time required to produce prototypes using traditional manufacturing methods, which adds up to hefty savings in terms of time.
“3D printing will make it possible to build mock-up engine components so the platform and manufacturing teams can provide feedback at a much earlier stage in the development process,” said Jeff Hartman, Product Designer for VCE. “This should reduce the risk of errors and the need for changes at all stages of the development process.” 3D printing also provides substantial cost savings. Tooling for metal prototypes cost between $4,500 and $18,000, but 3D-printed prototype parts cost only $600 to $1,000. While moulded hose tooling for prototypes cost around $600 and its prototypes run between $60 and $90, metal prototypes and moulded hose prototypes can be replaced by 3D printed prototypes that cost between $100 and $800. Multiple prototype iterations multiply the cost savings.
VCE 3D-printed this water pump housing in transparent material for quick functional testing.
“VCE is also looking at using 3D printing to produce jigs and fixtures to increase the efficiency of the manufacturing process and digitally manufactured parts to address low-volume part production,” Hartman concluded. Direct 3D Printing services is available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D’s Service Bureau. The Service Bureau provides 3D printing and custom manufacturing services through the largest additive manufacturing centre in the Southern Hemisphere – Objective3D’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre. Powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 METHOD
The housing installed on a water pump.
commercial-grade machines, the Centre provides a wide range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions. www.direct3dprinting.com.au
Tooling & Part
18 Weeks (90%)
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Extrude Hone EVO – Electrochemical machining without stray attack Manufacturers and quality professionals requiring high-precision components such as automotive fuel systems and powertrains are under constant pressure to deliver the utmost quality efficiently. To meet this demand, Kennametal Precision Surface Solutions has released Extrude Hone EVO, the next generation of electrochemical machining (ECM) solutions featuring proprietary generator technology capable of delivering from 3kW to 100kW of power depending on machine configuration. “Additionally, EVO delivers another exclusive added value: electrochemical machining without stray machining attack,” says Bruno Boutantin, Kennametal Precision Surface Solutions Global Marketing Manager. “Customers will enjoy the highest surface finish quality for improved component performance.” ECM is used in contouring, radiusing, polishing, deburring, and flow tuning applications. Essentially, ECM is a subtractive method that works on the principle of anodic metal dissolution. Each part to be machined requires a cathode for selective material removal on the workpiece. The cutting speed is equal to the DC current applied to the part. The lack of contact between the tool and the workpiece is important. An electrolyte solution (NaCl or NaNO3 in water or glycol base) handles charge transfer in the working gap. The resulting electron current releases metal ions from the workpiece. The amount of material removed is defined by Faraday’s Law (equivalent to current multiplied by cycle time). By using the electrolyte, the removed material is flushed out of the gap as a hydroxide. This must be captured by an adequate filter system to maintain constant electrolyte conditions. There will be a constant gap, resulting in proper tooling and cathode life. The shape of the tool cathode determines the shape of the material removal. ECM’s main benefits of this process are:
The Extrude Hone EVO is available in various standard layouts: single or dual cell, or even in multi-cell configurations thanks to the system’s modular design and construction. It is easy to configure and easy to integrate into modern production lines. For customers looking for specific machining operations, the machine integrates an interface for Dynamic ECM.
• • • •
Reliability being at the heart of the production control requirements, EVO provides for online monitoring and control of all relevant parameters. The online feature is also beneficial in delivering remote process demonstrations. www.kennametal.com
Targeted material removal in precise locations. No mechanical or thermal stress. Process stability. High productivity.
Pedal to the metal: producing aerospace parts five times faster The CSIRO has developed a new machining technology that will dramatically improve production rates on components for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project. In a mission to bolster the nation’s air force fleet, the Australian Government has committed to bringing home 72 stealthy, next-gen Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II JSF aircraft. It’s Australia’s largest military acquisition ever, and will be part of a more than 3,000-strong global fleet of JSFs – and every one of these strike fighters will have Australian-made components inside.
slow, and tools tend to break prematurely, increasing costs.
Increasing production rates in order to deliver these aerospace parts is critical. That’s why the Government’s New Air Combat Capability program tasked CSIRO with developing a technology to drive greater efficiency for the local manufacturers who make and supply them.
With metal aerospace components estimated to be worth approximately $50bn worldwide (and growing), this technology could see Australian manufacturers further tap into the global market for military and commercial aircraft. Moreover, TAM’s applications go beyond the machining of titanium, and could benefit other nickel- and iron-based super alloys, which are similarly difficult to machine.
The result? An innovative new metal machining (cutting) technology that is five times faster and which dramatically reduces machining costs by as much as 80%. Crucial titanium alloy parts make up about 15% of an aircraft, and are ideal for their light-weight, yet super strong qualities. However, from a machining point of view, titanium alloys are notoriously difficult and complicated to work with. The conventional methods out there are
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The new technology, called thermally assisted machining (TAM), works by pointing a laser beam onto the workpiece ahead of the cutting tool, heating up the metal so that it becomes more pliable. This speeds up the process while preventing any damage and wear to the machining tools.
CSIRO is now partnering with local manufacturer H&H Tools to develop a prototype for a gantry-type milling machine to demonstrate how the technology works. It is expected that this will be ready in 2016. www.csiro.au
Material Removal 15/6/12 12:39 PM Page 1
Haas hits the spot at Blumeprot Spanish prototyping shop Blumeprot’s investment in a Haas UMC-750 five-axis universal machining centre has cut set-up times dramatically, producing complex parts to tight tolerances from materials ranging from aluminium alloys to titanium and surgical-grade stainless steels. It’s not easy starting a machining business. Often, success depends on bringing something new to the market. For their USP, the founders of Barcelona-based Blumeprot decided in 2011 to create a subcontract machine shop specialising in higher-value parts, particularly prototypes and small series pre-production batches. The idea was inspired by the rise of 3D-printed parts. While these are currently popular with engineering companies, designers are often frustrated at receiving parts not made from design-intent materials. Blumeprot sought to address this with CNC machining. However, to keep up with the speed of 3D printing, the company relies on its Haas machine tools, the most recent addition to which was the UMC-750. “We already had one small, five-axis model from another machine tool manufacturer, so we were aware of the potential savings in set-up time, but we needed another with larger capacity,” explains Blumeprot Director Josep Marsol. “We were attracted to Haas because of the impressive quality-price ratio. We also discovered that not only is the Haas UMC-750 the perfect size for our requirements, but it also is quicker and more precise than many other machines on the market, and produces better quality surfaces. Some clients want aesthetics, others want accuracy; many want both.” Around half of Blumeprot’s output is destined for customers in the medical device sector. A further 20% is for the automotive industry, as well as motorcycle producers. Other sectors served include motorsport, aerospace, and science, to name but a few. “Each application requires a different approach to manufacturing, and our mission is to advise clients with the solution that best fits their needs,” says Marsol. “We are always happy to help analyse the functionality of prototypes. We also collaborate with clients to study a redesign in order to achieve lower costs and maximise the benefits in subsequent volume production.” Parts machined on the Haas UMC-750 have included a batch of wheel hub components for a French rally car team. Made from magnesium, they require the production of numerous features, including scallops, ribs, bosses, irregularly shaped pockets and inclined surfaces, some to tolerances of 0.02mm. Marsol says that Blumeprot’s aim is always to deliver high-quality parts quickly, at the right price. To help with this, there’s a seat of Missler TopSolid at every machine in the workshop, so each machinist has full responsibility. Shop-floor staff are more than just operators. “We are like a training school,” Marsol laughs. “All our machinists are trained to a very high standard. We need them to be switched on, so we can meet our tight deadlines, especially since installing the UMC750, which has already helped us attract more work.” www.blumeprot.com
M.T.I. Qualos Pty. Ltd. are proud to provide the next generation of CNC Co-Ordinate Measuring Machines, the
With increased measuring speed and higher accuracy/resolution the Crysta-Apex S brings a new dimension to the Quality Control process.
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AMT November 2015
Machining intelligently, the green way The growing tendency for enlightened engineering companies to list their environmental accreditations alongside their management and quality standards illustrates manufacturers’ desire to reduce their impact on the environment and to minimise the use of the Earth’s natural resources. One such company is Iscar. Rather than being an expensive policy to pursue, Iscar finds that the use of greener strategies such as recycling and the pursuit of reduced energy consumption, increases profitability. In addition, the kudos gained by adopting more sustainable methods raises potential customers’ perceptions and often leads to improved levels of business. To help support the global manufacturing industry’s search for greener means of production, suppliers such as machine tool companies and tooling manufacturers have introduced a wide range of impressive innovations. Led by Germany’s mechanical engineering association, schemes such as the Blue Competence Machine Tools initiative focus on sustainability. Under the Blue Competence initiative, machine tool companies agree to meet pre-determined ecological, economic and social values and principles, while implementing sustainable production solutions in their production plants, products and business services, with the aim of achieving greener manufacturing. Increasingly, Iscar and other major machine tool manufacturers are introducing advanced energy-saving features to their ranges, such as reduced machine warm-up times, drive modules with lower power ratings, electric motors that are optimised to the machines’ specific requirements, and standby features such as spindle deactivation. In addition to being ecologically beneficial, these advantages considerably reduce users’ costs while ensuring continued high levels of productivity and quality. As one of the world’s leading cutting tool manufacturers, Iscar has been certified as being in full compliance with Quality, Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety Management and the new Saving Energy Standards – AS9100 Rev C, ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 50001. Ecologically sound production methods are in use throughout Iscar’s high-tech manufacturing plant and a policy of continuous improvements is practiced within this area. Through the work of the company’s prolific R&D department, Iscar has launched a wide range of advanced cutting tools that help users to dramatically reduce machine tools’ energy needs and by speeding up metal cutting processes. Many of Iscar’s cutting tools are multi-functional, enabling users to minimise their tooling inventories. In addition, the premium quality of Iscar’s product reduces scrap levels and negates the need for any rework.
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Iscar’s HeliMill reduces machining forces by use of helical cutting edges.
Iscar’s fast feed milling and turning inserts were designed for efficient, high-volume metal removal, thus reducing machine power consumption.
Iscar’s new HighQLine – Machining Intelligently product is typical of the many energy-saving, highly efficient cutting tool lines available from the company. As well as reducing users’ energy consumption and increasing their speed of production, the long-lasting qualities of Iscar tools ensure adherence to the most ambitious of companies’ environmental and sustainable policies. Iscar contributes to green machining with innovative tool geometries that demand less energy and reduce machine power consumption. One of Iscar’s milestone innovations, the HeliMill, reduces machining forces by use of helical cutting edges, while Iscar’s fast feed milling and turning inserts were designed for efficient, high volume metal removal, thus reducing machine power consumption. The Spinjet coolant driven HSM spindles recycle machine lubricants, which in return promote a greener environment by utilising the machine tool’s existing coolant supply driven by a highpressure pump as an energy source to rotate a turbine.
Iscar’s Spinjet coolant-driven HSM spindles recycle machine lubricants.
In addition to the many green and profitability advantages that can be gained by the use of Iscar’s innovative cutting tools, Iscar assists its customers in other environmental and efficiency areas. The recycling of used carbide inserts and tools delivers a rare, winwin situation. To make the collection of used carbide inserts and tools a highly efficient process, Iscar introduced the automated Matrix Recycle Solution. Participants in the scheme simply deposit their used carbide into an ergonomically designed receptacle. The weight of the carbide scrap is automatically calculated and displayed every hour. When the contents of the container reach a pre-set maximum weight, a led warning light turns red and an email alert is sent prompting collection. Iscar’s ‘Green’ mantra – “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” – helps the environment and improve business’ bottom lines. www.iscar.com.au
Iscar’s automated Matrix Recycle Solution
Hotspots is proudly owned and managed by AMTIL
Looking for the right support? HotSpots can help. •
You need a specific component made, but don’t have the capabilities in house.
Your company has landed a major project, but your workshop or your workforce just aren’t big enough to handle the volume required.
Your business is diversifying into an area where the expertise available within the company is not sufficient.
HotSpots is a service designed to connect AMTIL members with opportunities to help their businesses grow. That piece of work that you need done might be just the sort of opportunity they’re looking for. And by featuring that opportunity as a HotSpot, you gain access to a wealth of Australian manufacturing capability and expertise.
