CSIRO

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CSIRO has signed a new, $AUD35 million research agreement with the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing.

Over the next five years the organizations will work together on a broad range of areas of mutual interest including space sciences, advanced materials and manufacturing.

It's the latest step in a 28-year partnership between CSIRO and Boeing that has provided a huge boost for Australia in the global aviation industry.

CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall announced the new funding agreement at the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia's G'day to Aussie innovation event in Sydney.

"With almost three decades of ground-breaking research that has created jobs and growth for Australia and the US, it's hard to overstate the impact that our relationship with Boeing has had," Dr Marshall said.

"Adopting a global outlook for national benefit is a key pillar of CSIRO's Strategy 2020, and it's an approach that has yielded enormous benefits through our relationship with Boeing."

Earlier this month, Boeing named CSIRO as a 2016 Supplier of the Year.

"Boeing celebrates 90 years in Australia this year, and for nearly a third of that time, we've partnered with CSIRO on advanced technologies that have made a real difference to the aerospace industry," President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Maureen Dougherty said.

"We're excited to see that relationship move forward as a result of this new multi-year agreement."

CSIRO and Boeing celebrated their respective centenaries in 2016. Over the years the organisations have invested more than $AUD170 million on 190 joint research projects into everything from innovative new manufacturing processes, to fire retardants, biofuels and software.

CSIRO's "Paintbond" technology, for instance, has been applied to more than a thousand Boeing airplanes, including some in the skies above Australia, saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs.

The strong relationship with CSIRO was a key factor in Boeing choosing Australia as the location for its largest research and development operation outside the United States.

"We are proud to have worked with Boeing so closely and for so many years, helping them to deliver profound value to their customers." Dr Marshall said.

"Our relationship is a real success story of science partnering with industry to create impact, and we're looking forward to growing that impact even further in the coming years."

In a move that could help reinvigorate the metal production industry in Australia, CSIRO and Enirgi Group have joined forces to develop and commercialize an affordable and low-emission technology for producing magnesium metal.

The CSIRO developed technology, known as MagSonic, produces magnesium using up to 80 percent less energy and up to 60 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions thanks to a supersonic nozzle.

Magnesium is the lightest of all metals and is in rising demand from car manufacturers who are turning to the metal as a solution for making lightweight, low-emission vehicles.

CSIRO and Enirgi Group's Innovation Division will work together to further develop and validate the MagSonic technology.

Once the technology is proven ready for commercialization, Enirgi Group has the option to take up an exclusive global license that would see the company initially build a commercial-scale magnesium production facility in Australia.

Dr Mark Cooksey, who leads CSIRO's sustainable process engineering group, said commercialization of MagSonic would help take advantage of Australia's abundant reserves of magnesite ore that remain largely untapped.

"The growth of magnesium use has been limited because it's been too expensive and labor intensive to produce the metal from ore using traditional processes," Dr Cooksey said.

"Our MagSonic technology offers an economically-viable solution to overcome these issues and make clean magnesium more available and affordable to manufacturers.

"We're delighted to be working with Enirgi Group as our technology and commercial partners, with their experience in developing new processes to disrupt and change industry dynamics."

MagSonic uses carbothermal reduction and a supersonic nozzle to efficiently produce high quality magnesium.

It involves heating magnesia with carbon to extreme temperatures to produce magnesium vapour and carbon monoxide.

The vapour and carbon monoxide are passed through a supersonic nozzle – similar to a rocket engine – at four times the speed of sound to cool the gases in milliseconds, condensing and solidifying the magnesium vapour to magnesium metal.

"We are pleased to be working with CSIRO on this exciting opportunity to bring reliable supply of magnesium metal to the global market in an environmentally sustainable way," Enirgi Group's Vice President of Corporate Development, Anthony Deal said.

"We are confident that this process is capable of commercial production.

"The flow-through benefits to emerging industries like electric vehicle manufacturing are enormous, not to mention a substantial reduction in carbon emissions when compared to current magnesium production processes," he said.

In recent years, CSIRO has been developing new sustainable technologies to help the Australian metal production industry compete in an increasingly environmentally-conscious and globalized world.

MagSonic compliments a suite of CSIRO developed magnesium technologies, including T-mag, twin roll strip casting and high pressure die casting.

