Industry 4.0 – Australia’s First Hardware Tech Innovation Hub Has Arrived

Australia’s first industrial Prototyping Lab and Innovation Accelerator powering the creation of the world’s best hardware products, The Melt, has today launched to the public.

Former Prime Minister, and architect of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, officially opened The Melt in Lake Macquarie, NSW.

The Hon. Mr Turnbull shared his insights about the future of product innovation in Australia and introduced The Melt as Australia’s first integrated industrial prototyping lab and innovation Accelerator.

“I have always been a strong believer in innovation and it is accelerators like The Melt that will create the modern, dynamic economy that Australia needs,” said The Hon. Mr Turnbull.

“The Melt is a welcome addition to the Hunter region, and embodies the key elements of the Innovation Agenda I put in place as Prime Minister,” he added.

Poised to create more than 50 jobs and expand the economy by $50M over the next two years, the hardware accelerator will be a significant addition to the Australian technology landscape. The Melt will grow and scale engineering projects, revolutionising the way startups and larger companies prove, prototype, pilot and produce globally scalable products and companies.

Founder and CEO of The Melt, Trent Bagnall said it was born out of the realisation that building physical products was hard.

“There is huge support in Australia for tech-based software companies to help grow the next Atlassian or Canva, however, there is very little support for engineering startups building the next Cochlear implant, Catapult Sports performance technology or black box flight recorder,” he said. he said.

“The failure rate for hardware development is high, the process is often slow, and the costs associated are significant. The Melt has been designed to target these challenges and help both startups and corporates access funding, expertise, equipment and pathways to rapidly realise product development success,” he added.

The Melt takes the startup principles made popular in Silicon Valley and applies them to complex hardware engineering projects both for new startups and large existing companies.

The Melt will be a game-changer and a critical part of the successful renewal of the manufacturing sector in the Hunter region and Australia-wide, building on the Hunter’s core strength and history as the centre of energy and engineering. It will fuel innovation and power the creation of

Australia’s next generation of leading hardware products.

One of the early occupants of The Melt is med tech company Respia which is building a pediatric asthma monitor for kids. The prototype is being built at The Melt and a trial of the device is pending at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“Based at Dashworks Makespace in Warners Bay, on the shores of Lake Macquarie, it is strategically located close to advanced manufacturing and research hubs, Australia’s largest corporates, a major airport and only 90 minutes by car to Sydney,” said Mr Bagnall.

It was one of three businesses announced by the Federal Government to share in more than $1 million under the Incubator Support initiative to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said supporting these ideas was vital to growing the nation’s economy and creating jobs for Australians.

“Being innovative and embracing technology is essential for industry to continue to flourish and to create new jobs,” Minister Andrews said at the funding announcement made in July.

“These startups will be able to prototype, pilot and produce products, which can strengthen traditional industry in Australia, as well as be sold around the globe, which presents many economic opportunities,” said Minister Andrews.

The Melt is a unique collaboration between its partners Dantia (the Lake Macquarie Economic Development Company) and Ampcontrol (one of Australia’s largest and most-successful engineering companies).

The Melt aims to produce 10 new products and fund around the same number of new startup businesses in the next 12 months.

Learn more about The Melt Accelerator here.

UK Team Welcome Apprentice Advisers To Prestwick Site

Our UK team recently welcomed seven teachers and apprenticeship advisers to our Prestwick site for a guided tour along with an update on our UK Apprentice and Graduate Programs.

Ampcontrol’s Chief Operating Officer – Europe and Asia, Steve Edmund conducted the tour around our factory and workshops where visitors learnt more about how we’re preparing for our next generation of team members who will join the Apprentice and Graduate Programs in the UK.

Our UK operation currently have 5 graduates from The University of Strathclyde working with the team from a range of disciplines including Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Product Development Engineering, and Software and Manufacturing Engineering.

The advisers from Skills Development Scotland were pleased to hear about our annual recruitment activities from local colleges and left with a better understanding of how Ampcontrol approaches career development for young people as they transition into the professional workforce.

Welcome To The Team 2020 Apprentices!

On Thursday 21 November Ampcontrol welcomed 14 new Apprentices into the business across NSW and QLD following a record intake application process.

Each year Ampcontrol offers a range of apprenticeships in the areas of engineering, technology, mechanical and manufacturing. The most recent intake attracted over 800 applications, an increase of 138% on last year.  Of these applicants over 15% were female and 10% were Indigenous.

