Israeli company to reduce Victorian aluminium costs

October 19, 2010 Agencies
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Innovation Minister Gavin Jennings today announced a $380,000 grant for Dandenong company o.d.t. Engineering to assist its collaboration with Israeli company Netanya Plasmatec in developing a cheaper and more efficient aluminium casting process.

Gavin Jennings

Mr Jennings said the $1.4 million international collaboration was the latest project funded through the Victoria-Israel Science and Technology R&D (VISTECH) agreement.

“VISTECH is an example of how we are helping innovative local companies develop their ideas into commercial products that will create jobs and help secure our economy for future generations of Victorians,” Mr Jennings said.

“The fund helps Victorian companies connect with Israeli companies to commercialise their research and development and break into Australian, Israeli and world markets.

“Working through VISTECH offers Victorian companies access to additional skills, capital, technology transfer and knowledge.

“This joint R&D project between Victoria’s o.d.t. Engineering and Israel’s Netanya Plasmatec will develop a new technology which reduces a very energy-intensive phase within the aluminium casting process — significantly reducing time, costs and energy use.

“o.d.t. Engineering will work with Netanya Plasmatec to develop and commercialise the in-line homogenisation technology for existing and new casting facilities. Potential markets for the improved machine include South East Asia, Taiwan, China and Russia.

“Early results show the technology eliminates the need for the conventional homogenisation process — a current heat treatment process essential to enabling the mechanical properties of the aluminium we see around us everyday.”

o.d.t. Engineering is a leading producer of semi-continuous casting line for aluminium billets and slabs and boasts highly skilled cast engineering. Netanya Plasmatec is known for its work in innovative aluminium casting with products already used in the automotive industry.

Mr Jennings said that if successful, the new process would reduce the cost of creating aluminium billets by up to 30 per cent and reduce energy consumption by up to 90 per cent.

“Victoria’s aluminium casting industry is a significant supplier to local advanced manufacturing companies—a successful outcome would reduce costs, cut emissions and increase competitiveness, while also providing considerable energy savings,” he said.

VISTECH was launched in 2006 between the Victorian Government and Israel through the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist. Victoria and Israel have each provided half of the US$6 million fund.

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