SME ENGAGEMENT CENTRE
for a more competitive
and prosperous SME sector
TO THE FOLLOWING RESEARCH PROVIDERS
FOR COLLABORATING WITH US IN 2014
• University of South Australia
• University of Tasmania
• The University
of Western Australia
• Swinburne University
• Edith Cowan University
• Harry Perkins Institute
of Medical Research
• Telethon Institute
of Child Health Research
CSIRO’s SME Engagement Centre helps connect small and
medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to research through the
Australian Government’s Research Connections program,
while providing guidance on grant opportunities.
Research Connections is an Australian Government initiative
that offers eligible SMEs an opportunity to improve their
competitiveness by building relationships with research
organisations in Australia.
Its focus is on helping businesses to collaborate with
the research sector to develop new ideas with commercial
potential and to identify any knowledge gaps that are
preventing business growth.
We live in an increasingly competitive world
WHERE GLOBAL DYNAMIC MARKETS ARE CONSTANTLY SHIFTING
For Australian companies to continue to survive and grow, they
must adapt their business and take advantage of new knowledge
and technology. Through collaboration with the research sector,
companies and experts can share ideas, develop new capabilities and
deliver products that would not be possible in isolation. Collaboration
can help companies meet the challenge of global competition.
However, successful research collaborations are not simple or easy
to achieve. It takes an accurate understanding of a company’s needs
and the ability to identify and draw from the right expertise.
This is where SME Engagement adds value. We have worked with
growing Australian SMEs to establish over 145 collaborative research
projects to directly benefit those companies.
We have helped businesses operating in a wide range of industries
– from food and healthcare to mining and manufacturing – access
technical expertise from across the nation to grow their business.
We’re excited to share with you a snapshot of our SME projects
from 2014, covering the diverse challenges they have met and the
exciting opportunities they have been able to realise. Each project
was undertaken through an Australian Government Department
of Industry grant program.
These forward-thinking Australian SMEs demonstrate the opportunities
available in making industry-research connections work.
MICHAEL EGAN, DIRECTOR
CSIRO SME ENGAGEMENT CENTRE
Specialised Industrial Products
PLUNGING INTO NEW MARKETS
Tasmanian SME Specialised Industrial Products (SIP) supplies
a range of niche products to industry, some of which they
SIP collaborated with CSIRO to investigate new applications
for their products and materials.
They identified an opportunity to make significant improvements
to traditional mooring systems, which the oil, gas and fisheries
industries rely on to hold equipment in place off the coast.
Together they developed a new mooring system that uses
an advanced rubber bungee to overcome the major limitations
of traditional systems.
The bungee allows it to stretch with the dynamics of the water
to avoid snapping.
It’s estimated to have twice the working life of traditional
moorings for about the same initial cost.
SIP is working with an Australian manufacturer to bring
it to market in 2015.
The product will give SIP a huge advantage in the Australian and
“Through working with SME Engagement,
we gained insight into new potential
applications for our products and materials
that were outside our typical market
segments. By doing this, we hope to
strengthen our sales, potential growth,
employment base and long-term viability
in an environment where the traditional
manufacturing customer base is shrinking.”
IAN HOLTHOUSE, MANAGING DIRECTOR
SPECIALISED INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS
PATCHING UP PATIENTS AROUND THE WORLD
Australian medical technology company Admedus has developed
a revolutionary, life-saving heart patch for the repair and
reconstruction of cardiovascular defects.
Research undertaken with CSIRO investigated new, potentially
ground-breaking applications for the product known as CardioCel.
The research specifically focused on using stem cells. It found that
the heart patch has the potential to deliver stem cells and help tissue
heal better than other existing products, when used for cardiac repair.
On the basis of these promising results, Admedus is continuing
to explore stem cells and the possibility of using the product
in reconstruction, to speed-up recovery and for patients with
Admedus anticipates growing its annual production capacity
to 100,000 by 2017.
This SME has since opened a new $8 million manufacturing
facility in Western Australia and begun exporting CardioCel
to the global market.
“After listening to our business needs,
SME Engagement connected us to the
right expertise, streamlining the process
and setting up the project.”
DAVID RHODES, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
Northern Project Contracting
BRINGING SOCIAL VALUE TO THE TABLE
Queensland’s Northern Project Contracting (NPC) has historically
been a service provider to the mining and civil construction industry
in remote Australia. Their services include providing labour and
equipment contract services such as drilling, earth moving, crushing
and road building.
As a large employer of local Indigenous people, NPC enables
communities to take part in wealth-generating activities on their
traditional lands to earn long-term economic and social benefits.
Seeking to better articulate and create a framework for their value
proposition, the company turned to social research with CSIRO.
The research found that NPC’s business model helps facilitate important
contact between their clients and the local communities they operate
in (a key stakeholder).
This results in better trust and relationships, which companies
in the mining and construction industries recognise as integral
to the future of their operations.
NPC is using the framework created from the research to take their
value proposition to other regions and industries. It’s given them
the tools and insight to develop a competitive edge that will help
grow their business both nationally and internationally.
