Memjet inaugurates new factory in North Ryde, Sydney

Printing technology company Memjet has opened a new factory in North Ryde, Sydney, which has started the production of commercial printing machines from December last year.

The printing parts that Memjet creates are the brains in many of the world’s best-known printing machine brands including Canon, Konica Minolta, PCMC, MGI and Gallus.

The company said most of its design and R&D work is executed in Australia. Over the past seven years, the company has registered 183 patents, with most held in Australia and the US.

Until recently, however, most print engine assembly was done overseas, in particular in northeast Asia. As such, this new factory in North Ryde shows its commitment to backing local supply chains and Australian innovation.

“There’s big benefits to vertical integration in Australia,” Memjet chief technology officer Jason Thelander said.

“We have a stable economy, great scientific and engineering capability as well as a highly skilled workforce. With new robotics and ultra-smart software, our manufacturing is competitive with Asia.

“Local manufacturing means a US$15million to US$20 million increase on Australian value add per year. And 100 per cent of our output will be exported.”

The move follows Memjet’s decision in July 2021 to bring four product lines for printer engines back from Asia. At that time, Memjet had just finished the design of its latest print engine and its executives had to decide where to assemble it.

Several factors made executives think again about investing in Asia but Memjet wanted to consolidate its global supply chains.

“Every country has been hit by supply chain issues over the past few years. Like all companies we want to reduce risk,” Thelander said.

“The advantage of bringing manufacturing bac to Australia and vertically integrating is you get more control. We are more in control of our supply chains and our margins.”

The new factory features new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots from Germany and software called ‘the juggler’ that tells staff how to prioritise work. This means the robots can switch between manufacturing tasks without human intervention and maximise the efficient use of time in a particular manufacturing cell.

Thelander said the new Australia-made strategy includes sourcing most components from suppliers in Australia.

“When we reach full production, about 80 per cent of the parts for our Australia-built print engines will come from Australia. For example, we used to get most of our dye inks from international suppliers. Now, all of them will be sourced from Australia,” he said.

The North Ryde factory will also include a collaborative manufacturing centre, and house 140 engineers and scientists.

“Our new robots and ultra-smart software enable us to quickly manufacture high-tech, low-run components for other innovators. We can also assemble parts with minimum human input. This is high-efficiency collaborative manufacturing – and it has a great future in Australia,” Thelander added.

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