Aligning Our Business Strategy With SDGs

COVID-19 has been a black swan event, disrupting supply chains globally. Rather than focusing only on the negative, we recognise times of great disruption are also opportunities to innovate and implement change.

With our business focused on applying the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we utilised this disruption by looking at our overall supply chain management, and how we can achieve cleaner consumption and production (SDG 12) through responsible supply chain management.

Not only does this minimise supply chain risk long-term, but securing reliable and ethically sourced materials develops resilient supply networks which remain steadfast in times of instability.

Ampcontrol and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

When looking at the Ampcontrol supply chain, the SDGs were front of mind for Simon Coleman, our Executive General Manager –Health, Safety, Environment & Quality.

Speaking at the Hunter Business Development Forum on Wednesday 14 September, Simon spoke on how businesses can apply the SDGs within the Hunter Region NSW, alongside CEO of Wavia Global, Christina Gerakiteys and Executive Manager of Strategy & Engagement of Hunter Water, Emma Berry.

Simon emphasised the importance of collaboration when  mapping the trajectory of SDGs across the business. Working with our industry partners and other members of the Hunter Region SDG Task Force to determine the best business practices integrating the SDGs for the Hunter Region is a big part of the Ampcontrol business looking to the future.

Beyond augmentations to supply chain, the SDGs are prominent in business practices within Ampcontrol. It’s no secret Ampcontrol is rapidly growing our presence within the domains of renewable energy and electrification of mining. These areas speak directly to two of the SDGs: Applying innovative engineering solutions to act on Climate Change (SDG 13), while expanding access to affordable and clean energy (SDG 7).

Ampcontrol is committed to fostering good health and wellbeing for our employees (SDG 3). We promote wellbeing and ensure the healthy lives of our people through an internal program ‘Live Work Better’. Since we launched it in November 2020, we’ve had 816 Ampcontrol employees attend 62 Live Work Better sessions to learn about living and working better together. This extends to caring for the mental health of our employees.

We are taking the pledge as individuals in our everyday lives, and as an organisation with responsibilities to our communities, to setting the standard in implementing the SDGs within the Hunter.

Learn more about Ampcontrol’s role in the Hunter region SDG Task Force.

Engineering Excellence Celebrated at Sally Chapman Memorial Dinner

Due to COVID-19, we couldn’t publicly celebrate the award winners for their recognition by Engineers Australia in 2021. Earlier this year, the Sally Chapman Memorial Dinner was able to be held at Fort Scratchley Function Centre in Newcastle, NSW.

Sally Chapman was a much-respected Executive Director of Engineers Australia – Newcastle Division. After nearly 27 years, she became the longest-serving staff member in the history of the organisation. After Sally sadly passed away in 2009, the Sally Chapman Memorial Dinner has been a way to remember her enormous contribution and used as an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of engineers within the Newcastle region.

The dinner—which had been postponed numerous times—finally went ahead on Friday 8 April 2022 and we were able to celebrate Ampcontrol engineer Dr Ian Webster for his two awards. He was named the winner of the esteemed M A Sargent Medal and the 2021 Professional Engineer of the Year, Newcastle Division.

We were also able to celebrate Ampcontrol engineers Richard Griffiths (Finalist 2021 Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division) and Thomas Steigler (2021 Young Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division).

Ian is Group Engineering Manager at Ampcontrol, and Adjunct Professor of Practice in the College of Engineering, Science and Environment at the University of Newcastle.

Ian’s background in engineering is both extensive and impressive, having enjoyed professional careers in both academia and in industry. As subject matter expert in numerous technical fields of electrical engineering, Ian has written over 30 invited and peer reviewed technical papers and conference presentations in the past five years alone.

‘These awards recognise Ian’s contribution to engineering across academia, regulatory bodies and industry for many years, where he made a noticeable impact. He has been a strong influence on many young engineers who are shaping the Newcastle region today. This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Ian’s lifelong engagement and commitment to engineering,’ says Pierre Gouhier, Engineers Australia Newcastle President and General Manager – ResTech.