Our regular AMTIL HotSpots email goes out to over 1,000 people every month, making HotSpots an incredibly powerful way to reach large numbers of key decision-makers from across the manufacturing sector. Provided your opportunity meets our criteria for listing, inclusion in AMTIL HotSpots is free. If you have something you feel will meet our criteria, please forward it to AMTIL for assessment by emailing email@example.com with the subject line HOTSPOT. www.amtil.com.au/Membership/Hotspots
Successful Endeavours – Disrupting the doom and gloom People enjoy visiting and shopping in Berwick, in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs, for its tree-lined boulevards, heritage buildings, boutique shops and cafe culture. But nestled in the heart of this quaint village resides an unlikely tenant: an electronics and embedded software development business quietly making a big impact on the world manufacturing stage. With a brand promise of “We make electronics work”, and 16 major technology and business awards under its belt in the past six years, Successful Endeavours is both the company’s name and its nature. Since being named City of Casey Business of the Year in 2010, Successful Endeavours has won a succession of regional, state and national awards, with two of its products recognised at the 2015 state and national iAwards for leading-edge technological innovation.
manufacturing. Australia has the most cost-effective technical workforce of all member countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), while manufacturing generates more indirect jobs per direct job than any other area of commercial activity (the Victorian Government puts this figure at five extra jobs per direct job). Moreover our geographical location means we are well placed to export to Asia.
While the high-quality and innovative products that Successful Endeavours makes are driving increased profits for its client manufacturers, the “exponential” mindset of its entrepreneurial owner Ray Keefe is just as important in fuelling the success of this growing business in an industry where others are downsizing, going offshore or closing their doors.
In particular, Keefe believes there is a huge opportunity for electronics manufacturing to flourish in Australia. It is the most scalable, given the relative ease with which capacity can be added to products through existing local manufacturers.
“Contrary to what many believe, electronics design and product development in Australia is both practical and profitable,” says Keefe. “This is reality despite the progressive erosion of manufacturing over the past half century, in part caused by the economic restructuring policies of successive Federal Governments in favour of the emerging services sector and to the detriment of industrial-based sectors. “In 1946, 90% of all manufactured products used in Australia were made in Australia but in 2006, this figure had plummeted to just 10%. It doesn’t make sense to ship raw material overseas then import the finished goods back here. Most of the income and profit is happening for someone else, somewhere else.” According to Keefe, this makes even less economic sense in the context of Australia’s distinct advantages when it comes to
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“The key to low-cost electronics manufacturing is to design a product to be efficiently and flawlessly made so that it continues to work correctly well past its warranty period,” Keefe explains. “This is
one of the secrets of our success and the strategy we have used to ensure electronics products manufactured in Australia by our clients are indeed competitive and profitable when compared with Asian imports.” Keefe adds that the key decision-makers in government need to realise that this can become the norm for manufacturing, rather than the exception. One area where he believes the Federal Government can make a significant difference to the survival, growth and ultimate resilience of Australian manufacturing is through greater incentives. “Intel wanted to establish its next semiconductor facility in Australia but the government of the day offered no incentives,” says Keefe. “The Irish Government made Intel an offer it couldn’t refuse. So now Intel is in Ireland when it really wanted to be in Australia. As another example, Malaysia offers a ten-year tax holiday to a new industry setting up there.”
The Successful Endeavours team with their awards: Matt Ratten, Embedded Developer; Brendan Simon, Embedded Developer; Junette Keefe, Office Manager; Ray Keefe, Managing Director; Joyce Pinto, Embedded Developer; and Dushara Jayasinghe, Senior Embedded Developer.
The Skynanny.net child location tracking device.
Belief is the key While governments can help breathe new life back into Australian manufacturing, Keefe believes individual business owners also have a key role to play, particularly in the way they think about developing solutions to manufacturing problems, which are really “opportunities in disguise”. “Belief is a powerful thing – enabling beliefs enable and limiting beliefs limit,” he says. “We have been involved in many projects that break through the limiting belief barrier.” A case in point was the company’s work in developing the Skynanny.net child location tracking device, which won the Merit Award in the New Product category at the 2015 Victorian iAwards and was a finalist in the recent national iAwards. Two other companies tried to build the electronics platform for the device and gave up before Successful Endeavours got involved and came up with a world-first solution. The combination of Bluetooth Smart, Qi Wireless Charging, 3G communications and GPS tracking in a device the surface area of a business card was a big technical challenge. However, by thinking differently, Successful Endeavours got a different result than what had been previously thought possible.
to zero. Software upgrades, arrive on your mobile phone over the internet rather than manually installed in the shop at the factory.
for example, or computer having to be or even back
“This approach is equally applicable to utility services,” adds Keefe. “For example, the tank stand water meter reading device that is used by rural councils. One of these devices sits on a water tank stand in outback New South Wales, some 892km away from Berwick. The device identifies the driver and measures the amount of water used to fill their water tanker, replacing the previous honour system which relied on truck drivers to accurately record their water consumption in a log book. The operation and maintenance of this device can be updated and changed remotely and the water records sent back via a web service thereby alleviating the travel, inconvenience and labour costs associated with a manual system.” Successful Endeavours also developed a smart power controller for ABB for the international smart grid market. Sitting atop a power pole, the operation of the controller can be changed by making adjustments on a SCADA system that messages the device over the internet or via a dedicated communications link.
“As Albert Einstein famously said ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,’” says Keefe. “This is how manufacturers need to approach business. The traditional manufacturing business model has been transactional in nature, where the manufacturer gets paid for the component parts it makes. This type of thinking is holding the manufacturing industry back. What’s needed is thinking that focuses on leverage; a systems-based approach that gives a greater outcome for effort rather than a componentbased approach where the income stream ends once the part leaves the factory.
From humble beginnings
Keefe cites businesses such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, which are highly profitable and grow rapidly in part because of the leveraged income they derive by offering an entire system to consumers rather than just supplying the component parts of a system. For an electronics product such as a phone or computer, it is possible to increase its value by adding new features and updates over time, with a deployment cost very close
Although Keefe has been developing marketleading electronics products in Australia for 30 years, Successful Endeavours started from humble beginnings with one full-time and one part-time staff in 2008, to today when it boasts nine employees and an ecosystem of sub-contractors and other technically-based businesses. It develops a new product for local manufacture every two weeks. This growth in business is a direct
“These examples demonstrate that a systems approach to product development can dramatically change a manufacturer’s capacity to deliver value to its customers,” says Keefe. “No longer does the value exchange stop once the product leaves the manufacturer’s factory. The manufacturer can capture a greater percentage of the value stream by adding income-generating features to the base product while at the same time providing increased benefits to the client through a reduction in their operating costs.”
result of Keefe honing his business acumen with the guidance of a business mentor and dedicating himself to becoming a more effective leader of self and others. “As a small business owner, I made a great engineer,” he recounts. “Once I addressed the weakness in my business skillset, I was able to build a successful business that has allowed me to make the difference to local manufacturers that was part of my original vision in starting Successful Endeavours. If you are a small business owner, it is likely that you will have gaps in your understanding of business and how to take your business to the next level. So my advice is to find a business mentor you can trust and let them help you. You don’t know what you don’t know!” Keefe’s message about Australian manufacturing is a positive one, and he is a strong advocate of the industry through memberships with AMTIL, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA), the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) and the Casey Cardinia Business Group. Keefe also shares his knowledge and experience as a guest presenter for Monash University’s MBA program and contributes regular articles to industry magazines. He also writes a thought-provoking weekly blog, speaking frankly about such topics as the future of manufacturing, leadership and business excellence. Keefe’s advice to manufacturers and small business owners in general is encapsulated in his favourite business quote, Aristotle back in 380BC: “The purpose of the organisation is so that ordinary men and women can come together, and in co-operation with each other, do the extraordinary.” Successful Endeavours is certainly achieving extraordinary outcomes, not only in carving an exciting future for Australian electronics manufacturing, but helping build a stronger Australian economy by helping small to medium manufacturing businesses to grow. www.successful.com.au AMT November 2015
Japanese market blossoms for Australian exporters Entering a foreign market can be daunting, and Japan’s language, cultural differences and regulations affecting business can act as a deterrent for Australian SMEs unfamiliar with the nuances. Understanding potential barriers and how to overcome them can help SMEs take advantage of the export opportunities that are available in this market. By Andrew Watson, Executive Director, Export Finance at Efic. Australia has long had a close relationship with Japan, which has resulted in strong business ties between the two nations. Japan is Australia’s second-largest export destination and trading partner, presenting a broad range of opportunities for Australian SMEs wishing to export their products or services. Japan’s size and proximity has meant that it has always been a promising destination for Australia’s export industries. Australian exports to Japan were worth US$50bn in 2014, and with Japan’s high levels of disposable income and demand for premium, high-end goods and services, this is likely to continue at a similar level, even grow. Research recently conducted by the Export Council of Australia, the Australian International Business Survey 2015, found that 64% of Australian businesses that operate in Japan expect business to get better over the year ahead, pointing to a positive outlook for Australian exporters in Japan. Australia’s key export industries, including mining, agriculture and services, all have strong markets in Japan, providing a number of exciting opportunities for Australian exporters. Building on the strong partnership that already exists between the two nations, Japan and Australia’s bilateral economic relationship was further strengthened by the signing of the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) in July 2014. This agreement entered into force in January of this year, and will provide Australian exporters with various advantages over their international competitors when entering the Japanese market. Once JAEPA has been implemented in full, 97% of Australian exports to Japan will be duty free. This will make a significant difference to resource, energy and manufacturing exports, which will all be duty free on entry to the Japanese market – a substantial benefit for exporters by reducing the costs associated with goods exports. In order to obtain these benefits, the goods being exported into Japan must be of Australian or Japanese origin, and will require a certificate of origin as evidence. JAEPA is also expected to open up the market for Australian exporters from a cost perspective, making it easier for Australian firms to compete with both multinational players and local businesses.
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Understanding and overcoming barriers Japan’s business climate is generally on par with most other advanced economies, with the World Bank ranking Japan 29th out of 189 economies in terms of ease of doing business. There are, however, some notable differences to operating in the Japanese market compared with the Australian market, which Australian businesses should bear in mind. The Australian International Business Survey 2015 identified several possible barriers holding some Australian businesses back from entering the Japanese market. A high proportion of Australian businesses stated that the language and culture are the biggest barriers to doing business in Japan. English is not widely spoken in business in Japan and therefore most Australian SMEs will find they need to use an interpreter when meeting potential customers and partners. Related to this are issues of local business practices, norms and quality standards. One Australian exporter Efic has supported - a wine producer based in NSW called Cassegrain Wines - has exported its wines to Japan for almost 20 years. It noted that the attention to detail and quality control in Japan is of a higher standard than we are used to in Australia. Recognising and adapting to these local requirements is not something a business manual can tell business owners, but requires in-depth knowledge of the Japanese market and how business is conducted there. Doing extensive research before entering the market can assist in this.
Another potential barrier to entering the Japanese market is local regulations, which can create difficulties for Australian firms. The World Bank’s rankings indicate that while generally Japan is an easy market to do business in, paying tax can be significantly harder relative to other OECD nations. Seeking the advice of a local accountant or tax adviser can help Australian SMEs to understand the finer details of local tax law, ensuring this doesn’t create complications when operating there. Protection of intellectual property rights was also identified by Australian international businesses as an important consideration in Japan, as in all foreign markets. Japanese companies are generally experienced in this area of business and understand the need for confidentiality in the early stages of setting up an export relationship; flagging this clearly and early is important.
Capitalise on opportunities With Japan and Australia’s close trading relationship, and JAEPA opening up the Asian market even further, there are numerous opportunities for SME exporters to capitalise on in Japan. Australia is well placed to meet Japanese demand in mining, agriculture and services, given our high-quality products and services. However, being aware of the potential difficulties and risks around entering the Japanese market will help ensure Australian SME exporters are well-prepared and positioned to leverage the opportunities available. www.efic.gov.au
Seeking finance? Be prepared Banks are actively lending, but obtaining new business loans can take a little longer even for the well-prepared business owner, writes Steve Wilson. business loan application. By doing so, borrowers improve the likelihood of a favourable decision by the bank to their funding request and that a decision is reached in a timely fashion with no unnecessary delays.
The decision of many owners to approach a bank for new finance for their business can often be fraught with trepidation. Quite often the fear of outright rejection, cost, or even the amount of information required to be prepared can be enough to dissuade owners from obtaining the support of a bank for its business. However, it certainly does not have to be this way especially for the wellprepared business owner.
