Australian wearable technology startup Preventure has today announced the launch of a range of new product features, including free services for Australian businesses hit hard by the financial impact of Covid-19, which will help employers who are struggling to provide their workforce with enough health, safety and HR support remotely. The newest addition to the Preventure.Live smartphone app uses AI technology to automate the delivery of safety training, helping to prevent injuries in the workplace. Development of this feature was accelerated when Covid-19 hit, to provide existing Preventure customers with an alternative to face-to-face training. It completes Preventure’s risk identification/behavioural change loop, whereby wearable sensors record worker movement patterns, live feedback is provided around injury risk, and now, customised training modules are delivered in response to that risk. In addition, core Sports-themed injury prevention modules are accessible to businesses, and the team is generously offering a free version of the app, that includes these modules, to any business and their workers during these challenging times. Off the back of the lockdown which has seen most of Australia working from home for the last 6 months, the team at Preventure also built and launched a posture-monitoring product, aptly named ‘Office Coach’, that utilses a single back sensor (for manual handling, an arm sensor is also used). This is the team’s first foray into the corporate wellness space and the product can be described as a B2B wellness app, and a consumer posture product, rolled into one! Businesses who are concerned about employee home workstation setups, or looking to engage their remote teams, can purchase an account, sensors and monthly app subscriptions. The app provides slouch alerts, and stretch alerts, to reduce the risks associated with sustained posture, and also tracks steps, to encourage movement at a time where our incidental activity […]
he latest stainless-steel sliding-guided bearings from Hercules Engineering respond to expanding demand for long-term, no-maintenance protection for buildings, plant and infrastructure against structural disruption from shock, impact, vibration and thermal movement. The 316-grade stainless steel bearings – which are also particularly applicable to aggressive, damp, chemically laden or salty environments producing rust – are custom-fabricated developments of Hercules’ proven HLD-SG bearings, used throughout Australasia and the Asia-Pacific in applications ranging from commercial, civil and steel and concrete beam infrastructure projects, including small-span bridges, conveyor overpasses and pipeline supports. The long-life stainless bearings align with new international moves to ensure building resiliency under the impact of climate change, with the Australian Building Codes Board teaming up with The National Research Council of Canada, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the International Code Council (US) to launch a Global Resiliency Dialogue. Stainless HLD-SG bearings enclose a sandwich of Teflon on mirror-finish stainless steel bonded to a special grade rubber sub-stratum. They are engineered to offer optimum no-maintenance lifespans of decades for developments in aggressive environments, such as marine, oil and gas, mining, ports, power plants and water and waste water infrastructure, says Mr David Booty, Manager, Hercules Engineering (a division of Cut To Size Plastics). They also respond to construction engineers’ and specifiers’ ongoing need to help protect structures against disruption from sources as diverse as subterranean shock and vibration, rust, chemical ingress and greater thermal movement of structures with climate change. Examples of uses include: Buildings and plant located near increasing sources of urban vibration and shock, including civil engineering projects such as tunneling and foundation excavation as cities grow more crowded and projects move closer together. Mining, oil and gas structures, ranging from conveyors and bridges to buildings such as mill houses and plant subject to […]
Sydney’s 67-storey MLC tower has upgraded a series of switchboards, to ensure continued reliable supply as tenant power requirements continue to change and accelerate. Lead electrical contractor on the MLC upgrade project, Barnwell Cambridge, chose Australian-manufactured Fuji SMBE Macquarie switchboards due to their reliability and modular construction. “We were contracted to replace the main switchboards, generator switchboards and PLC switchboards, and they needed to suit the tight confines and unusual shape of the room,” explained Mr Peter Silsby, Director, Fuji SMBE Macquarie. “The existing switchboards had been operating reliably for years, but as more and more tenants moved in, and electronic needs continued to change and advance, MLC was forward-thinking enough to look at the future and make sure reliable supply, as well as back-up power, was always available,” said Mr Silsby. “New switchboard technology has the ability to monitor every circuit via a high level modbus interface utilising the latest Schneider Micrologic 5.3E circuit-breakers, which provides benefits to building and facility managers, as well as tenants,” he said. “There were installation challenges, with components having to go through a load-limited goods lift, and the switchboards reassembled inside the switch room. It took a lot of cooperation between stakeholders for it all to come together successfully.” Compact, modular switchboards Fuji SMBE Macquarie specified its iNTELECT G3 switchboard systems, because they are compact and modular, allowing them to be reassembled on site. The iNTELECT G3 system is the 3rd generation of the company’s iNTELECT system, and it has been engineered in Australia for Australian conditions. Major advantages over previous technologies include adaptability, versatility, safety, strength, and compact size. “MLC’s Switchboard components were unloaded in the loading dock and Barnwell Cambridge used specialised hydraulic furniture movers that fix to each side of the switchboard tier. This meant that they could be moved […]
Australian Strategic Materials, through its partner Ziron Technology Corporation (Ziron Tech), has successfully produced high purity dysprosium (Dy) metal in its laboratory at the Ziron Tech facility. This work using the ASM metallisation process has confirmed ASM’s ability to produce the key permanent magnet metals (dysprosium, praseodymium and neodymium) and alloys that will be sourced from its Dubbo Project in central west NSW. ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said: “This is a significant result given the temperatures required for the production of dysprosium metal. Our team has now successfully produced the key permanent magnet rare earth products (dysprosium, praseodymium and neodymium metals and alloys) which will be supplied from our Dubbo Project.” “Now that the protocol for the production of dysprosium metal has been completed, our team led by Professor Lee, will focus on the production the ferro-dysprosium alloy, which is key in the production of high-temperature NdFeB magnets. Our focus now is to produce zirconium metal by the end of September, Mr Woodall said. The ASM metallisation process uses significantly less energy and has less impact on the environment than existing industry-standard metallisation processes. This innovative process has been used to produce metals of the planned products from ASM’s Dubbo Project including zirconium, hafnium, and rare earths for permanent magnet alloys in the laboratory. Titanium and the key rare earth permanent magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium have been produced in the commercial pilot plant with dysprosium and zirconium scheduled for later this month. ASM and Ziron Tech continue to finalise the detailed documentation in relation to the acquisition of Ziron Tech with the transaction expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.