ICU Emergency Ventilator

Since joining Ampcontrol in 2006, Ian has led a number of high-profile industrial projects, most recently the development of an ICU Emergency Ventilator.

When the NSW Government issued a “call to arms” in March 2020 to develop a low cost, lifesaving emergency ventilator as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding, Ian stepped in.

He assembled an impressive team of engineers, biomedical and clinical specialists from Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle, and Ampcontrol—as well as Hunter-based Safearth and Newie Ventures. None of the people assembled specialised in medical equipment.

Ian quickly identified there were strong parallels between the heavily regulated mining sector where safety critical equipment design and controls are the norm with the medical sector.

What ensued was an astonishing effort by 20 engineers, support staff and trades people in parallel, all galvanised by a single heath crisis to successfully demonstrate a working ventilator at the John Hunter Hospital in just 18 days. Ampcontrol was subsequently awarded a contract for design and supply of mid acuity ventilators for the NSW government.

While the skillsets, manufacturing capability and tenacity to produce an emergency ventilator already existed within the Newcastle manufacturing sector, it was nothing other than the leadership shown by Ian Webster that achieved what can only be described as an incredible result.

This is just one example of Ian’s many engineering efforts.

Dr Ian Webster on winning the awards

The M. A. Sargent Medal is awarded by Engineers Australia for longstanding eminence in science or the practice of electrical engineering.

Dr Ian Webster, Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager said on winning the M A Sargent Medal:

‘I am humbled to be recognised by the M A Sargent Medal. The list of previous winners is inspiring, and to be recognised amongst them is a privilege and an honour. I am no more than the product of the opportunities that others have afforded me, and to them I offer my deepest gratitude.’

Dr Ian Webster, Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager said on being named 2021 Professional Engineer of the Year, Newcastle Division:

‘Engineering is necessarily a collaborative effort and its outcomes a collective achievement. Above all, this award recognises all of those knowledgeable, dedicated and inspirational professionals with whom I have been fortunate to work alongside.’

A chance to celebrate

Dr Ian Webster is greatly valued and admired for his innovation in the electrical engineering sector and we look forward to seeing his further development in advancing Ampcontrol’s emerging technologies into the future.

The night was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Ian, Richard and Thomas, at both Ampcontrol and within the engineering industry.

Pictured L-R: Thomas Steigler – Research Engineer, Paul Reynolds – General Manager – Technology (accepting award on behalf of Richard Griffiths – Senior R&D Engineer), Dr Ian Webster – Group Engineering Manager, Pierre Gouhier – Engineers Australia Newcastle President and General Manager – ResTech, and Rod Henderson – Managing Director & CEO.

Ampcontrol Announces New Board With Focus on Innovation

Ampcontrol is announcing the new Board of Directors following the acquisition by investment house Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited (WHSP) which was finalised on 1 June 2022.

Ampcontrol welcomes Jaime Pinto from WHSP and Dr Glenn Platt from the Emergent Group as Non-Executive Directors of the Ampcontrol Board. Ampcontrol CEO Rod Henderson and Chief Financial Officer Nik Wyman retain their positions on the Board as Managing Director and Finance Director respectively. Greg Sedgwick remains as Chairman of the Board, and David Scammell from WHSP remains as a Non-Executive Director.

The first meeting of the new Ampcontrol Board took place on Monday 20 June 2022 in the Hunter Valley, NSW where innovation within the Ampcontrol Group was the key focus.

“I am very pleased to welcome both Mr Pinto and Mr Platt to the Ampcontrol Board. I’m looking forward to the knowledge and experience from this group of people being used for the benefit of Ampcontrol and our future,” says Rod Henderson, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO.

Welcoming Dr Glenn Platt to the Board is an indication of the importance Ampcontrol places on innovation. Glenn is currently Chair of the Ampcontrol Innovation Committee, a position he will continue to hold. His focus on how Ampcontrol can prepare for the future and looking for expertise outside of the Group demonstrates the commitment to adapting with the changing times.