Business owners should consider trusted advisors or accountants to assist them with their business loan application. They can play both a pivotal role in assisting with the preparation of financial information, set agreed timetables and lead negotiations with a bank ensuring a positive outcome for the borrower is maximised.
Banks are finding it more difficult and expensive to raise funds, so the limited funds they do have are deployed, both to get the most bang for their buck in terms of return, but even more importantly in terms of credit quality.
Some of the key information business owners should have available prior to approaching a bank for new finance for their business includes:
While a bank can increase its revenue by taking on higher risks and charge accordingly, preservation and protection of capital are more critical. Banks are already highly geared businesses and accordingly can ill afford further blows to their capital bases, besides higher margins never compensate for a bad debt. Although banks are restricted in the funds available to lend, they and the markets still hold expectations of increasing shareholder returns. In these circumstances, banks tend to only lend where it is absolutely safe, which usually means quality customers with solid businesses. This more cautious approach is increasing the time it takes for banks to approve new loan applications. It is now very common for banks to seek more detailed financial information from borrowers as part of a loan application. This includes business plans, three-way profit & loss, cash-flow and balance-sheet forecasts, as well as historical business activity statements and tax returns. Banks also like to see that projected financial information is supported by detailed assumptions, particularly for the profit & loss statement, to enable a detailed assessment and “stress testing” techniques. Banks have access to array of industry and government databases (e.g. ATO, ASIC) at their disposal from which to access information and/or validate information received from borrowers as part of assessing a new loan application. Relationship managers also generally tend to “drill down” into more detail about the historical and projected financial performance of the business and make further enquiries about the need for the finance. Since the GFC, credit approval processes of banks have changed with district or regional credit executives engaged earlier in the business loan approval process. This is aimed at assisting the relationship managers in assessing and structuring new
• Detailed business plan (including risk analysis – i.e. things that could go wrong in the business and how these would be dealt with). • Customer Value Proposition (i.e. the unique set of product and service benefits the business offers its customers). loan applications, as well as identifying and mitigating against any credit or business risks of the borrower. These “credit workshops”, while valuable for the bank to undertake, invariably increase the loan application approval time – sometimes by up to two-tofour weeks depending on the complexity of the transaction.
• Three years of historical financial information (including business activity statements and tax returns).
For larger business loan applications (i.e. greater than $10m) banks often engage Big Four accounting firms to undertake “prelending reviews” which, inter alia, provide an independent and detailed assessment of the credit worthiness of the borrower and its financial position. The cost of these prelending reviews can be expensive and are generally borne by the borrower regardless of whether the bank ultimately approves or rejects their loan application.
• The need for the finance clearly communicated ensuring the bank understands what you are looking for and when.
In some circumstances, loan applications cannot be approved by regional or district executives (given the size) and have to be approved by “head office” credit executives who may not have had any face-to-face contact with the borrower during the loan application process. This can also increase the time taken by the bank to respond to borrowers. Due to additional due diligence, the banks are generally taking longer to make decisions on new loan applications. Notwithstanding the internal credit approval processes of the banks, business owners need to ensure they are very well prepared prior to approaching a bank with a new
• Three-way projections (i.e. profit & loss, cash flow and balance sheet) reconciling to each other. • Succession planning strategies (i.e. exit mechanisms).
Borrowers should always adhere to the information requirements of the bank as part of the loan application process. If in doubt, provide more not less, but importantly double check that the information is accurate as creditability can be quickly tarnished when errors are discovered. Steve Wilson established Hawkview Partners in 2010 to assist clients secure debt and cash-flow finance for their businesses. Steve has over 20 years banking and finance experience including working in the business lending areas at a major financial institution in credit and relationship management roles. Hawkview Partners has also achieved success for clients in selling and buying businesses, capital raisings, business valuations, strategic planning and corporate restructurings. Steve can be contacted on 0425 661 140 or email: steve.wilson@ hawkview.com.au www.hawkview.com.au AMT November 2015
The five most common mistakes a growing company makes – and how to fix them Many people look at high-growth companies worth millions or billions of dollars and think “Wow, how did they do that?” By Professor Jana Matthews. There is an air of mysticism attached to breakthrough business growth, and many executives wonder if there is a secret formula behind scaling a business into a high-growth company. The answer is “Yes”. And what’s even better: CEOs can learn the art and science of business growth. For 20 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of CEOs of growth companies in Australia, US, Europe, China, India, Singapore, and New Zealand. Last year I was recruited by UniSA to establish the Centre for Business Growth to help CEOs and their executive teams learn how to lead and manage growth. Since then, we have worked with over 75 companies across Australia with revenues between $5m and $50m, helping the executive teams understand what they need to do, or stop doing, to grow. From my experience, there are several reasons why companies don’t grow or have stopped growing. Here are the five most common mistakes CEOs and executive teams make growing a company, and how they can overcome them.
1: Not defining the company’s mission, vision and values It sounds simple, but having a clearly defined mission, vision and set of values can help achieve alignment in a company. The mission statement is the core of the company’s purpose – the raison d’etre for the organisation. Leaders need to keep the mission simple and make sure it defines what the company does, for whom, and the desired outcome. The values are the common principles and behaviours that describe how the organisation does business and how the CEO wants employees to interact with each other, customers, suppliers and vendors. Creating a shared vision for the company is powerful – it is incredibly important for engaging staff, it keeps people motivated, provides meaning and makes each person’s job significant. It is the CEO’s role to create the vision of where the company is going, engage the team in estimating what it will take to get there, and then make sure employees really understand how what they do contributes to the achievement of that vision.
2: Not understanding the roles and responsibilities as CEO Too many business leaders think their job is to make all the decisions and be at the centre of everything. They feel that they need to show their employees that they can do the “real work” by involving themselves in the day-today operations of their company. The fact is,
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too many CEOs find themselves working “in the business” rather than “on the business”. CEOs need to understand how their roles and responsibilities change during the various stages of growth and how their behaviour impacts their company’s growth from one stage to the next. It’s important for CEOs to delegate, communicate effectively and plan ahead in order to prevent themselves from becoming the bottleneck to their company’s growth.
3. Super-sizing is not the best path to growth Many executives choose a “super-size” growth strategy; to sell more of their current products or to ramp up the value of existing customers. If executives are serious about growth, they need to think about identifying new customer segments, developing new products or selling new products to new customer segments. As Steve Jobs and Apple implored people: “think different”. CEOs need to create a culture that encourages trying new things, learning from failures and being willing to experiment in order to grow.
4. Relying on “luck” It’s too easy in times of plenty, when the market is sending business your way, to turn into an order-taker and not a business builder. Some companies are in the right place at the right time, and experience growth because the economy was growing, the executives had good networks and business came their way without having to do much. If executives are going to keep their business moving up the growth curve, they need to be prepared for a market change and have a growth strategy that targets various customer segments. Executives need to plan for the future,
develop the infrastructure to their support growth, and take advantage of today’s momentum to build the solid foundations to overcome tomorrow’s challenges.
5. Failing to keep the hunger and think big When companies get to a certain point, some CEOs and leaders put on the cruise control. They have enough money to lead a comfortable lifestyle, own a beach house and take nice holidays. A lot of CEOs think “why should I put everything I worked so hard for on the line? Why not just be satisfied with what I have?” CEOs who talk like this have reached the ceiling of complexity. They don’t know what to do to take the company to the next level and aren’t thinking big. They pull up the drawbridge and want to protect their castle. One of the most important changes executives need to make to build a highgrowth business is their mindset. As soon as business leaders start to open their mind and think about how their company could be a $100m business rather than a $10m business, they start to challenge themselves and their team and set the company on the path to success. For CEOs and executives who are ready to make change, growth requires vision, courage, knowledge, teamwork and execution. Professor Jana Matthews is the Director of the Centre for Business Growth at the University of South Australia. This article was originally published in The Conversation. www.unisa.edu.au www.theconversation.com
TheRedTagger – Simplifying The 5S sorting stage Did you spend more than 30 seconds looking for something – anything – today? What about yesterday? Probably so. One of the first actions for companies undertaking a Lean journey is initiating 5S, a system for organising office, warehouse and factory work. 5S enhances general productivity, perpetually, by ensuring ‘a place for everything and everything in its place, clean and ready for use every time, forever’. Any time you find yourself spending more than 30 seconds looking for something – a stapler, a hammer, stationery, raw material, a computer file – there is an opportunity for improving 5S. The sequence for implementing 5S typically starts with Sorting, followed quickly by Setting in order, Shining, Standardising and Sustaining. During the Sorting stage, unnecessary items that have little or no value should be discarded. Necessary items that are required for current work are retained and should be given ‘home positions’ during the Set in order phase. A third category, items that have value but are not needed for current work, are affixed with a 5S Red Tag and physically quarantined in an area that is distant from operations in order to get them out of value-creating office, factory or warehouse workspaces. Although these three actions might sound straightforward, there are several important considerations when classifying items, and these considerations need to be understood and firmly determined prior to Sorting. What constitutes ‘little or no value,’ for instance? Should a dollar figure ceiling be used? If so, should it be the current market value of the item or the cost of replacement? Likewise, ‘current work’ needs to be carefully interpreted. If, for instance, an item hasn’t been used for the last three to six months, should it be binned or Red Tagged? If it might be needed within the next three to six months, should it be Red Tagged and quarantined, or given a home position just in case? The strictness we apply on item values and usage timeframes is ultimately based on how aggressive we will be with implementing 5S. It will, however, also determine the extent of improvement we can expect from implementing 5S; the more unnecessary items we move out of value-creating space, the more often we’ll avoid wasting time rummaging through things we don’t need in order to get to the things we do need. This applies equally to file storage and retrieval on computer drives or in filing cabinets as it does to factory or warehouse items. Outdated files clogging up space on servers can be just as costly as outdated
do? You could offer them free to employees, but that could give rise to significant legal or competitive risks. You could donate them to charity, but most charities don’t need surplus industrial items. You might also try to sell them back to original suppliers or to recyclers, but these are often “pennies on the dollar” solutions in terms of reward vs. cost.
raw materials taking up shelving space or last-generation machinery monopolising potentially value-creating factory space. Once we’ve disposed of unnecessary items during the Sorting phase and we’ve designated visual home positions for necessary items during the Setting in order phase, we can expect immediate improvement in overall productivity. It generally won’t be obvious where the productivity improvements came from, because they comprise of 45 seconds here and 2.3 minutes there. But they will be there – sometimes in the form of reduced overtime, sometimes in the form of improved quality due to team members having more time available to verify their work, sometimes in the form of reduced injuries from tripping hazards that have been eliminated. Sometimes it’s all of these and more. Over time, especially within the first few months of initial Sorting, the quarantined Red Tagged items will typically do one of two things: they will start to become an eyesore that is taking up potentially value-creating space, or (if they weren’t locked up) they will start sneaking back into value-creating space, usually for no good reason. Neither of these situations is desirable, of course. But what to
Or you might want to have a go at selling them on the open market. This route will inevitably take time to research auction houses or websites, using your higher-paid staff who you’d much rather have working on value-creating activities. After days or weeks of comparing the various providers’ fees, posting periods, contractual terms and sales limitations, you will emerge with one or two selected avenues for selling those Red Tagged items, some of which have now snuck back into value-creating space whilst you and your staff were distracted figuring out how to sell them. You end up sighing “there’s got to be a better way…” And now there is. Instead of wasting all that time researching sales methods, what if you could simply walk out to the Red Tag quarantine area, pull out your mobile phone, and in less than 30 seconds start uploading items to the cloud for immediate sale, complete with photos? That’s all it takes with TheRedTagger, a combination iPhone app and website that enable you to quickly upload and manage your posted items, for free, with zero pop-ups, and with immediate notification to other users who are searching for the kinds of items you’ve just posted. Implementing 5S makes your life easier; TheRedTagger makes 5S a lot easier. www.completeleansolutions.com www.theredtagger.com AMT November 2015
Top five Lean tools you won’t need a consultant to implement Lean manufacturing is a well-known and proven management system that has been implemented in thousands of companies and organisations across a huge range of industries worldwide. Here Tim McLean of TXM Lean Solutions shares five simple Lean tools that you can try. Plenty of people out there will say you won’t need a consultant at all to implement Lean, but the reality is there are a lot of consultants meeting a real need in helping businesses to get started. Implementing Lean manufacturing has its challenges and most companies engage or employ experienced experts or Lean consultants such as TXM to get their Lean transformation underway. However, there are many Lean tools and principles that you can do yourself, without the need for a Lean consultant or hiring an internal expert. You can even try the following five tips at home – they are that safe!
