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Transforming local manufacturing with light

20 November, 2013

The University of Adelaide will be working with local manufacturers to help them take advantage of emerging laser, sensor and other light-based technologies to transform their businesses.

Announced recently by Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Minister Tom Kenyon, the 'Photonics Catalyst Program' will be delivered by the university's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and funded by a $500,000 grant over two years.

The program is a joint initiative between IPAS and the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE).

Photonics is the science and technology around the generation and control of light, including lasers, optical sensors and optical fibres.

"Photonics technologies represent a substantial opportunity for new advanced manufacturing operations in South Australia and have the potential to transform existing businesses," Tanya Monro, IPAS director professor, said.

"This program will provide a catalyst for local businesses to bring these technologies into local manufacturing operations, and help them gain and maintain a competitive edge. It will also drive innovation and local job creation.

"It also provides new opportunities for IPAS researchers to work with industry and create routes for the translation of their research."

The Photonics Catalyst Program will help connect South Australian companies with emerging photonics technologies, funding projects that give local businesses access to expertise, equipment, research capabilities and cutting-edge technologies.

It will fund the development of prototypes, testing of new photonic devices and adoption of new technologies into manufacturing systems.

"One example is the local wine industry which is investing in research and development of advanced photonic sensing technology at IPAS," Prof Munro said.

"This will enable winemakers to monitor the maturation of their wine in barrels in real time, with great potential for increased efficiencies and profitability.

"We want to create a local business environment that fully utilises the advantages that photonic technology can offer.

"The program will have a strong focus on developing solutions, creating new products and generating advanced manufacturing opportunities for South Australia."

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