“Innovation has always been important to Ampcontrol, now more than ever. We want Ampcontrol to remain as relevant as it was when we began 54 years ago, and that happens when we welcome innovation and respond to changing industry needs,” says Mr Henderson.

Jaime Pinto is the EGM Finance – Private Investments for WHSP, partnering with Pitt Capital Partners and the finance teams of significant private investee companies to help grow their business. Jaime has held senior finance and governance roles in a number of private and public companies, including CFO and Company Secretary for various ASX listed entities.

Alongside being Chair of the Ampcontrol Innovation Committee, Dr Glenn Platt is the Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation at Emergent Group. Glenn is a graduate of Harvard Business School, holds PhD and electrical engineering degrees, and has roles at multiple universities. Glenn has held senior roles at Evergen, CSIRO, Nokia, and a variety of engineering consultancies.

Read the full Media Release below.

Download Media Release

L-R: Glenn Platt, Jaime Pinto, Nik Wyman, Greg Sedgwick, David Scammell, Rod Henderson.

Ampcontrol GM Accepts Honorary Commander Award

Ampcontrol Executive General Manager – Innovation & Service Warwick Sommer was presented with his ‘Honorary Commander’ certificate from former Commanding Officer of 3CRU, WGCDR Simon Wildermuth, to commemorate their partnership over the past 2 years.

The Hunter Defence Support Network (HDSN) was formed in 2015 by a passionate group of Hunter Business leaders and volunteers as a single-purpose community support and advocacy group focused on improving the lifestyle of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families whilst posted to the Hunter Region.

The HDSN’s Honorary Commanders’ are recognised business leaders; enthusiastic supporters of the ADF who find resources to accomplish the objectives of the program and invest two years of time and effort. At the completion of the two years, they remain as an ongoing supporters of the program.

Warwick Sommer was both humbled and honoured to receive this as the first honorary commander from Ampcontrol.

This is another first for Ampcontrol and we look forward to continuing our support of the HDSN in our local communities.

Ampcontrol Announced Winner in Global “Charge on Challenge”

Submitting our joint end-to-end mining haul truck battery swap solution with Tritium back in September 2021, Ampcontrol has been selected along with seven other technology innovators to progress beyond the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The global challenge, launched by BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale sought to accelerate the commercialisation of effective solutions for charging large electric haul trucks while simultaneously demonstrating there is an emerging market for these solutions in mining.

The eight innovators selected are Ampcontrol and Tritium (Australia), ABB, BluVeinXL, DB Engineering & Consulting with Echion Technologies, Hitachi, Shell Consortium, Siemens Off-board power supply, and 3ME Technology.

Rio Tinto Chief Technical Officer Mark Davies said, “With this group of innovators, we’re taking another step in the right direction towards changing the way haul truck systems operate in the mining sector. Through collaborations like this, where we all come together to create change, we can drive long-term benefits for our industry and the environment

The Challenge received interest from over 350 companies across 19 industries, with over 80 companies submitting expressions of interest (EOI). 21 companies were then invited to present a detailed pitch of their solution. The final eight were chosen from these 21 companies.

A major achievement of inter-company collaboration, our submission was an end-to-end mining haul truck battery swap solution that is fully automated, relocatable, scalable, and cell agnostic. In a drive-in/drive-out recharging station, an autonomous transfer robot swaps batteries in 90 seconds, significantly reducing safety risks and increasing productivity by excluding personnel from the swap process.

On receiving the news of its winning solution, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO Rod Henderson said, “Technological breakthroughs are vital to our decarbonisation journey as we work toward zero emissions. Collaborative partnerships with organisations such as Tritium are critical to our research and development as they bring together innovative thinkers to deliver safer, cleaner, electrically operated solutions to the mining industry.”

Focused on the sustainability of our environment, we worked together with Tritium to pitch for the challenge to help find a joint solution that can change the shape of the mining haul cycle forever.

