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  • Decarbonisation is becoming a top priority for buyers and consumers
  • Shell Energy’s report has highlighted a range of energy saving and emissions reduction solutions
  • A 2022 Cohort Business Decarbonisation Pathway has been developed

Just this year, Shell Energy released a report – Advancing Renewables in the Manufacturing Sector. The projects aim was to develop a web-based, digital, education platform that shared data, analysis and insights generated from energy assessments at twenty manufacturing sites in Queensland, with the idea to help overcome investment barriers that exist for the uptake of renewable energy and energy productivity improvement initiatives in the manufacturing sector.

The report highlighted many key energy saving and emissions reduction solutions, some easier to implement than others, below is a snapshot of some of these solutions:

  • Electricity and gas efficiency can save between 10-15% consumption:
    • Lighting upgrades
    • Variable Speed Drives
    • Heat (and cooling) recovery
    • Burner controls
    • Compressed air
  • Electrification of gas based process heat
  • Onsite renewable energy generation (solar + BESS)

At Hetech we have been committed to decarbonisation and reducing our carbon footprint, last year we began to change the way we consumed energy, reducing our carbon footprint by installing a huge 70KWh solar panel system! Since installing the solar panels, we are now operating at energy neutrality. On average that’s 42 tonnes of CO2 that we are saving each year. Another focus has been on Design for the Environment (DfE), an initiative that looks at the lifecycle of a product, this includes three stages:

1. Production

When efficient manufacturing processes are used in production, more sustainable products can be made. The use of the right materials is a big part of this phase. A reduction of the variety of materials used can reduce pollution, energy consumed, and the cost of production.

2. Consumption

Products are designed to use only enough power in its current state. This can be achieved by utilizing sleep modes, using batteries that lose energy slowly, combining functions in the integrated circuits, turning off segments of the circuit that are not in use, etc.

3. Destruction

At the end of their lifecycle, electronics must be thrown away, reused, or recycled. However, most electronics are not repairable, making them difficult to reuse. DfE eliminates the effect of this on the environment by recycling the components in factories to create new raw materials.

A 2022 Cohort Business Decarbonisation Pathway has been developed, the government-funded business growth and capability building initiative’s aim is to enable Australian SMEs to future-proof their business by identifying decarbonisation pathways and becoming net zero certified. Involvement in this project can provide eligible businesses with access to industry networks, expert resources and up to $20,000 (matched) grant funding to progress your business goal.

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  • Hetech’s second manufacturing facility is now open.
  • Now the owner of the state-of-the-art PCB cleaning machine – Ultra 2012LE.
  • Developing young talent through our Hetech apprentice program.

With a second manufacturing facility recently opened, Hetech is committed to investing in the growth and expansion of manufacturing in Australia.

At Hetech we strongly agree with adopting new technologies and ensuring we have state-of-the-art machinery. Recently, we’ve purchased a PCB cleaning machine – Ultra 2012LE, Vapor Degreaser.

The Ultra 2012LE is a leader in the field of PCB cleaning. PCB’s are sometimes exposed to conditions like high humidity and extreme temperatures, they also need to last for sometimes decades, because of this it is vital PCBs function without fail.

With all of this in mind, what happens at the cleaning stage of production is vital, the Ultra 2012LE  improves PCB reliability through the cleaning process. For a PCB to be reliable, a number of factors play a pivotal role, just some of the threats to its reliability include:

  • Production contaminants such as dust and soils on a PCB run a risk of malfunction.
  • Small PCB’s and complex PCB’s with multilayered layouts can be challenging to clean at the level required.

Hetech’s new Vapor degreaser machine provides state of the art cleaning for PCB’s. Vapor degreasing uses cleaning fluid immersion, combined with vapour rinsing and vapour drying, to clean PCBs down to the submicron range removing all types of residue.

The cleaning fluid used has a low surface tension allowing it to permeate the entire board, including under and in-between tightly-spaced and low-mounted components. Vapour degreasers recycle and reuse the cleaning fluid for hundreds of hours before the fluid is refreshed, making it a cost-effective and environmentally sound cleaning method.

Here is a short video explaining some of the features and benefits of our new machine:

Person in lab coat working on PCB assembly machine

At Hetech, we offer the highest quality SMT, or surface-mount technology, assembly processes.

