Vernier Luncheon – 14th July 2016



Our guest speaker will be Vernier member, Meredith Crittenden the Executive General Manager of Industrial Control Technologies based in Geelong.




The Society was given a fascinating insight at our July meeting into a recent study trip our member and guest speaker Meredith Crittenden, the Executive General Manager of ICT Geelong, made to Sweden as part of a learning tour from Australia organised by AIG and hosted by the international expert and past Society speaker Goran Roos.

Meredith treated the audience to a number of innovative insights into how Sweden, as a high cost manufacturing nation, are planning to transform their manufacturing industry in the face of global disruption.  The presentation pointed to many things that have great similarities to the Australian manufacturing challenge.

While Meredith gave a good PowerPoint presentation to support her perceptions, she felt that it needed more work before it was worthy of being added to the Vernier website, which gives an indication of the standards of excellence that exist with Meredith and with ICT and we are pleased to post the now, excellent presentation on the Society website.

The work that Sweden is doing is exciting covering city infrastructure sustainability, robotics and state of the art communications.  The presentation directly poses some questions for the Australian mindset and we would love to have your feedback and opinion on how the Swedish emphasis compares with Australia’s current strategy.

Vernier welcomes your opinion!





Vernier Meeting – 9th June 2016

“Collaboration – The opportunity created by Additive Manufacturing and the CSIRO’s Lab 22 Innovation Centre”



Our guest speaker will be Dr Leon Prentice of CSIRO who leads the ‘Materials and Processes Research Group’ in the CSIRO’s Manufacturing Business Unit.



“Dr Prentice argues that the Australian manufacturing industry is at a critical point; where challenges, particularly in the metals and automotive sectors may be contrasted with the opportunities of an advantageous exchange rate and new technologies.

Collaboration is the key but Australian industry has generally struggled to transfer new ideas and fundamental research into products and processes.

He will explain how the CSIRO and its Lab 22 Innovation Centre will act as an incubator for businesses wishing to trial additive technology to better understand how it might become a viable technology within their business models”.

Vernier Society February 2016 – The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio

Speaker – The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio – Victorian State Minister for Industry and Minister for Energy and Resources.


The Victorian Vernier Society 2016 Speaker Program started its year with a real feather in its cap with a high profile speaker in the Victorian State Labor Government’s Minister for Industry and Minister for Energy and Resources, The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio. In order to fit with the Minister’s State Parliamentary sitting days, the Vernier Society was all too willing to change its regular date to accommodate the Minister, who was pleasingly able to find time in her busy schedule to speak to the Society, even though the question time on her speech was cut short by an earlier than expected leaving.

On a warm summer’s day, in the pleasant surroundings of Kooyong Tennis Centre and in front of a good gathering of Vernier Society members, swelled by a number of guests, the Minister first recapped her earlier visits to the Centre of social occasions and then gave a comprehensive, scripted talk on the State’s Labor government plans to manage the transition of Victorian manufacturing into a new age. The main points extracted from the Minister’s presentation were:

(note; it was necessary to provide additional materials from the authorised government websites to ensure the notes taken reflect the facts)

  • While manufacturing has suffered a decline, it is still the second largest industry sector in the state with over 20,000 businesses, employing a quarter of a million people and contributing $27.5b to Victoria’s growth.
  • It is important that the Government understand the changes taking place in the industry and is responsive to the requirement to be a nimbler and advanced manufacturing sector.
  • Australia is not a low cost manufacturing country and so the industry and government must approach the challenge in a sophisticated and intelligent way.
  • Despite the impending loss of the passenger automotive industries, Victoria still have thriving sectors in heavy vehicle transport, recreational vehicles and defence and a strong manufacturing infrastructure sector supporting the level crossing program.
  • Already a number of Victorian companies have taken advantage of Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Program that offers a range of grants available jointly from the Australian Government in conjunction with the Victorian and SA governments.
  • The Minister identified local successes in the $135m expansion of Ego Pharmaceuticals to a new building in Dandenong, which is believed will eventually create up to 200 new jobs.
  • The new building in Braeside by the Japanese company Rinnai who make next generation water systems that will provide up to 160 new jobs.
  • The advanced manufacturing Centre of Innovation in Geelong.
  • The Government is creating a strategy for manufacturing involving a number of high productivity sectors with advanced manufacturing covering all sectors.
  • With the impending loss of automotive jobs at the end of this year and in 2017 the government is highly focused on creating new opportunities and skills for these redundant workers.
  • The State government is working closely with many of the 135 automotive supply companies to diversify into new products, exports and sectors.
  • The State government is putting local supply first in its projects – i.e. with local steel in the railway crossing replacement program and mandating major projects to employ young people.
  • The government is still developing an ‘Advanced Manufacturing Statement’ which will be released soon.

