Page 56 - Australian Defence Magazine - June 2018
P. 56

Continued from page 54
An example we often use to illustrate this point is the work we did with Thales back when there was a range of technical chal- lenges around optimising the production and performance and characteristics of the Bushmaster. We covered a lot of ground. Blast modelling and understanding what that meant in the particular service condi- tions that were found in theatre over in Iraq and in Afghanistan. What did that mean for steels and how they performed and then how do you manufacture those steels? Can you do that with automation?
At first, around 35 per cent of the produc- tion line was automated. It’s now up to the point where there’s much more automation in the production line; it’s effectively 100 per cent with huge improvements along the way. That didn’t happen overnight, it wasn’t as though we worked out how to do it on a Friday night and then on Monday they pushed a button and off they went. It was incrementally adopted all the way along with our research partners working side-by-side with the Thales production guys and I think that’s fairly strongly characteristic of most of the work that we do.
Commercialisation for us isn’t a trans- actional process. We tend to use the term utilisation and we look at it very firmly from the point of view that each of our broad part- ner groups, being the Defence customer, the industrial partners and the research sector partners; each have their own success met- rics, each have their own reasons for being involved in what we do. We’re continually looking and making sure that they’re each receiving benefit from their partnership with DMTC.
We’ve had one or two
examples where we have
patented technologies
that are platform-based in
nature and then we’ll go off
and licence that, but at the
moment we have over 300
individual pieces of IP that
are being actively managed
and protected on behalf of
our partners. Some of those
are being really used in
Defence to inform decisions
about what to buy, what not
to buy. A great many of them
are being combined and uti-
lised in two or three differ-
ent ways by different industrial or research partners. That focus on platform-indepen- dent technology development and innovation is a real strength of our model.
ADM: Can you give us an example of that? HODGE: We have won awards and were cited in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement for our work on welding tech- nologies. We’re now using that expertise to benchmark and transfer technology to SMEs across the country in terms of working with the grades of steel that you’d expect to find in Defence platforms. The success story here, although you’ll appreciate that these things don’t happen overnight, is in the vision and foresight to take a welding technology and allied technologies including artificial intel- ligence, robotics and metallurgy, and apply them first in the land sector. We then iden- tified opportunities to apply that to achieve reduced weld-induced distortion in ship hull plating for Air Warfare Destroyer modules and then – to be able to reference it back to
particular challenges arising with the pro- duction of different vehicle variants in the land sector. So you see it from the perspec- tive of a company like Thales Australia, who have been a long-term partner with us, they benefited in terms of the Bushmaster, they saw the value in us continuing to develop and work with that technology albeit in a differ- ent application.
They are now seeing further benefit for some of the challenges they need to address in the Hawkei platform. It’s just as exciting to now be working with our maritime program partners, such as Naval Group, to contem- plate the application of these welding break- throughs for surface shipbuilding and as a precursor to further work on other maritime platforms. We’ve got a few different examples of that and I think it speaks to the benefit of the IP being held by a trusted and informed partner to be applied beneficially across our partner organisations, and find clever ways of packaging up disparate elements into an integrated offering.
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56 | June 2018 |
Michael Kellam of CSIRO with a melt spinner machine which were developed for a Land (Mounted) Program to convert exhaust heat to useable energy.

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