Ampcontrol Purchases Androck To Expand Australian Manufacturing Workforce And Capability

Ampcontrol, Australia’s largest privately-owned electrical engineering company, has today announced the acquisition of Hunter-based Androck Engineering & Mining Pty Limited (Androck).

Established in 2006, Androck began as an exclusively based repair-supplied company to support the Australasian underground mining industry. Initially starting as a specialised component overhauling facility, it has grown into a substantial supply & manufacture operation, including the engineering & re-engineering of many problem issues in the underground mining sector.

“There is a great opportunity for the industry when Ampcontrol and Androck combine their offerings. Androck’s extensive mechanical and machining expertise, capability, and manufacturing operations will enable Ampcontrol to further accelerate the development of our energy and electro-motion solutions at scale to support industry decarbonisation,” says Rod Henderson, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO.

Androck has five workshops in Rutherford, NSW, and has machining, fabrication, hydraulics, and electrical repairs capabilities. They conduct equipment services and overhauls, including continuous miners, shuttle cars, and multi-bolters.

The acquisition provides an extraordinary level of value for both Ampcontrol and Androck customers, suppliers, and employees, to future-proof Australian manufacturing jobs and make net zero a reality.

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Advocating For Our Apprentices

Our apprentices are our industry’s future and influence how our organisation runs.

The Hon. Tim Crakanthorp MP, Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Minister for the Hunter, visited our Cameron Park site on 28 April 2023 to meet with some of our apprentices and learn about careers pathway programs.

Ampcontrol offers apprentice pathways into roles and trades such as electrotechnology, electronics, mechanical engineering, fabrication and electrical fitting. Our Engineering Traineeship allows mechanical and electrical apprentices to develop skills and gain a qualification in engineering through TAFE.

Australia wide, Ampcontrol currently employs 68 apprentices, 46 of which are located in the Hunter Region. Additionally, nine trainees are employed in traineeships in Engineering, Drafting, Business, Supply Chain and Digital, all located in the Hunter Region.

During the visit, Minister Crakanthorp also heard of some of the challenges our apprentices face in developing their careers further.

Previously, Ampcontrol offered an Electrical Engineering Traineeship, however due to a small number of TAFE enrolments, the advanced diploma is no longer on offer.

“This has left many of our employees in a state of limbo as no one knows when this course will be made available again,” says Mikhaila Halford, Ampcontrol Capability Development Manager.

“It’s invaluable for the trainees to go through their trade and come into engineering at TAFE with as much face-to-face and hands on learning as possible because a kinaesthetic learner needs that opportunity”, she added.

Julian Daavid, Ampcontrol Electronics Technician, was on a pathway to complete his Electrical Engineering Traineeship through TAFE. Due to changes in the prerequisites and training packages this is no longer available to him. Fortunately, Julian was accepted into a Bachelor of Engineering at The University of Newcastle. He began his university education earlier this year.

“I started my degree this year, which has been very intense. Ampcontrol continues to allow me to do it while making a living,” Julian says.

Ampcontrol works very closely with TAFE to ensure our employees’ needs and requirements are met. Paul Reynolds, Ampcontrol General Manager- Technology, explained that training employees through TAFE has previously been easy and produced excellent tradespeople by providing a practical side to their training. But difficulties arose when TAFE began to introduce new prerequisites and change delivery of learning.

“This skillset gained through TAFE is critical to our business and our industry; we don’t want to lose that. But the new changes being made are adding years to our employee’s studies”, says Paul Reynolds.

Ampcontrol recognises the benefits of TAFE qualified employees with Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson, a TAFE qualified Engineer.

“To give you a prime example of TAFE’s importance, I’m a product of the TAFE system. The practical training I got from TAFE has been invaluable throughout my career”, says Rod Henderson.

“We can’t regrow a strong manufacturing sector here in the Hunter without it. To replicate what we had when BHP, Alcan, and all those companies up here, we can redo that in energy manufacturing. But we need a strong TAFE system to build it back up and support it,” Rod added.


Learn more about our 2024 Apprentice Program

Saving the World with Design

Collaboration is a part of our DNA and we love to learn from others.

We’re fortunate to have  some of the most talented and innovative people working within our business. To showcase their industry leading knowledge, we host monthly ‘Bridging Circuit’ personal development programs.

Our ‘Bridging Circuit’ sessions give our people the opportunity for professional development and knowledge sharing from their peers. Our February session gave us a ‘Creative Advantage’ after Jason Dawes, Research and Design Engineer at ResTech, our joint venture with the University of Newcastle, presented ‘Design Thinking: The Creative Advantage.’

One of over 25 Research and Design Engineers at Ampcontrol, Jason Dawes, provided insight into the thinking of an industrial designer while inspiring individuals through his advocacy for good design.

“Design is about empathy and understanding your user,” says Jason.

