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.

‘Super sewer’ emergency back-up power project a success in London, UK

The existing sewer system in London, UK, built around 150 years ago, was originally constructed for a planned population growth of four million people. With London’s population now nearing the nine million mark, the city decided to invest in the Thames Tideway Tunnel, dubbed London’s new ‘super sewer’.

The Ferrovial Agroman/Laing O’Rourke Joint Venture (FLO JV) was selected to build the central section of the new 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel to run under the River Thames. As part of this landmark project, Ampcontrol was contracted to assist with the provision of emergency back-up power.

Ampcontrol provided 1,100kVA of emergency back-up generation capacity and the associated cabling for the tie-in to the distribution system of the project.

Due to the project’s time sensitivity, temporary generators of equal capacity were supplied during the manufacturing period of the new units. Ampcontrol also provided onsite pre-commissioning support to ensure smooth installation and operational readiness of the new units supplied.

Ampcontrol is proud to have successfully completed the scope of generation capacity supply and support within the required timeframe to one of the most significant UK tunnelling projects in the heart of London.

Steven Edmund, Ampcontrol’s Managing Director in the UK, said, “A very high standard of quality is demanded by the UK industry and in true Ampcontrol style this was achieved by following sound engineering principles, providing high quality equipment, being customer centric, and recognising the requirements of all stakeholders and the environment.”

Read our Thames Tideway Tunnel case study here.

Take a deep dive into AS/NZS 2290.3:2018

Ampcontrol’s Group Engineering Manager, Ian Webster, as a presenter for Verico Training Services, will be facilitating at a new series of seminars around Australia. At the seminars, which are designed for key stakeholders in the coal mining sector, Ian will discuss how to interpret and comply with the new edition of the AS/NZS 2290.3:2018 Standard.

Not only is Ian one of Australia’s leading technical experts in the design, performance and maintenance of gas detectors for use in coal mines, he has provided significant input into the development of national and international standards for gas detection in mines. Ian has presented invited papers on the subject at a host of leading industry conferences, including the Queensland Mines Health and Safety Conference, the Electrical Engineering Safety Seminar and the Mine Managers Association of Australia.

Ian is also Chief Researcher for an ACARP project looking into dust accumulation in gas detectors and the effect this has on detector performance.

In this deep review, participants will develop a comprehensive understanding of requirements and recommendations for the inspection and maintenance of gas detection equipment. Find out more or register now so you have the information you need to check in on your mine’s current procedures for the facilitation of safe, efficient and productive use of gas detection and monitoring equipment.

Breakthrough water solution provides sustainable clean drinking water to remote indigenous communities in central Australia

Today, the remote indigenous community of Gillen Bore in the Northern Territory showcased for the first time how they are accessing safe, sustainable drinking water through an innovative, new water treatment system developed by Australian engineering company Ampcontrol.

Through the support of the Northern Territory Government, Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services and Alkupitja Land Trust, the breakthrough Gilghi Remote Water System transforms undrinkable bore water into pure water – providing people in Gillen Bore and surrounding communities with immediate access to clean and contaminate free drinking water.

Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services CEO, Skye Thompson, said, “Ingkerreke services over 20 outstations that are reliant on bore water. This project has allowed the concept and opportunity for the improvements of the quality and quantity of water for the outstations in the future. We are grateful to be a part of this pilot project for our ongoing development in Central Australia.”

An Australian-first, the Gilghi Remote Water System is an off-grid, fully transportable containerised water treatment system with remote monitoring. The smart combination of solar and battery storage technology to optimise power, and advanced treatment filtering systems designed in collaboration with Aurecon, allow the unit to be fully maintained and supported by the local community.

Marking the official opening of the Gilghi Remote Water System, members of the local community, government representatives, media and stakeholders gathered in Gillen Bore to take part in a water drinking ceremony.

Tasting the water in Gillen Bore for the first time, Ampcontrol CEO Rod Henderson said, “We are very proud to play a role in providing the Gillen Bore community with a sustainable water solution that provides access to clean drinking water. The Gilghi Remote Water System has the potential to be a game-changer, delivering better and safer ongoing water across Australia and the world, and improving quality of life as a result.”

“This project could not have happened without the support of the Northern Territory Government, Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services and Alkupitja Land Trust, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to profile Australian innovation and technology,” added Henderson.

The Gilghi project is sponsored by the Northern Territory Government through the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development MES Special Purposes Grant.

For further information on our Gilghi Remote Water Solution, visit our Ampcontrol Group company CPS National website.

Ampcontrol exhibits at BAE Systems’ Factory of the Future event

In a move that showcased Ampcontrol’s capabilities in the defence sector, Ampcontrol exhibited at BAE Systems’ recent Factory of the Future themed technology event.

The one-day event is aligned with BAE Systems’ Digital Shipyard and Industry 4.0 initiatives to facilitate digital engagement across all aspects of the Hunter Class frigate program. Limited to 20 key suppliers and with BAE representatives attending, the invitation-only event took place on Tuesday 23 July in Melbourne.

Ampcontrol attendees included Rohit Sandlesh, Austech Site Manager, an Ampcontrol Group company, Paul Reynolds, Ampcontrol Business Manager Electronics, and John Watson, Ampcontrol Automation and Digital Technology Manager.

“Ampcontrol is a big player both in specialised electrical and electronics manufacturing in Australia and globally. With 50 plus years of experience, we have the capability to offer highly sophisticated digital solutions. Our capabilities are also transferable to commercial maritime and naval defence industries and we offer comprehensive national service,” said Sandlesh.

“This defence event provided us with a great opportunity to showcase Ampcontrol’s expertise and broad capability in harsh and challenging environments. It also offered some great partnering possibilities.”