“Drawing on their extensive network,
SME Engagement was able to connect
us to the research expertise we needed
to develop a tool that will have positive
BRAD JACKSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR
NORTHERN PROJECT CONTRACTING
PRODUCING PURE MINERAL SANDS
Australia has abundant reserves of the mineral sand zircon, which
has a range of applications such as ceramics, pharmaceuticals,
medicine and various industrial processes.
Emerging mining company Australian Zircon (AZC) is seeking to tap
into these resources and is on track to developing a mineral sands
mine in Victoria for production in 2017.
Seeking to improve the quality of their zircon product, AZC turned
to SME Engagement to discuss processing methods.
Together they identified the CSIRO-developed pure zircon process –
a method with key advantages and potential for their product.
The successful application of the process has allowed AZC to
produce a premium zircon product, ensuring its marketability
and optimising its price.
This will be instrumental in AZC establishing a highly profitable,
long-term mineral sands mining and processing business.
“This project has allowed Australian
Zircon to confirm the effectiveness
of a CSIRO-developed technology to
improve the quality of our WIM150 zircon
product, ensuring marketability in today’s
challenging mineral sands market place.”
ANDREW REEVES, WIM150 PROJECT MANAGER
NEW WHEELS WITH NEED FOR SPEED
ROH Automotive designs and casts premium alloy wheels as the
nation’s only wheel manufacturer for the Australian car industry.
With their unique flow-forming technology, the company is
introducing a new product line of significantly lighter aluminium
road wheels for Toyota Australia. These will make Toyota’s 2015
vehicles more fuel-efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
Because the technology is new and these wheels have a different
casting shape to conventional wheels, ROH needed to modify
their casting process.
ROH turned to CSIRO for their computer modelling expertise and
equipment to help them do this more efficiently. Together they
created a virtual simulation of the casting process to identify any
potential defects, make design modifications and improve the process.
ROH was able to tailor their process more cost-effectively than
would otherwise have been possible. These modifications have
also improved the quality of their new products and reduced the
time to manufacture them, giving them a competitive advantage.
Now, the company is implementing and testing the new process
so that the wheels can be brought to market and fitted to Toyota
Australia’s next generation Camry and Aurion vehicles in 2015.
“With the help of CSIRO’s SME
Engagement, we were able to bench test
and reduce the time to develop and bring
our new product line to market.”
BILL DAVIDSON, DIRECTOR
A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
Before an organ or tissue transplant can be safely undertaken,
it’s essential to check that the donor and recipient tissue type
matches. This process is performed using a technique called
Operating out of Western Australia, Conexio Genomics is a
global leader in specialised genetic matching products that
can be used by health professionals to accurately and efficiently
perform tissue type matching.
With innovative ideas on how to improve their products, Conexio
turned to SME Engagement to find the expertise they needed to
quickly turn their ideas into a reality.
In collaboration with researchers at the Royal Perth Hospital,
Conexio has been able to develop new innovative technology
that simplifies testing, reduces costs and improves accuracy.
This next generation product will enhance Conexio’s competitive
edge when it brings it to the global market in 2015.
“CSIRO’s SME Engagement has been key
in enabling Conexio to collaborate with
researchers in a clinical setting so that
we could turn our ideas into a unique
transplant matching product at a much
faster rate than would have otherwise
DR DAVID SAYER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Yolngu Business Enterprises
FINDING THEIR NICHE
One of Australia’s most successful Indigenous companies,
Yolngu Business Enterprises (YBE2) specialises in mine site
rehabilitation, environmental management and construction
services in north-east Arnhem Land of the Northern Territory.
When YBE2 was tasked to control destructive pest ant infestations
for their client Rio Tinto Alcan, they needed to develop their capability
in order to secure the work.
YBE2 was connected to CSIRO experts to help develop protocols
to monitor the land, identify yellow crazy ant infestations and
accurately map their location for eradication.
As a result, YBE2 has added ant pest control to its services
and secured an ongoing contract to control ant pests for
Rio Tinto Alcan.
This niche service is vital to the local area where YBE2 operates
to prevent the spread and environmental threat of invasive
pest ant species. It makes YBE2 more competitive and has
the potential to open up new business opportunities.
“Having the capacity to monitor and
capture data from the land ourselves will
serve the business well and potentially
open up new opportunities at other sites.”
TONY SHULTZ, ENVIRONMENTAL SUPERVISOR
PepinNini Minerals undertakes greenfields exploration, which
involves searching under-explored areas for new mineral deposits.
This kind of exploration relies heavily on research, and new tools
and methods are providing the insight to make it more targeted
Seeking to take advantage of the latest technology, PepinNini
collaborated with leading experts in the field at CSIRO.
Together, they focused on analysing the geochemistry drill
core samples from one of their major projects in South Australia.
The analysis revealed that one of the areas PepinNini was targeting
was not suitable for platinum and nickel mineralisation and hence
had limited potential for ore discovery.
As a result, PepinNini could efficiently focus its efforts to a more
prosperous area, saving time and costs.
PepinNini is continuing to work with CSIRO to develop more
efficient and productive exploration targeting methods,
utilising airborne electromagnetics.
“Collaborating with CSIRO’s SME
Engagement has helped us to refine our
targeting methodology and clarify our
strategic approach so that we can come up
with more efficient exploration methods.”
REBECCA HOLLAND-KENNEDY, MANAGING DIRECTOR
PEPINNINI MINERALS LTD
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