1. Kamishibai – Red-Green Tee Card Boards. One of our favourite and simplest Lean tools is the Red-Green Tee Card board, or Kamishibai. These are a really effective tool to make sure that everyone can see whether everyday tasks in your factory or office are getting done. A red-green task board is a slotted metal rack into which are inserted tee-shaped cards that are printed red on one side and green on the other. Typically the columns on the rack will represent days of the week (though other time intervals such as hourly, weekly or monthly tasks can also be scheduled), and the cards are then inserted underneath the corresponding day on which they are due. Each card is labelled with a task on the front and back. The cards are inserted in the rack with the red side facing out and are then rotated to show green as each task is completed. You can then see at a glance whether you are up to date with this week’s tasks.
Red-green tee cards are a great tool for making sure that everyday tasks are done and are seen to be done.
2. 5S The most famous Lean tool is also one of the easiest ones to use. Simply pick an area and start to apply the five S’s. Remove everything from the area except for fixed items, and SORT out the items by frequency of use (the things that you use every day, every week, every month or not at all). Get rid of obsolete items and place items you are not sure of away from the work area in a designated “red tag” area. Then work out where you want to place the items that you do regularly use. SET IN ORDER by placing most commonly used tools, materials and consumables in designated areas close to where they are used. Mark the areas where the items are to be stored with line markings and signs so it is clear where everything needs to returned after it is used. Then SHINE the area by giving the area the best possible clean. Remove all dirt and rubbish and fix obvious damage to machines and
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Regular audits are essential to sustain 5S. Keep the audits simple and make auditing the responsibility of the team leader to ensure accountability stays with the team.
the workplace. Once everything is in its place and the area is shining, take a photo. That can become your visual STANDARD. You then need to organise a regular routine to SUSTAIN your 5S by inspecting the workplace regularly to make sure that everything is staying in place. Almost anyone can get started on 5S and make a difference. Really sustaining and improving it may take some expert help, but why wait – get sorting today!
3. Leader Standard Work (for yourself) Leader Standard Work can be pretty demanding to implement as most leaders are reluctant to comply at the start. However, if you implement Leader Standard Work for yourself, the excellent example you set and increased performance you achieve can then be a model for others! Simply make a check list of the things that you need to do and see each day. Work out how long each of these tasks take by measuring your own time to complete them. Make sure that you do not allocate more than about 30% of your day to these tasks and avoid too many tasks at fixed times.
I did this when I was the manager of a blowmoulding plant 20 years ago. The list was on the inside cover of my diary. Fixed tasks might be to attend the daily production meeting or the planning meeting; however, most tasks were variable. Two or three times a day I did a full walk of the factory to observe how things were going. How were machines running? Were leak-testing machines calibrated and working correctly? What was in the waste bin? Were supervisors and team leaders in the area and supporting their people? I would observe the various visual performance boards around the factory and take note of on and off-target performance. I would observe compliance with 5S standards (or red green tee card boards if I had had them back in those days). When I found problems, I would ask questions to understand the underlying issues.
Andon lights like these enable teams to signal when there is a problem and prompt quick action by team leaders, managers or support staff to resolve the issue.
5. Andon Andon is a system that allows front-line operators to signal a problem in the process. By pushing a button, pulling a cord or raising a flag (literally), operators signal to their team leader that they need support with a problem (such as a defect, material shortage or faulty machine). The team leader must then come and assist within an agreed time or the operator can stop the production line. Andon may not be an obvious choice for “tools that you can implement yourself”, because many would see Andon as a higher-level Lean tool. However, according to a colleague from Toyota Australia, the Andon system was the first thing that Toyota implemented when it first took over its plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. This is because Andon highlights problems in any process by empowering operators to raise those problems.
Problem-solving concern strips are a quick and effective way to capture everyday problems and involve teams in developing and implementing root cause solutions.
Simply locking in this routine every day had a huge impact on the plant. Once technicians saw me personally testing leak testers, they made sure that they were always calibrated and working correctly. When team leaders had to explain large piles of defects or large lumps of purging material in the waste bin, they were more focused on avoiding defects and excessive purging. Consider setting up a red-green task board of your own to track your own tasks.
4. Five Whys and Concern strips A key tenet of Lean is that we solve problems using the scientific method or the PDCA (plan-do-check-act or plan-do-check-adjust) cycle. To solve problems we have to find the root cause and to find the root cause we have to ask why. Five whys is incredibly simple. Firstly we define the problem. What exactly is the problem, what is its extent, and why does it matter? Clear definition makes problem solving easier. Then simply ask: why did the problem occur? Keep asking “why” until you believe you have got a root cause that you can address. You then need to agree to a countermeasure that will address this root cause. To record this and track the implementation of the countermeasure, you can use a concern strip. This is a simple and practical method to ensure that the countermeasure is fully implemented; that the problem is followed up; that the countermeasure works; that the problem doesn’t occur again; and that the countermeasure is locked into standards.
It is also quite easy to set up. Simply providing a button next to the work station and wiring that up to a light or buzzer is well within the scope of most businesses. Even if this was too tough, making up some flags and a holder for the operator to insert the flag when he or she has a problem is even simpler. You will be amazed by the change that Andon can create.
Continuous improvement With this list you can make quite a bit of improvement yourself. The five items above do not represent a whole Lean production system, but they make a good start and prepare the ground for more improvement. However, some Lean tools are really best implemented with the support of a Lean expert or a competent Lean consultant. I believe Value Stream Mapping is a good example of this. While there are lots of good books on Value Stream Mapping, the technique can require a major paradigm shift for your business and therefore is best supported by someone such as a Lean consultant, who has applied the technique before. Extending Leader Standard Work and the Lean management system beyond yourself can also be challenging because most managers are not enthusiastic at the start. Other Lean tools such as Kanban, One Piece Flow and FIFO can require some technical knowledge to get right and specialist help from a Lean expert or Lean consultant can also be valuable. Nonetheless, if you make a start by yourself, then by the time you do need some help, you will have a good understanding of Lean and what it can do. You will have hopefully recorded some successes (and perhaps some failures, which is fine) and will be ready to really make some major change. Tim McLean is the Director of leading Lean consultants TXM Lean Solutions, and author of ‘Grow Your Factory - Grow Your Profits: Lean for Small and Medium Sized Manufacturing Enterprises’. www.txm.com.au AMT November 2015
Motors & Drives
Reduce your carbon footprint with drives geared to saving energy Industrial motors and drives at the heart of a huge range of Australasian metals industry equipment represent a major opportunity for energy savings as companies adapt to escalating power prices and the need for sustainable practices. By Harry Singh, Applications Engineer at Bonfiglioli Transmission Australia. Stop-start operation
Businesses can save a lot of money by reassessing how they use energy in the day-to-day running of their business, with ever-larger effort being invested in ensuring that all equipment has a greener footprint. Industrial motor and drives technology has improved greatly in the last decade, so even straightforward initiatives – such as the adoption of variable-speed drives instead of fixed-speed drives – can produce significant energy savings. Variable-speed drives can typically reduce the speed required for particular operations by 20%, cutting power bills by more than 30% in common instances (such as those following) and achieving payback in less than a year. The biggest problem is that the technology is growing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with all the changes and understand the most suitable option available for individual companies – especially for firms that haven’t looked at their options for a few years. Perhaps government has a role here in sponsoring holistic audits of company energy use. These would undoubtedly produce major savings through the use of advanced drives technologies, such as, in the case of Bonfiglioli, advanced energy saving and versatile VVVF and Vector electronic drives technology, including SYN, S2U, Agile, ACT, Active Cube, VCB and ANG series of vector-controlled inverters.
Savings potential Some of the biggest savings can be made simply by seeing if particular companies have any fans or pumps that are not being controlled by a variable-speed drive – typically where the flow of the fan or pump is being controlled by a valve or flow regulator. Installation of a variablespeed drive on these applications has one of the biggest potential to save money and supply a quick payback time by reducing motor speed and thus reducing motor current. This is because: • Variable speed drives are generally around 94%-98% efficient. • Current on start-up is limited to between 150%-200% of total motor current. (Direct online motors can draw between five and seven times the full motor current on start-up). • The advanced static and dynamic energy-saving functions, adaptability and robustness of variable-speed drives reduce the impact on the environment. • In many pumping applications, it can be highly cost-effective to replace the direct online start with a variable-speed drive. This can in some cases see installation payback of less than 12 months. • Where supply authorities penalise companies based upon spikes in demand current, this can be greatly reduced by installing variable-speed drives on motors.
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Motors generally are reasonably efficient when running continuously and, with the MEPS standard for motor efficiencies, this has been improved in recent years. Where the use of motors becomes costly is when the motor is started and stopped regularly via a direct online start. Direct online starting can draw between five and seven times the full load current of the motor out of the supply grid. This high current inrush fatigues motor windings, generates high levels of heat in the motor, and in some cases can cause supply grid voltage dips, which supply authorities do not appreciate (and may lead to penalties). Variable-speed drives, on the other hand, limit the starting current to between 150% and 200% of full motor current and also smoothly ramp the motor to require speed. Advances in drive design and control mean users can generate full motor torque down to virtually zero speed. This will reduce high inrush currents, greatly reduce motor winding fatigue and also allow users to set the correct motor speed for the application. By putting a variable-speed drive onto a common centrifugal pump and reducing the speed by around 20%, users can see power savings of around 30%-50%. Variable-speed drive can also avoid the need for larger-sized motors. Cost rises may not be highly significant as specifiers go up a size or two to meet their power needs, but this approach will draw excess energy just to keep the heavier rotor turning.
Outdated practices Old practices of running motors direct on-line and using other means to control flow or temperature are still widely used and cost companies a lot of money. Many manufacturers and material processors install variable-speed drives to simply allow the machine to have a variable speed, but modern variable-speed drives (such as Active Cube) can
Motors & Drives
will optimise motor current to application to reduce energy supplied to the motor. Great benefits are already delivered by technologies such as the Bonfiglioli Vectron Active series, which offers state-of-the-art control of industrial electric motors up to 132kW, and the Active Cube series, which has been extended up to 1.2MW. also have a variety of industrial sensors incorporated to allow the drive to control the process better, and save the cost of a PLC or separate controller. Outstanding performance in terms of accuracy and response time puts Active Cube in the high-technology end of the Bonﬁglioli Vectron drives range.
Generating clean energy – such as sun or wind energy – is expensive and the benefits have at present been limited. It may be that simply getting your business run more efficiently will reduce your running cost over the short and long term. www.bonfiglioli.com.au
In addition, many manufacturers and processors think that installing a soft-starter is a better option than a variable-speed drive, but in fact the soft-starter will also draw larger currents and may not be able to accelerate the load. Bonﬁglioli was contacted to look at an application that already had a soft-starter installed but could not drive the full load up a steep incline if it was stopped on the incline. The full load motor current was 25.4 Amps but the soft-starter was allowing the motor to draw 120 Amps – which subsequently melted the cables. Bonﬁglioli replaced it with a variable-speed drive programmed it for the application. Bonﬁglioli could then accelerate the full load carrier smoothly to full speed in five seconds, and the motor was only drawing a maximum of 39 Amps. This was a great application to show the improved performance that can be achieved by using a variable-speed drive.
