BAE Systems Maritime Australia has engaged three South Australian businesses to trial innovative technologies and methods with the primary objective to make the naval shipyard a safer working environment for its employees. As part of the shipbuilding business’ Innovation Program, Australian businesses were engaged via the Industry Capability Network (ICN) to propose innovative digital safety technologies and applications focusing on three elements: manual handling, extraction and ventilation, and wearables for safety.

(PHOTO: BAE Systems Australia)

Following a competitive and thorough evaluation process, BAE Systems Maritime Australia down-selected Cohda Wireless to trial an innovative, proximity threat detection platform between shipyard personnel and moving plant equipment and vehicles. This trial is designed to protect employees from collision injury. MyModular was selected under the ventilations and extraction element to demonstrate a very low voltage lighting solution designed to be used during construction within ship compartments that incorporates sensors that will alert employees if air quality is compromised or temperatures are rising too high.

Electrocad was chosen to demonstrate an integrated wearable body sensor solution that provide realtime feedback to the user to reduce manual handling injuries within ship compartments, including handling loads, awkward positions and repetition of activities.

The three businesses have been engaged as part of Phase 1 of the Digital Safety Innovation Challenge to test and demonstrate their innovations and technologies in collaboration with BAE Systems Maritime Australia at the pilot Line Zero, Factory of the Future facility, located within the Tonsley Innovation District.

Demonstrations are expected to begin later this year.

Ultimately it’s anticipated these solutions will continue into future development and testing phases to deliver a mature solution that can be applied in the Osborne Naval Shipyard to support the workers dedicated to the Hunter Class Frigate Program, which will deliver 9 of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates to the Royal Australian Navy.

Already around 1,000 employees are working at Osborne, and this number will grow to 2,200 at the peak of the program in the late 2020s.

This is the second “Innovation Challenge” held by BAE Systems Maritime Australia. In December 2020, four companies – Datanet, Lamson Concepts, Cohda Wireless and Dematec Automation – won the inaugural challenge that focused on logistics ‘track and trace’ technologies. This challenge is in its final stages, also at Tonsley.

Craig Lockhart.

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime Australia said: “Safety is our number one priority, and any new technologies we can implement to keep our workers safe, reduce injuries and risk, is absolutely worth pursuing. Our work at Tonsley, in collaboration with Flinders University and an increasing number of innovative Australian businesses, is a real game changer for shipbuilding. The pilot Line Zero, Factory of the Future facility is both a training factory and an R&D sandpit where we are solving real-world shipyard problems in a safe, controlled and intelligent environment; a proving ground for new manufacturing techniques and technologies that will be adapted to the Osborne shipyard. At the peak of the Hunter program in the late 2020s, 2,200 employees will be based at Osborne, and we are absolutely committed to ensuring this busy shipyard will be as safe for our workers as possible, so I am looking forward to understanding the outcomes of the trials undertaken by three South Australian businesses, Cohda Wireless, Electrocad and MyModular.”


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