ALTHOUGH the manufacturing industry in Australia is undergoing significant change – and some companies are finding their futures hard to navigate – the innovators are finding success by embracing and adapting new technologies.

A good example of a company embracing what is being called ‘Industry 4.0’ is Queensland-based Watkins Steel, an innovator in using new digital measurement and augmented reality (AR) technologies creatively and economically to both shorten manufacturing times and attract new projects. 

Watkins Steel was recognised in the 2017 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards, winning ISPT Award for Digital Adoption Strategy and being acknowledged for its contribution to the continued growth of the Brisbane economy.

One of Watkins Steel’s highest profile projects became a centrepiece within the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Athletes Village and it illustrated Watkins’ expertise in digital manufacturing.

The Commonwealth Games Architectural Arbour Model was designed by Watkins Steel with the aid of AR systems that have been developed utilising Tekla software technologies and Microsoft HoloLens systems, combined with the training assistance of the Queensland-based manufacturing skills educator, Outsource Institute of Technology.

So impressive was the Commonwealth Games Architectural Arbour Model that it won a Tekla Building Information Modelling (BIM) Award for Australia and New Zealand. Watkins Steel won the international Sports and Recreation Category Award for its Tekla model of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Athletes Village Architectural Arbour and Disc Structure.

Outsource Institute of Technology managing director Carl Spruce said Watkins Steel was embracing the technological changes in manufacturing and is taking its lead in Australian steel fabrication to new levels.

“They have implemented augmented reality (AR) as part of their customer communications,” Mr Spruce said.

“For instance, Watkins Steel can design and draft entire buildings through their augmented reality and display the buildings in full size or scaled-down sizes so that their customers can see their new buildings (depicted) in real time and on site. 

“This feature also allows the company to plan their installations with greater accuracy and efficiency and it might also help them to provide a better service to their customers and to satisfy them to a greater degree.”

According to Watkins steel the advantages of utilising digital systems and AR include less time to produce steelwork; the quality of that work improves and rework is minimised; consistent and reliable data collected by the scan can be used by all parties; on-site time is reduced, allowing other trades to progress; and the project is completed sooner for handover and use.

Outsource Institute trains Watkins Steel’s employees in the Certificate III in Engineering – Technical CAD/CAM. The training so far has focused on Watkins staff who are directly involved with the drafting of the steel structures and converting the computer aided drafting (CAD) files into computer aided manufacturing (CAM) files for the workshop machinery.

Watkins Steel staff members also learn to build the AR files as part of the manufacturing process, so the structures can be viewed through the HoloLens AR/VR goggles by both staff and clients.

The process Watkins Steel is developing is a portent to future manufacturing – which is dubbed Industry 4.0 – where manufacturers are increasingly likely to rely on computerisation, automation and AR skills.

Watkins Steel has linked together a range of systems and developed almost 100 percent accuracy in design through to manufacture and installation. Results so far show Watkins producing steelwork in 12m lengths to plus-or-minus 1mm accuracy.

Watkins Steel’s unique system ties together a Faro Focus 3D Laser Scanner and Realworks Software for site measurement, Voortman V808 Coping Machine for automated and precise steel fabrication, Trimble Robotic Total Station and Field Link Software for onsite steel installation, and Trimble Connect for sharing models with clients in the cloud, interlinked by Trimble’s Tekla AR systems. 

Although there are other fabricators in Australia with some of this equipment, Watkins Steel is the first to link it all together and fully develop the four-step process between each element of steel manufacturing and installation.

INDUSTRY 4.0

While manufacturing in Australia took a body blow with the demise of large-scale automotive manufacturing in 2017, with the final closures of Ford, Toyota and Holden plants, the sector has rapidly diversified and there are doors opening in areas such as defence and, according to recent reports, space industries.

According to Outsource Institute and based on CSIRO research, while there has clearly been a decline, manufacturing remains a core part of Australia’s economy and represents the sixth largest sector in Australia in terms of total jobs. Manufacturing in all its forms currently accounts for 8 percent of national employment and remains one of Australia’s most important industries.

This new wave of technological advances in manufacturing, such as additive manufacturing and 3D printing, cyber-physical systems, cloud computing and cognitive computing is dubbed Industry 4.0. Outsource Institute's Mr Spruce said Industry 4.0 was characterised by improvements in efficiency and flexibility and the acquisition of previously unattainable capabilities, mostly through new technologies.

The demand for more expensive and bespoke products suggests that the manufacturing industry is not declining but evolving. According to research by the Australian Welding Institute, these changes are opening up opportunities for existing workers to expand their knowledge of the latest technologies and fill the science and technology gaps by upskilling.

Organisations at the forefront of this change, that are wanting to remain competitive in the industry, have commenced upskilling their workforces – and Watkins Steel is a prime example.

