Apical Blog

Report “Measuring Fashion 2018”

05th April 2018

Recycling / Sustainability

Undertaken by the ClimateWorks Foundation, “Measuring Fashion 2018” is a report on the environmental impact of the global apparel and footwear industries.

The study is based on the World Apparel and Footwear Life Cycle Database (WALDB) and provides impact results for climate change, water, and human health, among other indicators. Click here to see a summary that provides metrics-based guidance for companies committed to making viable changes to reduce their impacts, and also here for the full report.

The report concludes that circular material flow alone is not enough to ensure the apparel sector greatly reduces its impacts by 2030. Even by reaching the ambitious target of recycling 40% of fibers in clothing by 2030, the study estimates the sector would reduce emissions by only 3-6%.

My personal observation is that because of its rapid global growth, “Fast Fashion” is the environmental lightning rod for all products made from fibres, be they workwear, Manchester, carpets – or even slow fashion. Recent reports such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report “A new textiles economy” (2017) and “Fashion at the crossroads” (2017) by Greenpeace are Fast Fashion centric and include claims such as “The current clothing system is extremely wasteful and polluting…..it is estimated that more than half of fast fashion produced is disposed of in under a year.” How does one separate Fast Fashion from Slow Fashion once it hits landfill?

Another observation is that these studies aggregate production of fibres, textiles and apparel across all fibres, products and producing nations. Countries and sectors that have worked towards sustainable production are aggregated into those that haven’t – see http://cottonaustralia.com.au/australian-cotton/environment/sustainability.


Farewell to NACRO

23rd February 2018

Recycling / Sustainability,Social enterprises

After nine years, my team and I are stepping down from managing the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations.

It has been an honour to serve the association and a privilege to work with a wonderful series of Chairs, namely Ken Richardson (Lifeline), Cathy Bray (The Smith Family), John Hillier (UnitingCare) and Michael Skudutis (Salvos Stores ST) and more recently Matt Davis (Salvos Stores). I am proud of our courageous efforts to protect the environment within which our members operate and to promote the benefits of the sector. We will miss the many wonderful people who work and volunteer within the sector – but its time to move on.

On behalf of NACRO Chair, Matt Davis, I am pleased to announce that following an extensive executive recruitment search with the NACRO National Executive, Omer Soker has been appointed NACRO’s new CEO effective from 8 March.

Steber International showcases advanced manufacturing in regional NSW

23rd February 2018

Event initiated and managed by Apical Int.

A family owned business that was founded in 1946, Steber International originally produced timber clinker hull boats, transitioning to fibreglass (FRP) construction in 1959. It is now considered as one of the pioneers in the construction of fibreglass vessels in Australia.

The Apical team recently organised a tour of the Steber manufacturing plant which is on a four-acre site in Taree a town on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

Generous host and General Manager, Alan Steber shared salient advice gained from his experience running a composites business for over 40 years. His strong belief in networking was demonstrated by the calibre of invited speakers, including the Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, and State Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead, both of whom outlined their commitment to manufacturing in the region.

Alan also explained that an active R&D program is critical for continued innovation and growth in regional areas. “Given the distance from key decision makers, we simply have to stay ahead of the pack by knowing more and offering innovative solutions and products,” Alan said.

Alan proudly led a tour of the factory covering a $2m export vessel, 43ft navy vessel, 4380 sports cruiser, 34ft commercial fishing vessel and a host of other projects under construction. Alan explained that it takes on average 43 mouldings to make one Steber commercial and/or recreational composite vessel.

The event was another advanced manufacturing facility tour initiated and organised by our team.

Ryman Composites – a positive market outlook

23rd December 2017

Design,Event initiated and managed by Apical Int.

Organised by Apical Int., with a view to showcasing technology, some 80 Composite Australia members enjoyed their visit to Ryman Composites’ new manufacturing facility at Milperra, Sydney.

Guests had the opportunity to tour each stage of the modern 2,500 sq m production facility to see examples of the company’s diverse composite products and view each stage of production including design, lamination, mould making and finishing.

Among the highlights of the display was the opportunity for delegates to experience the award-winning SynFlyt 3DOF (degrees of freedom) outdoor flight motion simulator in a composite pod developed for pilot training schools large and small.

Chris believes strongly that there is room in the market if you are prepared to manufacture professionally. He shared salient advice gained from his experiences running a composites business for over 40 years. Lessons he has learnt — more often than not the hard way — include: run with a good thing; don’t undermine your suppliers; pay bills on time; share your success; and to carry people with you.

He has learnt to be cautious of people who distract you from your business, warning to be wary of customers that may attempt to run your business and inventors who may “never give birth”. Chris’ mantra is to “do it yourself and not buy other’s ideas”.

While always challenging, business is done on the power of good partnerships and customer relationships, says Chris.

Fast fashion angst

06th December 2017

Design,Recycling / Sustainability,Sustainability,Uncategorized

Recently released reports by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Greenpeace demonstrate the global angst for the ecological footprint that fast fashion has managed to make in recent years, though both recommend step change that may take years.