The Minister’s talk was in general well received and it was unfortunate that the Minister had to leave after just a single question from the audience as Vernier’s learned audience tried to digest the abundance of plans and actions.

Vernier Q & A Forum Special Event – 12th Nov 2015

“The challenges for our next generation of industry leaders”

Q & A Forum Special Event – 12th November 2015

Each year the Vernier Society in conjunction with its own Vernier (Youth) Foundation create a special function to attracting youth to the substantial benefits of a career in engineering and manufacturing. This year our theme was “The challenges facing our next generation of industry leaders” with a Q&A style panel of 5 of the brightest and best covering Melbourne industry and academia.

The panelists were:

  • Marcus Ramsay, MD of Lovitt Technologies who are one of the leading global companies for the supply of aerospace components and Marcus along with his brother, is leading a generational change at the company.
  • Jason Steinwedel is the Programme Manager for CADET – Deakin University’s “Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training” in Melbourne, a university already innovating away from the more traditional industry focus .
  • Xiaoyu Wang is a software engineer at ANCA, winners of the 2015 “Manufacturing Company of the year” and winner of numerous export awards. Computer science is seen as the essential skill of the future offering a unique perspective on technology skills for the future.
  • Ryan Higgins is a Manufacturing Engineer at ANCA offering another perspective having worked his way up through a factory apprenticeship to now be part of the ANCA team constantly innovating manufacturing processes in a global market.
  • Professor Mark Eaton, Departmental head at RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre. Mark is a material scientist and with RMIT being at the forefront of Additive Manufacturing bringing a wider insight into how technology & leadership fit together in our manufacturing future.

It was a lovely sunny day in Melbourne and the early arrivals enjoyed the view through the windows of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, the traditional home of Vernier Society Luncheons setting a standard for cuisine and service. By near to start time the pre-lunch bar was being crowded out by members and guests exchanging introductions and generally networking such that by 1pm start all the attendees were seated bar one member who has now made a tradition of being fashionably late. After the traditional Society toast to “Australia and Manufacturing” and the usual custom of collecting fees from members who were not wearing their Society ties (perhaps preferring sartorial elegance to convention) the room enjoyed the usual high quality courses of a smoked salmon entrée and a delightful chicken main course before the main event.


From the left – Ryan Higgins of ANCA, Marcus Ramsay of Lovitt, Moderator Kerry Little, Mark Eaton of RMIT, Xiaoyu Wang of ANCA and Jason Steinwedel of Deakin

With the panel seated and the microphones in place the moderator (and President of Vernier) Kerry Little explained how the event would work with pre-arranged questions from the audience that the panelists would hear for the first time. To ease the probably nervous panelists (ABC’s Q&A program will be their next big step) Kerry asked the panelists to each describe the driving forces of their success and the answers gave a marvelous insight into different paths and forces that drive success.

Marcus Ramsay (MR) of Lovitt Technologies explain how he and his brother had taken different routes into the family business; Bruce through and apprenticeship and Marcus through an academic route but both saw the niche of titanium components for the world’s aerospace industry as the route to a prosperous future.

Jason Steinwedel (JS) explained how an initial career in hospitality and health and a natural curiosity had led him to an academic career geared to making things better.

Xiaoyu Wang (XW) of ANCA told of her initial studies in the competitive schools of China was followed by further focused studies in Australia and her first job with ANCA in which she sees the challenge to improve ANCA technology for the world.

Ryan Higgins explained how being good with his hands had prompted a traditional apprenticeship scheme before joining ANCA and changing to now improve the ANCA spindle manufacturing section while still pursuing further academic qualifications, which endorse his clear determination to succeed.

Finally, Mark Eaton of RMIT explained how an interest in maths and science from a young age had led to Materials Engineering and an inquisitive mind had helped him first at the CRC and now at RMIT.

The first question from the audience came from long time Vernier member David Bennett who asked:

“There is now a big emphasis to ensure that STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and maths are taught in schools and universities. How crucial do you believe these skills are to future leaders and if so what do we need to do to promote their importance?”

The answers varied amongst the panel with Jason suggesting that STEM would be better regarded as STEAM with art seen as important in the scheme of holistic teaching. The need to start teaching these subjects at primary school was endorsed by the panel and that teaching should be seen as vital to make young people think, create and explore through knowledge learning. Jason made the very pertinent point that it is important that students learn to “design, create and make things”. Xiaoyu gave some wonderful comparisons with the Chinese education system where China is much more highly structured and intense compared to Australia as a sort of caged to free range comparison! She also expressed dismay at the fall out rates in Australian university courses. Xiaoyu did state though that many Chinese students have mentors in non-academic areas. Ryan raised an interesting point by suggesting that the amount of information now at students’ finger tips through the Internet must start to change the need to learn things that may never be used in normal working.

The next question came from a Friend of Vernier Dean McCarroll who was not able to be present but it is a point shared strongly by AMTIL leadership of which both CEO Shane Infanti and President Paul Fowler were present and was put by Paul:

“As Dean says manufacturing should be seen as a great opportunity with new technologies in materials, electric vehicles, aerospace, medical devices etc. Yet manufacturing is still seen as a grubby industry. Why do you think that is and what can be done to change the image of manufacturing?”

The strong message back from the panelists was that it is important for manufacturing to change its image and this needs to focus on the parents and their current perceptions of industry as not an attractive proposition. It was suggested that this needs to come from both government and the media and Ryan suggested we need to learn from the way manufacturing is portrayed now in the United States. Again some interesting comparisons came from Xiaoyu and how many manufacturing is strong in rural communities with family businesses including relatives all working in the business. [authors note that this community manufacturing is also strong in Germany with businesses being the main focus in many towns and sharing the gained prosperity]. It was also pointed out that there are now only 3 degrees on offer in Australia for manufacturing and so the strong message was that there is a lot of work to do to push manufacturing as a smart and justified career.

The next question came from Vernier Executive member Bob Weekes:

“While there is still pressure on managers and leaders to achieve results, the workplace is changing with increasing cultural awareness, workplace bullying, stress management, etc. How do you see the skills of managers have changed and will need to continue to adapt to these evolving circumstances? Is emotional intelligence now even more essential for leaders and managers?”

Marcus explained how emotional intelligence was vital in Lovitt’s from two aspects – one in the fact that he and his brother are now the generation managing and leading the company and this is particularly pertinent as the company has a good number of manufacturing skilled and experienced supervisors who learned their style overseas in more autocratic times or here in Australia where adversarial relations were the past norm. The two academics explained how EQ was becoming more integral in university teaching under the headings of ‘professional practice’ as such things as ‘presentation and employment skills were added to the curriculum. Mark made the point that EQ skills were becoming increasing part of the professor’s lot as campuses can be regarded as their own village. In response to the question back to the audience, member Peter Sutton of Sutton Tools pointed out that there is a need for the company to develop its own culture and for this to be ingrained in apprentices and new starters by the seniors of the company.

The next question came from Jack Parr of Vernier who asked:

“Many businesses are now global with customers around the world. Software is now outsourced to India and the like, customer support centres in Asia, engineering design around the world for globally designed products yet work particularly in manufacturing is based on 5days/7.5 hours around a building. Does industry both manufacturing and service not need to appreciate we are now a 24/7 society. How do you see the pressures of work from home, casual employment, fixation on penalty rates playing out over the next decade on the nature of work?”

Directed by the moderator to the industry representatives it was agreed that work life balance is increasingly more difficult particularly in areas where production is 24/7 and they may need to be on call for urgencies and the constant flow of ubiquitous emails. Yet again Xiaoyu gave a fantastic comparison to life in China where her sister stills works on Saturday and ANCA salesmen during the recent time she was there had their phones on all the time and would get calls from customers irrespective of the time.

There was just time for one more question and it came from long time Vernier member Dieter Glenk who asked:

“It seems these days that young people are being encouraged to get a degree rather than gain a trade or work with their hands. What does the panel think are the needs of the future manufacturing industries for trade skills? Should our education system not recognize different that some students are better with their hands than others and stream the training accordingly?”

Marcus explained that trade skills are still vital in manufacturing because ‘expensive machines can make expensive mistakes’ and need human intervention and monitoring. Ryan pointed out that he felt trade schools are now behind times [author’s note certainly in terms of investments in the latest metal cutting machines] and it needs more than a ‘button pusher’ to run the latest machines. But again Ryan pointed out at his school students were pushed towards accountancy, the law and the medical profession with trade skills taking a back seat. Jason pointed out he had worked in both the university and the TAFE sector and there was increasing demand for trade skills in Australia from India and China as the countries middle classes increase and Australia still offered a quality training despite being rather dated.

The clock more than the questions finally beat the panel and the moderator had to call time while some in the audience were still itching to ask their questions. It then remained for Kerry to thank the panelists and present them with a small gift as a reminder of their participation – the book, ‘The dictionary of dangerous ideas’ by futurist Mike Walsh – an alphabetical collection of the most challenging concepts facing business leaders at the dawn of the 21st century. The meeting finished at 3pm as promised although it was pleasing to see several attendees staying behind to continue to the discussion.

It is now with the Vernier Society to summarise both the challenges and how capable the country is at addressing the challenges.

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When: 12th November 2015. Pre-lunch drinks from 12:30 to 1pm. Then a two course lunch and coffee followed by the one hour panel

Price: Please bring a guest at the special rate of $75 per guest. We also have a limited number of free places for students and apprentices

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

How to Book Your Place:  Contact Jack Parr on 0425776679 or email or through any Vernier Society member

12th February 2015 – Matt English and our AGM


Our February function is headlined by Matt English who will bring us up to date on Social Media with his presentation titled “Grasping Social Media”.

Kerry Little will then share the results of the Vernier planning day held at the Bentleigh Club on Thursday 22 January.

And we will finish the day with our Annual General Meeting.


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When: Thursday 12th February 2015. Drinks from 12:30pm with lunch commencing at 1pm. Finish at 3:00pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

Vernier Dinner Function – 11th Dec 2014

Our gala end of year dinner event will be held on 11th December. Please bring your partners, friends and family to this gala event at a special rate of $50 per guest.

We will have Bernie Geary – the Principal Commissioner for Children as our speaker and we will also be having two fabulous and acclaimed sopranos to entertain us.[hr][/hr]

bernie-gearyBernie Geary OAM has worked with vulnerable young people and their families for over 40 years. During this time he has been an advisor and advocate on issues relating to vulnerable children, young people and their families.

He began his career as Victoria’s first outreach youth worker in West Heidelberg, and managed the Brosnan Centre prior to becoming the CEO of Jesuit Social Services.

He also served on the Victorian Youth Parole Board (1988-2005), was a member of the Premier’s Drug Advisory Council in 1999 and 2001, the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council (2005–2008) and the Victorian Children’s Council (2005-2013).

Since 2005, as Victoria’s inaugural Child Safety Commissioner, Bernie has worked hard to enhance the safety and wellbeing of Victoria’s children. During this time he has contributed to broad policy reform relevant to children’s well-being; as well as service improvement for children exposed to Child Protection, in particular those living in out-of-home care. He established the Community Integration Program designed to support vulnerable children being better connected to the community, and the Independent Visitor Program for young people detained in youth custody.

Bernie received the Order of Australia in 2002 for services to young people, a Centenary Medal in 2000, and has an honorary Masters Degree in Social Work. In June 2010, Bernie received an honorary award of Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa) Australian Catholic University.

Bernie and his wife Therese have 5 children and 9 grandchildren.