Audit objectives Basic information for a plant efficiency audit includes: • What motors do you have? • What is their kW size. • What application are they being used for? • Is the resultant effect of the motor being reduced by other means? i.e. pumps flow being reduced by manual flow valves after the motor. Once you have this basic information, Bonﬁglioli would look at the applications in which the motor is running at full speed but where the effect of the motor is being limited, such as in a control valve limiting water flow, or the motor continually being turned on and off due to it overworking the application. These will be the areas that have the largest potential to give the greatest return. If you find you have applications that are being restricted, you are in a very good position to benefit from an external energy audit. Drive manufacturers are looking at ways to make their variable-speed drives more beneficial to the customer and are starting to design the drives with low-loss drive filters, sleep modes to reduce energy consumption when motors are not running, and load monitoring, which
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14/10/2015 9:11 AM
Motors & Drives
ANCA Motion – Delivering an edge with LinX ANCA Motion’s LinX linear motor overcomes many longstanding problems related to flatbed linear motor to deliver superior performance at a lower cost. ANCA Machine Tools celebrated its 40th anniversary of operations at the end of 2014. Founded by Pat Boland and Pat McCluskey 40 years ago in Melbourne, ANCA has grown into a truly global organisation with manufacturing sites and branch offices all around the world. Today, ANCA is a market leader in quality CNC grinding machines. ANCA’s success is a result of its continuous development of cutting-edge technology and a focus on innovation. Continuing in that tradition, ANCA has recently launched a number of new machines and products aiming at strengthening the value proposition the company can offer to its customers. One particularly significant addition to the ANCA range has been the FX Linear and MX Linear machines. Both machines are powered by LinX linear motor (international patent pending) developed by ANCA Motion, a sister company of ANCA. Prior to the introduction of the FX Linear and MX Linear machines, ANCA had been a silent observer on linear motor technology for many years. “ANCA was aware of the benefits that can be brought by linear motors. Over time the ball screws can wear even on the best machines and you have to consider backlash and the loss of preload,” says Simon Richardson, ANCA MX Platform Product Manager. “When installing and aligning a ball screw on a machine, tighter tolerances are required over the entire length of the ball screw when compared to fitment of linear motors.” However, ANCA had resisted using linear motors for quite a long time. Philip Wysocki, Electrical Systems Engineer in ANCA, explains: “The traditional linear motor is flat in construction, which creates a lot of issues when implementing these motors on machines.” Machines with flatbed linear motors typically require a separate chiller for thermal stability, and the attractive force between coil and magnet bed creates tremendous downforces on the bearings, making everything wear faster and hence decreasing efficiency. In addition, flatbed-style linear motors used in grinding machines typically have a back-iron in their magnetic circuit, which further increases the downforces and creates cogging. Consequently, the arrival of ANCA Motion’s LinX linear motor represents a breakthrough innovation, overcoming all the problems related to flatbed linear motor and delivers superior performance thanks to its state-of-art cylindrical design. ANCA Motion’s LinX Linear Motor consists of a shaft containing magnets and a forcer containing wound copper coils. The symmetric design results in zero attractive forces between the forcer and shaft, greatly reducing the loading requirement on support bearings. The thermal barrier design separates and removes heat from the motor, eradicating thermal growth for the machine. Indeed, ANCA felt sufficiently confident in the technology that it has adopted it into their tool grinding machines.
AMT November 2015
“Thanks to its excellent standalone thermal stability, ANCA’s machines don’t require a dedicated chiller for the LinX linear motor!” says Richardson. “This is a huge advantage over competitors’ flatbed motor based machines, significantly reducing the power usage and space occupation.” With LinX’s simple construction, its non-critical air gap and the absence of physical contact between shaft and forcer, machine manufacturers can greatly simplify installation, reduce maintenance and extend machine life. The LinX’s design makes it easy to replace ball screws in existing machines and makes the machine design a lot easier. “Due to its simple construction, only one or two supports are required at the shaft ends depending on its orientation,” adds Wysocki. “Not only has the axis installation time been significantly reduced by more than 200% when compared to ball screws, but the installation of LinX motors is much safer than flatbed linear motors.” The LinX motor’s ironless design and even force over entire stroke bring out unprecedented motion performance, and because of its direct drive nature the motor can track motion commands more accurately and repetitively to achieve better surface finish. “With the LinX linear motor, we don’t need to worry about cogging, backlash or reversal error,” says Wysocki. “The tool’s surface finish ground by a LinX powered machine is significantly better than the result from a best performance ball screw machine. You can see the tangible difference easily. This is just unbelievable when you are talking about microns!” In addition to the improved surface finish, the LinX linear motor also enhances the cycle time due to its higher acceleration and faster traverse speed. Overall, ANCA Motion’s innovative LinX linear motor provides improved performance at lower cost with excellent efficiency when compared to ball screws and flatbed linear motors. The standalone thermal stability, high speed and acceleration, zero down forces and the ability to achieve IP69K protection make LinX an ideal solution for machine tools. After the launch of FX Linear and MX Linear machines, LinXpowered machines have been installed at various regions all around the world, and ANCA’s customers have reportedly been very satisfied with the performance of these machines. www.ancamotion.com
Motors & Drives
Kinetix 5700 servo drive offers space savings, faster commissioning Machine builders that have traditionally used separate servo drives to meet high axis-count and power requirements for large custom machines can now consolidate to a single platform with the new Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5700 servo drive from Rockwell Automation. The Kinetix 5700 servo drive offers dual-axis servos, a large 1.660kW power range, and time-saving tuning technology. Used in place of multiple servo drives, this next-generation platform can help machine builders reduce cabinet-space requirements by up to 70%, reduce wiring requirements by as much as 60%, and achieve easier configuration and commissioning. “The Kinetix 5700 servo drive delivers new levels of simplicity, power and space savings to help machine builders develop leaner machines and get them to market faster,” says Gavin Black, Product Manager at Rockwell Automation. “End users also benefit from receiving highperformance machines that are easier to maintain and more flexible to enable faster changeovers.” The Kinetix 5700 servo drive uses Load Observer real-time tuning technology, which helps remove the need to tune each individual axis. This can help machine builders deliver high-performance motion control out of the box, and reduce commissioning time by days, weeks or even months for the largest machines. Once a machine is operational, the Kinetix 5700 servo drive uses Tracking Notch Filter technology to detect and remove resonant frequencies, and automatically make tuning adjustments over time to help optimise machine performance. This can reduce the need for regular tuning maintenance and help prevent machine failures. DSL feedback ports provide support for Kinetix VP servo motors with single-cable technology. This enables machine builders to package motor-power, brake and feedback wires all in a single cable, helping to reduce motion wiring requirements by as much as 60%. The Kinetix 5700 servo drive also combines high-performance vector and servo motor control to help reduce machine complexity, and reduce time and labor costs during integration. Additionally, the Rockwell Software Studio 5000 Logix Designer software provides a single, easy-to-use design environment for configuring the Kinetix 5700 servo drive and integrating it with Logix controllers for both motion and safety applications. From a safety standpoint, the Kinetix 5700 servo drive supports both hardwired safety and integrated safety over EtherNet/IP, in which safety data is transmitted using the same wires and IP addresses as motion and control data. Integrated safety can help reduce overall system wiring, save time and money during installation, and help remove potential points of failure. Integrated safety also makes safety zoning and configuration changes easier for end users by eliminating the need to physically rewire devices. ab.rockwellautomation.com
Economic and environmental benefits of energy efficient motors With Australian industry continuing to seek ways to minimise costs, it is also being faced with the need to adhere to regulated efficiency standards and levels in Australia and worldwide. As a result, the industry has a serious need for energy efficient technology that satisfies both requirements. Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) specify the minimum energy performance that appliances, lighting and electrical equipment must meet or exceed before they can be sold or used for commercial purposes. MEPS have been made mandatory for a range of products in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Government now mandates MEPS through the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act 2012 legislation, which creates a national framework for appliances and equipment, promoting energy efficiency. For electric motors this means that they must meet MEPS efficiency levels and be registered for sales and use before they can be sold in Australia. As a result, government legislation has forced the industrial world to pay close attention to the efficiency of equipment. Doing so would not only adhere to Australian standards, but keep up with the global governments mandating MEPS for motors. Two important elements of any MEPS are the rules that specify how efficiency should be measured and what efficiency classes should be used. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) uses IEC 60034-30:2008 to specify International Efficiency classes, referred to as IE levels (IE2, IE3, IE4). Currently, under the Australian Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act 2012 , the compulsory level in Australia and New Zealand is based on standard AS1359.5:2004 which closely equates to IE2 efficiency levels (0.73 kW to < 185 kW). It is expected that Australia will also adopt the International Standard for efficiency levels and IEC60034-2-1 for efficiency test methods in the next few years and eventually align with IE3 International Efficiency levels and scope. Putting legalities aside, energy-saving solutions offer significant economic and environmental benefits, including lower costs, reduced carbon emissions, and optimisation of overall energy use. Preventing waste and increasing energy efficiency is the best way to achieve sustainable energy. With around 40% of global energy demand estimated to be related to electric motor applications, any initiatives to increase energy efficiency by using high efficiency electric motors has the potential to make a real contribution to reducing global energy demand and carbon emissions. SEWEurodrive supports the need for efficiency in motors, supplying electric motors for a wide range of applications that not only meet, but exceed MEPS levels; providing Australian businesses with the knowledge and expertise they seek to implement and use motors that meet the required standards. effiDRIVE energy-saving solutions ensure less energy consumption and thus elevated profits. MOVIGEAR® mechatronic drive system and DRU offer IE4 Super Premium Efficiency levels, enabling you to achieve the highest motor efficiency level. The DRN and DRP range offer IE3 Premium Efficiency, and the DRE offers IE2 High Efficiency levels. www.sew-eurodrive.com.au
AMT November 2015
forum – finance
Phoenix Companies: What are they and how do you avoid them? Phoenix activity involves the transferring of assets from an indebted company to a new company to avoid paying creditors, statutory obligations and employee entitlements, as explained by Damian Sutherland. Typically with Phoenix Companies the new company will often trade under a similar name and operate in the same industry. Further, the directors(s) are identical, possibly related or associated to the previous company directors and owners in some capacity. The old company which has had its assets removed will then be placed into administration or liquidation, leaving no assets to pay creditors. Phoenix companies will typically fall under one of two categories: the first involves directors of the debt-laden company going into administration, liquidation or receivership and then the directors making an arrangement to buy the new assets from the old business and place them into a new company. Often, the assets of the original business may not have significant market value other than to the original owners of the business. The business may also have a long client list which may represent goodwill. But usually the value of the client list is largely attached to the directors who own and operate the business. This is typically referred to as “personal” goodwill and the market value is quite low. The incumbent directors will be the only party interested in buying the assets simply because they understand its value. They know the clients, suppliers and other such established relationships, therefore they can maximise future value. In this instance, a liquidator or receiver will sell the business at whatever price they can get so as to maximise the sale price of the assets and generate the best possible return to creditors. The second category involves directors who intentionally set out to defraud creditors by stripping assets as the company operates and maximising creditors who they have no intention to pay. Typically, these Phoenix businesses will stretch payment terms out to creditors as long as possible. Often they will query supplier invoices, default on payment arrangements, and some will go to court after a lengthy legal process only to “liquidate” the company days before the court date is set! In the meantime the directors will be privately liquidating the assets of the company and moving assets off balance sheet. This is particularly common with businesses that have stock which, with poor business records and inept stock recording methods, can be hard to trace. It is this second form of Phoenix activity that has come under attention from the Australian Taxation office and the Australian Investments and Securities Commission. In a report released by Fairwork Australia the outcome of this activity was potentially costing the Australian economy more than $3bn annually. The report, Phoenix Activity: sizing the problem and matching solutions, estimates that the annual cost of illegal activity is: I) Up to $655m for employees, in the form of unpaid wages and other entitlements; II) Up to $1.93bn for businesses, as a result of Phoenix companies not paying debts; and III) Up to $610m for government revenue, mainly as a result of unpaid tax.
What can you do to avoid Phoenix companies? The best way for businesses to protect themselves from Phoenix activity is to do the due diligence on the company with which you interact before becoming a creditor. You can do an insolvency search
AMT November 2015
through the ASIC insolvency notices website. ASIC connect also has details about people who have been disqualified from being a director. You can also do a ‘general’ ASIC search to find out details about the company. Often with Phoenix companies, the individual you are doing business with will not be a director but instead, a family member who may have nothing to with the business. The ASIC search should tell you how long the company has been operating. It is not uncommon to deal with a business that appears to have been in operation for a while, but the ASIC search will reveal that the company is quite new and the name slightly different to the business name it is operating through. The other aspect to this is to ensure that you minimise your exposure to Phoenix companies by managing your indebtedness to another business. Cease work immediately when a creditor defaults on a payment arrangement. So often, the charlatans that operate this type of business will extend credit terms to extraordinary lengths by virtue of their stories of a “big payment coming in next month” or “refinancing coming through from the bank”. Finally if you get caught out by what you think might be Phoenix activity, you can utilise various options to pursue your money and/or the directors. The Tax Office has set up two task groups to pursue this type of activity, the Phoenix Taskforce and the Trust Taskforce. ASIC is the main agency that investigates illegal Phoenix activity and conducts reviews of liquidations. To combat Phoenix activities, it may ban directors who have been involved in two or more failed companies from acting as a director of any company. Also, directors have duties and obligations under the Corporations Act. If a director breaches these duties, the court can impose penalties of up to $200,000 and extra compensation if there was a loss to the company. A further recourse available is prosecuting directors under criminal laws for reckless, dishonest or fraudulent breach of duty to act in good faith. A director can also be prosecuted if the director knew the company was insolvent and continued trading. Damian Sutherland is a director of William Buck (Vic) Pty Ltd Chartered Accountants, Melbourne. He has over 20 years of experience assisting businesses with accounting, financial and taxation advice. Damian is on several company boards and works closely with clients to provide business solutions. He can be contacted on 03 9824 8555. www.williambuck.com
forum – LAW
Getting it right: identifying key risk areas in your equipment supply contract John Perry explains the importance of paying close attention to the contracts for fabrication of equipment in a construction context. It goes without saying that the contract documents are crucial when entering an agreement to supply industrial equipment to a customer involved in a construction project. However, knowing precisely which terms in the contract may lead to issues down the track is not so straightforward, and it may be easy to get carried away in the excitement of sealing a deal without paying close attention to the terms of the agreement. Here are a few key areas to consider.
