Helimods takes off with co-investment from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

Australian aerospace technology manufacturer HeliMods, with assistance from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), has partnered with Siemens to leverage its Xcelerator software portfolio to fully digitalise its entire product design and manufacturing process, making it the first company of its size in the Australian aerospace sector to do so.

The implementation of Closed-Loop Manufacturing (CLM) across its manufacturing capability using Siemens’ Manufacturing Execution System (MES) will enable HeliMods to achieve development and production of high complexity, high value, scalable solutions using a single digital thread across the entire product lifecycle.

The implementation of the software was enabled by a $350,000 co-investment grant from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and will support HeliMods’ global and local growth trajectory in aerospace, defence, air ambulance and other key industries. In total, the project will see an investment of $808,543 from combined AMGC, industry and in-kind contributions.

The announcement was made at HeliMods in Sunshine Coast by Federal MP Andrew Wallace who said, “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.”   

The MES solution will also help HeliMods reduce development timeframe and cost and increase efficiency while also allowing increased levels of product innovation. HeliMods was recently approved by the Australian Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA) as one of only two active organisations in Australia to receive DASR 21, Section A, Subpart G – Military Production Organisation Approval (MPOA) status, establishing HeliMods as the only Australian business with Defence Production Approval that is leveraging this unique combination of digital technologies.

Speaking on the announcement, Will Shrapnel, HeliMods Founder and Managing Director said, “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 hi-tech manufacturing technology that enables highly streamlined work, freeing up our talent to focus more on product innovation.”

The new system will enable HeliMods to connect to physical manufacturing infrastructure anywhere in the world without the requirement for person-centric links. It also provides complete product traceability, oversight and data trust for high-security industries such as defence.

Siemens Australia’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Connolly congratulated HeliMods on the growth to date and recent implementation saying, “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 digitalization and automation to create technology with purpose can compete with anyone in the world.“

“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,” said Mr Connolly.

Dr. Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, acknowledged that an increasing number of Australian manufacturers are looking for new ways to drive innovation, productivity, and competitiveness and that funding plays a key role in supporting this intention.

“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.”

The MES agreement extends Siemens’ existing relationship with HeliMods that has seen HeliMods use Siemens’ software to design and deliver the world’s-first Powered Aero Loader™ (PAL™) to customers such as Ornge, an air ambulance and medical transport organisation in Canada, and helicopter fleet transformation services to RACQ LifeFlight in Queensland.

Utilising Siemens’ NX™ computer-aided (CAD) software integrated with Teamcenter® Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, both from Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services, HeliMods has interactively designed all product components and leveraged the diverse array of advanced software integrations available, such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) to effectively iterate and create optimised product solutions for its customers.

For further information regarding Helimods Closed-Loop Manufacturing project, visit https://www.amgc.org.au/project/closed-loop-manufacturing/