The Future of Manufacturing


 A CSIRO Newsletter                                                                                                            Inaugural edition   August 2010


CSIRO Future Manufacturing Flagship

A key foundation of CSIRO’s sustainable manufacturing strategy is the Future Manufacturing National Research Flagship. Through a research program which includes: Sustainable Materials; Flexible Electronics; Advanced Engineered Components and Advanced Fibrous Materials, the Flagship aims to deliver internationally competitive technologies in a coordinated approach, to help transition Australian manufacturing for sustainable global competitiveness and economic growth.

Manufacturing industry is critical to ensuring Australia’s future.
If we are to prosper as a nation we need to address the major national challenges and opportunities of increasing global competition in a carbon-constrained future.

In partnership with industry the Flagship will streamline the uptake of new technologies, crucial to improving the future competitiveness of our manufacturing sector, supporting the growth of new industries and high-skill, high-wage, green manufacturing jobs of the future.

Dr Swee Mak

Acting Director, Future Manufacturing Flagship

Funding boost to establish a Direct Manufacturing Centre

Manufacturing group pic


An innovative new consortium established by CSIRO and supported by the Victorian government, is set to make Victorian manufacturing more globally competitive, productive and green.

This project is supported by the Victorian Government via a $3 million grant under the Victoria's Science Agenda (VSA) Investment Fund. The $41 million VSA Investment Fund is supporting market driven collaborative projects that develop science and technology-based solutions.

The $3m funding through the Victorian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD) will contribute to the establishment of the Victorian Direct Manufacturing Centre (DMC).

The consortium includes ten Victorian manufacturing companies*, two Victorian universities, Swinburne University Technology and Deakin University and CSIRO's Light Metals Flagship.

Victorian Government funding will be matched with 50% cash and 50% in kind contributions by the industry partners while CSIRO and the universities will contribute in kind over the two-and-a-half year term of the Grant. Total contributions will be around $10 million, representing a significant investment by government, industry and research providers to help revitalise the manufacturing sector and deliver economic and environmental benefits to Victoria.

Two leading overseas technology providers, Linde Gas and CGT, will also participate indirectly in the consortium, linking the Centre with other global developments in direct manufacturing.  CSIRO is the lead agency acting on behalf of the consortium.

‘Direct manufacturing’ is a revolutionary concept  where components are manufactured directly from powder, ribbon or wire in a layered manner, by-passing conventional processes such as casting, forging, rolling, cutting, machining, welding, or drilling.

Direct manufacturing offers dramatic savings in labour, time, materials, energy and other costs, and significant reductions in adverse environmental impacts.

These technologies have the potential to deliver a “quantum leap’ in the manufacturing process and enable manufacturers in developed countries like Australia to compete with countries where labour costs are low.  

They also offer the opportunity to progress faster from concept to product and to produce parts from difficult-to-fabricate materials such as titanium, tantalum, nickel, cobalt and mixtures of these for advanced applications in aerospace, defence, mining, petroleum, biomedical and automotive industries.

As an example of these technologies, cold spray provides an exciting opportunity to develop directly manufactured products by accelerating particles to supersonic velocity and depositing layer by layer. The advantage of Cold Spray is that it has the ability to manufacture parts from oxygen sensitive materials such as titanium or tantalum without using a vacuum or protective atmosphere. This reduces the cost of manufacturing components from exotic materials considerably. 

Titanium and its alloys are versatile and valuable engineering materials, but manufacturing them, using conventional processes are difficult and costly. Australia dominates the world’s resources for titanium minerals, and Cold Spray can make a valuable contribution to establishing a titanium manufacturing industry and value add to Australian natural resources.

Nine initial projects will be established in the Centre. All of these are led by CSIRO and several are based on applications of Cold Spray Technology.

CSIRO’s work on these projects will be led by Dr Mahnaz Jahedi, who established CSIRO’s Cold Spray research capability and pioneered the introduction of Cold Spray technology to Australian industry. Dr Jahedi is the Director of the Centre.

Dr Mahnez Jahedi image

Dr Mahnaz Jahedi, Director, presenting at the first DMC meeting

To ensure the Direct Manufacturing Centre is focused on the needs of industry in Victoria, Frontline Australasia Pty Ltd has been appointed as the lead industry partner and the CEO of Frontline will be the chairman of the Centre Board. Frontline is recognised as an innovative and progressive manufacturer and since last year has been working with CSIRO to commercialize CSIRO Cold Spray Seamless Continuous Titanium Pipe Technology in a project in CSIRO’s Light Metals Flagship.

For further information on the Direct Manufacturing Centre, contact:
Dr Mahnaz Jahedi

Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development

*The ten Victorian manufacturing companies involved in the consortium include: Frontline Australasia Pty Ltd, A W Bell Pty Ltd, BOC Ltd, Camplex Pty Ltd, Derwent Industries Pty Ltd, Force Industries Pty Ltd, Kirk Engineering Services, Laserlife Littlejohn, Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd, United Surface Technologies Pty Ltd, International Technology Providers, Cold Gas Technology GmbH and Linde Gas


Innovative bio-degradable packaging foam to be developed at RMAX

A project by Maribyrnong-based manufacturer, RMAX and the CSIRO to develop innovative bio-degradable packaging foam was recently bolstered by a grant from the Victorian Government.

The project has secured funding of $800, 000 through the government’s ‘Victorian Science Agenda’ program. The grant will support research, development and commercialisation of the unique technology over a three year period.

