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Browse the latest product, supplier and industry news in the Australian manufacturing industry from manufacturers, industrial professionals and associations on Top4 News.
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Small sock-making business puts best foot forward

Small sock-making business puts best foot forward | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

LIKE a cat with a ball of wool, second-generation manufacturer Rob Law approaches his business with an intense and single-minded passion.

 

As joint manager of sock maker Humphrey Law, a family-run business that will clock up 70 years next year, it’s no surprise Mr Law knows his merino from his alpaca.

 

And just like the aforementioned feline, he won’t let go when he’s on to a strategy to advance the business — be it cutting waste, improving energy efficiency or jumping feet first into a training course to secure new work.

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Clermont and Moranbah are pushing through the mining downturn

Clermont and Moranbah are pushing through the mining downturn | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

In regional Queensland, communities that have been hit hard by the end of the mining boom are finding ways of adapting to the new economic realities they face.

 

Across the state, 20,000 jobs have been shed in the resource sector and one central Queensland town, which knows the boom and bust cycle all too well is Moranbah.

 

The town is located about 200 kilometres south-west of Mackay and it has been built primarily on the back of mining.

 

Melissa Westcott owns business in Moranbah's town centre and has lived there for 14 years.

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Self-respecting cyclists now have no excuse for yelling 'Oi'

Self-respecting cyclists now have no excuse for yelling 'Oi' | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

"The first thing a road cyclist does is throw away the bell," according to designer Hugo Davidson. He ought to know. For a while he too was part of cycling's fastidiously design-conscious Lycra brigade. Davidson's knowledge of streamlined aesthetics stems largely from 14 years as co-director of Knog, researching, designing and producing multi-award-winning bicycle accessories – locks, clothes, gloves and lights among them. And the key thing research revealed was that a $10,000 carbon fibre bike has no room for a cheap and clunky Chinese bell.

 

"The old style dome-shape bells don't have the aerodynamics or stealth that all the other components designed for road bikes have," Davidson explains. "You can catch your clothes on them and it stands out like 'the proverbial' on carbon-fibre bikes."

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Australian manufacturing hits massive performance in March

Australian manufacturing hits massive performance in March | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Manufacturing in Australia has shot up to its highest level of expansion since April 2004 according to Ai Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

 

The index, which takes into account production levels, new orders, deliveries, inventories and employment figures, all with varying weights, shows that the Australian manufacturing sector has expanded for nine months straight -the country’s longest period of expansion since 2006.

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Why finding a real alternative to sugar is so difficult

Why finding a real alternative to sugar is so difficult | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

So much for the decades in which fats and oils were public enemy number one on our dinner plates. There is more and more evidence that sugar – or more precisely, carbohydrate – is behind our increasing rates of obesity and heart disease. Even if the mechanisms by which this occurs are still not well defined, there are endless calls for reducing its quantities in the foods we eat.

 

Had we ever come up with a proper substitute for sugar, of course, we wouldn’t need to have this debate. In our sweetness-addicted era, it is one of science’s greatest challenges. So why has it eluded us for so long, and are we any closer to a solution?

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Businesses can make money by recycling

Businesses can make money by recycling | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Cafes in inner Sydney are paying to dump 3,000 tonnes of coffee grounds in landfill each year, when a little more attention to recycling could save them money.

 

A report from not-for-profit environmental group Planet Ark says 70 per cent of businesses think they are doing all they can to reduce waste, even though only 60 per cent of commercial and industrial waste is recycled.

 

If businesses use a recycling contractor to pick up their waste instead of sending it to landfill, they will save money and in some cases even make money, Planet Ark campaign head Brad Gray said.

 

'Most of the time businesses don't actually spend any time thinking about what they're paying for waste,' Mr Gray said.

'If they are part of a bigger building it's probably part of their rental fees.'

 

Recyclable items commonly sent to landfill include plastic, cardboard and food scraps.

 

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Daimler Trucks successfully tests WiFi-connected autonomous platoon

Daimler Trucks successfully tests WiFi-connected autonomous platoon | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Around 120 years after the invention of the truck, Daimler Trucks is bringing the industry into the internet age and is doing so through WiFi-connected autonomous platooning.

