Mechanical Analysis of a 25MW Turbine

Ampcontrol was engaged to analyse machine vibration on a 25MW turbine at an alternative power generation facility in QLD.


  • Machine balancing
  • Identification and rectification of an oil whip issue
  • Quick implementation of a solution, minimising downtime

The Project

A 25MW turbine at the facility was experiencing high levels of vibration after being returned to service from overhaul.

Ampcontrol’s mechanical team attended the site and balanced the turbine. After balancing, the turbine ran with a very low level of vibration, significantly less that before overhaul.

The vibration level of the turbine remained low until reaching half load, when the vibration spiked unexpectedly and the machine tripped.

Ampcontrol reviewed the overhaul work and data from the vibration spike and trip. The fault was identified as an oil whip caused by the bearing being unloaded by the partial arc steam admission to the turbine. Exacerbating factors included the bearing journals being machined during the overhaul to the minimum diameter allowable and a combination of the as left alignment of the machine and the very good balance condition.

Oil whip as a result of increasing machine load such as this is uncommon. Commonly oil whip is a condition seen during transient machine operation, as an oil whirl latches onto a shafts natural frequency.

Our analysis indicated that this oil whip was being caused by the bearing being unloaded due to partial arc steam admission. This is where, at lower loads, steam is supplied through multiple valves opened sequentially to minimise throttle losses.

The machine design consisted of two main steam valves opening one after the other providing steam to just under 50% of the inlet.

Analysis of the machine dynamic characteristics indicated that if the sequencing of the inlet valves was reversed the unloading that peaked at 50% load would be reversed and bearing stability would be increased.

Ampcontrol proposed a machine configuration change that would rectify the problem and the OEM of the machine carried out this modification with minimal downtime.

Once the solution was implemented the turbine ran to full load for the rest of the season without any further vibration issues.

Find out more about our Mechanical Analysis and Testing Services 

Ampcontrol Looks to the Future with 20 New Recruits

Regarded as a long standing tradition within Ampcontrol; the annual Apprentice and Graduate morning tea was held this morning at Ampcontrol’s Head Office in Tomago to welcome 20 new starters.

From Graduate Electrical Engineers taking their first plunge into their chosen profession to soon-to-be first year Apprentices and Trainees across a range of trades, the morning tea signalled a huge moment in recent Ampcontrol history.

“Providing substantial and meaningful career pathways for young people via Apprenticeships has always been an important part of our business but recent years have made onboarding at this scale almost impossible. With a positive turn in business conditions and outlook, it is a delight to see so many new faces joining the business, especially in these critical skills areas” said Ampcontrol CEO/MD Rod Henderson.

Apprenticeships and Traineeships have been offered across mechanical, electrical, fabrication and stores trades as well as three graduate engineers who will rotate across different parts of the business.

“The morning tea is not only an opportunity to welcome them all together as the 2018 cohort but show them around some of our 13,000sqm of manufacturing space in Tomago which helps put a lot of the work they are about to start, in perspective” added Rod.

Since 1968, Ampcontrol has provided employment to skilled tradepeople and engineers who have contributed to some significant innovations throughout the company’s almost 50 year history.

“Traditionally, Ampcontrol may have been recognised within the Hunter as a manufacturer that supports the mining industry. The Ampcontrol of 2017 and beyond is so much more than that. While advanced manufacturing out of the Hunter remains a core capability, the reach of our business into new markets means our innovative approach to engineering and customer solutions is going global” said Rod.

In 2017, Ampcontrol delivered electrical infrastructure to Sydney’s Westconnex project as well as securing tunnelling project work in Hong Kong and Singapore.

“As we approach our 50th year in 2018, it is an exciting period for Ampcontrol and our people. This is what makes welcoming 20 new people who will be part of this exciting future even more rewarding” said Rod.

Ampcontrol employs over 350 people in the Hunter across seven sites and specialises in the design and supply of complete electrical system solutions.


Ampcontrol Supporting STEM in Schools

As a business focused on innovation through engineering and technology, Ampcontrol recognise the importance of STEM in education. That’s why we’re proudly supporting a number of STEM programs in high schools across NSW and QLD.

Ampcontrol have initiated the inaugural Junior Secondary STEM robotics award at the 2017 Emerald State High School awards night.  In association with the Emerald State High School, Ampcontrol funded a Raspberry Pi for the award recipient to extend their learning and skills in basic coding with some hands on equipment.  Ampcontrol were excited to be a part of the event, partnering with community to recognise outstanding effort.  The robotics program is new to the Emerald State High School, and Ampcontrol have recognised the importance of this field for the community into the future.

Ampcontrol have also signed on to P-Tech, a Federal Government initiative to partner schools and industry in a STEM focussed learning opportunity. The program will see official P-Tech work placement students from Hunter River High School connect with our Tomago based operations from early 2018. Working together, schools and industry enable innovative approaches to the way learning is delivered; approaches that would not be possible if schools, or industry, acted in isolation.

In 2018, Ampcontrol will celebrate 50 years of making a powerful difference within local communities.