Legal title Knowing when legal title in the equipment is transferred to the customer is important because it often determines who bears the risk of damage to the equipment. If equipment is damaged in transit, for example, you may be liable and therefore should insure yourself. The standard rule is that legal title is transferred upon delivery, however the contract can provide otherwise. Additionally, the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is a national register in which businesses, such as manufacturers or purchasers of industrial equipment, can register an interest in that equipment. If your business leases or sells on a retention of title basis, you should consider registering your interest on the PPSR.
Design and novation of design A contract may require you to fabricate equipment pursuant to a design provided by an engineer. Some contractual arrangements pass on the responsibility of the design to the fabricator. This is referred to as novation of design. Where this occurs, the supplier (you) may be forced to accept liability for defects in the design. It is important that you are aware of this potential liability, as it is often significant, so that you can insure yourself and/or price accordingly in contract negotiations.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), testing and commissioning Contracts often set out minimum performance requirements for equipment, with conditions that the procuring party will not pay for components that do not pass the standards set. Issues can also arise where the performance requirements are determined by reference to a prototype model, or some other benchmark that is not immediately apparent or not referred to in the contractual documents. A closely related issue is determining who will be responsible for conducting performance tests and commissioning. Where the customer themselves conducts the relevant tests rather than an independent assessor, there is clearly scope for disagreement and conflict to arise. The contract should clearly set out who will be responsible for these matters, and the processes that will be followed. Warranties and ongoing liability Normally, your liability will not end once the equipment has been delivered. Defects that become apparent after delivery can be the responsibility of the supplier, but again, the terms of the contract can alter the position. Where a defect is identified as a flaw in the design rather than the fabrication, a supplier may feel that they should not be liable if they were merely following a design provided to them. This is not always the case. Protection against design liability should be expressly stated in the contract if that is your intention.
“To develop equipment for a construction project, the terms of agreement can be somewhat uninspiring. However, paying attention to the key areas that can cause the worst headaches down the track is a sensible and worthwhile process for any supplier.” Variations and pricing It is common for the procuring party to provide directions regarding the scope or specifications of a project after the contract documents have been finalised. It is not always clear whether such directions amount to a variation of the contract as the parties may interpret the contract and the directions differently. The supplier will clearly expect additional payment where directions are likely to impact the costs of fabrication or the time to complete, but surprisingly often I see suppliers failing to communicate that the direction will have these impacts, and only requesting additional payment upon delivery of the equipment – far too late! It is important that where you consider a direction to be a variation, or where you consider a variation is necessary, you following the variation process set out in the contract. The process draws to attention the additional costs that will be incurred, and ensures that those costs have been consented to by the customer.
Conclusion It is understandable that when you are engaged to develop equipment for a construction project, the terms of agreement can be somewhat uninspiring. However, paying attention to the key areas that can cause the worst headaches down the track is a sensible and worthwhile process for any supplier. The risks that you may be exposed to can be considerable and knowing the extent of your liability in these key areas allows you to insure yourself and price your services appropriately. M+K Lawyers offers expert and professional advice nationally across the construction, process engineering, infrastructure and resources industries. Our clients include principals, head contractors, project managers, major subcontractors and suppliers. John Perry is an expert in Building and Construction law. Having over 30 years’ of experience in this area, John works closely with clients in a myriad of industries to solve complex building and construction issues and provide strategic and commercially-minded advice. John has the necessary skills and expertise to provide advice at any stage of the Building and Construction process. Please do not hesitate to contact the Building and Construction Team at M+K Lawyers on telephone (03) 9208 9821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.mk.com.au
AMT November 2015
forum – Logistics
Managing & calculating ‘true’ lead times across your supply chain Lawrence Christoffelsz explains the importance of employing external expert supply chain professionals in order to ensure a business owner’s ability to maintain a certain level of control around their supply chain, thereby improving their ability to satisfy customer relationships. Over the course of 20+ years of working in international trade, it still surprises me when dealing with various stakeholders, how they commonly fail to consider all of the critical timelines and milestones in their supply chains. The essential ingredients in any successful supply chain are communication and visibility – not just of the shipment and customer delivery steps, but right from beginning to end of your product or order cycle. Australia is very unique when it comes to supply chain management. Many other markets enjoy lower real estate costs, wages and huge proximity advantages than those available to Australian importers. The vast size of Australia and distances between our capital cities, combined with how far away we are from the majority of manufacturing countries often doesn’t really register to other stakeholders. All of these factors mean that Australian importers/exporters need to carefully balance optimal inventory holdings with high customer service/satisfaction levels in an increasingly competitive market. By investing the time to analyse your sales (by product, order type, location, etc.), then you at least have the ability to maintain a certain level of control around your supply chain - and importantly your business cash flow! Fundamentally, it is best to strive to have all of your supply chain stakeholders on the ‘same page’, so that they each have an overall understanding of your business and expectations. This will not only benefit your longer-term relationships with your suppliers and service providers, it will also dramatically improve your ability to service and satisfy your most important relationships – with your customers. Supply chain management and logistics management are not the same thing – moving and storing your products are only part of the puzzle. A true supply chain professional must consider every aspect of your business and continue developing improved monitoring and measuring tools to provide the business with efficiency and flexibility to grow and prosper. If you fail to consider and monitor even a single critical milestone, then it will domino across all other areas of your supply chain and business. Luckily, today there a number of tools available to importers/exporters to assist with managing all of an organisation’s stakeholders and milestones. However, they often require a level of expertise and investment which sits outside the ‘core’ functions of a business. Even some of the world’s largest companies have recognised the benefits of leveraging external expert service providers who have the systems, networks and expertise to provide real-time visibility to their supply chain and manage day-to-day requirements. These services are not exclusively available to large organisations. In fact, they often provide the greatest benefit to small to medium importers and exporters who don’t possess the in-house resources or expertise to properly manage the supply chain requirements themselves. Yes, moving product from ‘A’ to ‘B’ isn’t brain surgery, and not really that hard to do… Place an order with a supplier, get in on a ship or a plane and ... it generally arrives at your doorstep relatively easily.
AMT November 2015
However, for those of you who have ever experienced the frustration of delays, incorrect orders, too much/too little stock, inadequate warehousing/storage or any other of the multiple, expensive scenarios which can occur in doing business internationally, you would probably agree that it actually requires a high level of skill and knowledge in order to get things right. Therefore, there are only two real options for any size business dealing in the import/export game: 1. Invest in securing or developing the art of innovative supply chain, or 2. Engage with external service providers who can provide this for you. Either way, the global landscape (and supply chain innovation) is changing at a rapid pace, so you must make a commitment to keep-up or risk becoming increasingly inefficient or, at worst, losing customers. You can have the best products and the most amazing sales strategy, but without having the proper management of your supply chain in order to get these products to your customers, then they are futile. Lawrence Christoffelsz is International Trade & Supply Chain Advisor. He is also Managing Director of Logistics Results Pty Ltd - an Australian-owned and operated company. This team of supply chain, logistics and international trade experts will increase your efficiencies and reduce the costs to your organisation. Logistics Results has developed a proven track record for high-quality and continuity in outsourced Supply Chain Optimisation around the world . Capabilities in organisational analytic design have helped to reinforce innovative methods, thus transforming all current operational models into innovative 21st Century mega platforms. Ph: 1300 13 17 18 www.logisticsresults.com.au www.exportresults.com.au Lawrence Christoffelsz is also Director and Board Member of the Australian Chamber of International Trade - www.acit.org.au
forum – OHS
Apprenticeships under pressure: industry body calls for urgent changes Apprenticeships are under pressure, with latest figures revealing falling numbers, high injury rates, fatigue management problems and a shift in training priorities, as explained by Brendan Torazzi The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) said a combination of the end of the mining boom, fewer manufacturing and engineering jobs, currency movements, and “relatively high unemployment” had hurt the apprenticeship sector. The situation had been exacerbated by decisions by governments to prioritise funding (incentives, user choice) away from traineeships. “ACPET believes these government policy and funding decisions need to be reviewed as a matter of priority,” ACPET’s submission to the Inquiry into Vocational Education and Training in New South Wales says.
Safety an issue A shift in government training priorities is not the only issue facing the sector, with latest WorkSafe Australia figures revealing workers aged under 25 years (young workers) account for 20% of work- related injuries experienced by all Australian workers. The 2009-10 figures reveal an injury rate of 66.1 work-related injuries per 1000 workers - 18% higher than the rate for workers aged 25 years and over (older workers: 56.2 injuries per 1000 workers). While young male workers had higher incidence rates of work-related injury than their female counterparts, on a ‘per hour’ basis young female workers had a frequency rate of injury 13% higher than young male workers. This corresponds to an injury rate of 66.1 work-related injuries per 1000 workers - 18% higher than the rate for workers aged 25 years and over (older workers: 56.2 injuries per 1000 workers). Young shift workers working on a full time basis had substantially higher incidence rates of work-related injury than their non-shift working counterparts, suggesting fatigue management may be an issue. When hours worked were considered, young female part time shift workers had the highest frequency rate of work-related injury compared to their young male and older worker counterparts.
ACPET calls for government reforms The combination of changed government priorities and pressures on the sector has prompted ACPET to call for a review of government policy covering apprenticeships. ACPET said there was no truth in speculation students and employers were dissatisfied with the training provided – or that quality was declining as a result of recent Vocational Education & Training (VET) reforms. Rather survey data indicated a “very-high” level of satisfaction. ACPET said National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) 2014 student data indicated 88.9 % of graduates in NSW were satisfied with the overall quality of training, compared to 87.6% nationally. The “high levels” of satisfaction had been maintained over the past decade, its submission says. For employers, the most recent National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) data (2013) indicated those in NSW had
similar engagement with the accredited training system as those nationally (52.9% compared to 51.9%). Nationally, employer satisfaction levels since 2005 had risen and fallen in line with their use of the accredited VET system, which itself “broadly tracks” economic circumstances In terms of ‘voting with their feet’, 45.3% of employers nationally used private training providers as their main provider of nationally recognised training compared to 16.7% for TAFE and 22.7% for professional or industry organisations. ACPET said the growth in contestability in VET over the past 20 years, accompanied by the increase in number and diversity of providers, has had a marked impact on the affordability and accessibility of VET as private providers. The greater efficiency (and flexibility) of private provision was highlighted in a report by Professional Fellow at Victoria University Peter Noonan in an August 2014 article in online publication, The Conversation, the submission argues. “Put simply, new delivery strategies that harness technology and adopt greater flexibility in regard to facilities and staffing are underpinning private provider efficiencies that are enabling more affordable and accessible VET without compromising quality or outcomes. High cost does not necessarily equal quality nor does low cost necessarily mean lack of quality.” “It was noted above that NSW has the lowest proportion of contestable VET funding of any state and territory. ACPET analysis indicates this approach has had a significant adverse impact on the cost of delivering VET services. The 2014 NCVER student outcome survey indicated those receiving training through government-funded private providers were more likely to be employed after training compared to TAFE graduates (79% vs. 74%). Of those not employed before training, a lower proportion of government-funded TAFE graduates were employed after training compared to those from private providers, at 42.3% and 47.2% respectively in 2014. “While there has been some criticism that training packages do not meet industry demand, they do enable the flexibility for providers to tailor delivery resources and strategies to the needs of students and industry alike. It is also important to acknowledge that while VET training is closely aligned to the needs of the workforce only some 40% of graduates work in the field of their study. The portability and flexibility of VET qualifications, therefore, is important in maximising ongoing employment opportunities and responding to changing workforce needs.” Many ACPET members have developed and deliver accredited courses that respond to niche labour market, student and employer needs. They are integral to a flexible, responsive VET sector. 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 www.alertforce.com.au
AMT November 2015
Big wheels & little wheels – the story of Sir Laurence John Hartnett (1898 – 1986)
Laurence of India
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 Australia’s GM-Holden 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. Cars gave Sir Laurence the “opportunity to serve my country in a thousand ways in peace and war”. In this instalment, India is Laurence’s next opportunity. And 4000 miles of dirt roads are the highways “Sahib” Hartnett must traverse, but it’s all part of the excitement. The year is 1926 and Europeans are a rarity in the villages of southern India!
he only impediment to marrying Gladys – my “girl next door” who was back in England while I was in Singapore, was the clause in my contract with Guthrie’s forbidding marriage during the first three years of my term. This was, fortunately, over-ruled in my case. I quickly cabled Gladys in the UK who accepted my proposal and made the trip to Singapore, where we married in 1925. Gladys and I spent several happy months as she settled into the gay social life of the island. But late in 1925, I received a cable from General Motors (GM), New York. By this time I had earned quite a reputation with the GM Export Company, and they suggested that instead of renewing my contract with Guthrie’s, I should join the GM organization.
