Monday 21 June 2010

Collaborative project achieves innovations in energy efficient manufacturing

Collaborative project achieves innovations in energy efficient manufacturing


Frontline Australasia Pty Ltd, a Victorian precision components manufacturer, has utilised CSIRO cold spray technology to achieve significant new innovations in direct manufacturing.

Frontline, which has a long history of innovation, identified a manufacturing innovation developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and sought assistance from the Australian Institute for Commercialisation’s (AIC) TechFast program to access this technology.

The AIC TechFast program assists businesses across all industry sectors to solve product issues, to access technical capability and to identify new growth opportunities.  It does this by identifying and linking businesses with the best people and organisations.

The direct manufacturing technology developed by CSIRO is a process known as cold spray whereby small particles of a material are accelerated to supersonic speeds and are sprayed to produce near net shape parts, as opposed to the assembly of individual components.

Through facilitation by the AIC’s TechFast program, Frontline successfully negotiated a licence agreement to use CSIRO cold spray technology for a continuous production process for seamless titanium pipe.

 “The Australian Institute for Commercialisation was successful in facilitating the negotiations between Frontline Australasia and the CSIRO in establishing the research project and helping define the outcome targets”. Kevin Hooper, CEO, Frontline Australasia.

Frontline and CSIRO Light Metals Flagship/Materials Science and Engineering also agreed to a multi-million dollar collaborative project to further develop the technology for commercial use, giving Frontline access to CSIRO’s internationally recognised cold spray expertise and research facilities to tailor the technology to Frontline’s specific requirements.

“The CSIRO Light Metals Flagship Team has grasped our vision and needs, and generated truly innovative solutions which should lead to a new industry sector in Australia”. Bill Bardsley, R&D Manager, Frontline Australasia.

Frontline and CSIRO have commenced a joint development program for establishing a pilot plant for continuous production of seamless titanium pipe using cold spray technology. This will eliminate most of the processing steps involved in the conventional manufacturing route.  The resulting cost and energy savings are estimated to be at least 30%.

Dr Jahedi says, “Frontline’s continuous seamless titanium pipe pilot plant using cold spray technology will be a world first for this type of manufacturing plant”.

A patent application protecting the continuous process has recently been filed. Frontline Australasia also received a grant of $1,222,371 in the third round of the Climate Ready program of the Clean Business Australia initiative to further develop this capability.

The Frontline-CSIRO collaboration brings together leading Australian R&D with a progressive and innovative Australian manufacturing company, leading Australian efforts towards energy efficient manufacturing.

About the Australian Institute for Commercialisation (AIC):
The AIC is a leading service organisation helping innovators achieve commercial success. Around Australia we help business, research organisations and governments convert their ideas into successful outcomes.

Media Contact:
Rowan Gilmore, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation  +61 7 3853 5225

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