Graham Attwood, General Manager of RMAX said: “The project is currently in the early stages of development, however we envisage it could fuel significant business growth within Victoria and more widely in Australia – with the potential to reach the overseas market in the future.

“This project provides a fundamental platform to develop a full portfolio of innovative solutions to the packaging industry, which is increasingly demanding higher standards particularly when it comes to environmental sustainability.”

He continued: “We are delighted to be partnering with the leading scientific-research body, CSIRO, who will provide us with the state-of-the-art materials technology. Ultimately, this project will be beneficial to business, consumers and the community as it provides a choice of protection packaging suited to specific applications.”

Further Information:
Graham Attwood: +61 3 8319 6801


Dr Barnard wins Frederick White Prize

Dr Barnard image

Dr Amanda Barnard

Dr Amanda Barnard has won the Australian Academy of Science Frederick White Prize for her contributions to the field of theoretical and computational nanoscience, and in particular in the area of modelling of the environmental stability of nanoparticles.

The Frederick White Prize is awarded to scientists who have significantly contributed to our understanding and progress in a range of physical sciences.

The Prize recognises the achievements of scientists in Australia who are engaged in research of intrinsic scientific merit, which has an actual or potential contribution to community interests, to rural or industrial progress or to the understanding of natural phenomena. Relevant areas of research are mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, and terrestrial and planetary sciences.

Amanda has made substantial contributions to the field of nanoscience, in particular to how nanoparticles interact with the environment and how environmental changes may affect their stability. Using supercomputer simulations, her research focuses on enabling scientists to understand how these tiny artificial pieces of matter interact with natural ecosystems.

Understanding the stability of nanoparticles is important because scientists need to know that what they have created in the laboratory remains the same in the environment. Consumers who buy products containing nanoparticles want to know how they will work under different conditions, when exposed to light, moisture or air, for example.

With eight national and international awards confirming her status as an internationally recognised physicist and world leader in nanomorphology, Amanda leads the Virtual Nanoscience Laboratory (VNLab) at CSIRO. She also contributes to prestigious journals such as Nature Nanotechnology and to international committees and symposiums that debate these issues.

Further Information:


DIISR and CSIRO engagement

DIISR logo

The DIISR and CSIRO engagement is critically important. CSIRO has considerable investment and capability in manufacturing innovation. The relationship with DIISR is critical to ensuring that CSIRO is assisting Australian Government programs.

CSIRO through its SME Engagement Centre enjoys a close connection with Enterprise Connect, which  is a program for developing Australian small and medium sized companies.

CSIRO and DIISR held a high level strategy meeting in March. This meeting resulted in a raft of interactions including:

  • Textile clothing and footwear industry discussions

  • A green manufacturing initiative

  • Assisting Australian manufacturing to maintain its competitive position in the world.

  • Connecting CSIRO activities on Industry Innovation Councils

CSIRO looks forward to ongoing dialogue with DIISR.

Further Information:
Damien Thomas: +613 9545 2896


Cleantech Science and Solutions – mainstream and at the edge

Richard Marles

The Hon. Richard Marles MP

CSIRO were sponsors of the recent Sir Mark Oliphant Conference, Cleantech Science and Solutions – mainstream and at the edge, held in Melbourne from 4-6 May 2010.

Opened by the Hon. Richard Marles MP Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry, the Conference brought together leaders in the field from across the world to discuss how economically viable clean technologies will drive the world towards sustainability through increased efficiency, reduced waste and the adoption of renewable energy.

Conducted over three days, the conference included a program of invited speakers across industry, academia, government and investors, plus a poster session for students, a public lecture, satellite activities embracing other sectors of the business community and a Conference dinner focussed on ‘Green Sports’. 

The Conference highlighted the work of outstanding young Australians who are making significant contributions to reducing our carbon footprint.


The Sir Mark Oliphant Conference series is managed on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Further Information:
Ms Tracey Nicholls, Future Manufacturing Flagship


Materials Science and Engineering Chief presents at Innovation Conference

Innovation image


Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE)'s Chief Calum Drummond, was invited to speak at the Materials Science Technologies – Improving Business Performance Innovation Series Luncheon in Sydney held last week.

The luncheon, which was hosted by Zernike Australia in partnership with the Australian Institute for Commercialisation, provided attending business leaders with a fascinating insight into world trends driving innovation and future business opportunities for Australia.

Calum discussed global megatrends in the Australian Manufacturing industry and the main sectors driving the development of future materials and device applications in Australia.

He identified five driving factors for future manufacturing – profitability, security of supply, license to operate, more service focused manufacturing industry, and increased custodianship with our planet.

Calum explained that finite resources and space and a rapidly increasing global population are fuelling the 'more from less' imperative, and product lifecycles are shifting from 'cradle to grave' to include the need for recycling and waste minimisation.

'New advanced materials and devices are a key element to having a sustainable Australian manufacturing sector', he said.

Australia's competitive advantage lies in developing niche, innovative 'value-add' products, particularly in preventative health, energy, mining, defence, transport and the 'green economy'.

Calum emphasised that opportunities can arise from collaboration between CSIRO and the Manufacturing industry and highlighted many past successes.

Other speakers at the event included Professor Lyndon Edwards, Head of the Institute of Materials Engineering at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, who further underlined how Australian companies can benefit from strong ties with research organisations such as CSIRO.

Michael Turner, International Director of Polymarketing Pty Ltd, also presented practical strategies to improve business performance and innovation.

To listen to a podcast of Calum Drummond's presentation visit Innovation Series Sydney – Material Science Technologies – Improving Business Performance [external link].



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