Deakin University Our Future Lecture Series – Advanced Manufacturing

Deakin University Waurn Ponds – Our Future Lecture Series Advanced Manufacturing

By Kane Smith 7 July 2017. Jeremy and I visited the Waurn Ponds Deakin University campus to view a lecture on Advanced Manufacturing on the evening of 6th July 2017.

The people involved:

  • Adrian Panow – Deakin Energy Director
  • Natalie Waldie – Project Manager at BAE Systems
  • Jake Dingle – CEO Carbon Revolution
  • David Halliwell – Director at the centre for Regional and Rural Futures

Adrian Panow was the MC for the night and the first guest speaker to take the stage was Natalie Waldie from BAE Systems.

Natalie Waldie joined BAE Systems in 2002 as a Systems Engineer and worked on the Nulka hovering rocket decoy in various analysis, simulation, then team lead roles. Ms Waldie has since made the move to Project Management and now leads the ESSM Blk 2 engineering development program. Ms Waldie has a double degree in Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Melbourne.

Advanced Manufacturing is one of the six industrial areas supported with growth centres by the federal government. Why would Geelong be interested in Advanced Manufacturing? Geelong (and Australia more generally) increasingly cannot compete with third world countries in traditional manufacturing. Our minimum wage is high and the transport costs are significantly larger to ship products globally. However, highly skilled workers come at a lower cost than other advanced economies, such as the US and Europe which is beneficial for companies involved in Advanced Manufacturing.

Advanced Manufacturing companies focus on high margin, high value products. These products are often found in niche markets. They also focus on Industry sectors where novelty is valued/sought (medical devices, aerospace, defence).

The biggest challenge of Advanced Manufacturing is keeping up with the costs as capital investment in new technology is high (long term ROI/time to market can be long). Another challenge is that the cost to employ technical experts is relatively high. Natalie shared some ideas to overcome these issues. Companies can leverage proximity of Deakin University and other centres of excellence to help with their research. They can also make connections with organisations like Engineers Australia, Australian Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council.

After Natalie spoke, Jake Dingle the CEO of Carbon Revolution shared the story of Carbon Revolution and how they have overcome challenges and ultimately grown in the last ten years.

Jake Dingle has a background in engineering, operations, strategy and mergers & acquisitions within Australian listed companies. He became involved with Carbon Revolution in 2008 as one of the initial investors and founders. Initially his role was that of Executive Chairman, which subsequently transferred to the Chief Executive Officer position following the establishment of the company with a full Board of Directors.

Jake spoke of the three phases Carbon Revolution had undertaken in the last 10 years.

Phase One – Developing prototypes 2007- 2013. The highly challenging process of ensuring products could overcome rigorous testing to align with potential client requirements.

Phase Two – Commercialisation. Carbon Revolution managed to secure Ford as a client as they were willing to take a risk on Carbon Revolution’s products and the 2016 Ford Mustang was the first vehicle to have carbon fibre wheels as standard equipment.

Phase Three – Industrialisation. Carbon Revolution will continue to grow in the future and gain cost benefits of improving their manufacturing processes as well as identify new products to bring to market.

David Halliwell then closed the lecture by reiterating how important people and partnerships are to Advanced Manufacturing’s continued growth in Geelong.

Feel free to get in touch with Kane to learn more about the evening.

0424 125 455



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