“We are immensely thrilled to be named as one of the winning solutions in what has been a very comprehensive and competitive worldwide challenge.  The backing by BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale of our winning solution acknowledges both Ampcontrol and Tritium as pioneers in innovative global energy solutions that can disrupt and revolutionise the mining industry,“ added Rod Henderson.

Congratulations to the other seven innovators that were successful in the challenge, we look forward to further innovating in the mission for mine site electrification and emission reduction.


Ampcontrol Ground-Breaking Research Collaboration to Trailblaze Renewable Energy Manufacturing

Ampcontrol welcomes today’s Federal Government announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Scott Morrison MP, of a $50 million investment in a new business and research partnership between the University of Newcastle and the University of New South Wales to commercialise clean energy technologies through industry investment.

The investment into the Australian Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (ATRaCE) is the third project to receive funding through the Trailblazer program, designed to focus Australia’s research power on national manufacturing priorities and a shift to a low carbon economy. The project will play a leading role in securing Australia’s economic recovery, with the investment expected to create 1,600 jobs over the next four years.

Ampcontrol is one of 27 industry partners working with the universities to develop world-leading technology in solar, hydrogen, storage and green metals, and rapidly deploy new technology solutions.

“Ampcontrol is thrilled to strengthen its collaboration with UNSW and UON’s research capability and support developing the commercial potential behind energy transition initiatives under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative and National Manufacturing Priorities (NMP). The Trailblazer program presents a marvellous opportunity for Ampcontrol including furthering partnerships with the government, universities and industry peers, matched funding, and access to world-class energy facilities and experts,” says Rod Henderson, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO.

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert MP said the program will see the best minds in research and industry work together to develop Australian technologies, products, and businesses to create jobs and boost the economy.

“The key areas we’ll be looking to explore include the further adoption of renewable energy solutions within industrial, agricultural and mining applications, as well as supporting the adoption and integration of electric vehicles into their site energy management. Ampcontrol is already innovating in this space with the creation of DRIFTEX, an electric vehicle for underground use to support decarbonisation in mining,” added Rod Henderson.

We will also explore managing increased decentralised variable renewable generation and assisting with flexible electrical demand control and responses from industrial loads.

Ampcontrol’s partnership with both UNSW and the University of Newcastle on this program is a natural progression of Ampcontrol’s support of the transition to a low carbon economy. Ampcontrol has given a financial commitment of $1 million over the course of the program. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the University of Newcastle in research and development in manufacturing and engineering solutions.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said the ATRaCE Trailblazer would drive the cultural shift needed to facilitate the pathway from research to commercial outcomes.

“This program will transform the way technology readiness, commercialisation and industry-led research are prioritised, taught and rewarded in our universities with targeted opportunities for university staff and students to succeed.”

“Working in partnership with major energy and recycling companies, SMEs, end-users and international entities, ATRaCE will transform the way research is commercialised. It will provide clear pathways for academics and industry partners to work together to supercharge their capabilities and deliver new technologies, faster to Australians.”

The shortlist of proposals for the Trailblazer program saw ground-breaking research commercialisation proposals across the six national manufacturing priority areas, including food and beverage, recycling and clean energy, defence, medical products, space and resources and critical technology.

“UNSW and the University of Newcastle have a huge pipeline of innovative technologies that are aligned with growing global markets in electrification and energy systems, ‘power to X’ including hydrogen, next-generation solar PV systems, recycling and MICROfactories,” says Justine Jarvinen, CEO of UNSW’s Energy Institute.

“Our Trailblazer vision is to create a full innovation ecosystem that builds on our successful commercialisation history, accelerates impact and creates national capability.”

The funding brings together the nation’s best recycling and clean energy researchers with businesses to create an entire innovation ecosystem for recycling and clean energy. Stretching from the Hunter to Sydney, it will unlock a full spectrum of existing facilities and infrastructure to support the sector.

Ampcontrol welcomes this funding which will protect Australian manufacturing jobs in the shift to renewable energy manufacturing, with the creation of more than 1,600 and up to 5,200 jobs in recycling and clean energy industries and their supply chains.

