Analysis and Commentary

Look west for how to build on luck

Analysis and Commentary

By Dr Jens Goennemann

Australia is very lucky with natural resources, and very good at extracting them.

I had the pleasure of visiting three innovators while in Perth recently. Two are leading a project AMGC is supporting, and one is accelerating its technology as a result of attending one of our many events – and all are responding directly to an issue for major resource companies.

Mining, and oil and gas are essential to Australia’s current prosperity and will remain that way in the foreseeable future. Miners for example, can be “early-stage manufacturers” as long as they add value to what is dug up with further value added downstream by users of those minerals.

There is much to admire about Australia’s resource industry which feeds into our country’s success. By one count, in mining equipment, technology, and services (METS) alone, there are 300,000 direct jobs and $92 billion in gross value-added.[1] METS is a globally respected industry with a high degree of collaboration between SMEs, universities, and big mining houses.

Segnut has reinvented the traditional hex nut that is often used in heavy industrial construction. Its TopTorque Bolting System is a new spin on the conventional fastener adding a clever design that allows the nut to be easily removed, even if it is rusted or broken.

By partnering with AMGC, Segnut is advancing its  TopTorque Bolting System solution that is a completely new way to remove fasteners safely and efficiently in high-impact equipment, and with accurate torque application levels. This new approach will eliminate the need to use dangerous and noisy nut-runners and rattle guns, or the need to use hot-works, which can cause fires.

This project is progressing nicely in collaboration with a top-tier miner who is interested in what the solution offers. Consider saving six hours on just one bulldozer blade changeover, with a dollar value of $150 per hour in labour and $1,000 in uptime attached.

Klinger guarantees the safety of workplaces and the transport of high value liquids or gases with its product range of gaskets, valves, metal hoses, expansion joints and instrumentation. What made this visit special is to see Klinger’s leap toward implementing Industry 4.0 methodology.

Having attended an AMGC event, Klinger was introduced to another manufacturer, R. Moore & Sons that had successfully adopted Industry 4.0 practices. Now with the support of local Perth technology company, CoreIoT, Klinger has introduced sensors and further increased its machine utilisation.

Megatronic makes the invisible – visible, in real-time for site operators. This company has developed a battery monitoring system (BMS) for the kinds of battery packs used for power backup on remote sites. Megatronic is adding remote monitoring and automated battery testing to this solution, allowing management of things like output, charge, and discharge, and access to this data through an app, anywhere at any time.

Problems such as one faulty cell in a bunch or a possible fire risk through overheating can be seen before they cause an expensive or dangerous issue. This system will only become more valuable over time as the installed base of battery storage at worksites, mining, remote communities and otherwise, increases.

As I wrote last time, Australia can do more to contribute to the global lithium-ion battery value chain beyond our commodities, and Megatronic shows that it is being done.

For a manufacturer, or any other company, solving a problem that adds even a fraction to the productivity of a blue-chip miner can translate into vast amounts of value. It can be a key to sell into large mining projects overseas.

I enjoy every trip out west and this one was particularly informative as well. I got to see, up close, that we can do what we must: To move from being a lucky country to a smart one.

[1] METS Ignited: METS Sector Australia – Mining Equipment, Technology & Services | METS Ignited

Dr Jens Goennemann is  Managing Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.

This article was first published on the AMGC’s website.

Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.

Share this Story
Analysis and Commentary

Stay Informed

Go to Top