Prudence Hare and Michelle McCarthy.

prudence-hare michelle-mccarthy

Prue and Michelle will sing some popular ( mostly Italian) opera and they will be accompanied on the beautiful white grand piano at Kooyong.

[hr][/hr]Prudence Hare found her love of performing in the theatre companies of Ballarat appearing in both principle and chorus roles. Prudence moved to Melbourne in 2010 to commence the Bachelor of Music and is currently completing her Honours year in Classical Voice at the Melbourne Conservatory of Music. She has received multiple placings in vocal eisteddfods including South Street, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Ararat, Warragul and Melbourne. Prudence was a member the chorus for VYO’s production of Assembly in 2011. In 2012 she was a Soprano Soloist for Mozart’s Requiem at the Melbourne Town Hall with the MCM Orchestra. Most recently Prudence presented a voice and piano recital with Peter Toohey at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and a fundraiser concert at the Diocesan Centre, Ballarat. Prue has just won the Acclaim Sleath Lowrey Scholarship.

[hr][/hr]Michelle McCarthy studied her Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.  Michelle’s performing credits include productions with Victorian Opera including Assembly and Play of Daniel, principle roles in Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore and Iolanthe with Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria, ‘Constanze’ in Amadeus with Melbourne University and ‘Sappho’ in the premiere of Kevin March’s chamber piece Mythweaver. Michelle is also a frequent concert performer having sung as soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, Mozart Requiem and Kodaly Missa Brevis. Michelle is the recipient of numerous awards including the Florence Bradford Scholarship, Elise Weidermann Scholarship in addition to being a finalist and prize-winner in a variety of eisteddfods and competitions around Melbourne. Michelle has just returned from an Acclaim Italian study tour taking her to Jesi and La Scala in Milan.

[fancy_title style=”1″ align=”left” heading_style=”h1″ title_color=”#999″ title_lines_color=”#eee”]Event Details[/fancy_title]

When: 11th December 2014. Drinks from 6:30pm with dinner commencing at 7pm. Finish at 10:30pm

Price: Please bring partners, friends and family to this gala event at a special rate of $50 per guest.

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419 106 765 or Please advise if you plan to bring a guest so that seating, catering and name badges can be arranged.


Vernier Society Special Event – 2014 Youth Forum

[promobox type=”style2″ description=”Speaker: Assoc Professor Andrew Greentree”] Our Shout for Lunch! 2014 Youth Forum [/promobox]

The Victorian Vernier Society and the Vernier Society Foundation will present a Youth Forum on Thursday 13th November – Kooyong Tennis Club

You will benefit through your attendance because:

  1. Lunch, refreshments and great company
  2. Quantum Physics and fabricating nano-diamonds?!
  3. The future of manufacturing?

andy-greentreeAndy is a theoretical physicist, with a background in quantum optics, quantum information and diamond. He works closely with experimental teams worldwide.

He is a Science Theme Leader and Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

Including the Centre of Excellence, he is co-recipient of more than $25M in category one grant funding.

Research highlights include the discovery of a new form of quantum transport in solid-state systems, the prediction of new quantum phases of light, and co-invention of a new method of fabricating diamond nanostructures that led to creation of the thinnest layers of single crystal diamond manufactured. Andy is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow

[fancy_title style=”1″ align=”left” heading_style=”h1″ title_color=”#999″ title_lines_color=”#eee”]Youth Forum Details[/fancy_title]

When: 13th November 2014 from 12:30pm until 3pm

Price: Youth Guests Free including lunch

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419 106 765 or


Special Vernier Society Event – The Truth about Metals Additive Manufacturing

Metals Additive Manufacturing is one of the most hyped innovations in the manufacturing world today. If we are to believe all the rhetoric, then soon every component will be produced as required on an army of flexible machines. But the truth is somewhat different.   ‘Plastic’ additive is now quite commercialised since its invention in the 1980’s but metal additive is still an emerging technology albeit with great potential.

