Defence finds smart support in Queensland

More defence work for Queensland manufacturers was previewed during the opening of a new research centre and manufacturing facilities in Brisbane today.

Ms Jan Jarratt MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Employment & Economic Development in Queensland officiated at the launch of the Queensland node of the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) held at Millatec Engineering’s new facilities at Sherwood.

“Queensland is at the leading edge of Defence research in materials science,” says Dr Mark Hodge, CEO of DMTC. “Our Queensland researchers are working with local manufacturers to break down the barriers preventing them from taking part in the global defence supply chain.”

The DMTC is a joint venture between defence, industry, universities and government research agencies whose Queensland node is supported by the Queensland Government’s Smart Futures fund and managed by the CAST Cooperative Research Centre.

Along with major research programs in air platforms and propulsion systems, DMTC’s Queensland researchers are looking into so-called “enabling” technologies required for local fabrication of components based on new materials such as titanium. 

One area of significant interest is precision machining, the speciality of Brisbane-based company Millatec Engineering.

“As a participant in the DMTC our company has already benefited from a collaborative research project that has reduced the machining time of some components and boosted our productivity,” says James Johnson, managing director of Millatec. “We are looking forward to applying the same principles to titanium, stainless steel and tool steel machining activities.”

The improved capability within Millatec will increase turnover and create employment opportunities for a further three to six people. 

Millatec is one of the Queensland companies benefiting from the DMTC’s technology transfer program, which allows businesses to access DMTC technologies while working closely with the defence supply chain.

“Queensland SMEs will now be able to bid into global defence supply chains in partnership with or independently of the leading prime contractors to the Australian Defence Force,” says DMTC CEO Mark Hodge. 

In one example of the close R&D relationship between SMEs and defence contractors, Millatec is working with BAE Systems’ research team in Adelaide on benchmarking and other titanium machining activities.

The host of the launch, George Collins, CAST CEO predicts the node will benefit small and large Queensland manufacturers, “DMTC brings together Australia’s top experts and innovative companies to develop new materials and manufacturing technologies for defence applications.  These technologies can also be used in non-defence applications and will help companies maintain and win new manufacturing business from both Australia and overseas.”

Posted by DMTC on March 9th, 2010