The big Thursday at the Australian Manufacturing Week. So much to see!

A clear sunny morning in Sydney once again. Up on the third floor above the trade show, the accounting firm William Buck was staging a Business Breakfast for manufacturing business owners full of advice I know manufacturers would benefit from, but some things I’m sure some owners don’t want to hear about. “One third of business owners do not have a succession plan,” said Mark Calvetti, Director at William Buck. “There should be more future proofing for businesses, especially manufacturing, because there are so many attached careers to that business. Staff, share-holders and creditors. In fact, 65% of the manufacturers in a recent survey had done no business valuation over the last three years. They had no idea of the value of their business.”

Invariably something goes wrong along the way in a lot of business stories. Disputes in family businesses perhaps, in a company without a shareholder agreement. The plea from lawyers speaking this morning, was that manufacturers and owners need to know to do a ‘financial due diligence’ on their nest egg.  Be ready for that unforeseen circumstance before it happens.

Quick! Down to the showfloor! BG Precision brings a whole new level of creative expression to manufacturing, using the revolution of Industry 5.0. Company director Barry Grogan says the company stepped back from working in mass production and went to smaller scale production. But they have brought the machines to the people. “Industry 5.0 is now upon us,” says Grogan. Giving the customers who need it, the means to take their own CNC project to the next level. “The interface of the system, allows the user to create whatever they want, within hours,” he continues. The secret is the CNC Router gear to make sure they make it correctly, and training. The routers work for non-ferrous material like timbers and plastics, but the BG Precision machines are spec’ed up to use with aluminium, copper, and brass. Engineers from Estonia, Dublin (where they all studied), and Melbourne came together, and through the pandemic the company was born.

Over inside the Additive Manufacturing Zone, Bilby3D’s Lee Bilby told me about a medical research client, which led her to reveal a personal story. At the start of the pandemic, living on a farm, she found herself struck down with a viral infection of the brain which didn’t allow her the use of her legs or her voice. “There was no way to treat a viral infection of the brain other than putting antibiotics in your mouth and hoping for the best,” she said. Her client Philip Boughton from Global Surgical Innovation has invented a 3D printed substance which dissolves in the body and leaves no by-products. “So, they can inject this into my temple and cure what I had,” she said casually. At least that is the way it is aiming to be when the procedure is at live trial stage. Bilby’s role in this medical research is more as a facilitator. “They tell me what they want to create, and I help them to make it happen,” says Bilby. “And that, is the best part of my job.”

Inside every trade show stand are the most astonishing stories. Innofocus Photonics is at a stand also amid the Additive Manufacturing Zone. What they are producing is at the cusp of a new industry in Australia. Fully patented nanofabrication builds can now ingrain data into surfaces. It might be fully invisible QR systems, IP data of one-off creations or histories of each and every item that comes off an assembly line. Medical applications include sheer-cut optic-fibres the width of a human hair, which can then have a full resolution lens for an HD video feed cut into the tip.  The most astonishing invention shown to me by Innofocus was a material which looked like it had a rainbow sheen built into it. “We are not reshaping the material, but instead, introducing a new component structure,” says CEO Frank Yeo. “The big difference is that we change the characteristic of the material. This cooling film will not only keep you cool, but can also be used to minimise power.” Houses, trucks, shipping containers. Clothing in the tropics. Passive cooling, reflecting 95% of the heat, back out away from the surface, merely by the presence of the nanostructure built into the surface of the film.