At this unique Vernier event you will be able to:

  • Understand the historical development of both plastic and metal additive processes.
  • Appreciate the between ‘plastics’ and ‘metals’ additive manufacturing
  • Understand the different technologies being developed in metals additive manufacturing
  • Appreciate why Victoria is one of the leading centres for metals additive
  • Understand the industries and applications that are best suited to metal additive processes
  • Meet and question our guest speakers who are at the forefront of metals additive in Australia

Guest Speakers:


Professor Milan Brandt, Technical Director of RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility


John Barnes, Director, High Performance Metal Industries, Manufacturing Flagship, CSIRO


Mike Brown MD of Renishaw PLC, UK’s leading maker of metals additive machines

Who should attend?

  • Managing Directors, Production Directors, Design and Development Engineers, Purchasing Officers and Manufacturing Engineers
  • Engineers; past present or future that has a technical interest in innovation and new technologies
  • Anyone who cares passionately about the future of manufacturing in Australia.

Don’t miss this great knowledge gaining event and outstanding networking opportunity. Reserve your place now as numbers are strictly limited.

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When: October 9th 2014 from 12:30pm until 4pm

Price: Only $90 including a 2 course lunch

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419106765 or

Sept 11th 2014 – Matthew Pinczes – W. Granowski

matthew-pinczesBest practice in manufacturing principles

Starting in manufacturing when I was 16, I spent my holidays working in a repetition engineering factory operating milling machines and lathes making production parts to pay for my schooling to become a mechanical engineer.

Now, 33 years later, I have worked in all areas of manufacturing from concept to after sales service and from shop floor to senior management.  I have been involved in a number of different industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Bio-Medical, Foundry, Glass, Healthcare, Waste, and Building Products.

A “lean” convert, I have been involved with the High Performance Consortium since its inception to promote and instil best practice in manufacturing principles and I won the inaugural Toyota Australia Supplier Kaizen Marathon in 2006. I have given a number of papers promoting manufacturing on topics ranging from Design for Manufacture to how to develop staff and engage employees.

An avowed manufacturing tragic, I believe that innovation holds the key to success and that any company can be successful if they can develop better products or processes than their competitors and maintain their success through continuous improvement.

[promobox type=”style3″]Click here to view the slides from Matthew’s Presentation[/promobox]

[fancy_title style=”1″ align=”left” heading_style=”h1″ title_color=”#999″ title_lines_color=”#eee”]Event Details[/fancy_title]

When: September 11th 2014 from 12:30 for a 1pm start. Finishing at 3pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


Aug 14th 2014 – Peter Farley


Well known entrepreneurial engineer and member of the Vernier Society, Peter Farley, gave a fascinating presentation to the Society at the August meeting on “Australia’s energy policy”.  

Peter’s presentation was packed with facts, figures and analysis that demonstrated his great research knowledge on a subject that he obviously feels passionate about but also the wealth of knowledge and capability that exists with Vernier members.  Peter’s main message was that Australia has not got a sustaining energy policy that is in line with some of the latest self sufficiency thinking worldwide.  Peter’s message was not based on the political view of climate change needing to drive change in our carbon footprint with all the ensuing taxation ramifications, rather that we are just wasting money that could be reused in the economy.  His opening slide set out the message for Australia:

  • Energy use in Australia costs $70-80b per year and Australia uses almost twice as much energy per capita or per $GDP as equivalent economies.
  • A 40% reduction in Victorian energy use would bring us in line with current international standards is this saving is equivalent to the entire state health budget or 20% more than the entire state’s education budget
  • Australia imports far too much of its liquid fuel needs and has so little stockpile of material that this could leave us extremely vulnerable in a international conflict situation

[promobox type=”style3″]Click here to view the slides from Peter’s Presentation[/promobox]


Peter not only gave a rich panoply of facts but showed where the potential savings for the future can occur but they need a complete change of government driven policies and admitted that the political will is not currently there and may never be so it is up to the individual in a bottom up approach to drive change.  He identified a number of major areas for the Victorian State and in particular highlight a need for revised thinking on transportation as our thirst for petrol guzzling vehicles currently consumes about 35% of household energy usage.  As expected Peter was a passionate believer in alternative renewable energy sources giving a number of remarkable facts about what is happening worldwide:

  • Germany has 23,000 wind  turbines in a country 20 times smaller than Australia.  This year they will install another 1000 and replace 1-200 old machines with much bigger ones.
  • In the first half of the year Germany generated as much renewable power to meet 90% of East coast Australian demand.
  • In 2017/18 China, Germany, Japan, the US and possibly India will each generate enough renewable electricity to power Australia
  • Japan is installing more solar over the next 3 years than Australia’s total generating capacity
  • South Australia is approaching 50% renewable electricity  

The Vernier audience were left with a great message about how each and everyone one of us must do our bit to reduce energy usage, not just because the government will not take a long term and inter –party view to the issue but that it is essential for the future of the planet!