Fast fashion is both speeding up and dumbing down, while eroding the value of the secondhand experience. Slow fashion, also known as sustainable fashion, ensures quality inputs and manufacturing to lengthen the life of the garment. Slow fashion has greater value, is designed for longevity and therefore more merchantable in the secondhand economy.

Advancing manufacturing: German ideal and Australian reality

04th December 2017

Event initiated and managed by Apical Int.,R&D investment,Technology,Uncategorized

Manufacturing is undergoing an historic transformation across the industrialised world. While we can learn from Germany, the reality is that Australia’s advanced composite manufacturing sector will adapt the best elements we have here, and around the world, to service our unique characteristics.

Making War on Waste

23rd November 2017


With Jodi Boylan, Executive Producer, KEO Films Australia Pty Limited who spoke at the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations Annual conference organised by the Apical team.

 With overall responsibility for producing “War on Waste”, ABC’s powerful and enlightening four-part documentary series that tackled the topic of waste in Australia, Jodi shared her experience in creating a legacy – particularly Episode 3 that featured the role of charitable recycling – that put the issue of waste at the forefront of the national consciousness. On behalf of NACRO, it was a privilege to assist the KEO Films Australia with information and data on the sector during the planning stages. The episode can be seen on ABC IVIEW here. http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/war-on-waste/DO1624H003S00


Smart and Intelligent Textiles Conference

30th August 2017

Event initiated and managed by Apical Int.

Smart and intelligent textiles and fibres are engineered to sense, monitor, track, measure, communicate, transform, conduct, protect, react, dispense and transport. They can be changed by exposure to stimuli, such as electric and magnetic fields, stress, moisture and temperature and to perform a myriad of functions. This broad and eclectic area of textile technology evolved to find solutions to new millennium expectations in apparel and industrial applications in health, aerospace or geotechnical.

In conjunction with long term partners, Deakin University, the TTNA hosted the Smart and Intelligent Textiles Conference to profile products under development and those that have reached commercial markets including wearables as well as smart textiles in sports, medical care and military applications. In short – what has been commercialised and by how much.

The event featured long term friend and colleague of the TTNA, Dr Ing. Dieter Veit, Dept. Head of Department Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University in Germany whose all-embracing and entertaining presentation included a working model of luminous textiles for architectural applications.

It would appear that opportunities in the field of smart and intelligent textile abound with the world market estimated to exceed AUD 4 billion by 2025.


Riviera opens its doors to industry colleagues

23rd July 2017


It is often said that generosity can make your career, for leaders and managers who are generous engender trust, respect and goodwill from their colleagues and employees. Wes Moxey, CEO of Riviera Australia Pty Ltd, displayed all these characteristics in July when he opened the state-of-the-art luxury motor yacht building and showroom facilities on the banks of the Coomera River to Composites Australia members and guests.

Wes was compellingly honest about his management belief system and this was appreciated by the audience, judging by the nodding heads. He recounted the company’s 37-year journey through boom times and recessions to its current growth in the global luxury yacht market. Remarkably, Wes maintained his greatest achievement remained having 180 apprentices and establishing their training facility on site in the early 2000’s. While the apprenticeship pool is less these days, his commitment to making a great company through employing and training great people to make great boats is evident.

Wes joined Riviera in 1982 as a shipwright, just two years after the company was founded in 1980. His ascent into management took seven years and a further 11 to reach the role of Managing Director. Wes attributed Riviera’s success to the combination of four factors: the product remains niche and relies on American sizing, European styling and Australian practicality.

While model after model embodies innovation and the highest quality finish, he admitted that the company has a long way to go before it is “great in the area of fibre glassing”. Wes closed with a challenge that there are opportunities for experts to help Riviera in the fibre glassing journey to excellence.

Another event initiated and managed by the Apical team.

TTNA joins Asia Pacific Nonwovens Federation

05th July 2017


Australia’s TTNA is one of seven nonwoven industry bodies from the Asia Pacific region brought together by the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) to form the Asia Pacific Nonwovens Federation.

Founding members, Mr Li Lingshen President of CNITA[1], Mr David Rousse, President of INDA[2] and Ms Kerryn Caulfield, Executive Manager of the TTNA[3] met at the recent China Nonwoven and industrial textiles associations in Indonesia, India, Korea and Japan are intending to join the Federation which has a mission to serve the sector through the exchange of information, establishment of standards and support of the growth of cross market opportunities.

After a decade of rapid growth and investment, China is now the world’s largest producer of nonwovens, accounting for 40% of global production. China is also the world’s largest exporting country as well as the largest consumer market for non-woven fabrics. The largest application for China nonwovens is medical and hygiene (28%), followed by building and geotextiles (16%) which is being fuelled by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Packaging, filtration and separation, agriculture and transport applications are each running at around 10%.

“I am grateful to the CNITA and INDA for initiating the Federation and including Australian interests,” says Kerryn Caulfield of Australia’s TTNA. “We look forward to capitalising on the synergies between our countries and to furthering the development of international interests with fellow Federation members.”