Technology Trade Show SouthMACH 2015 ran for two days last week in Christchurch with an array of innovative and inspiring manufacturing solutions on display – and, of course, baxter, writes Jesse Keith.
SouthMACH 2015 provided an interesting range of additive manufacturing solutions and providers, robotics both large and small, machinery and seminars from key manufacturing industry and research advisors.
The biennial technology trade show may not be at the global scale of a German manufacturing tradeshow, but we need these events to help promote, connect and inspire us to engage in new methods, techniques and attitudes.
SouthMACH hosted presentations from the likes of Dieter Adams, the new CE of New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association, on “Manufacturing Matters – why and how”.
He pointed out manufacturing is second only to the primary sectors in terms of New Zealand’s biggest export sectors.
He also raised the key point around how associations like NZMEA and government agencies like Callaghan Innovation may work in positive and collaborative fashion in the future.
For our part, we at Callaghan Innovation firmly see New Zealand as a passionate and innovative manufacturing country.
Apart from our major primary industries, New Zealand lacks a true global volume-model to our production, but with that relatively small size comes an inherent can-do attitude and ability to create niche high-value solutions.
Our manufactures are not just producers/makers, but due to our scale and geographic isolation we have the ability to adapt quickly and to solve the “curly” problems for ourselves.
With that in mind, KanDo Innovation and Callaghan Innovation brought the “baxter” robot to SouthMACH. He (if baxter has a gender) was stopping plenty of the crowd as they walked the floor.
Callaghan Innovation is currently running a one month in-business trial of the baxter robot to demonstrate to the manufacturing industry the advantage of automating simple repetitive tasks.
The key value of automation is that it ultimately allows our human resource to be focused on complex tasks and even more importantly the creation of new I.P.
For manufacturers, baxter demonstrates the ease of use, versatility and safe working environment robotics can contribute to. baxter may well have some limitations when it comes to automating a manufacturing process, but he has been inspiring all the right conversations about how we best continue our approach to automation of our manufacturing industry.
Personally for me as the National Technology Network Manager – Design & Manufacturing at Callaghan Innovation the whole experience raised more questions than answers, but that is an exciting prospect. Let’s embrace and enhance what we do best; niche high-value manufacturing supplied by smart, agile, innovators who can solve the “curly” problem quickly.