Australian Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane congratulated CSIRO on its role in an international collaboration that has led to a world-first in surgery, using a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib implant for a cancer patient. The titanium sternum and rib implant was designed and developed in Australia, in a collaboration between a Melbourne-based medical device company, Anatomics, and CSIRO’s 3D printing facility, Lab 22, at Clayton.

After being diagnosed with a chest wall sarcoma, the 54-year-old man’s surgical team made the decision to remove his sternum and a portion of his rib cage and replace it with an implant. The implant was designed and manufactured by medical device company, Anatomics, who utilised the CSIRO’s 3D printing facility, Lab 22.

The surgical team, Dr José Aranda, Dr Marcelo Jimene and Dr Gonzalo Varela from Salamanca University Hospital, knew the surgery would be difficult due to the complicated geometries involved in the chest cavity.

“We thought, maybe we could create a new type of implant that we could fully customise to replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs,” Dr Aranda said.

“We wanted to provide a safer option for our patient, and improve their recovery post-surgery.”

That’s when the surgeons turned to Anatomics. After assessing the complexity of the requirements, Anatomics CEO Andrew Batty said the solution was metal 3D printing.

“We wanted to 3D print the implant from titanium because of its complex geometry and design,” Mr Batty said.

“While titanium implants have previously been used in chest surgery, designs have not considered the issues surrounding long term fixation.

“Flat and plate implants rely on screws for rigid fixation that may come loose over time. This can increase the risk of complications and the possibility of reoperation.”

Through high resolution CT data, the Anatomics team was able to create a 3D reconstruction of the chest wall and tumour, allowing the surgeons to plan and accurately define resection margins.

“From this, we were able to design an implant with a rigid sternal core and semi-flexible titanium rods to act as prosthetic ribs attached to the sternum,” Mr Batty said.

Working with experts at CSIRO’s 3D printing facility Lab 22, the team then manufactured the implant out of surgical grade titanium alloy.

“We built the implant using our $1.3 million Arcam printer,” Alex Kingsbury from CSIRO’s manufacturing team said.

“The printer works by directing an electron beam at a bed of titanium powder in order to melt it. This process is then repeated, building the product up layer-by-layer until you have a complete implant.

“3D printing has significant advantages over traditional manufacturing methods, particularly for biomedical applications.

“As well as being customisable, it also allows for rapid prototyping – which can make a big difference if a patient is waiting for surgery.”

Once the prosthesis was complete it was couriered to Spain and implanted into the patient.

“The operation was very successful,” Dr Aranda said.

“Thanks to 3D printing technology and a unique resection template, we were able to create a body part that was fully customised and fitted like a glove.”

Minister Macfarlane said this type of collaboration can transform the way industries operate and compete in international markets.

“Collaboration is the key to boosting Australia’s innovation performance. Initiatives like our Industry Growth Centres will foster these links and relationships which are critical to future successes like this,” Mr Macfarlane said.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2015/Cancer-patient-receives-3D-printed-ribs-in-world-first-surgery

The technology, known as Eddy, was developed by CSIRO and is being commercialized by Australian company HabiDapt. Using an online interface – on a computer, smartphone or tablet – Eddy keeps track of electricity use, collects and analyses the data, and makes recommendations to help users save money. It also allows users to remotely control major appliances such as air conditioners, hot water systems and pool pumps. To reduce demand on the grid during peak periods, users can also take part in demand management programs offered by their energy company and receive rewards in return, such as discounts on their energy bill.

"This unique tool is all about giving people more control over their energy and helping them to save money. Using a simple online dashboard, people can see their energy use and make adjustments to reduce costs. The tool really highlights how easy it is for people to make big savings on their energy bill without impacting on their lifestyle. By viewing when their home is exporting excess energy to the grid, households with solar PV systems can save additional money by programming their system to run certain appliances when the sun is shining. With the option of taking part in demand management schemes, the system can also reward households for using less electricity during peak energy periods," CSIRO Research Leader Glenn Platt said.

