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HeliMods updates design and manufacturing processes

written by Liam Garman | November 16, 2021

Australian-based aerospace technology company HeliMods confirmed that it has selected the Siemens Xcelerator platform to implement closed loop manufacturing (CLM) within the Siemens manufacturing execution system (MES) to digitise HeliMods’ design and manufacturing process.

HeliMods outlined that the new process enables the company to develop highly complex and scalable solutions through a single platform and was delivered with support from the federal government through a co-investment grant under the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

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“Thanks to this project, HeliMods is now the only Australian business with Defence Production Approval that is using such a closed loop manufacturing system, offering Australia a unique new sovereign defence industry capability based right here on the Coast,” Andrew Wallace MP, member for Fisher said.

The new upgrades are expected to help the company reduce the development timeframe and increase manufacturing efficiency.

The announcement comes as HeliMods received approval from the Australian Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA) for DASR 21, Section A, Subpart G – Military Production Organisation Approval (MPOA) status, being one of only two Australian companies to have achieved the certification.

“With these digital tools we can take our innovations to the world. As we grow in strength and market scope, it is critical to leverage the high-tech manufacturing technology that enables highly streamlined work, freeing up our talent to focus more on product innovation,” Will Shrapnel, founder and managing director of HeliMods said.

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“Siemens’ software has played a critical role in our design and development work all along with advanced software which enabled us to create digital twins of our innovations and fast-track much needed solutions for aerospace.

“The implementation of the MES framework is a highly significant step which continues to build our digital thread. The implementation will give our customers a great view of rich data and achieve high quality, high speed and high agility production – the holy grail of digital manufacturing.

“Innovation has been the mainstay of our growth and it’s great to see us set the digital manufacturing benchmark for aerospace in Australia.”

The new digital platform is expected to deliver improved product traceability, oversight and data trust.

Jeff Connolly, chairman and chief executive officer of Siemens Australia welcomed the announcement, illustrating that increased digitisation has ongoing benefits for Australian businesses.

“HeliMods is a great example of Australian ingenuity and innovation that has flourished using digital technologies. What we see time and time again is that those companies investing in digitalisation and automation to create technology with purpose can compete with anyone in the world,” Connolly said.

“HeliMods have continued to innovate not just what they produce but how they produce it. This means increased speed, flexibility, efficiency and better outcomes for the world such as their one touch stretcher system for search and rescue helicopters.

“And with support of federal government programs such as the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, these companies can get a leg up, grow faster and bring their great innovations to life.”

Connolly’s comments were reflected by Dr Jens Goennemann, managing director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, who noted that digitisation is increasingly allowing Australian businesses to innovate.

“Commercialisation of Australian innovation is critical to the growth of the industry. However, beyond the support with co-investment, our intention as an industry-led organisation is to provide the right-fit support for businesses that are scaling up. In the case of HeliMods, it’s collaboration with industry experts like Siemens that sets them up for future growth,” said Dr Goennemann.

The current agreement extends HeliMods’ current relationship with Siemens, having integrated a number of the company’s platforms throughout HeliMods’ production process.

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