Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed


BHP chooses Ampcontrol system for Canadian project

Electrical systems manufacturer Ampcontrol has been named the supplier for conveyor control systems for Stage 1 at the BHP Jansen Potash Project in Saskatchewan, Canada, its first installation in that country. Predominantly used as a fertiliser, potash provides a rich source of potassium which keeps soils fertile and maximises food production. The Ampcontrol iMAC monitoring and control system has achieved Canadian Standards Approval (CSA) and will be used for conveyor controls onsite. This marks the first time an Ampcontrol product has been used in Canada. Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson, said: “We have a solid history of working with BHP in Australia for over 50 years. We are looking forward to furthering our relationship by participating in the Jansen Potash Project and are eager to share our world class electrical solutions with the broader Canadian market.” BHP has announced an investment of US$5.7 billion in the Jansen Stage 1 project, which is located 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

Elizabeth (Lizz) Wells receives Southern Cross University award

Lockheed Martin Australia’s Elizabeth (Lizz) Wells (pictured) has been named as the recipient of the Early Career Alumnus of the Year 2022 at the Southern Cross University’s Alumni Impact Awards. The Early Career Alumnus of the Year award recognises a graduate who completed their degree in the past five years, demonstrating significant achievements in their chosen field of endeavour and outstanding service to the community or profession. With a background in Environmental Science and Data Management, Ms Wells joined LMA in 2018 as a Configuration Analyst, before going on to complete a Bachelor of Business with Southern Cross University in 2019. Promoted to Engineering Processes and Information Systems Associate Manager in 2021, Ms Wells intends to pursue a Master of Engineering Management, also at Southern Cross University. During her time at Lockheed Martin Australia, Ms Wells has supported the delivery of a variety of defence programs, including the Tactical Air Defence Radar System (TADRS), the Deployable Data Management System (DDMS) Cabins and F-35 sustainment and training.

Lava Blue receives critical minerals grant

Queensland battery minerals company Lava Blue Ltd has received a Federal Government Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative (CMAI) grant. The CMAI grant enables a programme of work to produce high purity alumina (HPA) and other co-products from the vanadium-rich Toolebuc formation of North Queensland and produce battery grade materials. The CMAI grant is a $5.27 million cash grant, matched dollar for dollar by Lava Blue, with in-kind contributions from Lava Blue, QUT and mineral development partners such as Queensland Pacific Minerals Ltd and the Vecco Group. The total project value will be in excess of $15 million by 2025. Lava Blue Managing Director Michael McCann said Australia was clearly moving beyond the ‘quarry’ model of resources, and into an employment-creating value-add model where on-shore processing of battery minerals will capture long term benefits for Australia. McCann said: “The value of a critical mineral processed into a battery material could be ten or twenty-times the value of the same mineral dug out of the ground and shipped to an overseas processor.” Lava Blue is developing novel processes for extracting and refining critical minerals used in the lithium-ion and flow battery supply chains.

Hysata grows its global leadership team

Electrolyser business Hysata announced a collection of new talent joining the business on Tuesday, citing the scale-up of its high-efficiency electrolyser and commercial momentum with global customers. Daniel Tas Sandermann will join Hysata as Head of Europe in March 2023 from a role as Vice President of Energy Systems at offshore wind company Ørsted. Michael Hipwood has been appointed CFO, after a previous position as CFO at fast electric vehicle charger company Tritium. Dr Scott Abrahamson has been appointed Head of Engineering, responsible — among other things — “ensuring quality, reliability and supply chain robustness of every component.” The hires follow the recent addition of Dr Alan Finkel, the nation’s former Chief Scientist, as chair of Hysata’s Global Advisory Board. “I am delighted to officially welcome Michael, Daniel and Scott to the team and am confident their expertise and passion will support Hysata’s commercialisation plans, helping get our transformational product to the market as soon as possible,” said Paul Barrett, CEO of Hysata.

Hetech achieves AS9100 accreditation

Brisbane-based electronics business Hetech has announced its recent receipt of AS9100 accreditation, with the company saying the aerospace standard will enable it “to offer its design and manufacturing services to a range of new customers in various markets.” In a statement on Monday, Hetech’s Managing Director Mark Steiner added: “The traceability aspect of the standard combined with the introduction of a new ERP system will enhance the level of service to all our customers. This is especially important in the current situation where parts are hard to find or on very long lead times. It will also help us maintain and exceed our current excellence in quality and customer service.” According to its website, Hetech was established in 1991, and operates a 850 square metre manufacturing facility enabling “manufacturing processes which are unparalleled in Australia and the world.”

International Graphite opens pilot plant

International Graphite officially opened its Downstream Graphite Processing Facility plant at Collie, Western Australia on Friday, at an event attended by premier Mark McGowan and regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan. The site hosts the company’s pilot graphite processing plant — one of the first of its kind in Australia, and which has successfully produced micronised and spheroidised graphite — and will house an R&D laboratory and new product qualification-scale equipment currently on order. Executive Chairman Phil Hearse said, “This new facility is proof that International Graphite is well on its way to establishing commercial downstream graphite processing facilities in Collie. By the end of 2023 we expect to be completing construction and commissioning of a commercial scale graphite processing plant here in Collie. By 2025, we expect to have developed a fully integrated battery anode project with feedstock coming from our planned graphite mine at Springdale, near Hopetoun, on WA’s south coast.”

Picture: Elizabeth (Lizz) Wells

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