EVO Power, an Australian energy storage system manufacturer, has chosen SwitchDin, an Australian energy management software company, to provide monitoring, management and advanced grid support functions for its PRIME energy storage systems, which are commercially available now. Developed for a wide range of grid-connect & off-grid applications, EVO Power’s PRIME series uses inverters from Australian manufacturer, Selectronic and battery technology supplied by LG Chem. Available in single and three phase solutions, the PRIME energy storage system is designed for high-end residential properties, regional properties that are prone to blackouts, off-grid residential and small scale commercial developments with energy storage capacities from 24kWh to 240kWh. Every EVO Power PRIME system comes with a SwitchDin Droplet allowing energy monitoring and management for all PRIME Power battery systems. SwitchDin’s Droplets also provides advanced data logging for warranty support and enables virtual power plant functionality. With EVO Power, SwitchDin demonstrates how manufacturers and their customers get the most out of their behind-the-meter assets by making them smart and visible to energy service companies. SwitchDin is delighted to welcome EVO Power to their ecosystem of more than 30 manufacturers from around the globe who rely on SwitchDin to manage and integrate their distributed energy assets on the vendor-agnostic technology platform. SwitchDin’s solar and battery vendor-agnostic platform supports product integrations with major manufacturers and integrators and connects them with many leading distribution networks and electricity retailers.
Outraged investors have forced the board of Rio Tinto to sack its chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques along with two of the senior executives partially responsible for the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which contained evidence of human habitation 46,000 years ago. Why did the company commit this egregious act? There are several layers to the answer. First, Rio Tinto’s iron ore division was under extreme production pressure. The iron ore in the vicinity of the caves was very high grade and the company needed as much of it as possible to mix with other grades so as to supply the market with its trademark Pilbara blend. Its reputation as a reliable supplier depended on it. Rio Tinto was siloed It was authorised under West Australian law to mine the area, even though this would destroy the caves, and it intended to exercise this legal right, regardless of any opposition. Second, Rio has a segmented organisational structure. It’s product divisions – iron ore, aluminium, copper and diamonds, minerals and energy – operate as autonomous business units with relatively little control from the corporate centre. When things go well, such an organisational structure is highly profitable for the corporation as a whole, because it leaves each product division free to take advantage of whatever opportunities there are in its particular market. But there is a downside. It leaves the corporation vulnerable to poor decision making by any one of its product divisions, decisions that may have disastrous human and environmental consequences that threaten the social license of the whole corporation. That is what has happened in the Juukan Gorge case. Organisational weakness Of course, Rio was aware of this downside of its organisational structure and had taken steps to deal with it. It had various functional lines – chains of command […]
Following the publication on 24 August 2020 of the Board Review of Cultural Heritage Management (the Board Review), undertaken in response to the destruction of the Juukan rockshelters in May 2020, the Board of Rio Tinto has engaged extensively with shareholders, Traditional Owners, Indigenous leaders and other stakeholders. While there is general recognition of the transparency of the Board Review and support for the changes recommended, significant stakeholders have expressed concerns about executive accountability for the failings identified. By mutual agreement, J-S Jacques will step down from his role as an executive director and Chief Executive of the Group. A process to identify his successor is underway. J-S will remain in his role until the appointment of his successor or 31 March 2021, whichever is earlier. This will ensure business continuity to maintain the strong performance of the Group’s global operations during Covid-19. Chris Salisbury will step down as Chief Executive, Iron Ore with immediate effect and will leave Rio Tinto on 31 December 2020. Ivan Vella, currently Managing Director for Rail, Port & Core Services within Rio Tinto Iron Ore, will replace him on an interim basis, following a handover period with Chris. Simone Niven will step down as Group Executive, Corporate Relations, and will leave the Group on 31 December 2020 after completing an orderly transition of her responsibilities. As previously announced, Rio Tinto is establishing a new Social Performance assurance function, reporting to Mark Davies, Group Executive, HSE, Technical and Projects, to strengthen oversight of communities and heritage practices and performance within the operations. In order to enhance Board engagement in Australia, Simon McKeon, non-executive director, is appointed Senior Independent Director, Rio Tinto Limited with immediate effect. This newly created Board role will complement the existing Senior Independent Director role, which will continue to be performed […]