If I accepted GM’s offer I would be on the New York payroll with a US dollar salary and all the special allowances given to an American on assignment in foreign parts. The job would carry five hundred dollars a month, plus allowances. My first assignment would be India, where I would help to organize distribution of GM vehicles, appoint distributors, and iron out the many problems the company was facing in that country. The aim of course would be to increase the sales of GM products. I was tempted; and after consulting Gladys, I accepted GM’s offer and was appointed Assistant to the GM Zone Manager in India for the India, Burma and Ceylon sales areas - quite a territory, with quite a potential for two men to handle and develop. The only way to straighten out the distribution problems was to go out and have a look at them, so Gladys and I, with the service man, an Indian bearer and our syce (driver), set off in a Buick Tourer. Very few Europeans in India at that time had made a trip by car right through the south of India, so we were quite a novelty. Whenever we stopped, crowds of Indians would pause to watch us. Perhaps Gladys’ golden hair attracted their attention more than anything else. The trip covered about four thousand miles and lasted nearly three months. In those days of dirt roads, tracks and few bridges, it was quite an adventure. It was tough going
for Gladys, but she didn’t complain. At least I knew my territory and knew where dealers could be appointed. I divided up the territory and appointed new distributors. Orders for cars mounted. Sales went up and GM New York expressed their appreciation in a nice bonus. Just when things were building up beautifully, I got malaria. Dysentery followed, and I was a very sick young man. The doctors said that I should leave India as soon as I was fit enough to travel. GM was wonderful in this time of personal crisis. “Get to Europe as quickly as possible,” I was told in a cable, “then, when you’re well again, come and join us in head office here in New York. Gladys and I sailed for home. I felt very weak and couldn’t arouse any feelings of regret to be leaving my post. I just wanted to sleep to escape the ghastly shivers of malaria and the weakening pain and nausea of dysentery. And sleep I did on the boat – day and night. By the time we reached England, I was feeling fit again. I was asked to come to New York when I was fit enough, so 1 sailed on to America. There was a job to be done in New York, at GM’s Export Company. My first assignment was to visit all the GM car factories to see how GM operated and
1926, India. Laurence and his wife Gladys encounter a working elephant on the road
achieved the high volume of sales and production. My engineering and technical background quickly showed itself. I was given another interesting assignment as “technical liaison man” which involved dealings with GM of Canada, so 1 spent much of my time in Canada. This job led to a new task: to assemble and check the facts on territories outside America where GM assembly plants could be set up effectively. Our first child was born in 1927 and while I was on leave in the UK, GM cabled me saying: “Approved establishment of an assembly plant Stockholm, Sweden. You are appointed sales manager”. Next stop: Sweden!
This is an extract from ‘Big Wheels & Little Wheels’, by Sir Laurence Hartnett as told to John Veitch, 1964. © Deirdre Barnett.
AMT November 2015
To be continued…
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Shane Infanti – Chief Executive Officer AMTIL
Put the work back into networking Networking is not just about being face to face with somebody in a business environment. There are many ways in which you can network, some without even leaving your desk. The art to networking is to make the effort – continuously. A lot of people I talk to in the industry want networking opportunities. The problem is, many of them do not have the time to attend functions, which is the traditional way many people think of when they contemplate networking. Of course, these networking activities are good and what we try to do with the ones that we organise is to have some keynote speakers that not only make for good networking but also provide that knowledge and educational element to them as well. But there are many different ways of meeting people, making introductions and fostering relationships other than the evening ‘networking’ function. Here at AMTIL we recognise this and are making efforts to try a number of different activities that will serve the networking purpose. Plant tours are a great way to network. Not only do you get to see how another successful organisation runs its business, but it is usually done with a small group of people with likeminded interests. You get to see first-hand a company in operation, can ask questions and meet new people over a cup of coffee and biscuits. Some of the best networking activity I have done over the years is attending international exhibitions such as EMO, Jimtof and IMTS. Getting to know our members on a more personal level has been very rewarding. Making introductions between members at these events has also resulted in good relationships being developed. I appreciate it is not a cheap exercise to travel overseas to visit trade shows, but if you are thinking of going (particularly to the ones mentioned above) you should make it known to AMTIL because we could certainly enhance the trip with some good networking opportunities over a beer or two. Speaking about a beer or two, social get-togethers are another great way to meet people outside of the traditional working environment. Whether it be a quiet lunch with a few new people, a golf day or a meeting at the pub, they are all ways in which ‘breaking the ice’ can be done in a social atmosphere. I am keen for AMTIL to do more of these activities over the coming year, not just because I enjoy a beer or two, but because I truly believe getting to know somebody socially builds trust, and relationships prosper from it. I have got to know many people through Linked In. Some of them I have not even met yet but I feel connected to them because we have shared a common interest in a topic or blog. Of course, on-line methods of networking are not just limited to Linked In so find out what works for you and start networking from your office chair or mobile phone. I’ll be interested to see how many people make contact with me through Linked In as a result of reading this. Making better use of your relevant industry association, whether it is AMTIL or others, is also a good way to make introductions. So whatever works for you in networking, find it and apply some consistency to it so you get the pay-off you are looking for.
AMTIL holds 2015 AGM AMTIL’s members were out in force on 22 October for our annual general meeting (AGM) at the Riversdale Golf Club in south-east Melbourne. The event drew an impressive turnout, with a mix of new and long-term members in attendance and a packed schedule of association business to get through. Members in attendance were able to hear about AMTIL’s latest plans and initiatives, as well as getting an update from AMTIL CEO Shane Infanti on the previous year’s activities. AMTIL President Paul Fowler gave a Welcome address, while Board Member Saxon Fletcher provided a summary of AMTIL’s financial report. Fletcher, along with fellow Board members Brigitte Stavar and Mark Dobrich, were all up for nomination, and were renominated for another two-year term. In addition, AMTIL welcomed a new member to its Board, as Phil Xuereb of Sutton Tools was confirmed to join. “We’re very glad that all of our Board members will remain in place,” said Infanti. “All of the Board give up their time completely voluntarily to do this, so on behalf of AMTIL and its membership, I’d like to express our gratitude for their invaluable contribution. And I’d like to welcome Phil, whose experience and insight will be of great benefit to AMTIL going forward.” Amid the usual items of business, the AGM also featured presentations on issues of importance to AMTIL members. Jeannette Hanna from AusIndustry was first to speak, offering a wealth of advice on how businesses could make the most of some of the government assistance schemes available, including the R&D Tax Incentive, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and Tradex. She also shared some insights on the activities of the Federal Government’s Industry Growth Centres. Hanna was followed by Rina Rose’meyer, Victoria Manager – Industry Skills at the Department of Education & Training. Rose’meyer outlined
the key elements of the Government’s Industry Skills Fund, which provides grants and advice for companies seeking to invest in training and improve the skills of their workforce. The final presentation, from Tony Hood, Director of Corporate Advisory at William Buck, was an informative talk on preparing your business for sale. Hood offered some invaluable tips on how to protect your business during the realisation process, how an investor might value your business, and what sort of factors can erode corporate value. Once all the business was done, the AGM offered a chance for AMTIL members to network with each other, catching up with old friends, and establishing new contacts. It was also a chance to interact with members of the AMTIL team, who as always were glad to hear members’ views on the association and its future direction. “I would like to thank the staff of AMTIL, under Shane’s leadership, for your daily efforts and passion for AMTIL and its members,” said Fowler. “Thank you to all AMTIL Board members for your continued commitment and input into the strategic development and guidance of AMTIL; your time and contribution is highly valued. A big thanks, saved to last, goes out to all our Members. Your support of AMTIL, our activities and initiatives makes AMTIL a proudly professional Industry Association delivering value to its members.” If you would like contact any of the speakers to discuss the content of their presentations, AMTIL would be happy to make the necessary introductions. Please contact Events Manager Kim Warren on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vale AMTIL Members It is with much sadness that we note the passing of two longtime machine tool people over the past month. Geoff Payne was as we say ‘A true Gentleman’, one of the elder statesmen to the industry. Geoff was most recently working for Integral Machine Tools. He had completed his apprenticeship in the western suburbs then went into machine tool sales with his own business representing Bridgeport in Australia. He had gone on to work at Herless Machinery then finally on to Integral. Geoff’s funeral was attended by many, mostly from the manufacturing industry in Melbourne.
At your service. AMTIL supports its members through its select range of AMTIL Service Partners. www.amtil.com.au/Membership/Service-Partners
Michael Bibby was well known to the industry over the past 30+ years, working with James Machinery since 1984. Prior to that he was employed by 600 Machine Tools, so he spent his lifetime in the machine tool game. He was a well-respected and regarded man of the industry. Michael passed away on 9th October after a short battle with cancer. 1252AMTIL
Our condolences go to Geoff and Michael’s families during this most difficult time. AMT November 2015
Mark your diaries – AMTIL site tours AMTIL’s highly successful series of site tours will be continuing in November, with spaces still available for our visits to ANCA and RØDE Microphones. Both ANCA and RØDE are regularly cited as examples of the very best of Australian manufacturing today, using state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated processes to make high-value-add, proudly Australian-made products that are exported all over the world. These site tours will give you the opportunity to look behind the scenes at these highly successful companies and learn some of the factors behind their achievements.
• Experience first-hand how ANCA’s CNC machines – worth between $200,000 and $1m – are manufactured
ANCA – A global leader
• Watch machine demonstrations including automation such as robotics
Founded in 1974, ANCA has gone on to become a world leader in quality CNC grinding machines and CNC systems. ANCA sells to a wide range of industries including aerospace, medical, automotive, electronic, tool manufacturers and even woodwork. The company operates in a highly technical, advanced manufacturing space and exports 99% of the product produced in Australia. In 2008, sister-company ANCA Motion was founded to focus exclusively on OEM CNC applications. One of only a handful of Australian companies producing machine tools today, the ANCA Group has been identified as a true ‘Hidden Champion’ of the manufacturing industry worldwide. AMTIL’s tour of ANCA’s modern plant in Bayswayer, Victoria, will present the opportunity to see some of the latest in manufacturing equipment in an extensive facility that covers 14,000sqm spread across multiple buildings. Visitors will see a successful Australian manufacturing company in action and learn how technology and innovation in a niche market can be used to grow sales both at home and overseas
• See the technology behind them. • Find out about ANCA’s design process and methodology. • See the ANCA Apprentice Training Centre and the Grinding Centre for R&D.
RØDE Microphones – Sound business From humble beginnings in the 1990s, RØDE today is a globally respected designer and manufacturer of world-class audio microphones, related accessories and audio software. It produces some 500,000 microphones every year, exporting RØDE Microphones them to over 4,000 retailers in more founder and CEO Peter than 100 countries. Its products are Freedman with a casing used in studio and location sound for a shotgun mic. recording as well as live sound reinforcement. RØDE’s focus on robotic automation has allowed it to ensure that its products continue to be manufactured in Australia. During the 90-minute tour of the RØDE facilities in Silverwater, NSW, you will be able to see: • Custom automated manufacturing systems.
ANCA Motion’s premises in Bayswater, Victoria.
