Young engineers are set to benefit from nearly $6million in funding that will be used to boost Australia’s space industry.
Romar Engineering’s grant was the largest of four allocated to manufacturers working in the aerospace sector under round one of the Integration and Translation streams of the Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
It will enable the company, an industry leader in tailored advanced manufacturing, to further develop its Australian-designed control valves for rocket engines.
“This is an opportunity for young engineers to gain experience in these sorts of engineering technologies,” Romar founder Neil Wilson said.
“One of the premium aspects of this grant is that a lot of young people are going to be given the opportunity to learn and increase skills, not only in engineering but in additive manufacturing and biomedical engineering.”
Mr Wilson said Romar, started by his father 50 years ago, had always been at the forefront of innovation.
“Some four years ago, we introduced a metal printing technology in Australia called Hybrid 3D, which is metal-additive technology,” he said.
“We have the only metal-subtractive metal printer in the southern hemisphere, which means we can add metal and we also machine it away, so it gives us a leading edge when it comes to fully fabricated fully machined metal tasks.
“This printing machine is good for areas like space, defence, medical devices, railways and general engineering.
“It is probably one of the bigger footprints available in Australia and it gives us an introduction into those areas, so we’ve been doing a lot of work with the space industry.”
Romar’s collaboration with Queensland-based Gilmour Space Technologies has been pivotal.
“We’ve been designing and manufacturing some control valves for their rocket engines,” Mr Wilson said.
“We currently have three designs going through, which is behind the grant that we won in July.
“It allows us to introduce different materials, different design technologies and different capabilities into the space rocket engine domain.”
Romar will use its $5.8million grant for research and development.
“The complexity of these valves, because of environmental conditions in operation, mean they need to be fully explored in a research fashion in order to make them fully operational in the application area,” Mr Wilson said.
“We have an embryonic space industry here in Australia and this is all part of the Australian government’s effort to lift this country into the space race and into the positioning of satellite-deployment crews.
“There are other companies in Australia doing other things – making the satellites themselves, others looking into different areas of application of materials in order to achieve a purpose.
“A lot of what we do here in Australia is original work because around the world, it is closely guarded technology.
“A lot of nations do not allow other countries knowledge of their technology, so we have to develop our own.
So that’s what the space industry in Australia is doing. It’s proportionately developing what is needed to allow Australia to enter the space industry.
“We’re very proud to have won this grant and very proud to be involved in the space industry.”
Romar Engineering has been a member of the Australian Industry Group for more than 50 years.
"Romar Engineering has a long association with Ai Group, which dates to the late 1960s. Throughout this period, Romar and Ai Group have joined together on many occasions to help our manufacturing industry grow. These instances included joint board participation on industry technology and training centres, mentoring high school students on career options and advice, various policy feedback and group advice and selected group presentations, which were normally regarding technology changes. It has always been a pleasure to have Ai Group in our corner." — Founder Neil Wilson
Wendy Larter is the Senior Content Writer at Ai Group. She is a former journalist with more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.