As climate change worsens, the future of fossil fuel jobs and infrastructure is uncertain. But a new energy storage technology invented in Australia could enable coal-fired power stations to run entirely emissions-free. The novel material, called miscibility gap alloy (MGA), stores energy in the form of heat. MGA is housed in small blocks of blended metals, which receive energy generated by renewables such as solar and wind. The energy can then be used as an alternative to coal to run steam turbines at coal-fired power stations, without producing emissions. Stackable like Lego, MGA blocks can be added or removed, scaling electricity generation up or down to meet demand. MGA blocks are a fraction of the cost of a rival energy storage technology, lithium-ion batteries. Our invention has been proven in the lab – now we are moving to the next phase of proving it in the real world. Why energy storage is important Major renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are “intermittent”. In other words, they only produce energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Sometimes they produce more energy than is needed, and other times, less. So moving to 100% renewable electricity requires the energy to be “dispatchable” – stored and delivered on demand. Some forms of storage, such as lithium-ion batteries, are relatively expensive and can only store energy for short periods. Others, such as hydro-electric power, can store energy for longer periods, but are site-dependent and can’t just be built anywhere. If our electricity grid is to become emissions-free, we need an energy storage option that’s both affordable and versatile enough to be rolled out at massive scale – providing six to eight hours of dispatchable power every night. MGAs store energy for a day to a week. This fills a “middle” time frame between […]
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption across every industry. It has highlighted risks in the global supply chain and unveiled potential opportunities for Australian manufacturers to reinvigorate the industry and compete more effectively into the future. With so much innovation already occurring in Australia, it’s essential for business and the government to take a locally-focused approach to commercialisation in the future, according to Calix. Calix’s Managing Director, Phil Hodgson, said, “Covid-19 is highlighting the inherent risks of relying too heavily on an international supply chain. Interruptions due to pandemics, geopolitical tensions, or other reasons can affect businesses across the country. With such a heavy dependence on imports, Australia can’t continue to accept the risk that comes with having a hollowed-out manufacturing industry.” Australian manufacturing’s contribution to the economy peaked at just under 30 per cent of GDP in the late 1950s and early 1960s.1 It currently sits at around 5.8 per cent of GDP.2 This contraction could be reversed but to do so will take a concerted effort from government and industry alike. Many Australian organisations can innovate and conduct research and development here but are forced to move offshore when it comes to manufacturing. While Australia’s small economy might not allow local manufacturing to produce everything the country wants, it’s essential for Australian manufacturers to be able to produce everything the country needs. Phil Hodgson said, “Infrastructure, energy, food, and water are all basic pillars of society that local manufacturing should be able to support. The more the supply chain for these needs are offshored, the more risk society must bear. Supply chain interruptions could be catastrophic, in a very short space of time, if it means Australians can’t get essentials such as treated water and clean food. “However, most private and public sector organisations make purchasing decisions […]
Scott Morrison wants to overhaul the skills workforce to ensure a better post-COVID-19 recovery. But there may not be enough people with the necessary skills to do so. And travel restrictions, which will reduce migration, will only compound the issue. A Productivity Commission interim report released today found the proportion of people without qualifications at a Certificate 3 level or above decreased from 47.1% in 2009 to 37.5% in 2019. This will not be enough to meet a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) target of 23.6% set for 2020. The report also found while the number of higher-level qualifications (diplomas and advanced diplomas) sharply increased between 2009 and 2012, it has since fallen to its 2009 level. The 2020 target was set out in the 2012 National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD), which identified long-term federal and state objectives in skills and workforce development. Australia’s Vocational, Education and Training (VET) sector is underperforming, excessively complicated and suffers from ad hoc policy approaches. The report noted the skills agreement is no longer fit for purpose, and the A$6.1 billion governments spend annually on vocational education and training can be better allocated to improve outcomes. What the report found The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development was intended to significantly lift the skills of the Australian workforce and improve participation in training, especially by students facing disadvantage. Several targets, performance indicators and outcomes were agreed to. These included to: halve the proportion of Australians aged between 20-64 without qualification at certificate 3 level and below, from 47.1% in 2009 to 23.6% by 2020 double the number of advanced diploma and diploma completions nationally from 53,974 to 107,948 in 2020. The commissioners admit some of the targets agreed to were arbitrary and ambitious. The report says: If targets are unattainable, they quickly […]