Society of Automotive Engineers - Australasia

March Newsletter

Welcome to the SAE-A March Newsletter. 

The SAE-A has released the 2017 Event Calendar and in this Newsletter, we bring you a variety of events which include facility tours, webinars, workshops, and more. We are especially looking forward to bringing the members of our industry together at the SAE-A's 90th Year Celebration Dinner on the 4th of May. 

Also in this Newsletter, David Newcombe from SC Innovation, shares his story of transitioning from a traditional automotive scene into a vastly different sector of the mobility industry.

As always, get in touch with us if you have feedback or a story you'd like to share; send a message to

Sid Sheth - Editor, SAE-A


Table of Contents

1. Celebrating 90 Years of Events

2. Why You Should Submit a Paper in the SAE-A Technical Journal?

3. Diversifying from a Traditional Automotive Scene - David Newcombe's Story

4. SAE-A Board Members Take New Positions

5. Federal Minister Visits Vipac

6. APAC19 Call for Tech Papers

7. Chance to Attend EuroBrake 2017 - Free Student Places

8. Job Opportunity at the SAE-A: Publications and Communications Coordinator

9. SAE-A Events Update

10. Social Media Highlights

11. SAE-A Bookshop

1. Celebrating 90 Years of Events

We have a range of different events available in 2017 to celebrate 90 years of SAE-A. We have continued to place an emphasis on providing services and events in all Australian states, with eight nation-wide webinars. 2017 will feature events including facility tours, workshops, dinners, the annual Formula SAE-A competition and more. The SAE-A has a big year of events planned.

We started this year with three webinars including a two-part series presented by the Project Management Institute on Project Management Fundamentals. This was followed by an excellent presentation from former F1 Aerodynamicist, Willem Toet. Willem shared his experiences from working on aerodynamics of F1 Vehicles.

This year's calendar includes some new courses: Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement for Automotive Professionals and Professional Practice for Career Advancement. We will have facilities tours at Carbon Revolution and CSIRO’s 3D Printing Lab; and will bring the society together once again with the 90th Year Anniversary – Celebration Dinner. And then we have the industry’s night of nights – The Mobility Engineering Excellence Awards in October.

The Modifying a Light or Heavy Vehicle seminars make a return in 2017 and will be held all around Australia. The Vehicle Body Engineering – Design Considerations & Body Construction, Crash Investigation and Reconstruction, and Mindfulness for Efficient Working training courses will also be conducted this year.

In April, come and visit the SAE-A at the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Expo at stand E33. We will be running a free seminar on Failure Analysis for Managing Liability on Friday 7th of April at the Expo.

The Society has plenty to offer in 2017, and we look forward to celebrating our 90th year with you all.

For more information on events, contact Greg at the SAE-A National Office:
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

2. Why You Should Submit a Paper in the SAE-A Technical Journal?

Clint Steele, SAE-A Technical Journal Editor, addresses the key areas of publishing a paper in the SAE-A technical journal.

The SAE-A Technical Journal is an avenue for members, and others, to share high quality and vetted works on automotive technology. The key to the success of the Technical Journal is participation of members. This process of sharing knowledge helps drive all aspects of modern society forward.

This article explains the purpose of the SAE-A Technical Journal, how you can publish in it, and the associated benefits. 

How do technical journals work?

The process begins with someone, ideally you, coming up with an idea that is novel and worth sharing with others. This idea is then written up in the format of a technical paper, and submitted online using a paper management system to a journal. The Technical Editor then assigns two experts in the field to review the submitted technical paper and provide feedback. This is known as the peer-review process. The outcome from the reviewers could be either 'Accept', 'Accept with changes', 'Resubmit' (essentially, start again), or 'Reject outright' (the paper is not suited to the SAE-A technical journal). If the outcome is 'Accept', then the paper will be published in the Technical Journal for others to read and learn from.

