Darwin manufacturer passes pressure test for cyclonic certification

Northern Territory business Arctic Installations has passed serviceability and wind pressure testing at James Cook University (JCU), and is preparing for volume production of its structural panels designed for demanding tropical environments.

The Darwin manufacturer is part-way through a collaborative project, totalling $2.9 million in value, with JCU, production machinery company MDI Systems and engineering service provider Rapid Engineering NT.

The project is supported through $500,000 in co-investment from the Northern Territory’s Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF), administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC.)

The project’s second milestone of three involved simulated cyclonic-wind testing of insulated panels, performed on steel sheets bonded to both sides of an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core provided by Arctic Installations, as well as serviceability tests.

Already being exported to East Timor, the locally designed and manufactured panels eliminate a need for them to be import from interstate or overseas, displacing Chinese imports, while offering a superior product catering to the humidity, heat and cyclonic conditions present in Northern Australia.

Wind load test and serviceability tests were conducted in the airbox testing at JCU’s NATA-accredited Cyclone Testing Station laboratory airbox.  As a result of the successful testing, Arctic Installations is now listed as a manufacturer with the Insulated Panel Council Australasia.

The project’s third and final milestone involves upskilling staff, an important factor in bringing a brand-new manufacturing capability to the Territory. After completion, the project is estimated to result in an additional 25 jobs at Arctic Installations, as well as $15 million in revenues over five years.

Gary Burns, Managing Director of Arctic Installations, said: “This is an important step for us. We set up in 2015 and moved into a new East Arm property in 2021 and since then have been laser-focussed on being an NT manufacturer as well as an installer of insulated panels. We have been hugely fortunate to have the support of our expert project partners as well as the NT government and AMGC.”

Northern Territory Investment Commissioner, Kelly Ralston said: “Gary and the team at Arctic Installations are a leading example of how the Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund supports collaboration between local and interstate businesses, which results in the Territory increasing its capability and capacity. This in turn will grow investment opportunities, skillsets and jobs, whilst also developing new supply chains across Northern Australia.”

AMGC’s Director for the Northern Territory, Charmaine Phillips, said: “It has been a joy to help another local business commercialise a superior product and lift industrial capability in the NT. Arctic Installations’ efforts mean that Territorians now have a locally-made option, made by people who understand the particular challenges of building in the Top End.”

AMEF has assisted nine businesses so far across Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs, representing a range of industries, including heavy machinery equipment, construction and carpentry. AMEF investments are expected to create over 160 new jobs and generate over $84 million for the Territory’s economy in its first five years.

AMEF is valued at $7.5 million and seeks to build the advanced manufacturing ecosystem in the Northern Territory. The fund aims to grow advanced manufacturing capabilities and increase investment in and output of advanced manufacturing activity in the Northern Territory and grow the number of advanced manufacturing jobs located in the Northern Territory.