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Address to the opening of the ‘3D Central’ additive manufacturing centre


10 October 2014

Thank you for inviting me here today.

Australia’s manufacturing sector has been given a boost today knowing that Australia’s largest additive manufacturing hub is now open for business.

The new 3D printing additive manufacturing plant in here in Melbourne, provides many benefits to industry, with parts and devices for the mining, defence, bio-medical, construction, aerospace and automotive industries.

This is an exciting time for Australia because you are part of an advanced manufacturing sector that is growing and developing innovative more cost-effective ways than traditional manufacturing methods.

Australia is on the brink of a new era for industry in which advanced manufacturing will be critical to the nation’s future economic success.

Historically Australia’s economy has focused on farming and agriculture and industrial manufacturing.

We are transitioning into higher, value-added, industries that are based on innovation, research and the sophisticated skills base of our workforce.

Cutting edge manufacturing hubs like the one created by Objective 3D here today are giving the manufacturing sector the edge to allow it to compete with the rest of the world on quality and not simply on cost.

I was lucky enough to visit the Australian 3D Manufacturing Association showcase at Parliament House last week, where I learnt a lot and had my head and face mapped out and printed.

While I saw some of the lighter uses for 3D printing, I also recognised the potential that this technology provides Australia. Cheaper parts, lower manufacturing costs, faster production and demand for older skills like tool making.

This can only be good for manufacturing in Australia. 3D printing is proving to be part of the new industrial revolution taking place in Australia.

3D printing makes good practical and economic sense. It means that goods can be manufactured closer to their point of purchase, or use, saving on transport and handling costs.

Parts could be produced at local repairers or engineering shops, cutting down on supply chain management.

This will be particularly useful in regional and isolated areas, where items will be able to be printed as needed, instead of having to be freighted from the nearest warehouse.

This approach will also cut energy consumption, giving us a more environmentally friendly manufacturing industry.

Although some of the uses and benefits of 3D printing sit in the future, many are being integrated into day-to-day activities now.

3D Printing opportunities

In the US navy, scientists and engineers have used the technology to manufacture everything from food to parts for fighter jets.

And they are working on technology that may one day enable them to print spare parts or even manufacture advanced weaponry such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

At the same time, NASA has sent a 3D printer into space where it hopes astronauts will be able to use the device to create spare parts for the International Space Station.

Back here on earth, 3D printing opens up a world of opportunities for advanced Australian manufacturing.

Manufacturing continues to be a major contributor to Australia’s prosperity, especially here in Melbourne. However, manufacturers face challenges due to the small domestic market, relatively high cost base and intensive international competition.

These factors are particularly severe for traditional, large-scale manufacturing.

That’s why it is rewarding to be here, at the opening of a facility that is the newest face of manufacturing.

3D Manufacturing  

By offering 3D manufacturing services you are not only delivering a very clever form of manufacturing, you have established a service that enable other manufacturers to quickly develop new products.

Access to inexpensive prototypes printed on a 3D printer will help Australian businesses respond quickly to new market demands.

My understanding is that by using a 3D process to develop a metal mould, small businesses can save two months and around $50,000 over conventional technology. That’s a significant financial saving and gives a far faster path to market.

It also gives businesses the opportunity to offer a much wider product range, allowing then to access potentially profitable niche markets. I am also excited by the potential that 3D Central offers to produce items that can’t be made with conventional technologies.

I mentioned earlier that I was impressed by the A3DMA – Australian 3D Manufacturing Association - Additive Manufacturing Exposition at Parliament House.

As the national voice of Australia’s growing 3D manufacturing and printing industry, A3DMA, organised a very successful display.

Australia’s economic future will only be secured through the success of our businesses.

The Australian Government will continue to focus on creating the economic environment to encourage private sector investment and jobs growth.

We are reforming vocational education and cutting red tape.

We are also focused on improving incentives for business to invest in technology and helping transition manufacturing to the smart, high value industries of the future.

Your enterprise is the perfect example of the benefits that flow from investment and high-value manufacturing.

By establishing this centre, that is the first of its type in Australia, you are setting the lead for others to follow.

I congratulate you for this, and wish you all the best in the future.

Media contact: Mr Baldwin's office 02 6277 4200