Tag Archives: manufacturing

DigitalStrategy101.com.au – Workshops for Manufacturers in Shepparton, Bendigo and Ballarat

A series of seminars, workshops and assistance will be available to manufacturing businesses in and around Shepparton as part of a new Enterprise Connect WINN programme.

The Digital Strategy 101 workshops commence in October. For more information visit www.digitalstrategy101.com.au .

In the video below, Tim Gentle discusses what participants can expect from the workshops. Tim has developed and will deliver the course.

The 3D printing revolution is closer than you might think

In May, Regional Development Australia organised a tour of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct. Business owners and local government representatives from the Hume region saw a glimpse of the manufacturing revolution offered by 3D printing technologies – allowing designers to turn virtual models into solid objects made from a range of plastics or metals.

Now, the arrival of consumer-level 3D printing is closer than ever. Printers are already available for pre-order through several companies, such as Cubify and Makerbot. Entry level products currently cost around $1300-1700, and typically print in plastics such as biodegradable PLA (often used for testing new designs), or durable ABS (the material used to cast LEGO bricks). They work by laying down many thin layers, building the design a fraction of a millimetre at a time. More expensive printers use multiple printing heads to produce full colour designs.

The implications of 3D printing are huge – potentially “resetting the economics of manufacturing” (in a Feb 2011 Economist article). By moving the place of production to individual homes, designers can sell their products in an electronic format around the world without requiring a physical distribution network. Physical location is not as important as the skills and creativity needed to use the new medium – potentially helping those in regional locations to better compete on a global scale.

While 3D printers are rapidly becoming more affordable, they are still beyond the reach of many consumers. To bridge this gap, many printer manufacturers have branched out into print-on-demand services, allowing designers to upload their creations to be printed at a central location. Cubify currently sells printed designs for products in categories such as Fashion and Art, while Makerbot directs people to share their creations directly on the Thingiverse (an online marketplace for “Digital designs for real, physical objects”).

In a world where custom manufacturing could be as affordable as mass production, there are many opportunities for individualised, personal designs. Inspired by the London 2012 olympics, Luc Fusaro’s Designed to Win project shows how this new technology can be used to enhance athlete performance by tailoring products – in this case, running shoes – to the exact specifications of the user. The future of manufacturing is closer than you might think.

Kiewa Valley Engineering – process and systems innovation

Kiewa Valley Engineering is a family business in Wodonga, where they have been involved in the Structural Steel industry for over 35 years. We spoke to Dave Robin about the online technologies that are used in this manufacturing sector business.

Business overview

KVE are a proud Australian family business with more than 35 years experience as a Structural Steel Manufacturer. We offer advanced manufacturing capability, with domain specialisation in four industry sectors; Power (T&D), Transport & Infrastructure, Mining/Resources and Commercial/Building.

Over our long association with the Structural Steel Industry, KVE has developed many systems and processes to enable ‘best practice’ to be developed, encompassing all facets of our business including quality, manufacturing, pricing, and certification & training of our excellent staff. Our internal IT&T systems ensure transparency, high degrees of automation and manufacturing excellence. Our current pricing system has matured significantly, to the extent that it is now an end-to-end process with extremely accurate cost of manufacture. That allows us to be confident that we are offering the most competitive cost structure whilst still delivering the highest levels of quality and manufacturing, on time, every time.

Tell us about the web technologies you are using in the business

  • We regularly use cloud based sharing software to transfer information from the Administration team out into the workshop.
  • We’re about to introduce a new timekeeping system, which will involve tablet computers feeding information into a database in real time.
  • Our new communication system is in the final stages of implementation, and will rely heavily on high speed internet to enable services like video conferencing and desktop sharing.

What benefits have you gained from using these tools?

By using cloud based sharing software, we have dramatically reduced the amount of paper pushed into the workshop. We hope to continuously improve this, so that eventually the workshop will be completely paper free. Also, by using the tablets to feed information into our database we replace the need to use day cards, and can remove the lag between data entry and reporting on that information. Our new communication system will improve our ability to actively share ideas easier and demonstrate alternate approaches to our clients, particularly through desktop sharing.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

The NBN will enhance all the web based systems we currently have in place, resulting in a more efficient workplace, and better communication with our clients.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies?

Anything is possible with the use of the internet. Keep track of best practice in all aspects of your business, and continually look for ways to improve your business processes, systems and practice.

Do you work in the manufacturing sector? We’d love to hear how your business is evolving to use the range of new tools that are becoming available – leave a comment below, or contact us via our Case Study form.