As electronics design and manufacturing experts, we have the relevant skills and experience to deliver high-quality assembly services. Our machine room contains the latest technology, is fully ESD compliant and is able to handle PCB assembly projects of all sizes. Our fully automated component feeding, wave soldering and automated inspection ensure every project we complete meets our high standards.

What is SMT?

SMT is the method of mounting components onto circuit boards directly, rather than soldering between two points on a circuit board, known as through-hole. SMT was developed to use PCB space more efficiently and lower production costs, which is why the method is still popular today. Compared to other assembly methods, this process is generally considered more accurate due to its high level of automation.

What are the benefits of SMT?

Size: With SMT, components are smaller in size so more can be fitted onto the board compared to the through-hole assembly process. As the board can be reduced in size, its weight is similarly reduced to 1/10th compared to through-hole assembly.

Cost: PCB manufacturing costs can be reduced as fewer holes are required reducing the amount of drilling required on the circuit board.

Speed: The SMT process can be completed at a much quicker and controlled rate. Every step in the process from component placement to inspection can be automated, preventing human error and creating faster results.

Monty Compost and Hetech PCB's
  • Monty Compost is an innovative compost tool used to manage your compost efficiently and effectively.
  • World-first compost monitoring device and mobile app that work together to track your compost’s health, gamify your decomposition data and engage with your organics.
  • Hetech manufacture the PCBA’s for Monty Compost.

At Hetech, we work with customers who are both established and at the beginning of their life cycle, recently we started working with Ash Baxter on her product Monty, an innovative composting companion.

Ash is the true definition of an entrepreneur, coming up with her business idea in her last year of university at UQ, a local Brisbane university. After months of research, Ash came up with the idea of a tool to optimise the composting process which was then accepted into the ilab Accelerator program and received seed funding to take her business to the next level.

Hetech were approached by Monty Compost and Carbon Circuits to manufacture the PCBA’s (Printed Circuit Board Assemblies) for the product.

Hetech prides itself on being an expert Australian PCB manufacturing & assembly company that supplies PCB assembly solutions to businesses of all sizes across Australia.

Monty Compost Printed Circuit Board

Monty Compost Co is an innovative and intelligent environmental compost solution that aims to help make composting easy and efficient for everyone through the power of technology.

Monty takes out the composting learning curve, put Monty into your compost and it will tell you exactly what it needs through an app. Some great examples of the product in use are – Your compost needs to be turned. Your compost needs more waste. Composting made smarter, better and faster with our world-first compost monitoring device and mobile app that work together to track your compost’s health, gamify your decomposition data and engage with your organics.

The vision of the company is a world where 100% of our organic waste is recycled back into our soil. They believe that compost can be a big part of this and are working to enable anyone to do it.

Ash said of her recent visit to Hetech HQ:

As an Australian, and specifically Queensland, founded company, it was such an amazing experience seeing Monty being made in Queensland by Queenslanders.
After three years working on Monty through countless prototype and MVP iterations, having this level of production around it is wild.
It was even better being able to share it with the team and meet in person the people helping make Monty happen.“

It’s been a tough few years of component shortages and unfortunately, this doesn’t look to change for the rest of 2022 with shortages forecasted to continue throughout the rest of the year.

Supply chains to improve in late 2022

A report, titled “Tech, Media, and Telecoms Predictions 2022,” details that the conflict between the US and China over the supply chain of chips and minerals will remain heated for most of this year but will begin to improve in the latter half of 2022. Daniel Clarke, an analyst on the Thematic Research Team has said that consumers could expect the automotive and tech industries to be the most impacted. You can read the full Deloitte report here.

Rise of onshoring

Over the past year, we have also seen a trend of Australian businesses bringing their electronic manufacturing back to Aussie shores. This trend has been brought on by continued international conflict, component shortages and a lack of control over IP/process, redundancy. According to research published by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre last year, more and more Australians are valuing the industry, and 72 per cent of Australians see it as important or very important, up 7 per cent between 2019 and 2021.

Government-backed industry

Brent Balinski from Australian Manufacturing was quoted saying, ‘We predict manufacturing and its role in sovereignty will be a 2022 election issue, with the investment in the industry by the federal government and the effectiveness of this and other industrial policies certain to be debated.’ Read more here.

