The Future of Manufacturing


 A CSIRO Newsletter                                                                                                            Inaugural edition   August 2010


Former PM launches Fibres Research and Innovation Centre

Former PM and group image

(L-R) Deakin University Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Sally Walker, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Chief Executive Megan Clark and Professor Xungai Wang, Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation, Deakin University

In a great day for CSIRO staff working in Advanced Fibrous Materials research, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made the surprise announcement on Friday 21st June of a new $102 million fibre research centre to be established at Deakin University.

Based at Deakin University's Waurn Ponds Campus, the Centre will be established under a collaborative agreement involving CSIRO, the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM) and Deakin University with support from Commonwealth funded Education Investment Fund (EIF).

The Centre will ensure a world-class fibre and manufacturing capability is established in Geelong with the resources to significantly improve the competitiveness of Australia's textile, clothing and footwear and advanced composites industries. It will develop new advanced materials which will ensure the industry can produce world-class knowledge-based products based on nanofibres, carbon fibres and smart functional materials.

Research at the Centre will aim to generate:

  • advanced composites capable of producing high-temperature, high-strength materials

  • new materials for medical applications like tissue engineering scaffolds which might eventually lead to the growth of artificial organs

  • environmental applications such as toxic chemical and heavy metal removal technologies

  • advanced body-armour materials designed to protect Australian soldiers.

CSIRO will contribute $17 million to the project, Deakin University will contribute $21 million, VCAMM $12 million and EIF $37 million.

Find out more about CSIRO’s Fibre Science and Engineering Research Program [External link]


Getting Smart with textiles to revolutionise combat sports

CSIRO has been working with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to produce a fully objective system to detect impact in combat sports.

The alliance has developed a game changing technology which provides real-time objective scoring, performance monitoring, and digital content management.

CSIRO's Dr Richard Helmer, who has been involved in the project since CSIRO was asked to join AIS' research three years ago, said the challenge was to deliver an economically viable garment technology tough enough to endure the conditions of the sport and that was easy to use.

The Automated Impact Sensing System uses instrumented boxing gear which detects contact between one contestant's boxing glove and the other's vest or head guard.

The contact triggers a signal to be sent to a computer in real time via Bluetooth and customised management software analyses the place and impact of the contact. If there is an instantaneous impact between one competitor's glove and the other's vest a point is awarded.

'We created a sensor fabric that could be added to an existing garment. It had to cover the area of interest for scoring and withstand repeated impacts and exposure to water and sweat', Dr Helmer said.

The team have successfully engineered an electronic fabric that can be made in large quantities on a commercial knitting machine. Its properties were engineered to be water resistant and have highly conductive paths that can be used in a wide range of garment sizes.

The system is being used in elite sports training at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and being showcased to the Amateur International Boxing community. The CSIRO and AIS' sensor technology is playing a pivotal role in supporting an emerging, modified form of boxing called Boxtag.

Boxtag is a new home grown safe form of community boxing which awards points for speed and skill, and has many new participants including women and adolescents. The automated scoring system is now routinely used as part of BoxTag tournaments.

Connecting across industries and aligning with small businesses in manufacturing are part of the goals of the CSIRO / AIS alliance. “The CSIRO and AIS collaboration is great for connecting diverse small businesses in manufacturing and service industries. In this case, we’re helping fitness, electronics and textiles, to improve elite sport and fast track the growth of a new home grown high energy community sport, said Dr Helmer.”

For more information, contact Dr Richard Helmer
Phone: +61 3 5246 4129


Hand in glove: small technology, big impact

hand in glove image


On the 7th July, Premier John Brumby announced a Victorian Science Agenda grant of $1.5 Million for innovative local glove manufacturer, Hysport International and research provider CSIRO to develop a glove that is puncture and heat resistant and resists microbiological pathogens.

Hysport International Pty Ltd [External link] – will work to create a prototype of a glove for the Victorian Government, while fibre chemistry and engineering specialists at Clayton and Belmont sites will draw upon their expertise to incorporate the protective functionality to the gloves. The aim of the team, led by Mr Robin Cranston, is to provide superior levels of personal protection, while producing a highly flexible glove.

“Among its many potential uses, this puncture resistant glove will provide maximum protection for our prison officers and other at-risk workers” the Premier said.

“This is a great example of how small technologies are impacting on all facets of our lives – from home to the workplace”.

This project will come under the Future Manufacturing Flagship’s Advanced Fibrous Materials theme.

For more information about this project,
contact Mr Robin Cranston



New textile technology centre launched

textile image

CSIRO, Bruck Textiles, RMIT University and the Defence Materials Technology Centre have joined forces to establish the Australian Textile Technologies and Innovation Centre (ATTIC).

