Building local capacity and capability

DMTC’s Industry Capability Development program aims to create a network of ‘Defence-ready’ companies with benchmarked, globally competitive capabilities.

Companies participating in DMTC’s Industry Capability Development Program gain exposure to the latest techniques and equipment used in engineering and manufacturing, and insights into quality, safety and certification standards required within defence supply chains.

To date, welding benchmarking activities have been conducted in the Latrobe Valley, the Illawarra and Mackay regions. While these pilot programs have been directed at the welding of high strength steels for maritime platforms, the outcomes are also applicable to land platforms. The feedback from all companies involved has been very positive.


Targeted at small businesses in particular, the DMTC program involves a process benchmarking and technology transfer activity in partnership with Universities and government research agencies, with support from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) and relevant certification partners, in this case the Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA). The assessment of industry capabilities by DMTC seeks to identify future research and technology transfer opportunities and provide a better understanding of domestic industry capability for Defence. A second objective of the program is to create an environment that allows for collaboration between companies and to build regional industrial capacity.

Case Study: Mackay
With financial backing from the Queensland Government, DMTC’s project in the Mackay region commenced in July 2016 and concluded in February 2017.

The targeted outcomes for companies participating in the Pilot Project were:
• Education on the latest techniques and processes in welding high strength steels
• Information on the international standards and processes required for the defence sector
• Access to the latest automated welding techniques and equipment
• A recommended pathway to welding practice improvement, and
• A mechanism to network and collaborate to establish a critical mass of capability in the region.

Six companies participated, five heavy engineering companies and one non-destructive testing company. All the companies successfully demonstrated compliance with the relevant welding standard (AS/NZS1554). Opportunities for improvement were also discussed with each of the companies. The companies were also provided information on Defence opportunities, avenues for further assistance such as the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and information on the latest automation technology being utilised in defence applications.

What’s Next?
Discussions are currently underway with the respective State Governments for similar programs in Tasmania, South Australia and other Queensland regions in the coming months. DMTC is also planning future benchmarking activities in other specific manufacturing techniques and technologies to enhance Australian industrial capability in areas such as corrosion management and additive manufacturing.

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Partnering in technology development

DMTC team members participated in DST Group’s Partnerships Week for 2017. The event provided opportunities for DST Group partners and industry to understand the best ways to engage with DST Group in the rollout of new policy and program initiatives, particularly the Next Generation Technologies Fund.

Our Supply Chain Engagement manager, Charlotte Morris, was interviewed as part of the post-event video compile.

See the clip here.

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Managing risk & making better decisions in tech development ecosystems

“Walk before you run” – A better approach to program design

An enhanced approach to program development in DMTC is resulting in smarter engagement with prospective industry and research partners, faster transition from development to implementation and more strategic deployment of resources.
The more rigorous approach, outlined at DMTC’s annual conference in March, was successfully implemented in a project recently completed within DMTC’s Maritime Program.
Research partner Swinburne University joined forces with Adelaide-based industry partner AirSpeed to conduct a scoping review on the effect of impact resistance on the durability of composite structures in the marine environment.
The project team scrutinised existing academic literature along with existing technical solutions, and went on to benchmark current Australian industry capability and identify prospective industry and research partners that could be involved in follow-on projects.
DMTC’s Maritime Program Leader, Associate Professor Stephen van Duin, is upbeat about the results.
“Defence projects are often described as a long game, but it’s also true that the early phases of a program or project are often the most critical to long-term success,” he said.
“In this case, we’ve spent five or six months making sure we have a really good understanding of the technical risks and opportunities, which will help us as we move forward.”

Deepak Ganga

Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) Annual Conference

As DMTC’s Lead Program Manager Deepak Ganga explains, scoping and de-risking activities, like this one with Swinburne and AirSpeed, are all about helping the DMTC Management Team and Board to make better decisions.
“There will be times when these early investigations lead us to decide not to pursue new projects. That’s actually a successful outcome in terms of avoiding wasted effort or mis-directed investments,” Deepak says.
“Particularly in areas where the technical risk is higher, we can use a relatively quick project task to better understand the technical issues and to prove our assumption before making a more significant investment.
“In this case it’s about answering questions like ‘What is the current state of the development of marine composites? What technical improvements can be made and what are the risks involved with moving along the TRL path? What would a new project, or suite of projects, look like?’.”
“All of this knowledge helps us to make higher-confidence estimates about development of the technology and about hitting the milestones we set for capability, cost and time.”

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