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Centre for direct manufacturing opens in Victoria

The Victorian Direct Manufacturing Centre has opened in Melbourne by a consortium led by CSIRO with the aim to increase productivity and sustainability of local manufacturing businesses.

The Centre’s Director Dr Mahnaz Jahedi at CSIRO said direct manufacturing was a “revolutionary concept.”

The idea involves the manufacturing of components directly from powder, ribbon or wire without conventional processes such as casting, machining, welding and drilling.

"It offers dramatic savings in labour, time, materials, energy and other costs, and significant reductions in adverse environmental impacts,” said Mr Jahedi.

The consortium has been established with support of the Victorian Government and includes 10 Victorian companies, Swinburne University of Technology, Deakin University and CSIRO as research providers.

Two leading overseas technology providers, Linde Gas and Cold Gas Technology GmbH (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.

Engineering company Frontline Australasia Pty Ltd has been appointed as the lead industry partner and Frontline’s CEO, Kevin Hooper, will be the Chairman of the Centre’s Board.

The Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development has provided a $3 million grant to the Centre under the Victoria’s Science Agenda (VSA) Investment Fund. The amount will be matched with 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent in contributions by industry partners. CSIRO and the universities will also contribute over the two-and-a-half year term of the grant to bring the total contributions to around $10 million.

"This represents a significant investment by government, industry and research providers to help revitalise the manufacturing sector and deliver economic and environmental benefits to Victoria," said Mr Jahedi.

The 10 Victorian manufacturing companies involved in the consortium are:

• 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 Pty Ltd,
• Laserlife Littlejohn,
• Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd, and
• United Surface Technologies Pty Ltd.

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