AMPCONTROL EXPANDS FOOTPRINT IN PREMIER MANUFACTURING HUB, GLADSTONE

Our Australian footprint currently spans NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Through our employee group of over 850, we are enabled to continue to deliver integrated electrical, electronic and control solutions to improve safety and efficiency in mining, renewable, infrastructure and industrial applications.

Announcing our expansion, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson spoke of the move into Gladstone, “Gladstone is a region of great opportunity, a region that like Ampcontrol is on an upward trajectory of expansion and growth.”

A resilient region with an established economy, underpinned by successes as Australia’s premier manufacturing and industrial hub. Adding Gladstone to our current Queensland locations of Mackay, Emerald and Moranbah will provide a greater depth of support for service delivery across central Queensland, to our existing customer network and new customers alike.

Frank Lantry, Ampcontrol Gladstone’s Service Manager shared his excitement about the official opening of the site, noting how the local business community has embraced Ampcontrol’s move to open in Gladstone.

“The energy and excitement amongst our new customers, to see Ampcontrol expand their footprint in Central Queensland has been overwhelmingly positive. I am excited to deliver Ampcontrol’s broad scoping electrical engineering capabilities for our Gladstone customers,” Frank expressed.

Gladstone’s specialist team takes Ampcontrol’s reputation and capability for delivering quality engineered electrical solutions and service with them. Delivering through their fleet services team and on-site service team whilst also offering Ampcontrol’s full suite of electrical, innovations, products and solutions.

Alongside Ampcontrol’s innate capabilities in supporting the manufacturing and resources sectors, Ampcontrol will also play its role in the economic development activities driving the Gladstone region’s capacity for sustainable growth initiatives.

Reach out to Frank and the Gladstone team today!

 

Download the Media Release.

UON Students present to Ampcontrol CEO

Ampcontrol has again in 2021 had the opportunity to provide a real-world product and organisation to be incorporated into the University of Newcastle’s Innovation and Entrepreneur course.

As part of the course students were asked to identify problems and project innovations on the product of Solar Cube, developed and delivered to market by Boundary Power, an Ampcontrol joint venture company.

On Thursday the 21st of October, Ampcontrol engineers and executives had the pleasure of listening to the 2021 cohort of students as they presented their final report and findings on Boundary Power and Solar Cube.

The groups presentations were the culmination of the student’s time in the capstone course and saw each group pitch their solutions to Ampcontrol senior leaders and CEO, Rod Henderson. As a final year course, this can also be seen as the practical application of everything a student has learnt through-out their business degree.

This years’ engagement with the University and its Innovation and Entrepreneur students is the second opportunity that Ampcontrol has had to be involved. In 2020, Ampcontrol offered the Gilghi project, an innovative water treatment plant to be used in regional and remote communities that have limited access to water, as the product for research.

Ampcontrol has a long-standing relationship with the University and is an advocate for innovative learning. Ampcontrol prides itself in working with the UoN to give students practical experiences working on real world innovative products and developing a stronger connection to the wider Newcastle community.

Key to the success of the course is the partnership and joint investment by both UoN and Ampcontrol’s team. Ampcontrol’s Chief Technology Officer, Tim Wylie, Learning & Development Specialist, Mikhaila Halford and Academic Garry Haworth came together to enable the opportunity. The partnership and engagement from both UoN and Ampcontrol is what allows the students to achieve their success.

A great opportunity for the future innovators who were involved, all who can be confident in their abilities. Congratulations to each of the students of University of Newcastle’s Innovation and Entrepreneur course on a very successful program. Well done!

Lear more about how Ampcontrol provides graduates with hands-on, practical experience in the Ampcontrol Graduate Program.

Ampcontrol and LeoLabs $240m Aussie Space Radar Project

Ampcontrol has joined forces with LeoLabs Australia, in a Commonwealth grant through the Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Collaboration (MMI-C) to build world-leading space surveillance radars. If successful, the A$240M Aussie Space Radar Project (ASRP) will catapult Australia as a global leader in space surveillance and RF electronics export.