Take a look at the AUK1000 at IME

Allenwest Ampcontrol India will be launching the AUK1000 a scalable, reliable and quality British manufactured multi-drive control box at IME in Kolkata this week.  Stop by and see us on stand A15 to discuss how the AUK1000 could be right for your next project.

The AUK1000 is the advanced multi-function technology base for Ampcontrol’s internationally certified power distribution solutions, such as motor starters and circuit breakers. The AUK1000’s primary role is the reliable control, monitoring and protection of electrically driven plant and machinery in hazardous underground mining environments. It offers advanced safety, productivity and maintenance features as well as a durable flameproof enclosure.

AUK1000 features:

  • Multi-function applications with capacity up to 400A and 1100V
  • Customised isolator and drive options
  • Independent or sequenced drive control
  • Programmable settings on HMI via IS touch pad
  • Up to four outlets per unit, free standing or assembled into multiple configurations

Find out more about the AUK1000

VoiceCom Phone Awarded For Excellence in Product Design

Ampcontrol’s VoiceCom Phone has been awarded for Excellence in Product Design at the 2017 Hunter Manufacturing Awards.

Designed and manufactured in the Hunter, the VoiceCom Phone is a great example of Ampcontrol’s leadership in engineering, product design and manufacturing in the Hunter.

Designed for use in harsh underground coal mines, the VoiceCom Phone provides robust, reliable communication which is vital for day to day and emergency communications between the surface and underground operators.

Through strong consultation with customers, the Ampcontrol team designed a phone which was user friendly, lightweight and easy to install. Since release the phone has received overwhelmingly positive customer feedback.

Global Products Manager, Scott Dallen said “it’s a true privilege to be to be recognised along with other local manufacturers and engineers for the quality of our product design. It’s a credit to the project team across design and manufacturing, who have truly set a new standard of quality and performance with this product.”

This award follows a ‘Selection Win’ for the VoiceCom Phone at the NSW Good Design Awards in 2015.

H3RO: Fast and Simple Downtime Recovery

Ampcontrol was engaged by an underground gold and copper mine in Western NSW, to provide fibre optics quickly after an existing communications cable was severed.

About the project

An existing fibre optic cable was severed at the underground gold and copper mine. This optical distribution network (ODN) was vital for mining operations. Production could not be started without dependable and reliable communication with seismic sensors.

Ampcontrol’s H3RO, harsh environment reticulated fibre optic solution, was deployed from an existing FOBOT panel for a distance over 1km along the roof, through a number of vertical drops and into another existing FOBOT enclosure.

H3RO’s plug and play cables and modular components made it the ideal choice for the fast deployment of cabling for this work. The IP68 connectors and bulkheads allowed a neat, maintainable solution that integrated seamlessly with off-the-shelf IP68 bulkheads and pigtails to match the existing patch panels.

Due to the modular installation and low loss connectors, network expansion and recovery from similar incidents in the future is now hassle free.

The entire cable run consists of a quantity of four 260m 12 core H3RO cables, making swapping any section out easy, rather than replacing the entire run or requiring expensive and time consuming fibre field splicing in the mines harsh environment.

H3RO components are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities, all items are tested and shipped with quality reports. This offers a more cost effective, reliable and risk free solution to field splicing in an underground mine where constraints such as time, darkness and the dirty working environment all affect the quality of the job.


H3RO’s plug and play functionality and modular components enabled installation to be completed quickly by site staff, as opposed to specialist fibre optic technicians. The 260m cables on mobile reels allowed fast deployment from vehicles and fit for purpose bulkheads to pigtails allowed seamless integration with existing enclosures.

By using H3RO, expensive fibre termination equipment and specialist staff or training is no longer required to maintain the system.

H3RO’s modular components and future proof design enables cost effective and quick and easy duplication or extension as ODN requirements evolve.

Download this case study as a PDF

H3RO Fibre Optic Backbone for a Coal Mine

Ampcontrol was engaged by an underground coal mine to provide a fibre optic backbone for communication with underground mining equipment.

About the project

Ampcontrol were asked to include network connectivity as part of the supply of high voltage, electrical hardware to the underground mine. The mine required easy to deploy fibre optic hardware, for integration with new and existing equipment including third party equipment and patch panels.

Utilising H3RO, Ampcontrol’s harsh environment reticulated fibre optic solution, monitoring and control of underground equipment was achieved by connecting from an existing FOBOT patch panel
throughout the mine.

H3RO’s plug and play components made it the ideal choice for hassle free deployment of cabling for this work. The IP68 connectors and bulkheads allowed a neat, maintainable solution that integrated seamlessly using off-the-shelf IP68 bulkheads and pigtails to match existing third party equipment and patch panels.

The H3RO solution utilises common components which allowed consolidation of spares and standard deployment procedures. Extending or swapping network sections with the plug and play infrastructure is an easier and more reliable process than the traditional method of splicing and terminating fibre optics in the field.


H3RO’s plug and play functionality and modular, interchangeable components enabled quick installation of the network by site staff, without the need for specialist fibre optic technicians. The result is a high quality, low loss dynamic network.

