13 May 2014

National Manufacturing Week (NMW 2014) opened today with a challenge from Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb who reminded industry that "... just running fast enough isn't enough. To get ahead, you need to be running faster than your competitors."

Speaking as part of NMW 2014's Solutions Theatre speaker program, Professor Chubb pointed to examples of Australian manufacturers - such as the inventors of the Hills Hoist - who have reinvented themselves to keep at the forefront of industry developments, commenting that these examples show that Australia can "... innovate by instinct."  To make the most of innovative capacity, the Professor urges a more energetic level of IP transfer from research providers to industry.

Backing  Prof Chubb's proposal for better engagement between industry and research providers, NMW 2014 has been designed to open up cross-industry dialogue throughout the May 13 - 16 event.

To begin with, NMW is housing four separate speaker hubs on the exhibition floor, from which industry experts outline opportunities for collaboration and development.

Tuesday's program included presentations from Prof Veena Sahajwalla from UNSW, outlining how the University's SMART team is finding new ways to boost manufacturing's sustainability by incorporating end-of-life materials into production processes. For example, said Prof Sahajwalla,  a partnership with OneSteel has seen tyres used as a source of carbon in steel production,  - a process that has liberated 1.8million tyres from landfill, while reducing the resource load in OneSteel's steel production process.

In the Digital Manufacturing hub, industry experts provided more immediate examples of the benefits of partnering. Among speakers in this arena was strategic social design company ThreeFarm,  who - using the Autodesk design platform - is helping businesses leverage design for more sustainable production.

NMW will move into Day 2 with a continued focus on collaboration, as well as on emerging opportunities for Australian manufacturers. Among scheduled presentations will be Susie Tegen, Chief Executive, Australian Medical Technology speaking on prospects in medical technology. And to further boost cross-industry contact, NMW will also host a speed networking session, bringing attendees together to discuss key manufacturing issues in an informal environment.

NMW Exhibition Director, Anthony Reed comments that NMW 2014 opened on a solid note, with strong visitor numbers  creating a buzz from the very start of this year's event.

"NMW has become the 'must-attend' event because it brings together such a range of innovative products and services - from amazing 3D printing to robotics technologies - under one roof. Add to that NMW 2014's packed program of industry experts sharing ideas, achievements and strategies and the result is an event that that is making a difference to industry's capacity to manufacture a vibrant future," says Reed.

Entry to NMW & Ausplas 2014 and the Solutions Theatres (May 13 – 16, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park) is free to the trade. For more information, visit www.nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au