Pictured L-R: University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Ampcontrol CEO and Managing Director Rod Henderson, Acting Minister for Youth and Education Stuart Robert, UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs

Company Announcement: Ampcontrol Acquired by Washington H. Soul Pattinson to power the future of Australian Manufacturing

Ampcontrol has today announced the agreement with Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited (WHSP) to acquire 100% shareholding.

The acquisition comes as we accelerate our diversification 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.

Australia’s second-oldest public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: SOL), WHSP has significant investments in a diverse portfolio of assets across a range of industries.

Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson, said the investment acquisition marks a remarkable new era for the Australian manufacturing business and the next chapter in our growth story.

“The increased investment by WHSP cements ongoing commitment to our strategic business plan for the continued growth of our core manufacturing business, as well as allowing us to take advantage of various synergies, partnerships, and expansion opportunities across new and emerging domestic and international markets that will better serve our customers, industry and community in an ever-changing global landscape.”

Washington H. Soul Pattinson Managing Director, Todd Barlow said “Ampcontrol is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the decarbonisation thematic with its people, technology, and services. The founders of Ampcontrol, in particular Peter Cockbain, have created a great platform business and WHSP is excited to be investing further in its next stage of growth.”

WHSP has held a majority shareholding in Ampcontrol Limited since investing in the company in 2005 and will now acquire the remaining shareholdings from other investors including Ampcontrol Co-Founder Peter Cockbain.

Acknowledging the successful history of Ampcontrol, Rod Henderson thanked the foresight of co-founders Neville Sawyer, Peter Cockbain, Keith Grant and Tony Studdert who started the business in a small shed in Newcastle NSW in 1968.

Peter Cockbain said “Ampcontrol was founded on the vision of turning revolutionary ideas into products and services that created employment, improved productivity, safety, and efficiency in regional, then national, and finally international markets. It was that vision that has benefited families, industry, commerce, and now the environment – and that will continue to be the focus.”

“We thank Peter for the legacy he leaves Ampcontrol with immense gratitude for creating the opportunities of today that allow the business to transform for the future. We are now positioned to inspire the next generation of passionate and talented people, along with our customers and new owner Washington H. Soul Pattinson, to continue our innovation journey with us,” added Mr Henderson.

The completion of the acquisition will have no impact on current trading, branding, orders, workforce or operations across the Ampcontrol Group of Companies.

Ampcontrol remains proudly 100% Australian privately owned and operated.

Read the full Media Release below.

Download Media Release

Ampcontrol Showcases the Hunter’s Renewable Energy Manufacturing Strength to Japan’s Investment Leaders

With continued interest growing in Japan for the Hunter’s manufacture of product supporting decarbonisation, yesterday Ampcontrol welcomed a delegate group from Japan to showcase our renewable Energy solutions. The delegate group included Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Japan, Mike Newman, the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Shingo Yamagami, and the Japanese Consul General in Sydney, Kiya Masahiko who all visited our Tomago site.

Welcoming the delegation to Ampcontrol, Managing Director & CEO Rod Henderson said it was fantastic to showcase the capabilities of the Hunter Region to manufacture energy devices to key global decision-makers who are passionate and drive for decarbonisation.

Mr Henderson spoke on the importance of putting the Hunter on the map for renewable technology design and development, “To be able to work in partnership with Investment NSW and Business Hunter to showcase our region’s capabilities, on a global scale is an incredible opportunity for Ampcontrol.”

“On Monday we had the privilege to introduce our range of innovative products designed as renewable energy solutions. Our region is making significant advancements with not only the manufacture of hydrogen and solar product, but the design of these is also taking place right here in the Hunter,” Mr Henderson continued.

“Through partnerships like ours with the University of Newcastle, critical in creating opportunity for R&D businesses such as ResTech, the highly skilled expertise of our region and our cutting-edge technology and energy solutions now have the opportunity to be on the world stage.”