How do you know if you have something suitable to share? If your idea, concept, project or innovation is something new or novel, then you have something worth sharing. It may only be a small addition to what is already known, but that addition is still valuable. One way to ensure that you have something new is to read other papers on the same topic – you can find such papers on Google Scholar.

Alternatively, if you have a project or item that is not necessarily new, but is still relevant to the industry, then you can submit this work as a case study.

Regardless of whether you write a technical paper or a case study, it is important to have a clear and distinct objective. Typically, a technical paper is summarised to three points:

1. The grounds: the primary data or evidence used (test results, a summary of observations, survey results, a final design description).

2. The warrant: the logical argument that links the grounds to your hypothesis.

3. The claim: the conclusion of findings of your work.

Next steps

Visit the SAE-A Technical Journal website. It will provide you with an overview of the kinds of papers published and may inspire you to do the same. As the Technical Journal Editor, I am available to assist with advice and to steer you in the right direction to publishing your first paper.

For more information about the SAE-A Technical Journal, contact Clint:
SAE-A Technical Journal:

3. Diversifying from a Traditional Automotive Scene - David Newcombe's Story

David Newcombe, Head of Engineering at SC Innovation, shares his experience and journey of transitioning from a traditional automotive background into a very different role in the mobility industry.

Tell us about your experience in the automotive industry.

As the son of a Panel Beater, my exposure to the automotive industry began early in life. Dismantling, repairing, masking, painting, cutting & polishing were regular after school and weekend activities. Being around cars all my life allowed me to develop a passion for products and the automotive industry. Following VCE, I was lucky enough to be employed by GM Holden as an Automotive Drafting Trainee which became the foundation of my professional career.

Over the years, I have worked in various roles such as Draftsperson, Supervisor, Compartment Integration Lead, Advanced Program Engineering Manager and Vehicle Architecture Manager developing products for specific regions and global markets.

A shift in the automotive industry occurred in 2007 and it became evident that my skills and experiences may be difficult to transfer into other industries. I requested diversification in my role and was encouraged to support the Advanced Engineering Program Manager on projects such as Monofuel LPG, Chevrolet Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) and MY14 (VF), which gave me exposure to departments external to engineering, and most importantly the business side of the company.

My last project for Holden was developing a vehicle footprint that will underpin GM’s RWD architectures into the future.

Recently I have been involved with the delivery of Supacat’s HMT 1B program. I am continually involved with automotive engineering services for design, crash and validation activities for international OEM’s.


What are the important skills, credentials, and attitudes you gained from the automotive industry?

Every engineer needs to be good at problem solving. Being part of a large organisation gave me the opportunity to work with specialist and generalist engineers to solve strategic and immediate issues. I gained experience in time bound decision making through working within a production environment. Collaborating with people from different departments or regions has made me appreciate the benefits of being able to engage others by using clear communication.

[Note from SAE-A CEO: We have a SAE-A training course on problem solving scheduled for June 2017]

All of my professional education was completed part time at TAFE and University, which taught me time management and perseverance. My formal studies were complimented through observing and participating in application of engineering theories at Holden.

I have worked on some great products, many of which never made it to production. Embracing a continuous improvement philosophy to product development, allows me to extract lessons from failed projects and apply them to best practices which are utilised in the next project resulting in a better product for the customer.

Resilience – if at first you do not succeed, keep trying. The automotive industry is extremely capital intensive and projects are frequently delayed, stopped or changed based on factors external to the program team. Being able to quickly overcome the disappointment of project change and focus energy towards the next opportunity is a skill that I had to learn in order to continue to develop products. This skill will become more valued within the workplace as product development times become faster and “disruptive” products enter the market.

How did you get to where you are today?

When confronted with the reality of an industry change, my experiences provided me with the confidence to transition. As someone who likes to develop tangible product, I was certain I would enjoy a career in the construction industry. Following careful consideration and reflection, I concluded that working with teams to commercialise product motivates me.