 

On Tuesday morning Daimler Trucks presented an impressive example of the possibilities opened up by the digital connection of trucks: Three WiFi-connected, autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz trucks operated on the autobahn with authorisation for public traffic as a wirelessly connected platoon.

 

The trucks followed closely using the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology known as Highway Pilot Connect, which reduced drag and returned a fuel saving of seven per cent.

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Ten everyday products with hidden environmental costs

Ten everyday products with hidden environmental costs | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Think your life is made easier by throwaway goods? Someone else's isn't. Here are 10 everyday items that come with a hefty environmental price tag.

Top4's insight:

10 products with hidden environmental costs

1: Coffee pods

2: Batteries

3: Disposable razors

4: Plastic packaging

5: Car tyres

6: Disposable chopsticks

7: Hand and nappy wipes

8: Make-up

9: Jeans

10: Mobile phone

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Far beyond rapid prototyping

Far beyond rapid prototyping | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

It’s been said that Australia’s industry has been a little slow to adopt additive manufacturing. However, local medical applications using various methods of 3D printing have gained global attention, and some are arguably world-leading.

 

Last month’s ABC 730 story on a titanium alloy vertebrae replacement, saving a patient from paralysis and eventual death, made news around the world. Other reported world-firsts in the last two years include a titanium heelbone replacement (saving a man’s leg) and last September’s sternum-and-ribcage implant created by CSIRO and Melbourne’s Anatomics.

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New Report Available: Global Market for Flame Retardant Chemicals

New Report Available: Global Market for Flame Retardant Chemicals | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Flame-retardants are compounds added to or applied in surface treatment of potentially flammable materials, including textiles and plastics. They inhibit, delay production of, or suppress flames to curb the spreading of fire. The global market for flame retardant chemicals is expected to grow at a healthy pace of 5.9 % from $7.1 billion in 2013 to over $10 billion during the forecast period. With 47% of the global market share, Asia-Pacific is the largest market for flame-retardants and it is also the fastest growing, principally driven by China. The second largest market is North America followed closely by Europe.

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Supermarkets versus farmers' markets: which is better in value and taste?

Supermarkets versus farmers' markets: which is better in value and taste? | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Supermarkets are known for being cheap, convenient, safe and reliable. Farmers' markets have a reputation for selling expensive meat, fruit and vegies to a privileged few at inconvenient times. Over the past year we have been shopping at supermarkets and farmers' markets in Sydney and Melbourne and comparing the price, flavour and quality of groceries bought at both. We looked over what was on offer at the farmers' market and then bought items in the median price range.

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Is Data Loss the Biggest Threat to Australian Manufacturers?

Is Data Loss the Biggest Threat to Australian Manufacturers? | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

The ever-increasing utilisation of big data is revolutionising the way Australian manufacturing companies do business. Today’s manufacturers are using advanced analytics to increase yields and reduce costs, with data analysis delivering insights which allow companies to improve process performance and streamline their operations.


But this increased reliance on data and the benefits it presents has not come without a cost. A recent survey found that in 2014 Australian companies lost a massive $65 billion as a direct result of data loss and the subsequent downtime experienced. These losses came from the 64 percent of Australian enterprises who experienced data loss or downtime in the last 12 months, with 44 percent experiencing revenue losses and 54 percent experiencing productivity losses.


The findings show that most companies are unaware of the impact and potential downtime cost of data loss, and are therefore unprepared for the consequences. For Australian manufacturers that are working to near capacity, and where near-zero downtime is the ultimate goal, an unexpected failure can be devastating to operations.

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Dulux AcraTex coating system provides uniform finish at Sunland Group Stage 3 Kellyville project

Dulux AcraTex coating system provides uniform finish at Sunland Group Stage 3 Kellyville project | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

The Sunland Group worked with Dulux AcraTex to ensure a single system finishing solution for their Stage 3 Kellyville project consisting of 147 townhouses and a community centre.


Sunland Group installed the Exsulite thermal facade system on the upper floors of The Parc Stage 3 and as an alternative wall cladding system to other nominated wall areas where a light cladding was specified and complemented with the use of EPS lightweight decorative features coated in situ. All ground floor construction used Hebel AAC PowerPanel.