On display was our Battery Electric Vehicle, DriftEx, purpose-designed for supporting the mining industry’s move to electrify, our LAVO hydrogen storage system which has recently been supported by State Government funding to move into a mass production stage, Gilghi, our off-grid water purification system for remote communities, and the award-winning Solar Qube, designed and delivered by Boundary Power a joint venture organisation focused on innovative Stand-Alone Power Systems.

The visit has reconfirmed the opportunity for the Hunter in growing the region’s expertise and capabilities in the renewables sector. Confirmation that internationally the region is being noticed for its strength in the diversification of trade, specifically for technology product that supports decarbonisation, enabling a gateway to new industries and resources.

Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Japan, Mike Newman commenting that “Significant interest exists in how the Hunter region is making its move to scaled renewables and clean energy like hydrogen as a baseload alternative to coal. Japan is very interested in the journey the Hunter is on to support a transition to a clean energy economy.”

Learn more about our range of renewable energy solutions LAVO, Solar Cube, Gilghi and DriftEx.

Leading the way with one of the most sought-after products in the renewable energy consumer sector, the LAVO Hydrogen Energy Storage System.

In partnership with Ampcontrol and Varley, LAVO has secured $5M in NSW Government Funding to develop Hydrogen manufacturing and deliver new jobs in the Hunter Region.

Following successful prototype testing of the LAVO Hydrogen Energy Storage System, the funding will support the expansion of prototyping, testing, and pilot manufacturing of the system. Enabling the mass production of one of the world’s first solid-state hydrogen energy storage devices, to meet rapidly growing local and international demand.

The LAVO hydrogen battery technology consists of an electrolysis system, fuel cell power, and hydrogen story array packed into one cabinet. The integrated hybrid system combines hydrogen and existing rooftop solar to deliver sustainable, reliable, and renewable green energy to homes and businesses.

Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson said “At Ampcontrol we are thrilled to see our research and development initiatives in hydrogen so strongly supported. Our innovative products, which we are designing through partnerships with the likes of LAVO, provide an opportunity for the region to become a major manufacturer of new energy solutions.”

The announcement follows the announcement in 2021 by the NSW Government committing to funding to develop the Hunter as a Hydrogen Hub.

Rod continued to discuss the expansion of Hunter’s energy capabilities, “With the continued backing of the government and industry, the ground-breaking technology can become reality and our region has the opportunity to become an energy manufacturing powerhouse. Newcastle and the Hunter Region are incredibly well placed to lead the way in the production of energy devices. We have always been a big producer of power, and with our existing infrastructure and highly skilled expertise, we are well-positioned to power the state with new energy products.”

Alan Yu, CEO and Executive Director of LAVO, said: “With its proximity to broader NSW regional communities, Newcastle Airport and the Port of Newcastle, the region provides a unique opportunity for LAVO to contribute to the development of sustainable employment opportunities locally while advancing our impact globally through new export markets.”

The funding forms part of the state government’s $130 million Regional Job Creation Fund and will support local business development, sustainable employment opportunities and boost local export markets.

Learn More about our partnership with LAVO

Sustainability in Ampcontrol

The Mackay Service team have been enjoying clean energy and reduced power bills since a 99-Kilowatt solar PV system was installed on the rooftop and switched on in February this year.

As a leader in electrical engineering and with greater expansion into renewable energy solutions, there was the need to look internally at Ampcontrol business practices and how we can improve our own sustainable practices.

Originally planned and designed internally by CPS and the Mackay team, with a local electrical contractor performing the installation, the project took advantage of our internal expertise and our external supplier relationships.

Key Stats on the Project:

  • Rooftop solar array consisting of 256 x 390-watt Jinko PV panels
  • Generating an estimated 120,000 kWh per annum of renewable energy
  • Accounting for 45% of total site power requirements
  • Avoiding up to 85 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum, or approximately 1.3% of Ampcontrol’s total carbon emissions

The success of this project shows the impact of how expanding to renewable options can have both a positive economical impact and delivers fantastic sustainability outcomes.

Click here to learn more about our renewable solutions and stand alone power systems.