Tag Archives: manufacturing

Harnessing the data from everything that’s online

From cars that know when they need a mechanic and where to find one, to improving transport links between affordable housing and employment centres—Professor Dimitrios Georgakopoulos wants to harness the mass of information generated by the internet of things (IoT).

This network consists of every connected device or ‘thing’ (including people) connected to the internet and each other.

Dimitrios has developed ways to gather and distil high-value information from this data.

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Carving out success in wooden exports

Wooden furniture companies in Indonesia have doubled their income after taking part in training courses to boost production efficiency and improve overseas opportunities.

Furniture—predominantly made from teak or mahogany—is one of Indonesia’s big exports. But even in the region of Jepara, known in particular for its carved furniture, the manufacturing industry has been marked by poor production efficiency, resulting in less recovered timber and lower overall quality of furniture products.

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Making jet engines (and power generation) more efficient

It’s very hard to set up a jet engine in a wind tunnel and get accurate measurements inside it while it’s rotating 7,000 times a minute.

As air passes over these turbine blades (flowing from right to left) a wake is created which interacts with the next (lower) blade. Credit: Richard Sandberg and Richard Pichler
As air passes over these turbine blades (flowing from right to left) a wake is created which interacts with the next (lower) blade.
Credit: Richard Sandberg and Richard Pichler

So while other members of the University of Melbourne’s mechanical engineering department use wind tunnels to measure turbulence on the surface of airplanes, Professor Richard Sandberg has developed a computer program to make the same measurements inside an engine.

His work also applies to the turbines used to generate power from gas, wind and wave.

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Providing the very stuff of protection

From keeping Australian troops safe from explosions, to ensuring military vehicles can maintain flexibility on damaged roads, the Armour Applications Program of the Defence Materials Technology Centre has pioneered high-performance materials.

Bushmaster army vehicles are keeping Australian troops safe. Credit: Australian Defence Department
Bushmaster army vehicles are keeping Australian troops safe. Credit: Australian Defence Department

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Harnessing waste energy to power factories

Manufacturers are looking for ways to make their factories more sustainable, but before whacking a solar panel on the roof, they’ve got to plan carefully.

Sami Kara is developing a tool to help industry become more sustainable. Credit: ISTOCKPHOTO

University of New South Wales researcher Assoc Prof Sami Kara says production lines need a steady supply of electricity, and if the sun goes behind a cloud, businesses get hit with penalty rates for suddenly drawing more energy from the grid.

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The lighting revolution has only just begun

Zinc oxide crystal. Credit: Matthew Foley, UTS.
Zinc oxide crystal. Credit: Matthew Foley, UTS.

LED lighting is sweeping the world. It’s energy efficient, long lasting, and could save users billions of dollars worldwide and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. But it’s still a young technology. Much more efficient lights are on the way.

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Australia’s place in the nanotechnology race

CSIRO_CliveD_GloveboxCSIRO researchers are applying nanotechnology to drug delivery, medical body imaging, nerve repair, smart textiles and clothing, medical devices, plastic solar cells (see From plastic money to plastic electricity) and much more.

“Nanotechnology is not an industry—it is an enabling technology,” says Clive Davenport, leader of CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship.

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