The technology was developed at CSIRO’s energy centre in Newcastle, where scientists are working with some of the most sophisticated energy technology found anywhere in the world. The system uses cloud-based software and mini smart meters that look just like the regular circuit breakers found in your meter box. The smart meters connect to the cloud via a small internet communication device in the house. Once connected, the appliances linked to the meters can be remotely controlled. The technology is based on CSIRO’s sophisticated Energy Management System, which has also been adapted for use on King Island’s Smart Grid.

"We want to give households an energy management tool that is simple to use and unlocks lasting benefits. Eddy gives households control over their energy and saves them money. As well as giving households tools to understand and manage their energy, Eddy lets people participate in the energy market by reducing peak demand in ways that, until now, have only been available to large-scale commercial consumers," HabiDapt CEO Stephen Kubicki said.

HabiDapt is currently trialling the technology in homes with solar PV systems in Perth, and is also rolling the system out with Ergon Energy in Townsville, where it is being offered to customers as 'HomeSmart'.

For more information, visit: www.habidapt.com

The $6 million center, called Lab 22, provides Australian companies with affordable access to specialist additive manufacturing equipment and expertise and offers huge efficiency and productivity benefits for product development.

By lowering their capital investment risk and allowing companies to ‘try before they buy’, Lab 22 overcomes one of the major barriers facing smaller businesses in adopting 3D printing with metal.

“This advanced equipment is in the range of $1 million per unit, but the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) don’t have that amount of capital on-hand to take a leap of faith on a new or emerging technology,” CSIRO additive manufacturing research leader, Alex Kingsbury said.

“We’re providing Australian companies with a unique opportunity to access some of the most advanced additive manufacturing equipment with the help of our experienced technical experts, for a comparatively minimal daily fee.”

Australian 3D printing service companies, Made for Me and Keech3D, were the first companies to sign to use Lab 22’s new space with the aim of growing their metal 3D printing services.

“It’s critical for companies to be able to take advantage of new technology and development if they are to remain internationally competitive, but investment can be risky and expensive and the technical aspects are complicated,” Ms Kingsbury said.

“Lab 22 makes it much easier and affordable, so local companies can try out the equipment, use it to design or test new products or up skill their workforce – providing them with the tools to differentiate themselves, grow and get ahead of global competitors.

“We’ve already signed up four industry partners and welcome more companies to get on board.”

CSIRO has partnered with industry on a range of world-firsts using its Arcam 3D printer, including a titanium heel bone implant to treat a cancer patient, a mouthguard for treating sleep apnoea and a customisable ‘orthotic’ for horses suffering laminitis.

Lab 22 experts can help companies tailor design solutions, and have the ability to capture 3D data and simulate both the manufacturing process and in-service part performance.

Cold spray deposition technology, laser heat treatment, surface engineering and advanced machinery are also available to improve efficiencies, performance and profitability.

Lab 22’s additive manufacturing equipment includes: Arcam A1, Concept Laser M2, Optomec LENS MR-7, Voxelject VX1000 and Cold Spray Plasma Giken.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au/en/Research/MF/Areas/Metals/Lab22

New software which offers scientists and researchers an easy way to analyse, model and visualise scientific datasets has been released by CSIRO. The free software, known as Workspace, is purpose-built for scientific applications and allows researchers to present their findings through stunning visualisations. Developed over the past eight years at CSIRO, Workspace has already been used for a wide range of projects, including natural disaster modelling, human movement and industrial and agricultural research.

One CSIRO team has already used the software to model and visualise simulations for storm surges and flash flooding, helping with disaster management planning. Working with the Australian Institute of Sport, another team has produced a 3D biomechanical computer model of different swimming strokes, allowing athletes to adjust their technique for maximum performance. Dr John Taylor from CSIRO's Digital Productivity Flagship said the software offered huge efficiency savings for researchers from all fields who work with datasets and complex analysis, freeing them up to spend more time focused on their scientific expertise.

"In institutions all around the world, researchers operate within similar workflows; sourcing data, analysing it, processing it - often using high-performance computing environments. Very often, this involves a number of manual repetitive steps. Workspace makes these steps easy to automate. In one application, analysis that had previously taken two weeks to conduct manually was carried out in less than an hour. Scientists also need to publish the outcomes of their research. Workspace allows them to easily release the software and analysis that backs up their findings."