An estimated total investment of A$240M over three years, includes a direct A$160M investment by LeoLabs Inc and partners. The financial support under the MMI-C will provide A$80M investment in three Australian modern manufacturing innovations. This will include two new manufacturing facilities in Jerrabomberra and the Hunter Region, New South Wales, along with three high capacity advanced electronics production lines including one at SRX in Dandenong, Victoria.

The ASRP is notably the largest investment by a foreign company into Australia’s space industry in decades and represents a one-of-a-kind technology transfer, available only to Australia. It will enable LeoLabs’ Australia and partners to manufacture LeoLabs’ entire next-generation global space radar system, making Australia the sole global provider of LeoLabs’ high-tech radar modules to the world. The exquisite, next generation modular radar technology, which has been developed in Silicon Valley, incorporates the latest commercially available 5G systems, and truly transforms the way objects are tracked in space.

This exciting opportunity focuses on bringing together Australian businesses to manufacture the space radar systems, create new Australian manufacturing jobs and improve Australia’s sovereign surveillance capabilities. For Ampcontrol and ResTech, the collaboration provides the opportunity to extend electrical engineering expertise and ingenuity, develop new capabilities in space and defence technology, and construct a new production facility to build and test radar modules.

 

Watch the video from LeoLabs where key stakeholders speak on the partnership:

Read the full Media Release below

Download Media Release

Ampcontrol named on Fortunes 2021 Change the World list

Ampcontrol and Aurecon have been recognised in Fortune Magazine’s Change the World List for 2021 for our joint project Gilghi. The list recognises companies that have had measurable social impact, with key consideration to the benefit that the socially impactful work brings to the company and how innovative the company’s efforts are, relative to the wider industry.

Gilghi is an innovative solution that seeks to provide remote and regional communities with clean drinking water. While groundwater is abundant in Australia, it is undrinkable due to high salinity, mineral content and the high cost of desalination. Remote and regional communities like the Gillen Bore community which until Gilghi’s installation in 2019 relied on the continued truck transport of potable water due to the high salinity, hardness and low pH levels found in their existing bore water, now have a low cost, solar powered water treatment plant the size of a shipping container that can process up to 250,000 litres of water a day.

Utilising a stand-alone hybrid power supply consisting of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, a back-up diesel generator and battery storage, Gilghi is designed to be a renewable energy solution that can stand up to the demanding environmental conditions experienced within the isolated communities in which it is deployed.

The first Gilghi system, in the Northern Territory hamlet of Gillen Bore, has now been running successfully for two years with virtually no downtime. Its creators aim to re-create the system in other drought-stricken areas, in regions with contaminated groundwater, and in island communities

Gilghi, designed to improve the accessibility of clean drinking water within remote communities meets all key criteria for the recognition listing.

Gilghi along with other award-winning Ampcontrol projects such as Solar Cube, represent Ampcontrol’s commitment to challenging existing conditions through innovation, while working with integrity to make good decisions for our customers, our business and each other.

For further information on Gilghi and the benefits it’s able to provide to remote communities, click here: https://www.cpsnational.com.au/remote-area-water/

Ampcontrol develops hybrid diesel-electric boat together with project partners

While hybrid cars are now commonplace on our roads, the development of hybrid boats has been lagging – until now.

A collaborative partnership between Ampcontrol, The University of Newcastle and Steber International has conducted a series of highly successful bench and on-water trials of a hybrid diesel-electric boat prototype.

This week, the 22ft test rig was officially launched on the Manning River in Taree NSW. Made possible through the support of the Federal Government AusIndustry Innovation Connection grants, the hybrid diesel-electric boat project has been in development for two years.

Onboard the test rig, Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson said it was great to get out on the water after extensive research and development and electric power system testing.

