Electric Vehicle Unveiled Off The Back Of Federal Govt $1.5B Modern Manufacturing Strategy

Ampcontrol welcomes the Federal Government’s 10-year road map and funding support commitment, aimed at creating more jobs and economic opportunities for Australian manufacturing businesses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, made the announcement in the NSW Hunter Region on Thursday 4 March, which included the opening of grant applications in the critical mineral and resources sector under the governments $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

Visiting Ampcontrol during the visit to the Hunter, Minister Andrews said the new Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing roadmap sets out a ten-year vision to help manufacturers scale-up production, commercialise products and tap into global supply chains.

Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO Rod Henderson said the Government’s ongoing commitment and support of local manufacturing is vital in rebuilding and growing our economy.

“We have such highly advanced manufacturing capabilities, smarts and skills in our country, so it is good to see Government backing local manufacturing to develop the innovative solutions and technologies we know they can. Nurturing a value-add manufacturing sector build’s on Australia’s competitive advantage, and helps secure greater investment and market share.”

During Ministers Andrew’s visit, Ampcontrol unveiled its electric-powered vehicle for underground mining applications. Born from a need for more environmentally conscious solutions and safer, healthier working environments, Ampcontrol’s development of an electric vehicle is representative of the innovative manufacturing capability and new technology that could benefit from the government grants.

“Opportunities outlined include turning critical minerals into high-value products like batteries and solar cells, as well as technologies and equipment that makes mining more efficient and safe,” Minister Andrews added.

Designed to replace traditional diesel-powered vehicles, the electric-powered alternative enables mining operations to eliminate negative environmental impacts associated with the operation of diesel-powered equipment whilst simultaneously capturing additional operational efficiencies.

Ampcontrol are in the advanced stages of this innovative product’s development. See an early prototype in action below against a diesel-powered Driftrunner.

Ampcontrol diversifying its business through innovation

Ampcontrol is at the forefront of businesses in the Hunter Region diversifying its business through innovation and technology to transform the energy world.

Starting out in mining over 50 years ago, Ampcontrol embraces an innovative culture and is branching out into new industries such as med tech, standalone power systems, electric vehiche and hybrid electric boat development.

“Strategically, we are positioning ourselves to continue to be good suppliers to the mining sector, but also to make sure that we have got our bases covered in lots of other areas as well,” said Rod Henderson, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO.

One of our recent projects include the design and manufacturing of transportable switchrooms for the nation’s biggest road tunnel project, Sydney’s WestConnex. Additionally, Ampcontrol has developed Australia’s first hybrid diesel-electric boat prototype for police and emergency services, a solar powered water purification system for remote communities and an emergency ventilator as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 response.

“We had about 50 people working on the ventilator project, and the guys used the knowledge and skills we’ve developed in the infrastructure and mining sectors and applied the same principles,” Rod Henderson explains.

Read more about the Hunter Region’s increased industry diversity in this ABC National News article or watch ABC The Business, which aired on Tuesday 2 February and includes an interview with our CEO Rod Henderson.

Ampcontrol Joins Forces With Australia’s Leading Utility To Launch Standalone Power Systems Joint Venture

Horizon Power, Australia’s leading utility in the deployment of Standalone Power Systems (SPS) has joined forces with premier power and control solutions company, Ampcontrol, to launch Boundary Power.

Boundary Power brings together Horizon Power and Ampcontrol’s combined SPS design, construction, deployment and operation expertise, unveiling a new, innovative series of SPS solutions to the market. Ampcontrol Group member company, CPS National, with its remote area and SPS expertise will be the delivery arm of the new venture.

Horizon Power was the first utility in Australia to demonstrate the commercial viability of SPS as an alternative to replacing aging poles and wires.

Boundary Power Director, Rod Henderson said the launch of Boundary Power was the next strategic step in leveraging the two business’s accumulated and substantial SPS expertise.

“A number of the SPS specialists from Horizon Power and Ampcontrol who have joined the Boundary Power team were behind the success of Horizon Power’s deployment of 17 SPS systems on customer properties, east of Esperance,” Mr Henderson said.

“This enabled Horizon Power to be the first utility in Australia to remove 64 kilometres of poles and wire permanently.”

“We have proven SPS to be a commercially viable renewable power solution that is fully off-grid and tailored to service a broad range of purposes and industries,” Mr Henderson said.