Both the Exsulite thermal facade system and Hebel AAC PowerPanel were finished in Dulux AcraTex coating system to deliver a uniform standard finish to both ground and upper wall areas.

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Tiny microbes could help mining remediation

Tiny microbes could help mining remediation | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Termite guts could contribute to mining site rehabilitation and pay big dividends for the planet, thanks to University of Queensland research.

 

UQ School of Earth Sciences researcher Dr Emma Gagen said termite guts were under the microscope in research investigating how microorganisms could help remediate iron ore sites once mining stops.

 

The research, with Brazilian miner Vale, is tackling how to promote formation of canga, a type of iron cement crust that naturally forms as a protective layer over the top of iron ores.

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Blackbird Motorcyle Wear is so damn sexy and so damn safe

Blackbird Motorcyle Wear is so damn sexy and so damn safe | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

To look as hot as James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause or Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels is no mean feat. But rocking a sexy, biker look has been made easier thanks to an Aussie company that makes high quality leather jackets for on or off the bike or scooter.

 

Blackbird Motorcycle Wear was founded when its owners couldn’t find any motorcycle clothing that impressed them, so they decided to make their own line of fashionable biker gear to wear.

 

Thanks to high petrol prices and jam packed cities, motorbike and scooter sales have gone through the roof, which means more people than ever need good riding gear.

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Resources companies factoring in carbon price and renewable energy to reduce emissions

Resources companies factoring in carbon price and renewable energy to reduce emissions | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

A climate change consultant says Australian mining, oil and gas companies will not lose out to other countries if Australia adopts a carbon price or enters into an emissions trading scheme.

 

Anthony Horton is the principal of consultancy The Climate Guy, and works with international companies and governments to develop strategies for so-called green mining.

 

He believes concerns by the local industry a carbon price would give global competitors in countries without one an advantage, are misplaced.

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APPMA to launch inaugural Australian pavilion at Propak Asia 2016

APPMA to launch inaugural Australian pavilion at Propak Asia 2016 | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) will launch the inaugural Australian Pavilion at ProPak Asia 2016.

 

The event takes place in Bangkok from 15-18th June.

The APPMA developed the pavilion as a way to assist Australian packaging and processing manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products and companies to the Asian market.

 

ProPak Asia is Asia’s No.1 international processing & packaging trade event for Asia’s expanding food, drink & pharmaceutical industries. With a proven track record over 24 successful editions ProPak Asia consistently delivers the best results, high quality and quantity trade visitors from across Asia.

 

Exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion is HMPS, Adaptapack, Rhima, Confoil, Accupack, the APPMA and the Australian Institute of Packaging.

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Driverless cars to dent insurer profit

Driverless cars to dent insurer profit | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Driverless cars could conquer Australian roads and dramatically reduce accident rates, a trend that will be welcomed by consumers but heap pressure on the profit of motor insurers. 

 

New research from Moody's Investors Service found accident avoidance features in smart cars, such as automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, will lead to fewer accidents in the next five to 10 years. 

 

While this will boost motor insurer profit over the medium term, it could also dramatically cut insurers' gains over the long term as claims decrease and the costs soar of parts to repair high-tech cars.

 

Automaker behemoths including Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have flagged plans to roll out driverless cars by 2020 to 2025. Moody's analysis found a majority of cars could be self-driving by 2045, and are likely to become universal in three decades. 

 

 

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Taller, faster, sooner: Australia’s growth spurt

Taller, faster, sooner: Australia’s growth spurt | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Thunk is the sound of a teenager’s head connecting with a door frame constructed by colonial carpenters. The hardwood lintel capping the front door of Reynolds Cottage in Sydney’s The Rocks was built in 1829 and it’s just part of the obstacle course 18-year-old Jackson Raddysh must run each time he visits his father Wes’s workplace. Standing 191.7cm in his port-coloured Vans, Jackson looms over his 180.3cm-tall dad, who runs ghost tours of the former penal colony out of one of Australia’s oldest surviving dwellings.

