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Australia’s first automated composites manufacturing facility opens

15 February 2016

Composites Australia was delighted to provide suppliers and manufacturers with the opportunity to tour Australia’s first automated composites manufacturing facility, recently opened at the UNSW Australia.

Click to view video from UNSW Automated Composites Manufacturing Facility -

Click to view video from UNSW Automated Composites Manufacturing Facility

Featuring ATL (automated tape laying) and AFP (automated fibre placement) capabilities, a major focus of the new facility is to facilitate industry access, enabling the Australian composites industry to develop automated manufacturing capability for the fabrication of high performance bespoke components.

The development of automated manufacturing capability in Australia has lagged significantly behind other nations, and has been further complicated by the lack of industry and research access to a suitable development facility. Having identified this need, the UNSW Australia led a successful bid for Australian Research Council Linkage funding, involving 9 Australian and international research institutions and two commercial companies to build a new facility with ATL (automated tape laying) and AFP (automated fibre placement) capabilities.

Professor Gangadhara Prusty, UNSW Deputy Director of  the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology and Head of the Advanced Structures and Materials research group in the university’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, welcomed the 80 guests from 50-plus organisations, and outlined the R&D and educational objectives of the facility.

With the focus on automated fabrication of high performance bespoke components, the facility will bring Australia in line with leading international research centres and promote fundamental and applied research into a range of fields including underwater renewable energy systems, space vehicle structures, multi-functional and smart materials and infrastructure capacity extension, Professor Prusty said.

This next-generation manufacturing technology will open opportunities for significant international collaboration and enable leading outcomes for Australasian science and engineering in aerospace, marine, civil, automotive, renewable energy and primary resources, he said.

Composites Australia Executive Manager, Kerryn Caulfield, congratulated Prof Prusty and the members of the joint funding bid for their vision and support of the advanced composites manufacturing sector.  “Investment in such high-end technology is out of the reach of most SMEs, but through this initiative composites manufacturers will be able to gain access to the technology and the leading engineering and research expertise of the collaborating research institutions, to be able to evaluate the opportunities and benefits such technology could offer their business and customers in the future.”