Following a rigorous recruitment process, including two rounds of interviews and skills testing (online and on-site), the 2020 cohort has already shown great talent and determination to secure one of the heavily sought-after positions.

In keeping with longstanding Ampcontrol tradition in the Hunter region, the new NSW group of Apprentices together with friends and family attended a celebratory morning tea with CEO Rod Henderson and Co-Founder Peter Cockbain to receive their uniforms and toured various worksites.

Having both started their careers as Apprentices, Rod and Peter spoke of the career opportunities and pathways that lay in front of them at Ampcontrol.

The group also heard from Chief Technology Officer, Tim Wylie, on the incredible innovation taking place at Ampcontrol, as well as personal insights from three current Apprentices – Sophie Chaffey (3rd Year), Thomas Newman (4th Year) and Joshua French (4th Year).

A similar event will be held for our QLD Apprentices in the new year.

If you’d like to find out more about our 2021 Apprentice Program, head to our careers page and join our talent community to keep up to date with the latest updates.

Ampcontrol UK Sponsors and Attends ABMEC’s 10th Annual Conference

As one of Europe’s leading specialist manufacturers of electrical and electronic mining solutions, Ampcontrol UK attended the Association of British Mining Equipment Companies (ABMEC) 10th Annual Conference and Exhibition at The Nottingham Belfry Hotel, on Thursday 21 November 2019.

With over 100 years of mining history, Ampcontrol UK were proud to be an ABMEC Sponsor and continue to spearhead Safety and Best Practices in the UK Mining Industry, supplying an extensive portfolio mining related equipment to international customers from our base in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Ampcontrol UK was thrilled to discuss topics such as International Trade and Mining in Europe with delegates at this key industry event and look forward to their continued involvement with ABMEC.

Pictured (L-R): Ampcontrol UK Chief Operating Officer – Steven Edmund, Sales Manager – Doug Etches, and Service Manager – Andy Trenam.

Ampcontrol Supporting The Next Generation of Creators, Innovations, Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

The inaugural Hunter Young Business Mind Awards (HYBMA) in 2017 were the first steps in creating a program to connect and energise the future leaders of tomorrow. The Program is driven by Local Chambers of Commerce and business leaders who see the importance of building greater relationships and connections between industry, business, educators, parents and young people.

Ampcontrol is very proud to have been involved and support the Program for the past 2 years in helping create opportunities and career pathways for young people within our community.

On Thursday 7 November, 200 students, parents, educators, and supporters attended the 2019 Hunter Young Business Mind Awards Presentation, to celebrate the incredible innovation, creativity and savvy business minds of local students.

Check out some of the amazing ideas below and highlights from the night by clicking here.

Pictured: Andrew Fisher (Production Manager, Electronics) formally welcoming guests at the Awards Presentation.


Winner $1,000: Hudson Jessup – Maitland Primary School – Helping Hand Wristband.
Runner up $500: Tomiko Henry-Cook – Maitland Primary School – Sew Not Throw

Winner $1,000: Charles Imig and Mackenzie Roddenby – St Philip’s Christian College – Good Reflections
Runner up $500: Max Daniels – St Philip’s Christian College– Power/Play Box
Winner $1,000: Jordan Green – Hunter St TAFE –  A Lasting Culture for Maitland
Runner up $500: Jack Mylott – Hamilton TAFE – Mylott’s Bakery

Winner $1,000: Jack Torr – UoN – Grey Water Microguard
Runner up $500: Tim Keys, Bal Dhital, Pat Prell, Dan Robson – UoN – Borne

Winner $3,000 Harvey Norman gift card – Holy Family Primary, Merewether – PLAGS
Runner up $2,000 Harvey Norman gift card – San Clemente High School, Maitland – Parsnip it On
Runner up $1,000 Harvey Norman gift card – Callaghan College Wallsend Campus – The Van

$150 each awarded to:

Billy Meares
St Philip’s Christian College
Combat Model Aircraft

Charlotte Warburton, Abbie Woolmer and Olivia Pickles
Hunter River High School
Disaster Master

Charlotte Coake-Jenkins and Kathleen Doherty
Hunter Valley Grammar School
Make That Money Board Game

Isaac Shepherd
Hunter Valley Grammar School
Bookshelf Bed

Joseph Guilfoyle
St Mary’s Primary School
Website for Mental Health

Kaila Ronan
Belmont Christian College
Safe Space

Gaby Wilkes and Rosie Davis
Maitland Primary School
Virtual Waiting Room

Oliver Ford
Maitland Primary School
Convert Rubbish into Oil

Talia Falconer, Bella Norman-Donaghy and Erika West
St Bede’s Catholic College
Water in the World

European Mining Study Group Visit Ampcontrol UK Sales and Service Centre

Ampcontrol UK was delighted to partner with The Association of British Mining Equipment (ABMEC) and Hargreaves, to co-host a contingent of Polish and European mining companies at our Sales and Service Center in Sheffield, England.