SPS uses solar and battery technology to generate and store electricity, providing safer, higher quality and more reliable power, 24 hours a day.

To mark today’s joint venture, Boundary Power unveiled its new, modular SPS Gen 2, which is easier to transport and install.

The McGowan Government’s $10 million investment in deploying SPS across regional WA is scheduled to kick off mid-February, with the first of 45 units installed in Esperance.

Four will be installed near Kununurra in the Kimberley, one near Karratha in the Pilbara, seven in the Mid-West region and 33 in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

“The advanced modularity design makes Boundary Power’s SPS units easier to transport, quicker to install and more affordable to maintain,” Mr Henderson said.

“An SPS Gen 2 can be deployed off the truck and ready for energy export in just 90 minutes, with onsite maintenance, servicing needs and costs reduced thanks to easily swappable module components.”

“We are confident Boundary Power’s SPS solutions are well suited to meet the growing demand we see in the marketplace, particularly among power utilities looking for a reliable off-grid power alternative.”

Customers who would like to explore the opportunity of having a SPS should direct their enquiries to enquiries@boundarypower.com.au.

Ampcontrol’s Emergency Ventilator Receives Further Industry Accolades

Ampcontrol has received an additional two top industry awards for our manufacturing ingenuity to design and develop lifesaving ventilators in less than 18 days during Friday evenings Hunter Manufacturing Awards. The Ventilator Innovation Project was awarded the ‘Collaboration Partnership’ and ‘Manufacturing Pivot’ awards, the second and third honours received in recent weeks following success in the Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.

The Ventilator Innovation Project, led by Health Infrastructure, was initiated to rapidly develop contingency ventilator solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The landmark innovation project, in partnership with Government, university, industry, and business, is one of the formidable success stories to emerge over the past six months.

We designed the ventilator in collaboration with Hunter-based specialist electrical engineering companies NewieVentures and Safearth, rapidly swinging our advanced manufacturing capabilities and engineering excellence to respond to the NSW Governments call-to-arms in March 2020. This significant pivot resulted in the development of a fully functional emergency ventilator prototype in less three weeks.

The Hunter Manufacturing Awards judging panel were impressed with the speed of engineering showcased through the successful completion of this project.

“In the world of medical engineering, projects are measured in the order of years. Ampcontrol, who had never previously worked in this sector, brought together a group of local companies including Newieventures, Safearth, ResTech, and The University of Newcastle to deliver prototype ventilators for NSW Health in 18 days and commenced clinical trials only one week later. This pace of engineering most probably hasn’t been seen since long ago wartime manufacturing efforts.”

Ampcontrol CEO and Managing Director Rod Henderson commented:

“The Ventilator Innovation Project is a true partnership in action; these industry honours recognise and reward the hard work and contribution of so many individuals and groups who have all worked on making this vital health project such a success. To turn a concept into a first-class lifesaving piece of medical equipment within such a critical timeframe is a testament to our region’s highly advanced capability and skilled workforce.”

Project partners NewieVentures and Safearth echoed Mr Henderson’s comments, emphasizing the importance of partnerships to local industry.

“The Ventasys project is a fantastic example of what this region can do when bringing disparate minds together and challenging them to think beyond their capability. While it was a massive project and an honour to be recognised with the Awards, it’s just one example of our collaborative potential. We look forward to continuing to forge relationships that raise the tide for all ships,” added NewieVentures Head of Technology Heath Raftery.

“The Hunter has extraordinary engineers, and if we can form the right partnerships and create the right environment for them to work together, then the prospects for the future are immense,” commented Safearth Managing Director Stephen Palmer.

“The partnership approach adopted to tackle the challenge also demonstrates the industry’s ability to pivot and solve unique problems rapidly. We have shown that we can do these things better and more quickly in Australia when there are strong partnerships between business, industry, and Government,” concluded Mr Henderson.

Hong Kong Team Perform Maintenance Works in Central-Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel

Ampcontrol’s Hong Kong team were contacted by equipment supplier FILTRONtec to assist with installation and maintenance works on their ultra-modern and efficient Air Purification System (APS) in the Central-Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel on Hong Kong Island.

The FILTRONtec APS is the first high tech system of its kind to be used in a road tunnel in Hong Kong and is the backbone of the ventilation system that provides fresh air to help maintain good air quality for commuters while discharging vitiated air via exhaust points throughout the tunnel.

