The conference held in Adelaide on 7th and 8th June showcased many remarkable achievements and advancements in the Australian composites field. The impressive lineup of speakers shared insights on composites’ contribution to the national economy, manufacturing innovations, engineering step-changes, and business conditions.
Australian sovereign manufacturing was palpable during our tour of the mighty RPC Pipe Systems Pty Ltd. Special thanks to Tony Caristo, Mark Robinson, Leigh Spencer and all those who welcomed us into their workplace. Mark Robinson, Engineering Manager also presented on continuous filament wound GRP pipes for jacking applications. Leigh – Technical Service Manager – showcased a reliable and cost-effective non-destructive testing system for GFRP assets using the UltraAnalytix™ Pulse Echo Ultrasonic system.
Jeremy Satchell, Head of the Global Access Program for BAE Systems Australia, a multinational defence, security, and aerospace company, highlighted how the program supports Australian SMEs in developing competitiveness for sustainable sovereign manufacturing, particularly relevant for offsetting weight in crewed and uncrewed defence vehicles across land, air, and sea.
Dr. Catherine Grace, Director of Space at the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC), discussed the opportunities for pioneering and innovative technologies through initiatives aimed at boosting the nation’s space capability.
Darryl Mincham, Managing Director of Mincham, highlighted the company’s sovereign development and production of lightweight solutions for defence and aerospace industries. Its ‘Tube Launched Aerial Delivery System’ (TLADS) includes sensor deployment, training aids, torpedo decoys, life raft systems, magnetic anomaly detector, electronic anomaly sensory and an electromagnetic pulse generator.
Darryl also explained the company’s commitment to employing veterans as a core company value.
Dr. Nisa Salim, Vice Chancellor’s Initiative Senior Research Fellow at the School of Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology, shared insights into graphene-enabled smart composites and their potential for structural health monitoring and predictive maintenance. Monique English, the Engagement Manager at Standards Australia, discussed efforts to align Australian composites with ISO standards to reduce barriers to trade.
- Batul Bharmal AGM of Exports at Crest Resins (India);
- Dr Nisa Salim, Vice Chancellors Initiative Senior Research Fellow, School of Engineering Swinburne University of Technology, who spoke on Graphene-enabled smart composites – Towards structural health monitoring and predictive maintenance
- Leona Reif, Past Director of FDP Composites and Past President of Composites Australia
- Kerryn Caulfield, Executive Director, Composites Australia who spoke of the size and scope of the Australian Composites sector.
- Dr Catherine Grace, Director Space, South Australian Space Industry Centre who spoke on Propelling Australia into a new world space ecosystem through space technology.
- Monique English, Engagement Manager, Standards Australia. Internationally aligning Australian composites with ISO Standards to reduce barriers to trade.
- Nicola Stanistreet, Director Pacific Resins
Ed Clark, Director of R&D Engineering for Adelaide based HighCom Australia, provided an outline of the company’s unique hydroclave technology – the XTclave composite curing technology installed at its Adelaide factory – that cycles of ultra-high isostatic pressure (up to 300bar) at elevated temperatures (up to 200 degC) that forms advanced materials into unique curvatures and complex geometries and shapes required of body armour, helmets and composite structures.
Andre Duarte, Business Development Manager at ACS-A (Advanced Composite Structures Australia), shared insights into the use of composite rolling stock for mining transport.
Andre used the case study of a composite ore wagon that offers a significant competitive advantage over existing rolling stock; as well as a tipper trailer that allows increased payload to be carried due to reduced vehicle tare mass.
Sustainability was covered by Jackson Lin, Deputy Manager of the Sales Department at Swancor, who discussed the company’s contribution to the zero-carbon era showcasing recyclable thermosetting resin system, ‘EzCiclo’ and ‘CleaVER.’ Tim McCafferty, Design Engineer with Sail GP presented his research on mechanically recycling cured fibreglass for reuse with virgin materials.
Luke Preston, Head of Technology and Partnerships at Quickstep Group, highlighted the automation of composites production to meet the growing demands of advanced mobility. While Lynden Vikingur, Director of Vikal International, revealed the world of building luxury tenders using precision design, engineering and manufacturing.
John Guiliano, representing H.B. Fuller, showcased the next generation of composites bonding techniques, highlighting Europe’s advancements in adhesive technology that eliminate the need for mechanical bonding. Concluding the event was, Jason LeCoultre, MD of Fuze Solutions (WA) who awed the audience with the company’s novel, controllable methods of repairing critical mining assets both on and offshore.
Delegates enjoyed the conference dinner at the Glenelg Surf Club, which provided an opportunity to network and forge meaningful connections. The annual trivia competition featured questions on obscure composite applications that encouraged lively rivalry to win the box of SA made chocolates.