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New Zealand Plans to Advance Manufacturing Sector

Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development, has unveiled an initiative to expand and modernise the country’s high-tech manufacturing industry rapidly. One of eight Industry Transformation Plans (ITPs) designed to boost productivity and performance in vital economic sectors is the Advanced Manufacturing ITP.

The plans lay out the steps that may be taken to increase innovation and productivity across the country, which in turn will lead to higher incomes and living standards without causing inflation. Every one of New Zealand benefits from the Plan, not only the areas that have been hit particularly hard by recent natural disasters.

About 10% of New Zealand GDP, 10% of the country’s employment, and 73.5% of its exports are all tied to the advanced manufacturing sector. Around half of these positions are outside of New Zealand’s major cities.

There is a lot of unrealised potential in the advanced manufacturing industry that might boost productivity, create high-paying employment, and aid in the shift towards a more environmentally friendly and competitive economy. “This plan lays out the steps necessary to get there,” Stuart Nash explained at the Plan’s launch in Auckland.

There is also widespread agreement that immediate action is needed to boost capital investment in innovative manufacturing and to train and recruit a diversified pool of workers capable of producing high-quality goods for high wages.

To get started on some of the Plan’s urgent recommendations, the government has allocated $30 million (about US$18.61 million). Included in this is $2.9 million (US$1,8 million) for company-specific support to achieve circular low-emissions manufacturing, $4 million (US$2.48 million) to upskill manufacturing workers in digital skills, and $3.65 million (US$2,26 million) for advice on adopting advanced technologies and processes.

Co-Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing ITP Steering Committee and CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Brett O’Riley, emphasised the need for a solid collaboration approach to the strategy.

He claims that with continued cooperation, New Zealand companies can develop innovative manufacturing capabilities on par with international leaders, increasing output and boosting earnings. Rachel Mackintosh, Vice President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi, Assistant National Secretary of E T, and Co-Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing ITP Steering Committee, agreed.

According to her, the ITP will pave the way for more individuals to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing. New Zealand has the potential to tap into the innovative potential of its varied manufacturing workforce to create a prosperous and long-lasting manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing industry has recently seen a rise in the prevalence of “advance manufacture” initiatives. For example, at Batu Kawan, Penang, Malaysia, an EMS provider has declared intentions to build a Smart “Lights-Out” Factory 4.0. The plant will manufacture new 5G Advanced High-Speed Optical Signal Transmitter and Receiver Optical Modules. The plant will use photonics and semiconductor technologies via a technology transfer with its US-based client.

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a unique approach to employing machine learning to detect defects in metal components produced by additive manufacturing. Due to its potential for early flaw identification and defect prediction in 3D printed materials, the innovative technology has the potential to impact the additive manufacturing sector significantly.

Users can save time during inspection since the new technology can inform where pore flaws might be within the part, even if the building process isn’t halted. The team hopes to look at more sensors that can detect additive manufacturing mistakes in the future. Therefore, they need to build a system that can immediately identify and address production issues, educate end users on the nature of the problem and provide guidance on how to repair it.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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