With little searching I learnt about an interesting company located in Port Melbourne who work on Military (Supacat) and non-military (SC Innovation) projects. Following discussions with people who worked there, I gained an insight into what they are doing and was invited to join the team.

One of the biggest challenges of the transition was unlearning the automotive language I was accustomed to and to communicate using common language or the industry standard.

The experience of hard work and perseverance required in the journey to success is sweetened when you do what you enjoy.

How has your experience in the automotive industry helped you in your current role?

Working for an automotive OEM, my current role has responsibilities that affect staff, business performance, and product. The automotive industry encourages everyone to search for efficiencies throughout the business operations and to improve customer satisfaction.

Developing robust solutions to problems was an attribute expected within the Engineering Department of Holden. This ability is as applicable to designing a component as it is to creating processes or complex business cases. Learning how much detail is required to develop a robust business case to facilitate decision making is a difficult skill to learn and really needs to be developed through experience which includes training, observation and some “trial and error”. These skills are invaluable when creating tenders and developing internal business cases.

Having direct product experience in developing high complexity, niche vehicles is a good background for the vehicles we produce and the engineering services we provide.

About SC Innovation

SC Innovation provides innovative rapid services covering all elements of vehicle design, prototype building, testing and validation. The engineering team utilises analysis led design to optimise structural and system designs prior to detailed design and our CAE capability is widely recognised as amongst the best in Australia.

To learn more about the SC Innovation, visit:

4. SAE-A Board Members Take New Positions

The SAE-A has appointed Simon Farrell to the position of Senior Vice President and Phillip Dunn to the role of Vice President.

Simon Farrell has been part of the automotive industry for over 20 years, having worked with companies such as Toyota and Bosch.

Simon began his career in London as an Industrial Design Engineer, followed by a Lecturer role at Monash University's Department of Design. Further building on his design engineering experience, Simon worked with Bosch Australia as a Senior Design Engineer. In this role, he developed a number of products, defined performance criteria, and provided product improvement and cost reduction recommendations.

Since then, Simon has worked at the Toyota Technical Centre for just under 13 years, and during this time, he took on a number of engineering and managerial roles relating to product development. In his most recent role, Simon was responsible for cross divisional and intra-company leadership of product development and commercialisation, cost and warranty improvement activities.

The SAE-A looks forward to Simon's leadership skills being put into action into his new position of Senior Vice President.

Working as a consulting engineer for nearly 35 years, Philip Dunn has a wealth of experience in the fuels, automotive and general engineering sectors.

Philip began his career in the mobility industry as an apprentice Motor Mechanic.

After completing his apprenticeship, Philip opened his own mechanial workshop; running the successful business for 25 years. With a desire to become an engineer, in 1969 Philip studied Mechanical Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology part time and when finished, started his own engineering consulting service; Dunn Automotive Services P/L servicing the legal, insurance and mining industry using root cause and forensic reporting skills. In 1972, he joined the board of examiners for VACC A grade mechanics and later served on the VACC board of management.

Since this time, Philip has worked with General Motors as a Warranty Engineer, with OES CNG (SmartGas), designing and installing a CNG filling station, developing home compression units and vehicle conversion equipment, and later with Sprintgas Australia, in quality management, product design and systems engineering.

Philip is currently working with Dolphin Products as a Project Manager, whilst maintaining his consulting service and performing research support for Victoria University’s CESARE unit.

The Board is looking forward to working with Philip Dunn in his new position of Vice President.

For further information about the SAE's board of committees, contact the National Office:
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

5. Federal Minister Visits Vipac

Federal Minister, Greg hunt, gets behind the wheel at Vipac's engineering and testing facilities at Port Melbourne, acknowledging innovative and sustainable practices in the industry.

Vehicle emissions are central to climate change policies. The Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science (now the Minister for Health), the Hon Greg Hunt, visited the laboratories at Vipac Engineers & Scientists in Port Melbourne where he witnessed emission testing carried out on Vipac’s two dynamometers. Vipac houses the only fully transient heavy duty chassis dynamometer in Australia that is capable of testing a full range of vehicles, from passenger cars through to prime movers like trucks and buses.

