This week I took a day off and visited National Manufacturing week which was in Sydney at the Olympic Park Show grounds.
Last time I went it was at Darling Harbour. My guess is that it's bigger this year. The exhibitors clearly go to a lot of trouble and expense to put on a good display.
Even the largest robots have an accuracy of 0.5mm and this is put to good use pouring drinks and stacking CDs. The crowd is a mix, lots of students, lots of blokes in fluro gear:
There's "factory porn" everywhere to be appreciated.
The huge plasma cutters, stampers, benders and welders are great fun.
This year, the thing that struck me was the large number of Chinese manufacturers with stands. There were about 30 booths and these guys will cheerfully turn your drawing into physical products in a few short weeks. They regard Australia as too small for decent quantities but they're happy to help.
While Australian manufacturing has continued to grow in dollar terms it is shrinking as a proportion of the total economy. It was pointed out to me that Asian manufacturers are more competitive not because of lower wages but because of great business processes.