2015: A massive year for Australia’s advanced manufacturers

///2015: A massive year for Australia’s advanced manufacturers

2015: A massive year for Australia’s advanced manufacturers

Cochlear was among a number of advanced manufacturers who broke their own records in 2015.

Cochlear was among a number of advanced manufacturers who broke their own records in 2015.

If 2015 was supposed to be a tough year for Australian manufacturers; these forward-thinking companies clearly missed the memo.

The past 12 months were a chance for many of the advanced manufacturers AAMC has met to make an even bigger mark in global circles. Between them, these companies broke sales records, signed landmark contracts and brought world-first technology to the market.

Innovation and the latest in technology remained at the heart of Australia’s most successful advanced manufacturers.

Cochlear, the great Australian success story whose products have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, continued to break new barriers and its own records. Last financial year, Cochlear posted record sales of $941 million, thanks in part to its latest speech processor Nucleus 6, and a range of wireless accessories linked to it that dramatically improved hearing for its users.

Brisbane-based medical manufacturer Cook Medical Australia was also breaking records, with a 25 per cent increase in exports last year totalling $119.3 million.

Record exports kept Cook Medical Australia at the top of its game.

Record exports kept Cook Medical Australia at the top of its game.

In 2014, the company manufactured more than 10,000 stent grafts – used for the treatment of aortic aneurysms – along with more than 3000 custom-made medical devices and 750,000 needles to assist in the treatment of reproductive health.

Australia has begun to carve out a significant global position in medical devices and technology, with companies such as Cook Medical, CSL, in blood plasma therapies and vaccines, ResMed in sleep disorder treatments, and Cochlear, among those leading the charge.

Agilent Technologies settled into its new $25 million facility in southeastern Melbourne where it researches and improves scientific instrumentation for the world.  The company was developed 40 years ago out of CSIRO technology known as atomic absorption spectroscopy, said to be one of the most significant advances in chemical analysis in the 20th century.

Breseight Group, originally a traditional tool making “job shop”, has introduced to the world a groundbreaking image-guided software system for use in risky dental implant procedures. At the same time, the company achieved more than 250 per cent growth in its advanced manufacturing arm.

Elsewhere, an innovative system that enables defence personnel to communicate securely over connections such as Wi-Fi, 4G and satellites won its makers a prestigious Australian science prize.


Northrop Grumman M5 Network Security was awarded the Defence Science and Technology Group Eureka Prize in September for Outstanding Science for Safeguarding Australia.

Australia’s advanced manufacturers who have adapted continued to prosper.

Ten years ago, 90 per cent of Marand Precision Engineering’s workload was focused on the auto industry.

But with foresight and imagination, Marand has shifted it focus. Now one project – the manufacture of components for a fifth generation air combat jet – has put more than $1.3 billion on the table over the next 10 to 15 years.

Meanwhile Boeing Australia took on Australia’s largest aerospace contract, worth $5 billion over 20 years, working on wing control surfaces for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing Australia worked on the nation's largest aerospace contract.

Boeing Australia worked on the nation’s largest aerospace contract.

Over in Perth, Australia’s only publicly listed shipbuilding company Austal marked a significant milestone when it delivered its third Littoral Combat Ship to the US Navy – part of a 10-vessel, $US3.5 billion contract.

In December it announced it had signed a $63 million contract to construct two Cape Class Patrol Boats, adding to another eight it has designed, built and sustained previously.

In mining equipment, technology and services, companies like Korvest and Gekko Systems continued to find new markets and develop new high value products.

Of course, advanced manufacturing is all about looking to the future, and Dow Chemical predicted demand for the essential resources of food, water and energy would reach an all-time high by 2050.

To address these critical global challenges, the company established collaborations in Australia through sponsorships and partnerships with industry, academia, governments and other organisations to encourage sustained innovation from different sources.

Engineering powerhouse Siemens spoke of Australia being on the cusp of the next industrial revolution – also known as Industry 4.0 – where the cyber and physical worlds merge.

Siemens CEO Jeff Connolly said the challenge for Australia was to be ready for a world “where everything imaginable is connected to a network”.

“It’s a new way of working and thinking and will make competition global rather than local. It means that people from almost anywhere can participate in the relevant global supply chain – if you’re good enough,” he said.

GE Australia revealed how harnessing the power of the so-called ‘internet of things’ can lead to significant savings. A collection of sensors, for example, on GEnx jet engines, that power Jetstar’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, gather data on what is occurring in the airplane’s engine.

This can lead to increased fuel efficiency, but it can also help engineers pinpoint problems before they occur, reducing delays and cancellations.

In August, Geelong manufacturer Carbon Revolution’s culture of innovation paid off in spades, when it scored a landmark coup with Ford Motor Company in the US. The deal made it the first company in the world to supply mass-produced carbon fibre wheels on standard equipment for a major automaker.

Ford’s new Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R muscle car will include the Australian manufacturer’s cutting-edge one-piece wheels – a deal that Carbon Revolution believes will pave the way for other contracts with global car manufacturers.

Many more Australian-based manufacturers are developing new products and harnessing new processes, and taking their innovations to the world. We will continue to showcase these in 2016.

2018-01-09T11:59:21+11:00 December 17th, 2015|