The scope of these onsite works by Ampcontrol included the installation and maintenance of eight APS systems in the 3.7km long tunnel. The APS can treat up to 1500 m3/s of road tunnel exhaust air and can remove about 80% of the respirable suspended particulates including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen oxide (NOx).

Ampcontrol has agile service teams based in country across South-East Asia, enabling prompt maintenance support where and when it is needed.

Read the full case study here.

Ampcontrol Power New Mine Expansion In India

Powering equipment in some of the most hazardous environments across the globe comes as second nature here at Ampcontrol. Recently, several of Ampcontrol’s AUK products made their way from our UK manufacturing facility in Prestwick, Scotland to the PVK-5 Coal Mine in Telangana, India.

Designed to help power equipment as part of a mine expansion, a 10 drive AUK5000 Power Centre and 4 drive AUK1000 550V Motor Starter was delivered and commissioned with long standing customer Gainwell Commosales Private Limited (GCPL) by Ampcontrol’s Indian Service Engineering Team.

The AUK5000 had an incoming supply of 3,300V feeding the primary windings of the 1.5MVA Transformer via a 3,300V E10 HV Circuit Breaker. The dual voltage secondary windings provided 1,100V and 550V to the 10 drive Load Centre. All the equipment was coupled together and mounted on a custom-built skid to allow the Powercentre to be transported safely underground.

All equipment was fully examined and tested before the 3,300V site supply being applied to the equipment, with all functional tests carried out to GCPL requirements and specifications.

Practical training on the AUK5000 Power Centre and AUK1000 Motor Starter was also provided by the Ampcontrol Service Team to ensure the GCPL Engineers were familiar with their new equipment.

Additional training on the AUK product range functionality enabled the customer to gain insights into how to adjust the equipment for use in a different application.

Read the full case study here.

Join us in June for our ‘Safety In Mining’ Webinar Series

As an industry leader offering integrated electrical protection, integrated power distribution systems, monitoring and control solutions and communication systems for coal and hard rock mining, we’ve launched the Ampcontrol Group ‘Safety in Mining’ webinar series. Running throughout June, we are offering a range of free, technical presentations designed for industry.

Kicking off on June 9, we’ll be welcoming ResTech Principal Engineer, Dr Peter Stepien, who will share insights from his ACARP research project around the ‘Control of Touch Potential Transients During Switching’. During a number of investigations into electric shock incidences in the past, machine frames measured touch potential transients when switchgear closed or opened. There were no faults present in the equipment or the earth fault limited supply, yet touch potentials occurred. This webinar will step participants through Peter’s current research that aims to understand the method by which these touch potentials occur and determine a method to eliminate them to improve mine safety.

On June 16, Philip Reilly, Ampcontrol’s Oil Service Manager, will deliver his webinar titled ‘Oil Analysis: Testing OLTC & Managing Corrosive Sulphur in Transformers’. Managing a large fleet of ageing transformers is a technical challenge faced by many Australian mines and reliability surveys show that the On Load Tap Changer (OLTC) can account for up to 30% of all transformer failures. This webinar will address failure modes & available condition monitoring techniques and will also outline the role of oil analysis.  The webinar will also provide insights into the mechanism of copper sulphide formation in transformers, failure modes, details of service experiences, and what assessment and mitigation techniques are available. 

Finally, Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager, Dr Ian Webster, will deliver his webinar titled ‘Arc Faults (and Flashes) and the Hierarchy of Controls’ on June 23. This webinar will look at the application of the hierarchy of controls to the hazards associated with arcing faults in high powered electrical equipment in general, and in confined spaces such as mines and tunnels. 

We’re committed to connecting industry contacts across Australia with practical insights into real world issues being faced onsite. Attendance is free, secure your space today at one or all of the webinars in the series.

Ampcontrol Calls on Strong University Connections

University of Newcastle expertise sees lifesaving ventilator prototype secure state backing.

Each year The University Of Newcastle (UON) produces thousands of talented graduates and they watch with pride as they trade the campuses for new workplaces, set to make their mark on the world and in their local communities. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of almost thirty Hunter-based UON alumni and staff have done just that – contributing to an emergency ventilator prototype project led by Ampcontrol to be selected by the NSW Government for pre-production.