• A brand new anechoic chamber and industry-leading test and measurement equipment. • High-tech automated CNC equipment. • A state-of-the-art-automated ceramic paint line. • New product development, R&D facilities and global distribution hub. The ANCA tour will take place on 10 November in Bayswater, Victoria. The RØDE Microphones will be held on 11 November in Silverwater, NSW. To book you place on either of these tours visit AMTIL’s website. Details of further site tours are emerging all the time so keep an eye on the website to find out more. www.amtil.com.au/Events/Local-Events
Book now for Christmas events Christmas is coming up fast, and AMTIL has a packed schedule of events scheduled where you can join us and celebrate. However, be quick to book your spot – they’re filling up fast. In the run-up to the festive season, AMTIL will be holding a range of events, including our ever-popular corporate Golf Day, and Christmas meals in Sydney and Brisbane. • 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
AMT November 2015
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EB Fusion Pty Ltd 15 Batman Street West Melbourne, VIC 3003 T: 03 9320 1107 email@example.com www.ebfusion.com.au
Marand 153 Keys Road Moorabbin, VIC 3189 T: 03 8552 0600 firstname.lastname@example.org www.marand.com.au
Awards win for AMTIL member ANCA ANCA came away the winner in the Manufacturing category at the Governor of Victoria Export Awards (GOVEA) on 30 September. The company, a market leading CNC tool grinder manufacturing business and longstanding member of AMTIL, will represent Victorian manufacturing at the Australian Export Awards on 27 November. ANCA has a history of achievement, having won ten GOVEA awards and two Australian Export awards previously. With a Melbourne headquarters the privately owned company turns over $200m annually and employs over 950 staff globally. Co-founder and Director Pat Boland commented: “We are very proud to be recognised by one of the most prestigious business awards for our innovation excellence and ongoing contribution to the Australian economy. ANCA is proof that an Australian company can successfully compete and prosper in a global market and I thank our amazing team whose hard work helps us retain our leadership position. “ANCA’s success has been in the development of world leading products that solve customer needs and supporting these products with advanced and lean factories and a global sales and service distribution system. Precision cutting tools are a fundamental component of advanced manufacturing and ANCA is immensely proud of its contribution to global progress.” The 2015 financial year was another year of high growth for ANCA, with a 39% increase in export sales and the release of new technology. Testament to ANCA’s success is its market leadership position in regions which have a long heritage of manufacturing excellence such as Germany, Japan and the US, as well as dominating in more recent growth markets like China. In June, ANCA opened its new state-of-the-art European headquarters in Weinheim, Germany, moving its base from Mannheim. The new facility involved an investment of over €4m and provided the extra resources required to meet growth in this core region. ANCA co-founder Pat Boland (centre) with Victorian Industry Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AM.
Stay ahead with HotSpots Designed specifically for AMTIL members, HotSpots provides information and resources concerning our industry and the workplace, as well as various useful services for your business. Many of the items featured are available exclusively to our members only. HotSpots are broken down into four categories: • Industry – These are industry-wide notices that AMTIL feels are of import to its members. • Service – AMTIL has developed relationships with expert service providers in various disciplines and is able to offer these services exclusively to our membership. • Opportunity – These items offer a chance to quote or connect with a contract, available only through the Members Only area of our website. We wish all our members good luck with their tender. • Networking – Here is where AMTIL provides members with notice of events and activities that offer chances to network with other like-minded business leaders and collaborate on strategic activities. • Workplace – From time to time, AMTIL is able to provide information to our members that they really should be aware of with regard to the manufacturing environment we work within. HotSpots is one place where AMTIL will try to make you aware. To access the detail behind the HotSpot, AMTIL’s members simply need to follow the links, and log in using their Username and Password. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact our office and an AMTIL staff member will help you with your membership details. If you are interested in gaining access to these HotSpots or you have something you feel will meet our criteria for listing, please forward them on to AMTIL for assessment by e-mailing email@example.com with the subject line HOTSPOT.
AMT November 2015
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 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 DMP China, Guangdong 18-21 November 2015 Includes Guangdong International Robot & Intelligent Manufacturing Expo; 17th DMP - International Mould and Metalworking Exhibition; International Plastics, Packaging & Rubber Exhibition; South China International Sheet Metal & Laser Show; D Mold Technology & Design Innovation Show; 3D Printing Show; Dongguan Metal Casting Show. www.dmpshow.com/lang-en/info.html 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
AMT November 2015
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 Pacific Design USA, California 9-11 February 2016 Leading design and manufacturing event. Includes the newest automation technologies. From robotics to vision inspection systems and Innovations in 3D Printing conference. http://pacdesignshow.designnews.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 AmCon Design & Contract Manufacturing Expo USA Seattle: 16-17 February 2016 Orlando: 8-9 March, 2016 Dever: 12-13 April, 2016 Kansas City: 3-4 May, 2016 Phoenix: 24-25 May, 2016 www.amconshows.com
Metal & Steel ME Egypt, Cairo 18-20 February 2016 The world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of steel and metal industry to meet the region’s growing requirements. Includes metal working machinery & technology. Co-located with Fabex. www.metalsteelegy.com PMTS India, Pune 19-21 February 2016 Pune Machine Tool Show. Includes engineering, machine tools, automation & automotive technology; presents the spectrum of developments in the machine tools sector. www.kdclglobal.com/pmts-2016-overview. php METAV Germany, Dusseldorf 23-27 February 2016 Exhibition for metalworking technologies. Core theme is creation chains involved in production, from CAD/CAM through to automation, with the focus on machine tools and production systems, high-precision tools, automated material flows, computer technology, industrial electronics and accessories. www.metav.de MACH 2016 UK, Birmingham 11-15 April 2016 Biennial premier manufacturing technologies event, dealing specifically with engineeringbased manufacturing. New zones, innovative technologies and a vibrant seminar program. www.machexhibition.com EXPOMAQ Mexico, León 12-15 April 2016 Mexican international machine tools exhibition. Guest country: Germany - German machine tool industry and a special presentation “German High Tech in Metal Working”. http://expomaq.org.mx SIMTOS South Korea, Goyang 13-17 April 2016 Includes turning, milling, boring, grinding, gear-cutting,metal forming machines, CNC, automation, inspection/measurement etc. www.simtos.org/Intro.do Industrial & Tool show USA Oklahoma: 4-5 May 2016 West Texas: 8-9 June 2016 Showcase of industrial products and services www.expoindustrialshows.com Mining & Engineering Indonesia, Indonesia, Jakarta 12-14 October 2016 International mining expo which delivers significant opportunities for local and international suppliers to launch latest products, technologies and services and network with mining professionals from Indonesia and the surrounding region www.miningandengineeringindo.com
industry calendar local Australian Construction Equipment Expo Melbourne Showgrounds 12-14 November 2015 The latest equipment, products and innovations in the construction industry. 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 Latest developments and issues surrounding Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Queensland. LNG exports of 8% pa for the last five years, 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 including exhibition, conference and 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
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 Mining & Engineering Western Australia Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre 3 – 5 May 2016, Biennial mining industry exhibition & conference focussing on the unique needs, challenges and opportunities facing WA’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 Queensland Mining & Engineering Exhibition, Mackay Showground 26 – 28 July 2016 Includes latest mining products, technologies & services. www.queenslandminingexpo.com.au Sydney Boat Show Sydney, Darling Harbour & Glebe Island 28 July – 1 August 2015 The largest recreational marine event in the southern hemisphere www.sydneyboatshow.com.au
feb/ mar16 Advertiser Index Hare & Forbes 13 ADFOAM 10 Hawkview Partners Pty Ltd 21 Alfex CNC 15 Industrial Laser 50-51 Amada Oceana 86 87 Iscar 2-3 AMTIL AMT 23 LMC Laser 35 AMTIL Membership 83 Machinery Forum 77 AMTIL ManufactureLink 81 MAPAL 33 AMTIL Hotspots 59 MTI Qualos 43, 57 Applied Machinery 17 OSG Asia Pty Ltd 4-5 BAC Systems Pty Ltd 53 Raymax 7 BOC Front Cover, 9 Sandvik 31 Compressed Air Australia 19 Taegutec 29 Creaform 88 Walter AG Singapore 11 Dimac 69 Hardman Brothers 8
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MOTORSPORT & AUTOMOTIVE We race into 2016 with a look at how Australian manufacturers are making their mark in the world of motorsports and the broader automotive sector. NANOTECHNOLOGY & MICRO-MACHINING
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SOFTWARE CUTTING TOOLS FORMING & FABRICATION MATERIAL REMOVAL AMT November 2015
“Our high quality standards and short lead times are what differentiates us from the competition, especially from overseas.”
Simon Mollison, General Manager at Form 2000, Melbourne.
It’s no secret that Australian manufacturing is struggling to survive in an increasingly globalised supply environment. Times have changed, as has the local supply chain market, and only nimble companies that make adaption a core function of their business survive. Melbourne-based Form 2000 is more than just a survivor. “A review of our business model lead us to identify a niche in high mix low volume” explains General Manager Simon Mollison. “Investment in factory automation gives a competitive advantage in this niche.” Manufacturing in Australia is shifting away from high-volume, low-mix production to high-mix, low-volume. At the same time, companies need to meet customer needs for high quality, fast delivery, and short lead times in order to remain competitive. “While we still have high-volume runs, the growth area is low-volume work,” explains General Manager Simon Mollison. “With high-volume work you have
the challenge of customers going to Asia and China in particular. However, low-volume work is their weakness and our strength.” “Our high mix, low volume capability allows us to meet our customers’ just-in-time inventory requirements. Over a whole year, we might deliver several hundred or even thousands of the same component however, split into many short runs. You can’t achieve that using imports.” There are many companies coming back from China to source locally, mainly for quality reasons; and quality is the company’s mainstay. Form 2000 constantly seeks to improve product quality and delivery time. Thus, Simon and his team are always on the lookout for ways to remove process bottlenecks and inefficiencies.In order to maximise the effectiveness of manual work in the operation, the company has heavily invested in up-to-date machinery including automation supplied by the leading global robotic sheet metal machinery vendor - Amada.
Form 2000’s investment in automation has positioned them as a preferred supplier to OEM’s looking for high quality sheet metal fabricated components. “Since 2007 we have exclusively invested in brand new machines, and the average age of our machines are only three or four years old,” Simon says. “Our 7,000-sqm facility houses a sizable array of fabrication equipment, including laser cutters, an automated fibre l a s e r w e l d e r, t u r r e t p u n c h e s , a u t o m a t e d b e n d i n g machines, fastener insertion and much more. We offer a long list of additional services including two powder coating lines to provide a total end-to-end solution for manufacturing our customers’ products.” Form 2000 is a true one-stop-shop for all sheet metal needs and except for machining and plating does not outsource any work, which offers several advantages, Simon says. “Manufacturing most of our work in-house gives us the ability to control quality and to shorten lead times. That is one of our advantages. Our comprehensive set of services integrates leading-edge equipment with a workforce of qualified manufacturing engineers, technicians and welders capable of transforming a concept into a well-priced product that exhibits an elevated level of quality.” Recently, Form 2000 has been bagging more business Recentl from Australia’s - and in particular Melbourne’s - surging rail and telecommunications industries with the help of their highly automated manufacturing facility, mainly consisting of Amada sheet metal machinery. Automation improves product repeatability while reducing labour and delivering more price competitive outcomes.
Robotic machinery allows Form 2000 to achieve high consistency and repeatability. Automation has traditionally been associated with high volume long production runs; today’s automated machines allow multiple parts to be run with unattended operation, opening up valuable resources and saving costs. “Automation for us is not totally about cutting out labour or operators, but for achieving consistent quality, tolerance and improving capacity,” Simon says. “If you do small runs over and over, automation such as automatic tool changing or pallet systems increase quality and consistency. And robots don’t get tired!” Form 2000 has an impressive suite of Amada m a c h i n e s i n c l u d i n g t w o o f A m a d a ’s l a t e s t s h e e t metal systems, an FLW4000 fibre laser welder and a fibre laser cutting machine FOL3015AJ with an ASF3015F automatic storage and retrieval system. Moreover, the fibre laser ensures minimum heat input, resulting in minimal component distortion. Automation delivers consistent, repeatable welds and cuts due to a small heat affected zone. “All in all, our high quality standards and short lead times are what differentiates us from the competition, especially from overseas, ” Simon concludes. “ We support our customers to design for manufacture or re-engineer their products. Our expertise, modern equipment, high engineering skills and our high degree of automation enables us to deal with a high mix of products - which at the end of the day is really the future of sheet metal manufacturing in Australia.”
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AMT Magazine November 2015