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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 12

I The First Half Century - The Initial Struggle

II The Second Fifty Years - The Start Of Expansion

III The Third Fifty Years - Federation And The First World War

IV The Fourth Period - Second World War To The Present
i General Conditions
ii Iron and Steel Production
iii Aluminium Technology
iv Innovative Copper Refining Process
v The EDIM-4WD Load-Haul-Dump Vehicle
vi Copper Rod Production
vii Copper Wire and Cables
viii The Diecasting Industry
ix Automotive Components
x Whitegoods or Consumer Durables
xi Hardware
xii Some Recent New Industries
xiii The National Measurement System
xiv Manufacturing Industry in this Decade
xv Acknowledgements



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Some Recent New Industries

Finally, in concluding this abridged history of technology in some Australian manufacturing industries, it is important to mention a few businesses developing modern or high technology products that have followed successful innovation, often for niche markets.

The philosophy of Nucleus Limited is growth through innovation. Nucleus was founded in 1965 to develop, manufacture and market innovative medical technology. It has specialised in developing products from original Australian research and taking them to world markets in more than 50 countries. From a staff of 2 in 1965, Nucleus has grown to over 2000 people world-wide, of which 750 are employed in Australia. The group is presently expanding at a rate of over 20 per cent per annum. The six subsidiaries which comprise the Group conduct their own research and development, manufacturing and marketing activities. These include Telectronics, Ausonics, BGS Medical Cochlear, Domedica and Medtel.

Telectronics is a significant innovator in the pacemaker field and is rated number two in the world market. Technological innovations made by Telectronics and which are now considered world industry standards, include a half millisecond-wide pacemaker pulse which permitted significant energy conservation without affecting the stimulation threshold and in 1969 the development of the monolithic integrated circuit pacemaker. Both reliability and complexity were increased and the unit size decreased. In 1970 Telectronics developed the first hermetically sealed titanium pacemaker in conjunction with research with the CSIRO. This eliminated corrosion and extended the life of the pacemaker from a 100 per cent failure rate in three years, to a lifetime of over 20 years.

More recently, Telectronics was the first to combine the pacemaker and defibrillator in one programmable unit. The Telectronics defibrillator is a new generation of intelligent heart pacemaker. Designed to prevent what is known as 'Sudden Death Syndrome' which often happens after a first heart attack, it has the potential to save thousands of lives lost through sudden cardiac attacks. It is more advanced than other pacemakers in that it is more intelligent, capable of monitoring specific areas of the heart and administering a more finely tuned regime of treatment. It is comprised of a miniaturised pacemaker with a micro-electronically controlled pulsing mechanism which initially comes into action to assist the heart to return to its normal beat. If this fails the defibrillator automatically comes into action and shocks the heart back to normal rhythm.

In 1970 Medtel (then known as Scientific and General) produced the first push button energy selectable automatic external defibrillator with automatic synchronization, and in 1971 it was the first to produce a cardiac monitor with automatic rate meter sensitivity, permitting the automatic detection of heart rate without manual adjustment. Medtel was also the first with automatic balancing for blood pressure transducers and the first impedance respiration system with automatic balancing, the latter permitting automatic adjustment. More recently, the Commander ST cardiac monitoring device just released by Medtel is the first monitoring and trending cardiac monitor, for the monitoring of ischaemic episodes.

The subsidiary, Ausonics, was formed in 1975 to manufacture diagnostic ultrasound equipment. 1975 saw the fruition of research with the Australian Department of Health Ultrasonics Institute to develop the first commercially practical water path ultrasonics. Subsequently Ausonics developed the most compact real-time ultrasound machine which is particularly valuable because of its portability.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Ausonics Pty Ltd; Australia. Department of Health, Ultrasonics Institute; Medtel Pty Ltd; Nucleus Limited; Telectronics Pty Ltd

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 910 - 911, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher