Volvo Group Australia to upgrade Queensland facility

Truck manufacturer Volvo Group Australia has announced it will upgrade its current truck plant in Wacol, Brisbane.

The news was announced at the launch of the company’s $30 million Australian headquarters and Brisbane south dealership.

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The new headquarters houses offices, a dealership dedicated to Volvo, Mack and UD trucks, which all had models on display and a 33,000 square metre workshop at the new Metroplex Westgate business park.

It features a Leonardo Di Vinci-inspired helix central staircase made of muted Scandinavian timber and a seven-metre glass hangar door inside a 12.5 metres high atrium to accommodate the display of heavy vehicles.

The company employs more than 1500 employees around Australia and has produced more than 60,000 trucks from its Wacol factory since 1972 when it first began manufacturing in Queensland.

Volvo Group international President and CEO Martin Lundstedt said the refurbishment of the nearby Wacol truck plant attests to the strong outlook of the company as it ramps up production.

“Our increase in market share towards 27 per cent over the past five years in combination with a strong heavy-duty truck market, makes it necessary to further increase our production capacity,” he said.

“In the past five years alone, production at our Wacol factory has increased by 40 per cent.”

Mr Lundstedt said the investment in the new Wacol facility will provide a boost to its 85 local component suppliers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement at the opening of the new facility, which employs 500 workers and is a significant part of the state’s manufacturing base.

“Volvo Group is the only truck manufacturer to be awarded ‘Australian Made’ certification, and we’re particularly proud to call them Queensland-made,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Their commitment to the state is a vote of confidence in our future and testament to the State’s economic strength.”

Outgoing Volvo Group Australia President Peter Voorhoeve said the building housed 200 staff.

“It’s a beautiful building but more than that it’s a tangible demonstration of Volvo Group’s commitment to its future operations in Australia,” he said.

Brisbane battery recycling boost from Lithium Australia

Lithium Australia has announced it will begin manufacturing and recycling advanced battery materials at its research and development lab, VSPC, in Brisbane.

The company aims to close the loop in the energy-metals cycle and is seeking to establish a vertically integrated lithium processing business.

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It aims to improve the lithium-ion battery supply chain with the company’s SiLeach lithium extraction process, superior cathode production, and enhanced recycling techniques for battery materials.

VSPC’s pilot production facilities have been fully re-commissioned, allowing the company to assemble and test lithium-ion coin and pouch cells.

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said the company intended to turn VSPC into a global facility for manufacturing advanced cathode materials as well as for battery recycling.

“VSPC gives Lithium Australia the opportunity to manufacture the world’s most advanced cathode materials – at the high-margin end of the battery metals market. Importantly, VSPC will also allow us to capitalise on waste batteries as a feed source,” he said.

“We anticipate immense pressure on the supply of energy metals such as lithium and cobalt in the near future. Battery recycling not only supports sustainability but may also, ultimately, prove the cheapest source of those energy metals materials in years to come.

“The ability to produce cathode powders from these materials, while also controlling particle size, is clearly advantageous. It is an integral part of our sustainable and ethical supply policy,” Mr Griffin said.