DST Group hosted around 100 materials and manufacturing technology experts at its November Emerging Disruptive Technology Assessment Symposium (EDTAS) in Melbourne, discussing how future manufacturing processes may use materials created specifically for each application.
The two-day symposium included workshops and presentations from field experts such as DST Group Aerospace Division Chief Dr Dong Yang Wu, University of Melbourne Professor Graham Schaffer and CSIRO’s Dr Danielle Kennedy.
The invited attendees discussed technologies from nanotechnology to bioengineering, additive manufacturing and acoustic technologies, evaluating how they may influence future manufacturing processes and capabilities. Part of a series, the November EDTAS followed a similar event focusing on information knowledge and digital disruption in April this year.
Dr Nigel McGinty, research leader (Strategic Capability Analysis) for the Joint and Operations Analysis Division of DST Group, said the Melbourne event followed a research project to help define the technologies to be evaluated.
“Each one is done as a campaign, so it goes over about a 10-month period where we do internal work and SME interviews,” he told ADM.
“The event is really looking at the technology opportunities and then we look internally at how they might drive future operating capability concepts. That’s how we close the loop on linking technology to what the need might be in the future.”
Key themes in the November symposium included digital elements such as increasing use of simulation in both material design and manufacturing.
“Another theme was sustainability. How will manufacturing materials vary in the future when we have significant renewal energy, when we’re not trying to minimise the energy because everything’s free from the sun? How might that change that sustainability piece in terms of recycling or the materials we choose to use?”
Dr McGinty said discussion of future manufacturing processes would include “things that aren’t just 3D printing”.
“There is a strong push around the computational materials element, where you’re designing the materials for the actual need,” he said. “We use steel today because it’s easy to form and use in our current manufacturing processes, but as we use new technologies and approaches we might look to creating even whole new classes of materials.”
A key outcome from the symposium will be a Big Picture Assessment Report developed through the workshop contributions of all attendees, which will help shape future Defence research and preparations for emerging and disruptive trends in Advanced Materials and Manufacturing.
The next EDTAS Symposium, focusing on human performance and biotechnologies, will be held in May 2018. YouTube video streams for both days of the event can be viewed at DST’s channel here.