Science

Technology to transform local manufacturing and waste comes to town

Thursday, 21 February, 2019
Stuart Snell

We need to rethink our attitudes to the materials we discard and instead see them as renewable resources, says a UNSW leader in recycling who is taking vital new technology to rural NSW cities next week.

 

UNSW Sydney Professor Veena Sahajwalla will join experts for workshops in Dubbo and Orange on 27 and 28 February to enhance local manufacturing capability, reduce waste and build better economies and communities.

After comments by Dubbo Mayor Ben Shields that his council aims to become a “leader in resource recycling”, Professor Sahajwalla will be showcasing to local business leaders scientifically developed technology at UNSW Sydney that enables waste items such as glass and clothing to be reformed into building products and converts electronic waste such as phones into valuable metals alloys and plastic filament.

Professor Sahajwalla will be joining Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre-organised workshops hosted by AMGC NSW Director Michael Sharpe, and a range of other experts including from the CSIRO to help lift regional manufacturing capability to enhance both economic and social outcomes.

“Dubbo and Orange as regional centres are vibrant with population growth each year for many years and this, along with the desire to be at the forefront of resource recycling, makes them well suited to take a leadership role,” she says.

“Recycling is not just about getting rid of plastic bags or bottles.

“We need to rethink attitudes to all of the materials we discard and start to see them as resources, renewable resources, if we want to reduce mining of finite resources and extraction impacts. These impacts come at a cost in terms of economic, environmental and social challenges. Rather, we need to start to unlock the value embedded in these discarded waste resources, which can bring new revenue sources into our economies, rather than burying our used materials after a single use. Microrecycling can achieve all this by creating ongoing value from waste products.”

Mr Sharpe said: “Manufacturing is still a vibrant, growing industry and the best manufacturers are still in the game. However, just under half of local manufacturers are innovating and transforming. To resist tough globalised competition, we need to look at upgrading factory equipment with high-tech machines and developing the best customer experiences from products and services.

“Manufacturers need to accept changes and be ever-vigilant to stay at the front of the pack. That is why we are doing these workshops in conjunction with the Industry Capability Network and other industry experts; to present options for local businesses to be more sustainable through the 2020s, how to integrate new technologies into manufacturing and enhance operations and deliver greater customer value.” 

Other speakers include: Wiso Global – Using migration to plug skills gaps; CSIRO Generation STEM - Building your future with technical skills; Crowe Horwath - Performance Improvement; Austrade - Export support; Export Council of Australia – In depth support for export development; and Entrepreneurs Program – Business reviews and improvement support.

Industry Capability Connect Workshops details:

  • Wednesday 27 February 8am-11am, Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre, Oxley Room
  • Thursday 28 February 8am-11ams, Orange Ex-Services Club, Coral Sea Auditorium.