Welcoming members from JSW Group, JSW Innowacje, Lubelski Weigal Bogdanka, Polska Grupa Gornicza, Spotka Restrukturyzacji Kopaln and Premogovnik Velenje, the visiting Study Group were also joined by three Department of Trade representatives; Ros Lund (UK), Janusz Bil  (Poland), and Martin Retelj (Slovenia); with the session chaired by Jane Isaacs, Director General at ABMEC.

Ampcontrol UK Sales Manager Doug Etches, provided an overview of Ampcontrol’s electrical and electronic solutions across the Mining, Tunnelling and Infrastructure, and the Oil and Gas sectors. Visitors on site enjoyed viewing some of our latest product offerings including the AUK Load Center and Rockstarter.

With a strong commitment to the ongoing supply of bespoke equipment and service to our European and International customers, we’re pleased to be sponsoring and attending the ABMEC’s 10th annual conference on Thursday 21st November 2019, held at The Nottingham Belfry Hotel.


We were proud to have seven Ampcontrol representatives from across our Hunter operations participate in the 2019 Hunternet Future Leaders Program. The participants celebrated their success at a gala dinner in Newcastle on Friday 25 October.

The Hunternet Future Leaders program, now in its fifth year, is designed to equip future leaders with the skills, contacts and confidence to lead. The program is delivered across 12 sessions by current leaders and professional practitioners and culminates in a group project, supported by an experienced industry mentor.

The objective of this year’s group project was to solve the issues in Newcastle’s transition from a regional city to an emerging global city. The Future Leaders were also tasked with identifying natural and built assets can be leveraged to establish the Newcastle as a truly global city.

During the gala dinner, the five Future Leaders groups delivered an elevator pitch presentation of the solution they had developed before the winning submission was announced.

Team HealthPort, featuring Ampcontrol participant Andrew Fisher took home the top gong for their concept. HealthPort proposed attracting health and technology companies to Newcastle to promote economic growth, sustainability and diversity through the establishment of three interconnected innovation precincts.

Congratulations to everyone who was involved in this year’s program. We’re excited to see where this opportunity will take our Future Leaders within the organisation.

Photo credit 3L photography. 

Measuring the response time of gas detectors

Just twelve months after completing his university studies, Ampcontrol Graduate Engineer Thomas Steigler will travel to Tokyo, Japan, next week to deliver the findings of his research work to the international IEC Gas Detector Standards Committee MT 60079-29.

Thomas has been studying innovative ways to measure the response time of gas detectors, and has developed a test procedure that is three to five times more repeatable than any previously used methods. This is significant as repeatability is the most important attribute of any performance test.

The results of Thomas’ work will lead to revisions in the international standards for gas detectors. These same standards will eventually be adopted in Australia, against which Ampcontrol’s Gasguard products will be measured.

Group Engineering Manager Ian Webster said “The invitation extended to Thomas to present his work is an honour for any researcher, let alone one who has only been working in the area for eight months.” He added “It is also a great credit to Ampcontrol that its Graduate Program allows and encourages young professionals to engage in ground breaking research that benefits both the company and the gas detection industry globally.”

Transformer Retrofill Roadshow Heads to Gladstone, Newcastle and Melbourne

As a leading Australian provider of transformer lifecycle support services, Ampcontrol are committed to connecting industry contacts across Australia with practical insights into the best way to manage their critical HV assets.

With transformer manufacturing and service history spanning over 50 years, our complete lifecycle support includes transformer overhauls, upgrades, rewinds; oil regeneration, filtration and disposal; high voltage and oil testing; diagnosis and ongoing maintenance.

In collaboration with MIDEL, Ampcontrol will be presenting a range of technical seminars aimed at providing real world case studies on replacing mineral oil in transformers with ester fluids. Held on November 26, 27 and 28 in Gladstone, Newcastle and Melbourne these free events are a must attend.

Ampcontrol’s Oil Services Manager Phil Reilly will provide an overview about natural ester fluids including some of the technical challenges and asset life considerations related to transformer retrofilling.

Places to these events are limited, to secure your free ticket head to the registration page.