Award-winning Australian advanced manufacturer Integra Systems has signed a ground-breaking agreement with Brink Industrial, a Dutch sheet metal solutions manufacturer and frontrunner in circular design and manufacturing, to embark on an international circular product manufacturing partnership.

A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. In addition to the many positive environmental impacts that circular economies provide, this digital licensing agreement – officially recognised and endorsed by the Netherlands Consul-General and Head of Trade and Investment missions to Australia, Frank van Beuningen – paves the way to overcoming a number of transport barriers and opening access to markets in Australia and the Netherlands for both companies.

“Sustainability is an important part of our economic policy, as well as our foreign policy more broadly,” explains Dai Forterre, Senior Policy Officer – Economic Affairs of The Netherlands Embassy in Australia, who helped facilitate the partnership. “I spend my time not just in what you would call economic diplomacy but what I call ‘green diplomacy’, and that’s where this really important collaboration meets – a balance between economic innovation and development, and the adoption of sustainability ideas. Circularity has been an important agenda point, so it’s really wonderful for us to see entrepreneurs taking up the mantle and using it to drive innovative business models.”

As a frontrunner in the Dutch Circular Economy, Brink Industrial is on a continual search to expand their network and create new partnerships, says Wido van den Bosch, Managing Director of Brink Industrial: “When I heard about Australia’s journey towards circularity and its desire to create valuable manufacturing jobs, I contacted the Dutch Embassy to learn about the possibilities to enter the Australian market. They not only advised us and pointed us in the right direction but also established contact with Steve Morriss of Planet Ark. Jointly, they facilitated the ‘birth’ of the partnership between Integra Systems and us.”

Paul Hughes, Managing Director and CEO of Integra Systems, believes the move is valuable, not just for Australian manufacturers but also for their counterparts in the Netherlands: “In terms of Australian and Dutch industries, it can aid in business development and expand new business opportunities. Reciprocity could see Integra’s Australian-designed products being manufactured under license by Brink and likewise. It could end up changing the look of products available on the Australian market.

“Digital licencing facilitates a circular economy and reduces emissions and waste in so many ways. With circularity, it doesn’t make sense to manufacture in one country and then ship the whole thing across the world to another country. So, when someone comes up with a smart product or a clever idea from another country, then we both utilise that and manufacture it locally.”

The agreement is a consolidation of the relationship already established between Integra and Brink. Integra Systems currently manufactures circular sanitiser units and recycling waste bin systems under licence from Brink Industrial subsidiary, Lune, for the Australian market. Conversely, Brink Industrial has expressed significant interest in integrating Integra’s Industry 4.0 touchscreen kiosk platform, DigiSMART, across their Dutch operations.