“I like to think design can save the world,” he added. “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us and empathy and design is going to be a big part of that.”

The user-centred approach Jason explores shows how creativity, empathy and product development all tie in together to create solutions that are functional and desirable.

Learn more about Ampcontrol career opportunities.

Award-winning Collaboration Growth Requires Bigger Boat

The award-winning partnership between Ampcontrol, Steber International and the University of Newcastle has grown to new lengths given the next generation Ampcontrol Marine hybrid power system is currently being installed into a 43-foot vessel.

The development has recently been presented in the ‘Hybrid Propulsion System for Marine Vessels based on a DC Microgrid’ paper which was authored by Galina Mirzaeva, Professor – School of Engineering, the University of Newcastle and co-authored by Dmitry Miller, Product Manager – Power Systems, Ampcontrol, Steve Mitchell, Engineering Manager, Ampcontrol and Alan Steber, General Manager and Director, Steber International.

Steve Mitchell said the paper is based on the novel hybrid diesel/electric propulsion system used in a 22-foot boat and the ongoing progression to the 43-foot vessel that is scheduled to be commissioned in the coming weeks.

“This is a great celebration at an international level of our collaborative work with the University of Newcastle and Steber and highlights the novel approaches which are being adopted/proposed in this area by the team,” says Steve.

The ‘Hybrid Propulsion System for Marine Vessels based on a DC Microgrid’ academic paper was presented by Galina Mirzaeva at the 2022 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) in Detroit, Michigan USA. The ECCE is a premier networking opportunity to share industry knowledge and developments in the energy conversion and power electronics field.

This ongoing collaboration also won the 2021 Hunter Manufacturing Awards ‘Collaboration Partnership’ for the construction and testing of a 22-foot hybrid boat, which incorporates Ampcontrol’s Hybrid Power System for marine vessels.

Tec-NQ Electrical Apprentice Of The Year Goes to Ampcontrol Apprentice

Queensland-based Ampcontrol fourth-year apprentice, Mitchell Cain, has been awarded ‘Electrical Apprentice of the Year – Mackay’ at the 10th Annual Tec-NQ  Apprentice of the Year Gala.

A highly regarded and hardworking apprentice, Mitchell received the celebrated title in recognition of his strong work ethic, commitment to training and education, and using his natural leadership skills to help and mentor others within his team.

The 10th Annual Tec-NQ Awards were held at The Ville Pavilion, Townsville on Friday 31 March 2023, with 30 finalists across ten categories.

Todd Bailey, Ampcontrol Workshop Team Leader said Mitchell was nominated by his supervisors for the award due to his outstanding work as an apprentice and his drive to learn.

“Mitch’s well-developed cognitive skills, knowledge, and work ethic as well as his outstanding commitment to training led him to assist, support and lead others to complete jobs safely early on in his apprenticeship. He has been an outstanding apprentice with a very bright future with Ampcontrol,” says Todd.

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Cultural Transformation Program Developed by Ampcontrol Awarded Industry Safety Award

‘Live Work Better’, an employee safety and wellbeing program developed by Ampcontrol, was awarded Best WHS Improvement Award at the 2023 Hunter Safety Awards on Friday 17 March.

Designed in conjunction with EY Psychologists, the Live Work Better Program proactively addresses risk through attitudes and behaviours to build a better and safer workplace for its people.

Tailored uniquely to suit its diverse workforce of over 1000 employees in different geographical locations and operations across Australia, the psychology-based program is provided to all employees. It aims to shift towards a culture of shared responsibility, ownership, and positive health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ) outcomes.

Accepting the award at the gala presentation night, Simon Coleman, Ampcontrol General Manager – HSEQ said,

“We are thrilled to see our Live Work Better Program receive industry recognition for the significant improvement it is making to our workplace and the wellbeing of our people. The program challenges everyone at Ampcontrol, including me, regarding how we think, act, lead, and foster a culture of shared responsibility. Live Work Better is all about living and working better together, and it’s working.”

Live Work Better

Since being launched in November 2020, 95% of the workforce has completed the program, comprised of online modules and face-to-face sessions varying between 4 – 8 hours.

In just two years following the implementation of Live Work Better, Ampcontrol has seen a cultural shift in how HSEQ is managed throughout the business. From 35 employees accessing and using the HSEQ management platform annually, to over 750 employees. From under 2100 HSEQ conversations conducted and recorded, to now more than 5000; from under 1000 inspections completed to over 9000.

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Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager Ian Webster Appointed as International Technical Expert

We’re passionate about our #PeopleOfAmpcontrol and proud of what they achieve.  Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager, Dr Ian Webster, has been appointed as an Australian delegate to the international IEC/WG4 Spark Test Apparatus Work Group.