Vehicle modifiers are required to pass a series of tests to meet Australian emissions standards before they are allowed on the road. One such kit builder is Colin McMahon, whose modified 1965 Ford Shelby Cobra featured on one of the dynamometers. Colin’s 35 year dream only recently came to fruition, and his achievement was further celebrated by the visit from the Hon Greg Hunt, who joined him inside the car after the testing was complete.

Wrapping up the tour was a visit to Vipac’s rooftop swimming pool. Vipac's chairman, Wendy Smith says, “When we test emissions, up to 300 kilowatts of energy is released as heat into a thermal store – heat that would otherwise dissipate into the air as waste. Instead, it transfers through a complex pipe network through a heat exchange system to heat the pool. The result – perhaps the only engineering consultancy in the world with a rooftop pool heated almost entirely by emissions.” The pool is an excellent example of engineering principles being applied to create a valuable and environmentally sound asset that all can enjoy. This is just another example of engineering’s critical importance in the world we live today.

To find out more about Vipac Engineers & Scientists, visit:

6. Call for Tech Papers for APAC 19

International Automotive conference, APAC19, organised by SAE-China, will be held in Shanghai from the 24-26th of October 2017. The conference organisers are are now calling for technical paper submissions from all over the world!

APAC (Asia Pacific Automotive Engineering Conference) is an international automotive technical conference platform, held biennially and co organised by FISITA. The 19th APAC conference will be held in conjunction with the SAECCE (SAE-China Congress & Exhibition); a highly recognised international academic congress and exhibition for the Chinese automotive industry.


Under the theme of "Creating the Automobiles and Mobility for the Future", APAC 19 will feature various activities such as plenary sessions, executive forums, technical sessions, technical exhibitions, young professional activities, company tours and test drive sessions. The conference will be expecting more than 10,000 visitors to the 10,000m2 exhibition space over the 3 days.

Currently, APAC 19 is calling for technical papers from around the world. All accepted papers will be published in the OFFICIAL 'APAC19/2017SAECCE Proceedings' with selected papers published jointly with Springer International Publishing. Papers are required by the 14th of April, 2017.

The SAE-A held the 18th APAC conference in Melbourne in 2015.

To find out more about submitting a paper and this international conference, visit:

7. Chance to Attend EuroBrake 2017 - Free Student Places

Here's your chance to attend the world's largest braking technology conference and exhibition for free and network with peers, professionals and academics.

FISITA is offering students from around the world the opportunity to join us in Dresden, Germany from 2nd to 4th May at EuroBrake 2017, as part of a new sponsorship programme. EuroBrake brings together 1,000 leaders, engineers and specialists from the braking industry worldwide and now you can be part of this internationally-acclaimed event.

To find out more about, visit:

8. Job Opportunity at the SAE-A: Publications and Communications Coordinator

The SAE-A is recruiting for a Publications and Communications Coordinator to join their team at the National Head Office located in Port Melbourne. 

What's on offer

  • Competitive salary package
  • Dynamic and enthusiastic office environment
  • Great career development opportunities
  • Globally well-known recognised brand

About the role

The Publications and Communications Coordinator works with members of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer, and other National Office staff on a wide range of membership related publications, event promotions, and corporate branding.

This role is engaged with the seamless delivery of these services, including coordination of project plans, advertising, and budgets.

To find out more about the role, click here.

To apply, please contact the SAE-A with your application letter and resume at to apply.