“Despite the declining traditional manufacturing industry in Australia, there are many opportunities for companies to fill the technology gaps by upskilling and cross-skilling workers for the more advanced manufacturing wave,”Mr Spruce said.

“Industry 4.0 creates what has been called the ‘smart factory’ and smart factories will need a ‘smart workforce’.

“The pressures that manufacturing is experiencing are not unique to Australia. Skills for the modern tradesperson are paramount to the success of a country’s manufacturing capability and their overall economic success – and therefore, this new wave involves upskilling.

“Industry 4.0 shows how fast technology advances and keeping up with these changes is crucial to everyone’s career progression.”

Outsource Institute’s new courses in Hydraulics, Instrumentation, Advanced Welding Technology and Pneumatics have been designed to specifically address upskilling challenges facing Australian manufacturers.

“There are other crucial skills that are important in the advancing manufacturing industry to bring your engineering career to the next level such as leadership skills and strong communication skills, which give you the capability to communicate your engineering knowledge to an uninitiated audience,” Mr Spruce said.

“Diversifying your skills will make you stand out in a competitive employment market and increase efficiency, customer satisfaction and effectiveness.”

According to the Australia Institute Centre for Future Work report, Manufacturing: a moment of opportunity 2017 “There is more economic space than at any time in recent years to expand investment, production, and employment in value-added manufacturing.”

For the Australian manufacturers who move quickly to upskill their workforces and invest in new capabilities – as Watkins Steel has – the future will be bright according to the Outsource Institute of Technology.

www.watkinssteel.com.au

www.outsourceinstitute.com.au

ends

AUSTRALIA’s only remaining watchmaker and timepiece manufacturer, Woolloongabba-based Adina, realised very early that the key to longevity was well-trained and enthusiastic staff.

As the last watchmakers to design and assemble their products in Australia, Adina’s founders and leadership team – founder Bob Menzies and his son and managing director Grant Menzies – understood that detailed training and support was vital for the heritage of the brand.  

Adina was founded in 1971 by Australian Robert ‘Bob’ Menzies – a determined entrepreneur and skilled timepiece engineer who dreamed of creating a watch capable of withstanding the rigours of the Australian lifestyle.

After months travelling the world sourcing premium components and advanced technology, Mr Menzies returned home to begin assembling his first watch collection. In a small storeroom in his family home, he designed and crafted each watch by hand, painstakingly ensuring the quality through an ever-fixed eyeglass.

This attention to detail and culture of hard work remains at the core of Adina’s business today as Adina remains the only company to design and assemble its complete watch collection in Australia.

Today the business has grown to a staff of 20, including Mr Menzies son Grant, building the craft of quality Australian watchmaking through the generations. Each year Adina produces more than 40,000 artisan watches from its Brisbane factory, available in over 300 retail outlets across the country.

The Bob Menzies vision lives on through Adina’s apprentices trained at the Australian Watchmaking School, a division of TAFE, at Ultimo in Sydney.

Making a watch is no easy task, the attention to detail required to produce quality timepieces are at the core of Adina’s values.

It is something apprentice watchmaker, Lindsay Baxter, knows it all too well. Having been with Adina for the past two years, he is half way through his watchmaking apprenticeship at the Australian Watchmaking School. 

Growing up in the regional Queensland town of Charters Towers with an interest in mechanics, it was an easy choice for LindsayBaxter to turn this fascination into a reality when an opportunity came up to undertake an apprenticeship and join the Adina Watches team.

What was not easy, though, was he lived almost1800km from the Adina workshops in Brisbane and a further 1000km from the Australian Watchmaking School in Sydney.

Determined to take the next step and kick-start his career as a watchmaker, Mr Baxter moved permanently to Brisbane and has travelled over the past two years from Brisbane to Sydney every six weeks to do a three-day block of the course.

“Travelling back and forth for years was definitely hard, but it has been well worth it,” Mr Baxter said. “Watchmaking is like no other job I’ve had within the engineering industry, and it’s something I’ve truly grown to love.

“The Adina Oceaneer ZT02 S5XB is probably my favourite watch to make. The highly technical elements can be quite challenging, but it’s like solving a beautiful and intricate puzzle – I just really enjoy it.”

Handcrafted in Brisbane by passionate watchmakers like Lindsay Baxter, Adina’s watches don’t just tell time, their unique, sophisticated and timeless designs make the perfect statement accessory for all occasions.

Through quality craftsmanship and evolving design, Adina has made a history of specialising in limited release watch collections. The brand remains a stronghold in regional Australia, where Adina watches are trusted to endure the outback’s harsh conditions. Their classic, lifestyle and contemporary fashion watches, for everything from a red carpet event to surfing, feature this same dependable and superior technology.

From the unassuming workshops of the factory, where the watchmakers carefully construct the timepieces, to the dynamic father and son figureheads, Adina continues to set the standard in design and technological innovation, while remaining true to its Australian roots.

www.adinawatches.com.au

ends

NSW RESEARCH CENTRES, universities and companies are expected to play a significant role in the development of next generation defence technologies as part of a new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems.