The H3RO cabling and components are fit for purpose for harsh environments and are priced to be replaced rather than repaired and are supplied pre-terminated with IP68 connectors for quick installation to reduce downtime. This provides immediate benefits if there is network interruption due to fibre cable damage as the BOTS (Break Out Terminals) and cabling can be easily and quickly replaced.

Compared with traditional fibre optic solutions, the installation was more cost and time effective. Fast cable deployment from a vehicle was possible with the provision of standard length cables on mobile reels and fit for purpose bulkheads to pigtails allowed seamless integration with existing enclosures. As the network expands, the system can adapt to support future requirements.

Download this case study as a PDF 

H3RO in an Underground Copper Mine

Fibre optic cable was required at the underground copper mine to monitor and manage automated mining equipment. Ampcontrol’s H3RO; harsh environment reticulated fibre optic solution, was deployed from the telecommunications hut on the surface, down a catenary wire through the existing open cut mine and into the new underground mine.

H3RO’s robust IP68 Bots (Break-Out Terminals) and UV protected cables made it the ideal choice for both the surface and underground components of the project. The H3RO fibre was reticulated down the mine with the H3RO Bots positioned where fibre cores would be required now and in the future.

Services utilising this fibre optic network include phones, load scanning, seismic sensors and sub-station monitoring. The H3RO system was terminated into the autonomous miner, allowing remote operation.
The modular system allows easy expansion as the mine progresses and agility in accessing the fibre network anywhere between the face and surface as requirements evolve.


H3RO’s plug and play functionality and modular components enabled this installation to be undertaken by site staff, as opposed to specialist fibre optic technicians. This saved the remote site considerable time and money.

Ampcontrol then undertook a site fibre optic audit and OTDR (Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer) testing to verify the install before the new underground machines were commissioned.

H3RO’s modular components and future proof design enables quick and easy duplication or extension as required, ensuring the system can be expanded and modified as the mine advances.

Future network extensions will be completed and tested by site labour. An OTDR, training and connector cleaning and inspection kit were supplied as part of the total package.

Since commissioning the H3RO system has performed reliably, been integrated easily with additional 3rd party equipment.

Download this case study as a PDF


Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

We’ll be out and about across the month of August at a range of conferences, exhibitions and industry events.

Catch up with us at:

Pacific Power Association PPA Conference

31 July – 4 August, Apia Samoa 
The largest energy conference in the region PPA is attended by 223 delegates and focuses on all aspects of electricity in the Pacific Islands. Ampcontrol will join 40 other trade displays at the event.

AustMine: Centennial Coal Smart Mining Networking Event

9 August, Newcastle NSW 
Ampcontrol are proud to be a supplier to the NSW mining industry and a platinum sponsor of AustMine’s Centennial Coal, Smart Mining Networking Event. Find out more

Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure

16-17 August, Sydney NSW 
Here at Ampcontrol we’re focused on optimising the equipment you have invested in and ensuring operational availability. That’s why we’re proud to be sponsoring the upcoming Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure conference, which explores practical applications that can improve the way assets are managed. Find out more

NT Resources Week

16 – 17 August, Darwin NT 
NT Resources Week brings together all facets of the resources and construction industries in South East Asia and Australia under one roof. With concurrent oil and gas, mining and construction conference sessions and an extensive combined exhibition, NT Resources Week is the premier Northern Territory event. You’ll find Ampcontrol on stand 45 in the main exhibition hall. Find out more

AIMEX – Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition

29 – 31 August, Sydney NSW 
Are your gas detectors actually working? Find out when Tim Wylie, Ampcontrol’s Chief Technology Officer, presents on gas detectors and current standards in underground mining at AIMEX. AIMEX’s Future of Mining conference is a free to attend three day conference program. Find out more

Expanding our Engineering, Testing and Monitoring Expertise – Through the Acquisition of Aurecon’s Specialist Testing Business

For nearly half a century, Ampcontrol has built its reputation on the back of its engineering pedigree, solving some of industries biggest challenges in power and control systems.

With a highly interconnected team of multi-disciplined engineers spanning 8 countries, Ampcontrol has a unique engineering architecture offering project solutions engineering and consulting services.

Ampcontrol are pleased to announce we are further expanding our expertise, along with gaining new capabilities in engineering, testing and monitoring, through the acquisition of Aurecon’s specialist testing business. This substantially increases our ability to provide asset management services for critical infrastructure.

Respected within industry for providing a range of high voltage, environmental monitoring, mechanical testing, laboratory testing and chemical solutions to customers across power generation and networks, rail, mining, oil and gas and general industry, this specialist testing business is a natural fit within the Ampcontrol Group.

With the acquisition, Ampcontrol assumes ownership of the testing facilities, laboratories and associated equipment located in Warabrook NSW and will continue offering the highest level of services to customers from this facility, with the same team. The business will trade as Ampcontrol ETM, with ETM standing for engineering, testing, monitoring.

For more information on Ampcontrol’s complete range of service, engineering, monitoring and testing capabilities visit