“The experience and on-water performance are impressive; there is no vibration; it’s quiet and has excellent torque and speed. It’s great to see another innovative power supply solution designed by the people of Ampcontrol put into practice,” added Mr Henderson.

Initial trials with one person on board attained 20 knots and with seven people on board the speed was 18 knots. With 9.5kVA gen-set installed and carrying a full complement of equipment and crew, a rate of 15 knots was achieved.

Steber International General Manager, Alan Steber said the exciting project has unlimited potential across the entire marine landscape.

“Potential applications include marine park boats, police boats, recreational and leisure boats, harbour foreshore inspection boats, tourist boats, yacht club tenders, security vessels, to name a few. Working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), we will establish the additional protocols required for commercial vessel registration and use,” added Mr Steber.

Leaders in Australian boat manufacturing and industrial composite technology, Steber International approached Ampcontrol in 2018 requesting assistance to develop a prototype hybrid police boat. Ampcontrol’s leading technology and engineering expertise was applied to leverage the silence of the electric power system to enable a whisper-quiet mode for operations requiring some stealth. The diesel generator design by Ampcontrol provides power support when needed to ensure its operating range is not compromised.

The hybrid diesel/electric propulsion system allows a boat to be power efficient, quiet and be significantly more emission friendly without suffering any loss of cruising range. The application of batteries and an electric motor facilitates a reduction in the size of the diesel engines required, while maintaining the same, or higher, power ratings for the vessel.

“Ampcontrol and the University of Newcastle have added their considerable skills making this a genuinely collaborative effort on all levels. Ampcontrol delivers integrated electrical and electronic solutions, responding to challenges with agility and ingenuity. The University of Newcastle has provided research input right down to the granular level and testing facilities, helping to ensure the project meets the latest Australian safety standards,” commented Mr Steber.

“This project showcases the incredible work that is enabled by university, industry and government partnerships. We have such highly advanced manufacturing capability and ingenuity in our country. It is so important that we collaborate so that we can continue to produce innovative solutions and products here in Australia that make a difference in people’s lives around the globe,” concluded Mr Henderson.

Christmas and New Year

Ampcontrol has you covered this festive season. Some of our business units are taking a short break, however our 24/7 customer service will continue to operate across Christmas and New Year via customerservice@ampcontrolgroup.com and 1300 267 373.

For individual site closure dates, please click here.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stay safe and enjoy.

Re-thinking Traditional Fixed Infrastructure

Traditionally, the construction of permanent electrical infrastructure has been thought of as just that, permanent. It’s constructed using time consuming and site labour intensive bricks and mortar construction techniques. But does it need to be? What if fixed infrastructure was in fact relocatable? What benefits would this bring to infrastructure projects?

Typical Applications

Surface and underground mines typically employ relocatable power equipment. They do so to accommodate the dynamic nature of a mine site, where the electrical system must move, regularly extended and be rapidly deployed as mining progresses. This equipment is invariably relocatable, compact and relatively high voltage. In addition, it’s designed for transport with minimal disassembly and reassembly with an aim to streamline site works.

Mining substation

A typical relocatable substation used in above ground mining applications 

Non-Typical Applications

We’ve seen this type of relocatable and rapidly deployable power equipment becoming used in a range of non-typical applications. At Australia’s two largest solar farms in Broken Hill and Nyngan, Ampcontrol completed 117 identical power conversion skids housing control panels, inverters and transformers.

Using the rapidly deployable model these electrical skids were fully manufactured and assembled at Ampcontrol’s workshops before being transferred to site as complete units. This resulted in significantly simplified onsite works and ensured the skids could be delivered at a rate of four per week.

Modular electrical equipmentPower conversion skids being manufactured in Ampcontrol’s workshops

Power conversion skids

Power conversion skids installed at the solar farms 

Due to the dynamic nature of their environment, the tunnelling industry is familiar with rapidly deployable power equipment during the construction phase. It is not however typically used for permanent electrical infrastructure within tunnels post construction.

