21 Feb 2014

News that Sydney has overtaken Melbourne  as Australia's largest manufacturing centre speaks to the success of its many niche manufacturers, says Anthony Reed,  Exhibition Director of National Manufacturing Week 2014 (NMW), in Sydney from 13-16 May.

It is also good news for visitors to NMW, which is constantly evolving to reflect the latest trends. Designed to showcase technologies that help businesses build innovative, market-driven manufacturing capabilities, NMW is a significant opportunity for local manufacturers to arm themselves with the tools to maximise productivity, evolve their product offering and grow their business.

Sydney's manufacturing sector alone generated $21.7BN in 2012-13, with companies producing highly engineered medical and biotech products, as well as components for aerospace and advanced engineering sectors largely driving the growth. Other manufacturers are leapfrogging from their core local businesses to target the fast-growing Asian food and packaging markets, or diversifying to supply the  mining equipment and services (METS)  sector.

Sydney is also building pools of highly skilled workers, especially in Greater Western Sydney where almost 100,000 - around half of Sydney's manufacturing workforce - are employed.

"Despite operating in a tough marketplace, Sydney's manufacturers are gaining ground in global markets - and some are beginning to see a positive cycle where success builds on success," adds Reed.

NMW 2014 is bringing together transformative technologies from around the world for local manufacturing to see. NMW will present a record 15 Product Zones including dedicated areas for Sustainable, Digital and Additive Manufacturing, Machine Tools, Engineering Services and Advanced Materials. It will also incorporate Ausplas – Australia’s national trade exhibition for plastics technology – in Sydney for the first time since 1990.

In an industry ‘first’ - and addressing the challenge for smaller companies to fund the research that underpins technological innovation - NMW will also put visitors in direct contact with research providers at its R&D Hub. A further three open-access Solutions Theatres will provide a platform for industry experts in Digital Manufacturing, Health & Safety/CleanTech and  Plastics Technology to outline recent developments.

For participants such as R E Davison (participating as a visitor and as part of the Plastics Industry Manufacturers Association), NMW will be a vital source of new ideas.

R E Davison's General Manager, Keith Monaghan comments, "RE Davison Group - specialists in the moulding and assembly of intricate and technical products using Composite, Thermoset and Thermoplastic  moulding, Metal Pressing and Deep Drawing - has been operating from Rockdale, NSW since 1948. Very few Australian manufacturers can boast the 60+ years’ experience that we bring to the market.

"Companies like R E Davison are succeeding by finding and occupying a niche. For example, we focus on manufacturing highly technical, low to medium volume products - and having strong technical skills on board so that we can react quickly to the marketplaces needs. A number of companies are finding that this is the way forward - especially the medical devices companies and their suppliers who seem to be leading the way in commercialising scientific and technical advances. "We remain convinced about the benefits of manufacturing locally. We have the skills and technology to do amazing things and by developing products here, we can maintain control of each step in the production process, so business can be assured that our products will work right from the start.

"Australians are brilliant inventors - there are any number of great ideas out there. The key is to diversify our services, build on our strengths in specialist niches to support these ideas. That's one of the benefits of attending an event like NMW. It gives you the opportunity to have a look at the technical advances that can open up new fields and niche markets for your company."

NMW 2014 will be held at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. Entry is free to the trade. For more information or to register, visit