World-leading Aussie research recognised

DMTC congratulates the CAST Cooperative Research Centre (CAST CRC) on winning two prestigious awards for innovation and technology transfer at the CRC Association Awards for Excellence in Innovation Gala Dinner held in Alice Springs on Friday evening.

The awards recognised CAST’s work in the metals manufacturing sector and were bestowed at the Cooperative Research Centres Association’s Pathfinders 2010 Challenge and Change Conference.

For technologies to make better aluminium, CAST was presented with an Award for Excellence in Innovation by The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery and Member for Lingiari.  The award recognises outstanding success in innovative research being implemented by end users to the benefit of Australia.

CAST’s work building capacity in Australia in titanium machining to help local companies win aerospace and defence contracts was also honoured with the CRC Star Award.  The award, also presented by Minister Snowdon, is from the federal government’s CRC Program and acknowledges high level achievement in engaging with and helping to build success in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) through the transfer of CRC innovation.

On receiving the awards CAST CEO George Collins said, “these awards recognise the productive relationships that we have built up over many years between research providers and industry.  These relationships are at the heart of cooperative research.”

“These fantastic achievements are due to the exceptional people who work with CAST, our researchers, who are willing to spend time in industry to gain a real understanding of industry needs and our industry partners, who are willing to sacrifice production time to trial new technologies.”

CAST’s Excellence in Innovation award was for technologies producing high quality aluminium more cheaply, efficiently and safely.  The work was achieved thanks to CSIRO researchers, such as project leader, Dr Vu Nguyen, working closely with end-users in the aluminium industry.  CAST technologies are being implemented in four of Australia’s six aluminium smelters including Boyne Smelter Limited (BSL)’s aluminium smelter cast house in central Queensland.

According to Joe Rea, metals production manager at BSL, “We’ve seen an improvement in quality and also an improvement in throughput.  A lot of innovations that come along either give us one or the other.  The great thing about this is that we’ve got both.”

As an added benefit to the Australian economy, CAST’s technologies are all manufactured, under license, by a family-owned Victorian equipment manufacturer, o.d.t. Engineering, helping them win significant export deals.

Kurt Oswald, Managing Director, o.d.t. Engineering, describes working with CAST as, “like Einstein meets Bob The Builder – and it equates to fantastic research results.”

The Star Award recognises CAST’s ongoing work with Queensland SME Ferra Engineering on developing techniques for titanium machining to manufacture components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a new air force jet that is being developed by the USA, Australia and eight other partner nations. CAST’s work with Ferra demonstrates that it is possible for Australian industry to engage in the global JSF supply chain.

Mark Scherrer, CEO of Ferra said, “Light metals technology developed with CAST helped Ferra to recently secure seven out of the 21 contracts let in Australia for Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Project.”

“CAST’s processing technology knowledge and research skills are both high quality and relevant to our business.”

The CAST CRC conducts industry-driven research in metal technology.  CAST is one of 48 Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) established and supported under the Australian government’s CRC Program.

Posted by DMTC on May 31st, 2010