Westconnex, Australia’s largest infrastructure project, recently implemented this rapidly deployable style of infrastructure for their 46 Electrical Equipment Rooms (EERs). The EERs all included a transformer, switches, circuits and communication systems but were all individual in design, dependent on location and requirements.

These EERs were manufactured in Ampcontrol’s Tomago NSW workshops before being transported to the Sydney tunnelling site at a rate of two rooms per week.

Westconnex was the first tunnelling project in Australia where EERs were manufactured offsite and installed directly into the tunnel, compared to the traditional method of building them in-situ. This approach resulted in significantly reduced and simplified civil works, and faster installation with fewer people underground.

relocatable power infrastructure Power infrastructure tunnellingEERs being delivered and installed in the Westconnex tunnels

The Benefits

Manufacturing in a dedicated workshop enables many variables to be easily controlled, ensuring a safer, better cost controlled and time managed build.

Safety improvements

  • Minimal staff required for underground siteworks, installation and commissioning
  • Construction managed offsite in a controlled environment where risks can be better managed

Cost control

  • Manufacturing efficiencies are gained through modularised repeated assemblies, designed specifically for a workshop environment

Time management

  • Fast install and commissioning
  • Manufacturing, transport, installation and commissioning can all happen simultaneously ensuring project construction continues unimpeded by siteworks

Rapidly deployable relocatable equipment for fixed applications is a viable option for a variety of industries and applications. Ampcontrol is expertly positioned and experienced in the design, manufacture, testing, installation and commissioning of this type of equipment across typical and non-typical applications.

Download a PDF copy of this article 

100 Australian Engineering Leaders Featuring Ampcontrol Co-Founder

This year Engineers Australia turns 100. In celebration they are showcasing Australian Engineering Leaders who “pushed boundaries, defied odds, and came up with innovations that no-one could have imagined 100 years ago”.

At Ampcontrol we’re proud our co-founder Peter Cockbain is featured in the Engineers Australia publication “Anything is Possible 100 Australian Engineering Leaders”. The book celebrates 100 Australian engineers past and present who have made a difference.

Peter is featured as a leader in manufacturing and strong champion of the Australian advanced manufacturing industry as well as one of the founders of the international business that is Ampcontrol. He’s in esteemed company, featured alongside engineering leaders such as Sir Peter Nicol Russell whom Australia’s highest recognition of individual engineering achievement is named and Sir Ernest Fisk who introduced Australians to the airwaves.

Peter joined Engineers Australia in 1966 and started volunteering around 50 years ago to return some of the benefits that Engineers Australia had given him. Peter’s voluntary contributions include National President of Engineers Australia in 2006, a member of the University of Newcastle Council, the Engineering Faculty Advisory Board and the University Student Services Board, a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Senator Kim Carr’s Future Manufacturing Industry Innovation Council, a Director of Standards Australia and Chairman of the Standards Development Committee. In 2015, he received a Member of the Order of Australia honour for his significant contribution to the mining and energy sectors and professional organisations. Find out more about Peter’s voluntary roles.

Congratulations to Peter and all of the 100 Australian engineers past and present, who have the honour of being included in this publication.

Let’s get flexible – how plug and play cables could be the secret to securing mining communications

In a world of deeper mines, rising energy costs and infrastructure shortages, mining companies remain under exceptional pressure to control costs, heighten efficiency and improve safety performance. Although there is no single easy solution, it is becoming increasingly apparent that technology will play a growing role in the mining industry of the future.

As the fourth industrial revolution progresses, data connectivity is taking a more pivotal role – information from sensors, data-heavy automation solutions and data analytics must be conveyed across large distances and through challenging environments. The mining industry is deploying automation technologies at a rapid rate, meaning the demand for flexible and high-bandwidth communication is soaring.