9. Events Update

The SAE-A has finalised the 2017 Events Calendar, the print version is available for download here

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more events on our website for you to register, in the meanwhile, here are the events coming up soon:


Facility Tour - Volvo Truck Production (QLD)

April 3rd, 2017: 1:00pm - 3:00pm AEST

Every Mack truck, custom built for the Australian and New Zealand market, comes to life at the Australian production facility in Wacol, QLD. For more information, click here


Failure Analysis and Liability for Automotive Repair and Service (VIC)

April 7th, 2017: 4:00pm - 4:45pm AEDST

Civil court action is proceeding against a large number of businesses in the service and repair industry and these actions are occurring right now. This course provides an introduction to the processes involved in minimising or eliminating risks to your business. To find out more, click here.


Facility Tour - Carbon Revolution (VIC)

April 19th, 2017: 7:00pm - 9:30pm AEDST

Gain an insight into the company, the processes, and the technology behind composite wheels with SAE-A's guided tour and presentation of the groundbreaking, Carbon Revolution. For more information, click here.


Modifying a Light Vehicle or Motorcycle (VIC)

April 25th, 2017: 5:45pm - 9:00pm AEDST

If you've ever wondered about the things you can and can't do when modifying your vehicle, and how to find out if they're legal or not, then this is the seminar is for you. For more information, click here.

10. Social Media Highlights

Social media highlights from January 2017 to February 2017.
Check out the SAE-A's social media channels for more industry and Society news. 

3D Scans3D Scans for the Automotive Industry

How does an automotive assembly line have to be retrofitted for a change of model? 3D scanners are an elegant way to find this out. Read More

Baby Boom

Travel London to New York in Just Over Three Hours

Artist's depiction of the "Baby Boom" XB-1 subscale prototype. Boom says the final aircraft, which is slated for service in 2023, will halve air travel times, sending passengers between London and New York in three hours and 15 minutes. Read More

SAE-A_FacebookQUANT 48VOLT – 300 km/h Electric Sports Car with Low-Voltage Flow Cell Drive

nanoFlowcell Holdings is presenting the state-of-the-art in fuel cell research at this year's Geneva International Motor Show. The QUANT 48VOLT features the world's first variably controllable mobile flow cell for a constant source of electrical energy and all-new low-voltage electric motors providing propulsion of race-car proportions. Read More

11. SAE-A Bookshop

Automotive Vehicle Assembly Processes and Operations Management

Proven technologies and processes are explored in this examination of modern automotive manufacturing. Fundamentals and applications, as well as new advances are discussed as the author bridges the gap between academic research and industrial practice. The author presents a concise understanding that reflects both technical and managerial perspectives with the aim of providing improvement through practical methods.

SAE-A Member Price: $117.00
Joint SAE-A & SAE-I Price: $110.00
List Price: $138.00

Postage & Handling (Australia): $17.60
Prices quoted include GST

To order the Automotive Vehicle Assembly Processes and Operations Management book, visit the SAE-A Bookshop

Or contact Rose at the SAE-A National Office
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

Finite Element Analysis Design for Engineers - 2nd Edition

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) has been widely implemented by the automotive industry as a productivity tool for design engineers to reduce both development time and cost. This essential work serves as a guide for FEA as a design tool and addresses the specific needs of design engineers to improve productivity.

SAE-A Member Price: $89.00
Joint SAE-A & SAE-I Price: $84.00
List Price: $105.00

Postage & Handling (Australia): $17.60
Prices quoted include GST

To order the Finite Element Analysis Design for Engineers - 2nd Edition Bookvisit the SAE-A Bookshop

Or contact Rose at the SAE-A National Office
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

VTE Magazine

Vehicle Technology Engineer (VTE) Magazine Subscription

The Vehicle Technology Engineer (VTE) is the official magazine of the Society of Automotive Engineers - Australasia, featuring technology innovations and industry updates. The VTE is distributed via print and email with 4 issues published per year (April, July, October and December)

SAE-A Member Price: Included in the membership package
Non-Member Price (Australia): $145.00
Non-Member Price (Overseas): $165.00

To subscribe to the VTE Magazine, click here.

Or contact Rose at the SAE-A National Office
Phone: (03) 9676 9568

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