According to Dr Taylor, another advantage of Workspace is that users don't need advanced programming skills and it runs on many different platforms and environments. "At the moment, scientists often have to write their own purpose-built code from scratch - even when this is not their primary skill set. This approach is inefficient, prone to error, difficult to reproduce by other scientists and unsuitable to take into the commercial world. Workspace can be used by non-software experts, allowing scientists from all over the globe to use the same platform and collaborate seamlessly on projects."

As well as these benefits, Workspace's data visualisations can help scientists make their research more understandable and accessible. "If others can easily grasp what your science means, this opens it up to brand new audiences. This not only helps researchers engage with the public, but it also allows them to reach out to other collaborators in the science community and industry."

Workspace has already been used successfully by scientists at University College London, and locally by research institutions including the Australian National University, Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales.

Workspace is being launched today at the 2014 eResearch Australasia Conference. It is free to download for research purposes and can be licensed for commercial applications.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au/workspace

CSIRO, St Vincent's Hospital and Victorian biotech company Anatomics have joined together to carry out world-first surgery to implant a titanium-printed heel bone into a Melbourne man.

Printed using CSIRO's state-of-the-art Arcam 3D printer, the heel bone was implanted into 71-year-old Len Chandler, a builder from Rutherglen Victoria, who was facing amputation of the leg below the knee following a diagnosis of cancer of the calcaneus, or heel bone.

St Vincent's Hospital surgeon Professor Peter Choong was aware of CSIRO's work in titanium 3D after reading about our work producing an orthotic horseshoe in 2013, and contacted CSIRO's John Barnes in early June about his vision for a metallic implant which would support the body's weight.

At the time, CSIRO happened to be working with the Victorian-based biotech company Anatomics on metallic implant technology and CSIRO brought Anatomics into the discussion with Professor Choong to draw on their experience as a certified custom medical device manufacturer.

Working from Anatomics' schematics for the calcaneus heel bone, teams at Anatomics and CSIRO developed the design requirements with Professor Choong's surgical team.

Included in the design were smooth surfaces where the bone contacts other bone, holes for suture locations and rough surfaces to allow tissue adhesion. Anatomics and CSIRO produced three implant prototypes in the days before the surgery.

In the space of two weeks, from first phone call to surgery, CSIRO and Anatomics were able to custom-design and present an implant part to the St Vincent's surgical team, in time for the surgery on the second week of July.

Mr Chandler returned to St Vincent's Hospital this week for a check-up and said he was recovering well, and able to place some weight on his implant.

"The customisation of 3D printing is good in emergency situations such as these," a member of CSIRO's titanium printing team Dr Robert Wilson said.

"Custom designed implants mean job opportunities in this area as these types of surgeries become more commonplace."

CSIRO is working with a number of major companies and SMEs across Australia to build capacity in biotech and manufacturing.

"3D printing is a local manufacturing process, meaning Australian companies produce implants for our own patients for our own doctors to use," CSIRO's Director of High Performance Metal Industries John Barnes said.

"We would no longer have to rely on imported parts that slow the process down and is less personal for the patient.

"At some point in the future we expect that local for-profit businesses will have the capacity to work on projects like this, and meanwhile the CSIRO is here to help local industry grow and build momentum."

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Future-Manufacturing-Flagship/Ti-Technologies.aspx

The horse, dubbed by researchers as ‘Titanium Prints’, had its hooves scanned with a handheld 3D scanner this week. Using 3D modeling software, the scan was used to design the perfect fitting, lightweight racing shoe and four customised shoes were printed within only a few hours.

"3D printing a race horseshoe from titanium is a first for scientists and demonstrates the range of applications the technology can be used for," said John Barnes, Titanium Technologies Theme Leader.

Traditionally made from aluminium, a horseshoe can weigh up to one kilogram but the horse’s trainer, John Moloney, says that the ultimate race shoe should be as lightweight as possible.

“Any extra weight in the horseshoe will slow the horse down. These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminium shoe, which means a horse could travel at new speeds.

“Naturally, we’re very excited at the prospect of improved performance from these shoes,” John Moloney said.

CSIRO’s Titanium expert, John Barnes, said that 3D printing a race horseshoe from titanium is a first for scientists and demonstrates the range of applications the technology can be used for.