Dr Webster has been a part of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for eight years, after being invited to join as a recognised technical expert at the international level. The IEC is the premier body for electrotechnology and sets the standards for a broad range of technical equipment. The working group Ian has been invited to join oversees the design and operation of spark test apparatus to validate intrinsically safe equipment.

Ian says he is privileged to join the SC31G/ WG4 as an international delegate.

“The appointment offers the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of conventional spark testing and to push the introduction of electronic spark test methods that will bring greater objectivity and consistency into testing” says Ian.

The commitment as an Australian Delegate to the IEC means Dr Webster will attend international meetings several times a year and participate in the development of technical standards. He is one of three Australian delegates on the working group. This participation will be alongside Ian’s existing role in developing international standards for gas detectors on IEC MT 60079-29.

Ian has a special interest in making testing equipment more scientific and repeatable. He understands the importance of getting it right and knows people’s lives depends on the testing regimes. Ian’s goal in this role is to increase the accuracy and repeatability of spark testing apparatus to enhance the safety of personnel who work with electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Supporting Women in STEM: Ampcontrol Announces Partnership With HunterWiSE

Strengthening its commitment to providing a diverse workforce and the next generation of innovators, Ampcontrol has announced its sponsorship of Hunter-based industry schools outreach program HunterWiSE.

HunterWiSE is an initiative for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) aimed to positively impact perceptions of STEM careers amongst school-aged girls to increase overall participation by women.

According to the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources The state of STEM gender equity in 2022, released 23 September 2022, women only make up 27% of the workforce across all STEM industries. In the past 12 months, Ampcontrol has seen a 24.1% increase in female employees within its global workforce.

“Ampcontrol is serious about creating diverse teams with women an important and integral part of the vibrant engineering and technology world.  We recognise the need to engage students at an early stage in their learning before they reach their final years in school. There are a number of career pathways we offer at Ampcontrol, and we have strong ties with local schools and The University of Newcastle to get young people excited by a career in STEM. We believe it’s vitally important for industry and education to work together,” said Mikhaila Halford, Ampcontrol Capability Development Manager.

“Our involvement in the HunterWiSE Program will allow Ampcontrol to partner with students from a local school, where we can provide mentoring and support to inspire young women to pursue a career in engineering.”

Professor Anna Giacomini is a co-founder of HunterWiSE. She is also the Director of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering. She recognises that the success of HunterWiSE initiatives is due in part to the contributions of industry partners, who provide opportunities for students to learn about and explore a wide range of STEM careers.

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Ampcontrol Rebrands Member Companies in Advanced Australian Manufacturing Expansion

Ampcontrol has today announced the major rebranding of its Member Companies to meet the growth and response to industry needs for innovative power solutions and service.

Wholly owned and operated by Ampcontrol is Austech, Burn Brite, Captech, CPS National and Verico. From 1 February 2023, these businesses will be rebranded to Ampcontrol including name, logo, and website.

The rebrand of its Member Companies comes as Ampcontrol accelerates its strategy to be at the forefront of developing and supplying advanced technology, products, and services to the resources, infrastructure, and energy sectors that enable a competitive advantage in a net-zero carbon environment.

“Our industry and customer needs are rapidly changing in the global low-carbon economy. Incorporating our industry-leading member companies into the Ampcontrol brand will result in our customers benefiting from a rapidly expanding portfolio of products and service capabilities, cutting-edge digital technology, and accelerated innovation to help solve some of the greatest challenges facing our future such as decarbonisation and renewable energy solutions”, said Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO Rod Henderson.

The existing product and service offerings from Ampcontrol Member Companies will remain the same and form part of the trusted and reputable Ampcontrol offering.

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Ampcontrol Showcases Solutions Supporting the Energy Transition to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a delegation of executives from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) together with the Committee for the Hunter at our Tomago, NSW site.

As part of exploring clean tech commercialisation opportunities in the Hunter Region, the visit included a site tour, viewing several the innovative solutions designed, developed, and manufactured by #PeopleOfAmpcontrol that support the energy transition to hydrogen, solar and electrified products.

We were able to showcase our Battery Electric Vehicle, DriftEx, purpose-designed for supporting the mining industry’s move to electrification; LAVO hydrogen storage system, Gilghi, an off-grid water purification system for remote communities; and the award-winning Solar Qube, designed and delivered by Boundary Power, our joint venture with Horizon Power.

The visit to our site was part of the CEFC’s two-day tour of the Hunter organised by the Committee for the Hunter, and included visits to Port of Newcastle, Orica, and The Melt. The tour demonstrated the challenges and opportunities associated with the Hunter’s energy and economic transition, and what support industry and businesses require to deliver national commitments for Net Zero and clean energy.

Ampcontrol supports the energy transition and was pleased to be a part of the CEFS’s tour of the Hunter, which provided an opportunity for further collaboration between businesses, government, and industry to support a net-zero carbon environment.