[fancy_title style=”1″ align=”left” heading_style=”h1″ title_color=”#999″ title_lines_color=”#eee”]Event Details[/fancy_title]

Our speaker for August was Peter Farley with a talk on ‘A Sensible Energy Policy for Australia.

Peter Farley is from a farming and small business family, the first in his family to go to university where he studied engineering and later economics. His first job was in Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Maintenance and Production Engineering. He moved from there to CIG where with ANCA they developed Australia’s first CNC plate cutting machines. After a number of other roles he founded Farley Manufacturing which developed world leading CNC cutting machines, 70% of which were exported at prices up to 40% above the leading Japanese and German machines. At its peak sales were over $20m per year. Eventually the company was taken over by a Chinese firm and most of the operation is now in China.

For the last 14 years Peter has run his own consultancy business with the majority of the work overseas. The major current activity is designing a range of machines for the world’s largest fabrication equipment company FICEP in Italy.

Peter has won a number of awards including machine tool of the year from the British Machine Tool Show, Prince Philip design award, Michel medal from Engineers Australia. He is now on the board of the Inner Melbourne VET cluster which co-ordinates vocational training in and out of school for thousands of Victorian students and is a Victorian Committee member for the Institution of Engineers.

Springing from his training as a mechanical engineer and time as manufacturing manager in a large electrical transformer business and his economics studies, Peter has always had a strong interest in energy efficiency and energy policy. He feels that there are huge opportunities for Australia to reduce energy costs while also improving living standards and health outcomes while enhancing Australia’s energy and economic security.

When: August 14th 2014 from 12:30 for a 1pm start. Finishing at 3pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


July 10th 2014 – Albert Goller – META


The Society’s guest speaker was Albert Goller the Chairman of META. Albert was the Chairman and Managing Director of Siemens Ltd in Australia and New Zealand from 2002 to 2012 but now leads META, a federally funded organisation whose aim is to combine manufacturing businesses through collaborative projects to create business opportunities on a global level.


Albert gave one of the most passionate and frank presentations on the need to ensure manufacturing continues to thrive and provide a significant proportion of the nation’s economic output. His core message is that after the mining boom must come the manufacturing boom! It is a false assumption to assume that because we are losing the Australian automotive industry we will automatically lose our manufacturing industry but as Albert said it must be a different form of manufacturing, away from the traditional mass production because our cost structures are too high and besides that we do not compete on a level playing field as many countries and governments around the world see the crucial importance of having a thriving manufacturing sector. But to paraphrase Mark Twain; “rumours of manufacturing’s demise are greatly exaggerated” and META are determined to play a key part in ensuring this does not happen. Their main focus is to form a number of manufacturing precincts or clusters for key industry sectors where the businesses who together in a collaborative approach to address new markets and new opportunities looking right across the value chain from design to delivery. However Albert acknowledged, endorsing exactly what Vernier’s recent audit of manufacturing companies including Vernier Member companies themselves concluded, that collaboration is not in Australian companies DNA and so META’s challenge is to change this position.

In the 18 months they have been operating they have formed a database of over 3400 companies including over 40 universities and learning establishments and are now putting together clusters or hubs to look at such new collaborative opportunities as portable housing, carbon fibre, Australian clothing and sports technology, which he pointed out is a $300b industry worldwide. The organisation has a goal of 80 different collaboration hubs over 10 industry sectors. Albert sighted the example of the strength of Germany’s SME’s who have a long history of collaboration far different from Australia, who despite being the 13th largest economy in the world seems to have an adversity to collaborating and not yet quite appreciating we now have to compete in a globalised world.

