World-first air-powered, side-tipping trailer to grow NT manufacturing capabilities

An Alice Springs-based manufacturer, led by Alice Springs local, will scale-up manufacture of the world’s first pneumatic, side-tipping, haulage trailer dubbed Air Tip. The project will grow Territory-based design and engineering capability with co-investment from the Northern Territory Government via the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) managed Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF).

Developed in collaboration with Ross Engineering and the Complete Group, the durable pneumatic side tipping trailer will offer improved payload capacity, reduced operational costs, reduced emissions and does away with the need for a power-take-off (PTO) mechanism to be fitted to trucks – allowing for greater flexibility and improved use of vehicle fleets.

The fully integrated trailer makes use of the truck’s standard pneumatic system which removes the need for fitment of expensive hydraulic systems – which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Owing to its unique design, Air Tip’s trailer integrity is improved whilst still reducing the overall weight of the trailer by 12 per cent and increasing the trailer’s payload by 4.8 per cent.

Through its engineering partner, Ross Engineering, Air Tip will also embark on establishing bespoke design, fabrication and contract manufacturing capabilities to support the NT manufacturing ecosystem.

Air Tip’s co-funded project, worth $553,000, will combine equal investments of $276,500 from the Northern Territory Government’s AMEF and Air Tip and is anticipated to create ten new jobs in the Northern Territory over five years, including engineering, fabrication, professional and apprentice roles in Alice Springs.

Clarke Petrick, Founder and Managing Director of Air Tip said “This co-investment will have broader implications across the Territory, giving Air Tip, Ross Engineering and the Complete Group the capability to design, engineer and fabricate componentry in Alice Springs – a capability once outsourced interstate.

“The addition of new robotic laser cutting and CNC capabilities will enable us to test, develop and commercialise the Air Tip system in shorter timeframes, reducing the lag effect of having to outsource core manufacturing processes,” said Petrick.

The Northen Territory’s Minister for Advanced Manufacturing, Nicole Manison said “Advanced manufacturing is creating the jobs of the future, right here in the Northern Territory. AirTip will grow Territory-based design and engineering capability in Alice Springs.

“By making these important investments, the Northern Territory Government is growing industries, expanding exports, creating new opportunities for investors and securing exciting local jobs for Territorians,” said Manison.

Managing Director of AMGC, Dr Jens Goennemann said “Through the co-investment, Air Tip and its partners, Ross Engineering and the Complete Group will establish a long-needed and highly valued manufacturing capability in Alice Springs, supporting manufacturing activities beyond its own products,

“To date, via the AMEF, AMGC has expanded the Territories manufacturing ecosystem with a new electronics testing facility, robotics and training support and now advanced CNC and robotic laser fabrication skills to provide an enduring capability for the Territory – precisely what the fund has been designed to do,” said Goennemann.

AMGC’s Northern Territory Director, Charmaine Phillips said “AirTip is proof that we have highly capable manufacturers in Central Australia willing to invest to grow their local, national and potentially international impact,

“Co-investment in AirTip’s haulage solution will ensure that an innovative product moves to commercialisation, while also building key manufacturing capability and services in Alice Springs, and the Territory,” said Phillips.