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Superconductor wire project awarded $5000 000

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The Hon. J o h n Moor e, MR Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism

M e d i a


Monday, 13 May 1996 31/96


The Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, Mr Moore, has announced that the Federal Government, through the Industry Research and Development Board (LR&D Board), has awarded a $500,000 Competitive Grant to a project which is developing a high-temperature superconductor wire.

“High-temperature superconducting wires will put Australia at the cutting edge of developing commercial products,” Mr Moore said in Sydney today.

“This technology has potential for many different uses,” the Minister told an Auslndustiy Breakfast Briefing to Sydney business leaders.

The technology can be used in existing power equipment applications such as motors, generators, cables, and transformers. It can be the enabling technology for new applications like magnetic resonance imaging in the medical industry. It can also be used for energy storage, either on a small scale for industry or a much larger scale for the supply industry.

“Forecasts indicate superconducting products will generate a global business of around $150 billion in about 20 years,” Mr Moore said.

Sydney industrial company Metal Manufactures Ltd will collaborate in the project with two major researchers, the University of Wollongong and CSIRO Applied Physics.

“The Government strongly supports industry research and development because of the significant national benefits that accrue from the commercial development of products,” Mr Moore said.

Auslndustry and the IR&D Board facilitates this process by providing opportunities for business to research, develop and commercialise new ideas for internationally competitive products, processes and services.

“Australia’s manufacturing sector spends more than $1.5 billion each year on research and development. It needs a return on its investment by way of commercially viable products that create jobs and boost economic growth,” Mr Moore said.

Contacts: CMR042

Cheryl Cartwright Mr Moore’s Office 06 277 7580

Dr Ian Pollock CSIRO 02 413 7729

Chris Butler Auslndustry 06 276 1348

Aapo Skorulis Uni of Wollongong 042 213 386

Alan Arnold Metal Manufactures 02 600 0967


The IR&D Board administers the Government's competitive grants and tax concession programs, which encourage R&D in industry, as well as the concessional loans program which supports early-stage technology commercialisation activities for small to medium sized firms.

Eligible companies undertaking R&D can apply for assistance through the Competitive Grants for R&D or Concessional Loans for the Commercialisation of Technological Innovation. All applications that meet the eligibility criteria are assessed on relative merit.

Metal Manufactures Ltd has businesses associated with the transmission of data, energy and fluids. MM Cables comprises two divisions of Metal Manufactures Ltd, both leaders in the manufacture of a very wide range of cables, one specialising in energy and control cables, the other in communication, data and instrumentation cables using metallic conductors and optical fibres. Over the last nine years Metal Manufactures has a record of achievement in the development of high-temperature superconductors working within a consortium managed by MM Cables.

Metal Manufactures’ partners in the consortium, the University of Wollongong and CSIRO Applied Physics, are recognised world leaders in materials processing and high-temperature superconductors including their fabrication.

The project being undertaken by the consortium will transfer technology from the laboratory to an industrial development plant, scale up the production process, and introduce the necessary control for long-length manufacture of

superconductor tape. This is a material that, unlike conventional conductors, offers no resistance to the flow of electricity and therefore eliminates the generation of waste heat in electric power equipment such as cables, generators, motors, etc.

A profile of Metal Manufactures is attached.

MM Company Profile

M etal Manufactures Ltd (MM) is a large Australian public company (ACN 003 762 641) with just under 5000 employees and a turnover o f about AS 1.4 billion per annum o f which about one- third is exported. Its businesses centre around the transmission of data, energy and fluids servicing government and private sector customers in city, urban, rural and developing areas in both

domestic and overseas markets.

M M has a majority shareholder in UK company BICC pic, one of the foremost cable and construction companies in the world. The balance of shares are held within Australia.

M M operates a number of separate divisions and trading partnerships in Australia and New Zealand and also has 50% equity in Singapore based BICC Asia Pacific Cables Pte, a joint venture partnership with BICC.

M M Cables Energy Products is the largest o f the MML divisions manufacturing a broad range o f energy and control cables, cable glands, flameproof switchgear and longwall mining control gear. The division is customer focussed servicing the construction, defence, industrial, mining and petrochemical industries and the power utilities and government sectors and with a strong export focus working with BICC Asia Pacific in South East Asia. The main operation is at Liverpool, NSW with small additional plants at Fairfield, Minto and Hamilton, NSW and Clayton, Victoria.

Centres around Australia provide customer service, technical support and sales information.

M M Cables Communication Products located at Clayton, Victoria manufactures a broad range o f telecommunication, data and instrumentation cables using both metallic conductors and optical fibres. The division has as its customers the major telecommunication companies in Australia and South East Asia and it is the major supplier o f optical fibre cable to Telstra and Optus.

M M Cables New Zealand manufactures and markets both energy and communication cables for the New Zealand domestic market and exports into the South East Asia region, The division is based in Christchurch, having its main plant at Riccarton and a smaller satellite plant at Hornby. The division is a major supplier to to electricity utilities, Telecom, Clare and to electical

wholesalers, contractors and industrial customers.

M M K em bla Products is Australia's premier supplier of copper and aluminium products, providing a range of infrastructure products serving the energy, transport, building, construction and original equipment manufacturing industries. M M Kembla C opper Systems is Australia's

largest supplier o f copper and copper alloy tube and M M K em bla W ire & Rod is Australia's largest supplier o f copper and aluminium rod, wire strip and covered products. These are both located at Port Kembla, NSW and other works are at Eagle Farm, Queensland and Auckland, NZ.

M M Electrical is one of Australia's largest electrical wholesaling and specialist electrical and electronics suppliers. It is a major seller o f MM Cables' products and operates in all states and territories of Australia through more than 150 outlets under the major groups of Hay mans, TLE and AWM.

M M Group joint ventures include 50% shareholdings in Optical W aveguides A ustralia - the largest Australian producer of mticai fib-? - 'M in Vinidex Tubem akers - Australia's largest plastic pipe and accessory proouw.*,