Project Lead and Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Conjoint Senior Fellow and Ampcontrol Group Manager Engineering, Dr Ian Webster, said the success of the project relied on the strong connections between Ampcontrol and The University of Newcastle.

“When we kicked off this project, we were asked to produce 600 ventilators in 28 days. My affiliation with the Faculty of Engineering meant I could immediately reach out to Brett Ninness, as I knew the expertise and facilities housed at UON would be hugely beneficial to the project,” Dr Webster said.

“Since 2004, we’ve had a unique partnership with the University via our joint venture ResTech, which has created a direct path for students to complete placements and do research work with Ampcontrol.

As a result of the strong engineering alumni network in the Hunter Region, around 60% of the ventilator prototype team are UON alumni. Safearth, and NewieVentures – both Hunter-based leading engineering companies with strong alumni ties – also came on board as collaborative partners. The University of Newcastle graduates have a unique set of skills that make them ideal candidates for the work we do. I’m so proud of the team who are working tirelessly to ensure our clinicians have the lifesaving equipment they need.”

The ventilator prototype, dubbed ‘Anemoi’, will now move into production of 10 units for further testing. If the model is successful in completing the pre-production phase, full production would be manufactured in NSW supporting the local industry, the local economy, and employment.

“This prototype is likely to become a new manufacturing product, diversifying our business and supporting regional development,” Dr Webster said.

To quickly accelerate their knowledge of ventilator systems, the Ampcontrol team engaged with the University to guide solutions and minimise clinical and deployment risks.

Professor Brett Ninness said our COVID-19 response was a powerful example of collaborating across STEM disciplines.

“COVID-19 presented a situation where people skilled across health, science, engineering, design, and commercialisation needed to come together to rapidly collaborate to solve imperative global issues. We were part of that solution, so this is a proud moment for us all to celebrate,” Professor Brett Ninness said.

“Our strong industry connections have proven invaluable in ensuring our people are embedded in the local response to COVID-19 and our graduates remain highly sought after for their expertise.”

“This is another example of the power of the University of Newcastle, local business, and government partners coming together to demonstrate leadership on important issues in our region and beyond.”

The NSW Premier said that with the easing of restrictions there could be a rise in COVID-19 infections, in which case it’s imperative hospitals to have all the equipment they need. Read NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement here.

 

Photo credit: UON

Remote Transformer Health Check Enables Fast Repair at Sugar Mill

Our transformer maintenance services team were contacted by an Asset Manager at a large Queensland sugarcane refinery after they reviewed their most recent transformer insulating oil analysis report. Results indicated occurrence of a serious T3 Thermal Fault – high temperature heating (> 700°C). Typically, these faults include large circulating currents in the tank and core, loose connections in the HV winding circuit, and misalignment of contacts in de-energised tap changers.

The request was to further review the test data provided by the Asset Manager, to offer an independent engineering opinion and to help pinpoint the cause of the problem. Recommendations for further investigation and management of the asset were also sought.

Resulting recommendations included regular DGA testing to monitor the fault and electrical testing to investigate the cause of the DGA gassing problem. Further recommendations also included an internal inspection / videoscope to identify burnt / misaligned contacts in the DETC (off load tap changer). Acetylene generation in the transformer pointed to either the severity of the fault or the involvement of electrical contacts.

On receipt of Ampcontrol’s recommendations, the Asset Manager conducted an internal investigation on the transformer. The source of the fault was identified as a contact in the DETC.

Read the full case study here.

Now offering remote transformer condition auditing and diagnostic support, our team can review third party oil analysis reports and provide technical expertise to diagnose issues while providing repair plans to ensure continuity of services when access to site can be challenging. Contact us for more information on how to access these services at your site.

Offering Customers A Cost Effective Lighting Power Solution

Moranbah North Coal Mine had become dependent on using development substations in mined panels in order to maintain area lighting, requiring the purchase of additional substations. When the company was looking for a cost effective lighting alternative, it turned to Ampcontrol for a solution.

The Ampcontrol team designed and manufactured a fit for purpose 11kV to 110V lighting enclosure to facilitate extra lighting along with 110V circuit connections for the site. The solution maintained the power to the lighting at a much lower cost than a typical substation. This lighting power solution provided power and featured our IS LED Longwall Mine Light while freeing up a substation so it could be used for the purpose for which it was designed.

Read the full case study here.