ATTIC is a centre of excellence in textiles research, development and innovation, utilising the collective facilities, capabilities and expertise of the collaborators.

The members are confident that it is the first step in ensuring that Australia is positioned as a leading edge global player for high performance textile products.  ATTIC will have a strong focus on personal protection, environmental, health care, and military applications.

Bruck Textiles has provided a level of seed funding to ensure the necessary R&D for a sustainable Textiles industry in Australia is undertaken.

According to Bill Humphries, Future Manufacturing Flagship Advanced Fibrous Materials Theme Leader, "This initiative fits exactly with CSIRO’s strategy of working in industry-led clusters to develop globally competitive products.  The ATTIC partners bring together manufacturing, research and application skills to create new innovative products and processes, and this will provide further impetus in CSIRO’s interaction with innovative Australian textile companies to ensure Australia retains a world class textile manufacturing capacity.”

“We view collaborative research under ATTIC vital to our plans, not only for Bruck but for the Australian industry generally”, said Bruck’s CEO, Alan Williamson.

ATTIC activities will be managed by a Board comprising Bill Humphries (CSIRO), Keith Cowlishaw (RMIT), Viktor Verijenko (DMTC) and Patrick McDuling (Bruck).  Peter Kreitals, who oversaw the successful outcomes of the former Australian TCF Technology Network, has been appointed as an independent Chairman of ATTIC.

For more information contact Dr Bill Humphries
Phone: +61 3 5246 4777, Mobile 0418 314 320 


Cotton maturity device gives Australian cotton an international edge

CSIRO, the Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC) and the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC have licensed a cotton maturity measurement device to new start-up Australian Company Cottonscope Pty Ltd.

A fast, accurate and direct measurement of cotton maturity has been sought by the industry for decades. The Cotton Research Group led by Dr Stuart Gordon took up the challenge to invent and produce a prototype instrument, which is now in commercial production.

Dubbed the Cottonscope, it automatically measures cotton fibre maturity, directly and accurately, in around 25 seconds. Cottonscope is a fully automated microscope that captures the interference colours of cotton fibres situated between crossed polarizing lenses.  Image analysis is used to measure the colour of the fibres, which relates directly to their relative fibre maturity. 

The measurement can help determine when a crop is mature enough for harvest, thereby allowing for predictions of the ‘textile consequences’ of immature fibre on neps and dye uptake in fabric generated from in-field and ginning practices.  (Neps are small fibre entanglements associated with immature fibre that cause cotton yarn and fabric quality to be downgraded).

BSC Electronics Pty Ltd in Western Australia has established Cottonscope Pty Ltd to produce and market the instrument in Australia and overseas.

For more information on the Cottonscope, contact

Dr Stuart Gordon CSIRO Future Manufacturing Flagship
Phone: +61 3 5246 4809

Dr Geoff Naylor CSIRO Future Manufacturing Flagship
Phone: +61 3 5246 4046


Funding boost for stronger, lighter antiballistic textiles

antiballistic textile pic

CSIRO Future Manufacturing Flagship has been granted funding under the Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program to develop a fibre reinforced ceramic composite for flexible lightweight body armour.

CSIRO’s Lightweight, fibre reinforced ceramic inserts for ballistic protection was one of eight proposals selected as part of the latest round of Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program funding announced on the 30th July by Minister Greg Combet.

Two realities face Australian soldiers on duty in Allied or United Nations operations. The threat of injury from fragmentation, bullet or blunt trauma involves the highest risk, while the weight of multi-threat body armour impacts the soldier’s mobility during operations.

Dr Ilias Louis Kyratzis and team aim to develop lightweight and flexible fibre-reinforced ceramic composite panels with exceptionally high impact strength and ballistic protection that will reduce the soldier’s weight load by 50%.

Dr Kyratzis said it will combine CSIRO’s significant capabilities in the areas of nanocomposites, 2 and 3D textile structures, the fabrication of ceramic nano-particles with expertise from defence partners on operational analysis and force protection.

This simple but revolutionary concept combines the unique properties of hard, strong ceramics with the strength, flexibility and reinforcing properties of fibres to form a new lightweight material with exceptional impact strength to weight ratio.

For more information, contact Dr Ilias Louis Kyratzis
Phone: +61 3 9545 2394, Mobile: 0438 295737


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Upcoming Events

Metabolic Efficiency 2010 Symposium

23-24 September 2010
CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering
343 Royal Parade
Parkville VIC 3052
Contact: Dr Lance Macaulay

18th International Symposium on Surfactants in Solution

14-19 November 2010
The Sebel Albert Park Hotel
65 Queens Road
Melbourne VIC 3004
Contact: Dr Patrick Hartley

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