Under the messagealbert-goller of the “Art of Manufacturing” Australian companies now have to use innovation, sustainability, speed and mass customisation to really compete in the intensive world of the future. In the question and answer section after the presentation, Albert was asked about the role of government, and in particular this government, in supporting their cause. This is a particularly pertinent point as META was originally set up under the previous government with a 5 year brief but unfortunately the current government have chose to only fund this extensive program until the end of 2014; although META are now exploring self funding options. In a passionate answer that may have surprised some of the audience, the message it is not going to be achieved by relying on governments of either persuasion, it has to come from those in the industry, and organisations like Vernier, demanding manufacturing is given its rightful place in the economy – manufacturing and its organisations and institutions must become a stronger voice on the political stage. When asked about the hope for areas like Geelong who has lost so many manufacturing jobs recently again Albert’s answer was frank having good news and bad. The bad is that many who have lost their jobs will struggle because the current message is one of retraining but training is currently focused on past skills; the future skills needs have not even yet been identified. But the good news is that the region is already fighting back and there are quite a number of new and innovative projects being developed in the region.

Overall it was an excellent and what should be a thought provoking message for all who passionately care about manufacturing. So the question for the Vernier members is how we can help because we certainly should!


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Our speaker for July is Albert Goller from META. July 10th 2014 from 12:30.  Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong.

META a membership organisation made up of Manufacturers and Researchers who collaborate together to reinvigorate Manufacturing and build an agile, innovative and collaborative manufacturing industry.

Another speaker who is right on message from a Victorian Vernier Society perspective.

Mr Albert Goller is the former Chairman and Managing Director of Siemens Ltd in Australia and New Zealand from 2002 to 2012.

Commencing his career as an electronics engineer with Siemens in Germany in 1973, Albert has held a number of senior executive positions throughout the world including President and CEO of Siemens Canada Ltd in Toronto and Head of the Corporate Office for E-business in Munich, Germany.

He has a Masters Degree in Information and Telecommunications from Paderborn University in Germany and has been nominated as one of Australia’s most influential engineers by Engineers Australia magazine consecutively from 2004 – 2010.

Albert took up the position of Chair of the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation Precinct initiative for Manufacturing last year, and has recently formed the organisation representing the Manufacturing Precinct – called META. Albert is a passionate advocate of manufacturing and is convinced a national approach to Australian manufacturing, through the establishment of META, can generate new thinking and action within the sector.


May 8th 2014 – Alan Evans – Dyno Dynamics

 AlanEvansHow to change a company!

The Vernier Society speaker for May was Alan Evans who is the owner of Dyno Dynamics, based in Lilydale Victoria; Dyno Dynamics is Australia’s leading manufacturer of chassis and engine dynamometers distributing their premier products worldwide.  After originally training as an engineer Alan, after realising deskbound engineering was not for him, retrained in Law and Economics leading to a successful career in the public service in a variety of roles.  His professional roles were mirrored by a long standing enthusiasm for motor sport, which ultimately led him and his family to purchase Dyno Dynamics in 2009. What started as a passive investment turned into a very active involvement and a complete makeover of the product range in order to stay both relevant and competitive in the world marketplace.

Alan gave a passionate and enthusiastic talk about the early recognition of needing to radically change the price point of the product in the marketplace through a radical redesign of the product to reduce manufacturing and material costs.  By re-patching the price while maintaining or even improving the product performance, Alan and his team (of which he describes himself as the conductor) were able to widen the product’s attractiveness to a much larger potential market.  In addition, Alan reorganised the company structures giving much more functionality to the key engineering groups.  This process took 2 years with the first sale of the new product at a 2011 trade show, which surprisingly resulted in not just the first but the first twenty sales.  Today the new design has sold over 300 worldwide and has allowed the company to rebuild its presence in the USA, a major market.

It was a fascinating talk targeting both the car and racing enthusiasts of which there are many in the society and the many who still believe, with the right innovative products for niche markets, passion and determination; Australian manufacturing companies can successfully compete in world markets and Dyno Dynamics is a clear example of this belief.


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Our speaker this month is Alan Evans from Dyno Dynamics

May 8th 2014 from 12:30 Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong