[ASC-media] Media Release: Welding Wizardry wins top prize

CRCA Media crca-media at starclass.com.au
Thu Mar 27 11:32:34 EST 2003



A brilliant piece of Australian technology that could save the world car industry - and other industries - billions, as well as many human lives, has won the nation's premier award for innovation, the inaugural $100,000 Peter Doherty Prize.

WeldPrint, developed by WTi and the University of Sydney, uses cutting edge mathematics and chaos theory to analyse the quality of arc and spot welds in motor vehicles and other metal products - and pick out flaws in the blink of an eye.

The world produces 70 million vehicles a year, and the average vehicle has 50 metres of arc welding and 4000 spot welds, making the task of ensuring they are all sound nightmarish.  In many cases the quality of the welding process can only be checked using expensive destructive and crash tests.

"WeldPrint is unique in its ability to identify and categorise welding faults n on-invasively, in real time, so you know how good each and every weld is," explains WTi Business Manager Trevor Gore.

"The opportunity cost of not having this certainty is estimated to be over $1 billion annually, in the automotive industry alone.

"The major car assemblers are forever trying to improve quality and reduce cost. Every one that WTi has approached has been eager to find out more - because they understand the benefits."

As a result of their market research the team believes that the vast majority of welding stations in car assembly plants could benefit from the technology, and the global market may be as large as 20,000 units a year.

The Weldprint technology is patented, and the company is now seeking second round funding of $1.5 million to develop a distributor base in Europe and the USA to fully exploit its market potential.

WeldPrint was named the winner of the inaugural Peter Doherty Prize for Innovation at the Commercialisation Forum and Fair of Ideas in Sydney today.

The choice of winner was based on the potential of the technology, the realism of the business opportunity, understanding of the market, commercial expertise in the team and investment plans.

The Peter Doherty Prize is worth $100,000, consisting of $40,000 in cash and $60,000 in kind.  Sponsors of the prize are PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Australian Institute for Commercialisation Ltd., the ResMed Foundation and Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia.

More information:
Trevor Gore, WTi				02 9665 1271

Mr Bob Taylor, CFFI coordinator	 0409 855 993
Bob.taylor at flinders.edu.au
Mr Paul Field, Aust. Technology Park 		0417 299 837
p.field at atp-innovations.com.au
Julian Cribb, media contact			0418 639 245
Julian.cribb at csiro.au

Peter Doherty - bio details

Peter Doherty works in the general area of immunity to viruses and shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with his Swiss Colleague, Rolf Zinkernagel, for discovering "the nature of the cellular immune defence". He was Australian of the Year in 1997, and has (since 1998) been commuting between St Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH) in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. He recently returned to Australia, holding appointments as Laureate Professor at Melbourne and Burnet Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council.  

Doherty's trained in veterinary science at the University of Queensland, and is the first veterinary scientist to win a Nobel Prize. He worked as a vet in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, then completed a Ph.D. in pathology at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. The discovery that won the Nobel Award was made during his tenure as a Research Fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), Canberra. 


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