NSW Defence Advocate, retired Air Marshal John Harvey, said the new CRC would  tap into NSW expertise as part of national efforts to develop technologies to better equip and protect our defence forces, as well as open up new opportunities for industry.

The Federal Government will be investing about $50 million in the CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems from its Next Generation Technologies Fund over the next seven years to support autonomous systems projects.

“This is the first CRC in the Commonwealth’s program with a specific defence industry focus,” Air Marshal Harvey said.

“The University of NSW, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney are all contributing to the CRC’s operations, and one of Australia’s leading robotics experts, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte from the University of Sydney, was on the expert panel that helped create the new CRC,” he said.

Air Marshal Harvey said a number of NSW defence technology companies will be supporting partners in the CRC contributing their industry expertise in trusted autonomous systems. 

“These include Ocius Technology which has developed an unmanned marine vessel dubbed the ‘Bluebottle’ that is powered by solar, wind and wave energy, and that can be deployed at sea over months for wide area surveillance.

“Marrickville company Marathon Targets is also involved in the CRC. Marathon develops robotic targets for military marksmanship practice and has sold its technology to allied forces worldwide, including the United States Marine Corps.”

The NSW Government recently contributed $1.25 million to help establish a Defence Innovation Network to boost collaboration between universities and the defence industry. “Our Defence and Industry Strategy – NSW: Strong, Smart and Connected – has a strong emphasis on supporting defence scientific research and collaborating with other states, and the new CRC is a great opportunity to do both,” Air Marshal Harvey said.

www.industry.nsw.gov.au

ends

AS A SINGLE, working mother with two young daughters in Russia, Elena Gosse could hardly have imagined she would become a trail-blazing entrepreneur and CEO of one of Australia’s most innovative manufacturers, Australian Innovative Systems.

In fact, to support her daughters, one with a disability, Ms Gosse made her name in the entertainment industry in Russia and has overcome many battles on her journey to lead the multi-award-winning Queensland manufacturing business.

Australian Innovative systems (AIS) celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018 and today the company exports its unique electrolysis water treatment systems to 55 countries. 

Elena Gosse and her Russian-speaking Australian husband, Kerry, first met in Russia in 1992 and married two years later.  Ms Gosse and her daughters moved to Australia in 1994, settling in Brisbane. 

After studying English and completing further Australian education including a second university degree, Elena Gosse started with AIS in 1994, initially working with her husband as company director and secretary.  Since rising through the ranks to the position of CEO, she has become instrumental in the company’s spectacular growth, while Kerry Gosse remains at AIS as a company director.

AIS technology has become trusted by leading aquatic centres, swim schools, competition swimming pools, resorts, hotels, water parks and family swimming pools all over the world and the business is recognised as a leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators and water disinfection technology.

“Our unwavering commitment to research and development, along with excellence in manufacturing, has delivered a long list of proud achievements for our company,” Ms Gosse said.

“They include designing and manufacturing world-first technology, winning hundreds of international and national awards, and hosting visits from VIP clients, Prime Ministers and politicians.”

Drawing on her professional skills and extensive business network, Ms Gosse is also passionate about supporting and mentoring other women to help them achieve their full potential.
“My experience as a Russian immigrant has helped me to refine my business and personal vision,” she said. 

“It has also inspired me to assist other immigrants by encouraging and embracing cultural diversity in the AIS workplace and supporting the local community.”

Ms Gosse is in high demand as a guest speaker at business events and indulges in her lifelong love for acting, singing and dancing.

“Having undergone a dramatic career transformation since moving to Australia, I love sharing my professional and personal experiences with people, particularly other women,” Ms Gosse said.

www.aiswater.com.au

ends

LOCAL seat belt manufacturer APV Safety Products has won an initial contract to supply1000 seat belt harnesses to ArmorWorks Enterprises, Inc. – destined for the US Marine Corps.

APV’s access to North American defence supply chains has been facilitated by participation in the Federal Government’s Centre for Defence Industry Capability managed Global Supply Chain (GSC) program. 

“APV’s Australian-designed and manufactured harnesses integrate into blast-absorbing seating to offer the highest levels of survivability and safety,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said.

“This success is yet another win for Australia’s defence industry, and demonstrates the innovation and global competitiveness of our small to medium enterprises.

“APV formerly supplied the Australian car industry, and so this is a great example of an automotive business diversifying into other industries and it is exciting to see an Australia company playing a key role in keeping Australian and US troops safe in front line combat vehicles.”

Mr Pyne said the GSC has provided opportunities for Australian SMEs to compete for work in the supply chains of international defence prime contractors – and close to $1 billion in work has been awarded to mostly SMEs so far.

www.industry.gov.au

www.apvsafetyproducts.com

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122