 

To enter the tiny front room through its 183cm-high door and avoid the thunk, Jackson is forced to hunch his shoulders and shuffle through in a crouch. “It’s even worse out the back here,” he says, crooking his neck at a right angle to negotiate a doorway that comes up to his chin. Chipped paint on the transom suggests he’s not always successful. Wes brings up the rear, pointing out a second-storey window where dozens of people have spied the ghost of a little girl who died here in the distant past. Throwing out a cynical aside about the power of suggestion, his son is more intent right now on avoiding concussion.

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Soft drinks may be sweet but they are taking a bitter toll on more than half of Australians

Soft drinks may be sweet but they are taking a bitter toll on more than half of Australians | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

More than half of all Australians consume more than the maximum recommended daily intake of added sugars, according to a University of Sydney study, which experts have labelled "alarming".


The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found the worst habits among children and adolescents, revealing 76 per cent of children aged nine to 13 exceeded the guidelines for daily sugar intake.


Based on the most recent 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey of more than 8000 participants, it found 55 per cent of participants consumed more added sugars than recommended.

 

Sugar-sweetened beverages were revealed as the greatest source of added sugar in the Australian diet, followed by sugar and sweet spreads, and then cakes, biscuits, pastries and batter-based products.

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Flexible coatings help protect marine structures

Flexible coatings help protect marine structures | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Both abrasive and corrosive, the marine environment is unforgiving of maritime structures such as offshore platforms and rigs, and ocean-going vessels -all of which are major investments for the companies operating them.

 

All activities in a marine environment are impacted by corrosion; the prevention, control and remediation of which costs industry billions of dollars each year.

 

One way to minimise and mitigate the effect of some types of corrosion is through the use of flexible surface coatings that are resistant to chemical attack from petroleum products and salts.

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Drive a bargain in car buyers’ market

Drive a bargain in car buyers’ market | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

PETROL isn’t the only thing cheap right now. Local car dealerships are slashing prices like never before.

 

WA’s economic downturn, fierce competition and an abundance of 2015 plates has resulted in a

 

an extremely lopsided buyers’ market with cars at their most affordable in 40 years.

 

Some Perth dealerships are offering discounts of up to 14 per cent off the recommended price.

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Smartwatches are (or at least should be) a girl's best friend

Smartwatches are (or at least should be) a girl's best friend | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

Of all my many desires in life, a watch with Swarovski crystals has never been one of them. Diamonds and jewels aren't really my thing, but at CES 2016, when I tried on the new blinged-out Huawei Watch that's geared toward women, I couldn't help but feel beautiful. I was like a bride trying on her wedding dress for the first time. Next to the homely Samsung Gear S2 I was wearing, which I had thought looked just fine up to that point, I could see clearly that the future of smartwatches was in the hands -- well, technically, on the wrists -- of women.

 

Growing up my mother always wore a watch and I (being her smallest-biggest fan) always wanted to wear a watch, too. My watches often reflected my biggest interests at the time -- memorable models include a Tweety Bird timepiece with a plastic baby pink wristband and an Oakland A's one that had a mish-mash of the team's logos emblazoned on the straps like haphazardly placed stickers on a newspaper rack. Most recently, I bought a Swatch with a shiny black band and roman numerals on the face.

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Food manufacturer Pronto e Fresco enters voluntary administration

Food manufacturer Pronto e Fresco enters voluntary administration | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

A Melbourne-based manufacturer of antipasto food products is for sale, after the business collapsed into voluntary administration on Wednesday.

 

Pronto e Fresco Pty Ltd has been operating for more than 15 years and is based in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows.

 

The business supplies antipasto products such as semi-dried tomatoes, olives and grilled vegetables to the major Australian supermarkets, as well as other wholesale and retailer customers.

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Waratah trains: a downer for the manufacturer, but pretty good for Sydney

Waratah trains: a downer for the manufacturer, but pretty good for Sydney | Manufacturer | Scoop.it

It was a strange morning when the first Waratah train in passenger service rolled into Sydney's Redfern station in July 2011.


Typically, the initial run of a shiny new train fleet would be feted by politicians eager to claim the credit.


But that morning's Waratah enjoyed no such official solicitude. Nobody from the NSW government wanted to be associated with a train contract that had delivered its new carriages 18 months late.


Fast-forward to 2016 and the Waratahs are the pride of Sydney's rail fleet. They are the most comfortable trains on the network, and they break down the least.

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