Cutting edge steel to be made at Port Kembla
'Fabulous example of collaboration with the industry'
Specialist steel for armoured vehicles, Navy vessels and renewable energy installations is to be manufactured at Port Kembla with the involvement of University of Wollongong researchers.
The Government has announced funding for BlueScope Steel’s $217 million Advanced Steel Manufacturing Precinct around the Port Kembla steelworks, under the Collaboration Stream of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
The precinct includes a new facility that will be able to produce plate steel for armoured vehicles and ocean vessels, as well as the type of steel used to create wind turbine towers and large-scale solar installations.
This will reduce the need for overseas imports and secure our sovereign capability in steel fabrication.
Dr Phil Commins, Acting Director, Facility for Intelligent Fabrication (FIF) at UOW, said the involvement of a research partner was vital for the success of the bid by BlueScope Steel.
“This is a fabulous example of industry collaborating with the university sector delivering real translational research outcomes,” Dr Commins said.
“The project is about investing in new capital equipment and processes. BlueScope wants to ensure that it takes full advantage of the modern Industry 4.0 manufacturing principles, which is where our expertise comes in.
UOW’s extensive and sophisticated manufacturing and materials research capabilities can provide support to the project in areas such as manufacturing design, simulation, modelling and pilot scale demonstrations.
“The investments proposed by BlueScope will foster deeper business-to-research collaborations and will likely develop and propagate new skills and industry best practices,” Dr Commins said.
More than 200 people will be employed directly in steel manufacturing once the precinct is up and running, with about 1000 more workers in adjacent industries.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the enhanced capability at Port Kembla would bolster domestic supply chains, as well as increase the downstream domestic manufacture of steel goods.
“This precinct represents an incredible win-win – not only increasing the local production of Aussie-made steel, but also helping build up our renewable energy and defence sectors,” Mr Taylor said.
“The Port Kembla steelworks has a proud history. This precinct will help BlueScope thrive into the future and create more jobs in the region.”
He said manufacturing would be a focus of the forthcoming Federal Budget.
“We will continue its investments under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative to back Australian manufacturers to become more competitive, resilient and able to scale,” he said.
The Facility for Intelligent Fabrication at UOW is part of the School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering.