A message from Jens Goennemann

Look west for how to build on luck

Australia is very lucky with natural resources, and very good at extracting them.

I had the pleasure of visiting three innovators while in Perth recently. Two are leading a project AMGC is supporting, and one is accelerating its technology as a result of attending one of our many events – and all are responding directly to an issue for major resource companies.

Mining, and oil and gas are essential to Australia’s current prosperity and will remain that way in the foreseeable future. Miners for example, can be “early-stage manufacturers” as long as they add value to what is dug up with further value added downstream by users of those minerals.

There is much to admire about Australia’s resource industry which feeds into our country’s success. By one count, in mining equipment, technology, and services (METS) alone, there are 300,000 direct jobs and $92 billion in gross value-added.[1] METS is a globally respected industry with a high degree of collaboration between SMEs, universities, and big mining houses.

Engentus (formerly Segnut) has reinvented the traditional hexagonal nuts that are regularly used in heavy industrial applications, which often seize on the thread when they need to be removed.  Its flagship product, Segnut alleviates this problem with its revolutionary design which can be removed quickly and safely without recourse to hot works or other dangerous, high-energy removal methods.

Now, the company’s TopTorqueTM tooling system takes another step in vastly improving safety and efficiency when handling heavy-duty industrial fasteners. By Partnering with AMGC, Engentus is advancing its TopTorqueTM system – the world’s first Fully Internalised Reaction Socket Technology (F.I.R.S.T) which provides a whole new way to install and remove threaded fasteners safely and efficiently with high accuracy. 

TopTorque removes the need for external reaction arms on nut runner tools, thus removing the risk of injury through pinching / crushing hands and fingers. The system, when combined with Segnut offers enormous savings on tasks such as cutting-edge change-outs on large bulldozers, saving up to six hours per change (at a cost-saving of $150 per person hour and thousands in production time).

The project is progressing nicely in partnership with a Tier 1 mining company, which is likely to adopt the system upon final commercialisation of the design.

Klinger guarantees the safety of workplaces and the transport of high value liquids or gases with its product range of gaskets, valves, metal hoses, expansion joints and instrumentation. What made this visit special is to see Klinger’s leap toward implementing Industry 4.0 methodology.

Having attended an AMGC event, Klinger was introduced to another manufacturer, R. Moore & Sons that had successfully adopted Industry 4.0 practices. Now with the support of local Perth technology company, CoreIoT, Klinger has introduced sensors and further increased its machine utilisation.

Megatronic makes the invisible – visible, in real-time for site operators. This company has developed a battery monitoring system (BMS) for the kinds of battery packs used for power backup on remote sites. Megatronic is adding remote monitoring and automated battery testing to this solution, allowing management of things like output, charge, and discharge, and access to this data through an app, anywhere at any time.

Problems such as one faulty cell in a bunch or a possible fire risk through overheating can be seen before they cause an expensive or dangerous issue. This system will only become more valuable over time as the installed base of battery storage at worksites, mining, remote communities and otherwise, increases.

As I wrote last time, Australia can do more to contribute to the global lithium-ion battery value chain beyond our commodities, and Megatronic shows that it is being done.

For a manufacturer, or any other company, solving a problem that adds even a fraction to the productivity of a blue-chip miner can translate into vast amounts of value. It can be a key to sell into large mining projects overseas.

I enjoy every trip out west and this one was particularly informative as well. I got to see, up close, that we can do what we must: To move from being a lucky country to a smart one.

[1] METS Ignited: METS Sector Australia – Mining Equipment, Technology & Services | METS Ignited