For information about BAE’s digital shipyard click here.

Image: Paul Reynolds (left) with John Watson at the Ampcontrol stand.

Ampcontrol Takes Out Two Prestigious Good Design Awards for Rockstarter

Ampcontrol’s Rockstarter has been awarded in two categories at the 61st annual Good Design Awards Ceremony at The Star, Sydney, on 11 July.

The Good Design Awards are Australia’s most prestigious industry design awards – the highest honour for design and innovation in the country. Rockstarter received Good Design Awards for the Product Design and Engineering Design categories in recognition of its outstanding design and innovation.

“As an Australian based business that still designs and manufactures in Australia, it’s a huge honour to be selected as a winner of a Good Design accolade in not one, but two categories at this year’s awards,” said Ampcontrol CEO and Managing Director Rod Henderson.

“Our project teams worked in partnership with our customers to deliver a product that was needed in the market and aimed to solve a range of operational challenges in a single piece of groundbreaking technology.”

The Good Design Awards’ jury spent several days evaluating each entry according to a strict set of design criteria which covers ‘good design’, ‘design innovation’ and ‘design impact’. Projects recognised with a Good Design Award must demonstrate excellence in all areas and convince the jury they are worthy of recognition.

Dr. Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, said, “Receiving a Good Design Award at this level is a significant achievement given the very high calibre of entries received this year.
“Australia’s Good Design Award is more than a symbol of design excellence, it represents the hard work and dedication towards an innovative outcome that will ultimately improve our quality of life. These projects showcase the brilliance of design and the potential it has to improve our world.”

The Good Design Awards’ jury praised Rockstarter commenting, “This is clearly good design and a demonstrated innovation with the packaging of existing technologies to deliver an ‘off-the-shelf’ product with enough flexibility to challenge the more common delivery methods. A really desirable product particularly for those with a high priority for fast delivery.”

Ampcontrol’s Rockstarter is a multifunction outlet starter designed for use in underground hard rock mining as well as tunnelling and other industrial applications. To find out more head to our starters page.

Relocatable Switchroom Design Tackles Major Water Issues

Underground water has been a major issue for Centennial Coal’s Springvale mining site, which is why the mining company contracted Ampcontrol to design, manufacture, assemble and test a relocatable switchroom along with commissioning the high voltage switchgear and Toshiba VVVF Drive System.

Ampcontrol’s Grant Waring, Senior Electrical Engineer, explained, “The Centennial Coal site has traditionally experienced major, widespread underground water issues. The Ampcontrol switchroom therefore needed to be relocatable, allowing for power supply to support the pumping of water in a range of locations.”

The switchroom is designed to run a 4kV variable frequency 700kW submersible borehole pump at a depth of 390m with an output flow rate of 100 litres per second.

As experts in hazardous area design, Ampcontrol successfully developed the switchroom with the borehole in mind and incorporated explosion protection, based on Ex p, for the borehole and pumping operations.

“This is the first in a series of switchroom designs for this site,” adds Waring, “and we are looking forward to working with the range of challenges the site will ‘throw at us’ in the future.”

To find out more, read the full case study.

Ampcontrol Singapore’s Bernie Raj moderates Engineers Australia event

Engineers Australia recently held three Thought Leadership Forums in Singapore and Hong Kong. They were part of a series that covers a range of engineering topics.

The series kicked off in Singapore with a Thought Leadership Forum on Digital Engineering on 25 April. Liak Goh from Aurecon was the keynote speaker, Ampcontrol Singapore’s Bernie Raj was the moderator for the panel discussion and ARUP’s Andrew Nelson was on the panel. Forty-five people attended the event, including His Excellency Bruce Gosper, Australian High Commissioner.

The series then moved to Hong Kong on 24 May on the topic of Waste Management and returned to Singapore on 11 June to discuss Facade.

Engineers Australia will continue to host more Thought Leadership Forums covering different topics in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The aim of the series is to offer continuous learning opportunities that engage members and industry as well as providing opportunities for speakers to share their expertise and experience.

The next topic is on Energy. The event will take place in Singapore on 10 July and Malaysia on 11 July.

Image: Bernie Raj from Ampcontrol Hong Kong (right) with Liak Goh from Aurecon (left) and Andrew Nelson from ARUP (centre).

Ampcontrol India moves to new premises in Kolkata

Allenwest Ampcontrol India, the Indian branch of the Ampcontrol Group, has recently relocated to a new facility in Kolkata, leaving behind its previous premises in Bilaspur. The new facility is modern, centrally located and has already received the approval of the employees working there. Allenwest Ampcontrol India’s work focuses primarily on the mining sector and the relocation was important: Ampcontrol India needed to move closer to its customers so the business could provide improved customer support and service to the region.

“We are very excited to realise the full potential of the new facility over the coming months and have already seen a benefit to our productivity and existing relationships,” says Avinash Kumar, Sales and Service Engineer.

For those keen to visit the office in Kolkata, the address is: Allenwest Ampcontrol India Pvt Ltd, Floor 9, Victoria Park, Plot No GN 37/2, Sector 5, Salt Lake, Kolkata 700091, West Bengal.

Ampcontrol UK heads to Russia for Ugol Rossii

Ampcontrol UK is currently exhibiting at the Ugol Rossii 26th Annual International Trade Fair for Coal Mining Technology, Preparation and Materials Handling at the Kuzbass Fair Exhibition Centre in Novokuznetsk, Russia. The fair runs from 4 to 7 June and Ampcontrol UK’s exhibition booth is being manned by Sales Manager Doug Etches. Feel free to come along and see the exhibition and meet many industry leaders all in one place.