“There are so many ways we can use 3D titanium printing. At CSIRO we are helping companies create new applications like biomedical implants and even things like automotive and aerospace parts.

“The possibilities really are endless with this technology,” he said.

The precision scanning process takes just a few minutes and for a horse, shoes can be made to measure each hoof and printed the same day.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au

CSIRO scientists are using 3D printing to build a new generation of hi-tech fish tags made of titanium. The aim is to use the tags to track big fish such as marlin, tuna, swordfish, trevally and sharks for longer periods.

CSIRO is printing the tags at its Lab 22 facility in Melbourne. The tags are printed overnight and then shipped to Tasmania where marine scientists are trialing them.

Tags are made of titanium for several reasons: the metal is strong, resists the salty corrosiveness of the marine environment, and is biocompatible (non-toxic to living tissues).

One of the advantages of 3D printing is that it enables rapid manufacture of multiple design variations which can then be tested simultaneously. "Using our Arcam 3D printing machine, we've been able to re-design and make a series of modified tags within a week," says John Barnes, who leads CSIRO's research in titanium technologies.

CSIRO's 3D printing facility prints metal items layer by layer out of fused metal powder.  Had the scientists been using conventional tags which are machined out of metal blocks, it would have taken a couple of months to design, manufacture and receive the new designs for testing.

"Our early trials showed that the textured surface worked well in improving retention of the tag, but we need to fine-tune the design of the tag tip to make sure that it pierces the fish skin as easily as possible," says John.

"The fast turnaround speeds up the design process – it's very easy to incorporate amendments to designs. 3D printing enables very fast testing of new product designs, which why it's so attractive to manufacturers wanting to trial new products."

Scientists from a number of agencies, including CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, use fish tags to track movements of individual marine species and increase understanding of their behavior. Tracks of selected marine animals tagged by CSIRO and partner agencies can be viewed on the CSIRO Ocean Tracks website.

Medical implants such as dental implants and hip joints are made of biocompatible titanium with a surface texturing which speeds healing and tissue attachment after implantation. Scientists hope that a similar rough surface will help the tag to stay in fish longer.

"A streamlined tag that easily penetrates the fish's skin, but has improved longevity because it integrates with muscle and cartilage, would be of great interest to our colleagues conducting tagging programs across the world," said CSIRO marine researcher, Russell Bradford.

CSIRO's Lab 22 3D printing facility was established in October 2012 and has been used to manufacture a range of prototype products including biomedical implants, automotive, chemical processing and aerospace parts.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au/TitaniumTechnologies

The facility houses the first Arcam additive manufacturing machine, which uses electron beam melting to fuse metal powders into complex shapes layer by layer, in the southern hemisphere. The system creates three-dimensional parts from metals including titanium alloys, nickel and hard steel alloys.

CSIRO's expertise in titanium manufacturing includes electron beam melting, coldspray and thermally assisted machining. The new facility is part of CSIRO's Future Manufacturing Flagship.

"Additive manufacturing is an emerging technology capable of changing the future of manufacturing in Australia and we are keen to facilitate the adoption of new technologies which will benefit Australian businesses," Director of CSIRO's Future Manufacturing Flagship Swee Mak said.

"We have invested in a suite of technologies and research, which combined with our links with RMIT and Monash University, provide industry a unique opportunity to explore and engage in forward-thinking design and production techniques."

CSIRO has identified additive manufacturing as a key opportunity for the manufacturing sector in Australia and has expertise in core supporting technologies, including materials science, polymer science and metal fabrication.

Industrial commercial additive manufacturing activities CSIRO is engaged in include the development of titanium pipe with Future Titanium Technologies and the production of aerospace hardware through the Joint Strike Fighter program with Ferra Engineering.

"Additive manufacturing has been used for rapid manufacture of prototypes where its speed of production is advantageous. It can also be used for manufacture of complex, high-value components for industrial applications, and is especially useful for short production," titanium research leader in the Future Manufacturing Flagship John Barnes said.

"Companies that want to take on additive manufacturing face a number of practical challenges. We've been providing technical advice to solve problems and helping businesses to access these technologies for nearly ten years now."

The titanium research facility will be showcased to industry at an ‘open house' event on December 5 at CSIRO's Clayton site.

For more information, visit: www.csiro.au

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