Fiber optic networks are a critical enabler of this bandwidth, providing a bridge between devices, data processing units and control systems which are increasingly being adopted across many sectors. With fiber optics come additional benefits including immunity to electromagnetic fields, galvanic insulation and future-proof advantages with regards to bandwidth extension. But mining environments pose a risk for the physical integrity of these networks.

With mines reliant on their communications infrastructure for essential safety systems and the critical link between operations underground and those working on the surface, network failure is not an option. So how can mining companies ensure high-performance, quality, reliable and long-life solutions that enable seamless underground communication networks?

 

Rapid and easy to deploy 

In mining, production depends on full and continuous availability of the network to ensure reliable communication with sensors, between machines and workers. Any damage to a mine’s fiber optic network, therefore, translates into significant expense and potential safety hazards. Hitherto, fixing damage was time-consuming and dependent on the arrival of a qualified fiber optic technician with suitable and calibrated termination tools and components.

Today, while network failure and damage cannot be avoided altogether, mining companies are able to massively reduce downtime as a result of network outages. This is due to a new solution created jointly by HUBER+SUHNER and Ampcontrol to enable rapid deployment of fiber optic networks in mines.

Leveraging the extensive experience of HUBER+SUHNER in providing solutions for optical connectivity in harsh environment conditions and Ampcontrol’s renowned expertise in providing integrated electrical and electronic equipment and power solutions for mines in Australia and elsewhere, the harsh environment reticulated fiber optic solution – H3RO – enables fast deployment of fiber optic networks in mines. The solution is based on standardised components that can be combined in a tool-box like manner. The solution’s modularity implies it is flexible in design, allowing for dynamic and easy modification and expansion of network architectures. This is critical in mines, where the network topology changes continuously as the mine grows/moves along. Also, because mine workers are frequently unskilled in communication technologies, simplicity of use and robustness against mishandling is essential.

Putting the theory into practice

The benefits brought by solutions of the two companies have been experienced by many mining customers, one reference case being an underground gold and copper mine in Western NSW, Australia when an existing communications cable was severed.

H3RO was deployed from an existing FOBOT (fiber optic break-out terminal) panel for a distance over 1 km along the roof, through a number of vertical drops and into another existing FOBOT enclosure. The solution’s plug and play cables and modular components made it the ideal choice for the fast deployment of cabling for this work. The IP68 connectors and bulkheads allowed a neat, maintainable solution that integrated seamlessly with off-the-shelf IP68 bulkheads and pigtails to match the existing patch panels.

Due to the modular installation and low-loss connectors, network expansion and recovery from similar incidents in the future is now hassle-free. The entire cable run consists of a quantity of four 260 m 12-core H3RO cables, making swapping any section out easy, rather than replacing the entire run or requiring expensive and time-consuming fiber field splicing in the mine’s harsh environment. The H3RO cables allow the addition of break out terminals (BOTs) at any cable joint allowing standardised and flexible network access/extension as requirements evolve.

H3RO components are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities, all items are tested and shipped with quality reports. This offers a more cost effective, reliable and risk-free solution to field splicing in an underground mine where constraints such as time, darkness and the dirty working environment all affect the quality of the job.

Find out more about H3RO 

Replacement Transformers On The Road To Western Australia

During the latter part of 2018, Ampcontrol was approached to supply a range of drop-in replacement transformers as part of a major upgrade of an iron ore mine in Western Australia.

This mine was looking to source reliable and robust equipment that was proven under onerous site conditions, including various levels of harmonics, ensuring continuity of supply and maximum product lifespan. Ampcontrol’s proven transformer designs and manufacturing credentials made us the ideal supplier.

In 2019 Ampcontrol delivered 20 transformers to the project ranging from 1000kVA 33kV to 10,000kVA 33kV all designed to suit existing mounting positions and cable connections within 5mm tolerances.

Production has been staggered to minimise site shutdown requirements and will be ongoing into 2020 when another 31 transformers will be manufactured, as well as routine and type testing to AS/NZS 60076, in our Tomago NSW transformer facility.