At Hetech, we have been working with local businesses to bring their electronic manufacturing back to Australian shores and, sourcing components for our customers at a time when the world is seeing delays and shortages.

We have partnered with a range of companies such as CSIRO, Boeing Defence, Saab, WEIR, BV and FLSmidth on projects to reduce costs and integrate automation. We are also involved in a vast range of other projects for industries such as Mining, Renewables, Defence, Utilities and many more. Working with IoT/sensor solutions, PCB builds, insourcing, redesigning & designing electronics equipment for more efficient solutions.

EcoJoule’s EcoVAR helping grid businesses towards a net-zero future

Quick facts on the EcoVAR

  • EcoJoule is improving and innovating electricity supply through smart grid technology.
  • The influx of solar on homes and businesses changes the way the local grid operates. EcoVAR technology helps improve voltages and increases the ability of solar to export clean energy.
  • Hetech has teamed up with EcoJoule to manufacture the PCB boards for the EcoVAR and build the products ready for distribution.
  • EcoJoule has quoted that the product has shown to be a success both here and overseas.
  • The EcoVar is not only improving the quality of electricity in these areas, but it is also helping grid businesses like Ausgrid work towards a net-zero future.

With the rapid uptake of solar PV, the low voltage residential electricity network is being required to perform in ways it was never originally designed to perform. The main problem being experienced is worsening voltage regulation. The solar PV systems are generating at their maximum during the middle of the day when residential consumption is typically low, this then causes voltage rises on the low voltage networks causing solar inverters to trip, reducing the ability of solar panels to export clean energy. This sustained delivery of excess voltage levels is also diminishing reliability, reducing appliance lifetime and reducing appliance efficiency.

Introducing the EocVAR, the EcoVAR helps to manage grid voltages. The influx of solar changes the way local grids operate. The EcoVAR technology helps improve voltages and increases the ability of solar to export clean energy to the grid. The benefits of this product are felt throughout the whole solar / energy supply chain, with households benefiting from better energy utilisation, higher solar export volumes and lower bills.

Hetech working in Renewable Energy with EcoJoule
Hetech working in Renewable Energy with EcoJoule

Hetech has teamed up with EcoJoule to manufacture the PCB boards for the EcoVar and, build the products ready for distribution. With many installations complete and delivering results in multiple states currently, the EcoVar is predicted to continue to roll out nationally over the coming months.

Hetech's Printed Circuit Board for EcoJoule

EcoJoule has quoted that the product has shown to be a success both here and overseas:

“Ausgrid has installed a three phase EcoVAR unit from EcoJoule Energy at Nords Wharf, which has successfully reduced the voltage fluctuation to consumers, also preventing the potential tripping of solar systems and delivering reliable outcomes in the delivery of power.

In the area where the EcoVAR unit has been installed there is a significant increase in the amount of solar energy that can be exported into the grid, virtually eliminating constraints on existing solar customers.”

Not only is the EcoVar improving the quality of electricity in these areas, but it is also helping businesses like Ausgrid work towards a net-zero future.

Ausgrid’s Executive General Manager of Asset Management Junayd Hollis said:

“Ausgrid has a diverse and complex network and we are looking to use innovative technology to improve service quality for all of our communities,” Mr Hollis said.

“That’s why we commenced these trials with the EcoVAR units, to improve customer voltage and quality of electricity supply. This is an integral part of our actions to increase hosting capacity for rooftop solar as well as other Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and reduce costs on our network. In turn this helps de-carbonise the grid and work towards a net-zero future.”

Spiral Automation

The manual nature of the product/reject splitters mean that operators are slow to respond to changes in feed quality.

Vanadium developed an innovative means of automating spiral splitters. This technology (patent pending) now allows for the accurate remote adjustment of each spiral’s product and middlings splitters.

Requirement
To design and manufacture an automation system that integrates into existing mining spiral circuits which will autonomously operate the feed splitters using linear actuators and motor controllers.

Work Performed
Hetech have designed and manufactured several units with fast manufacturing and delivery times to meet the specified requirements. The Spiral Galaxy system is now being utilised in Australian mines. Improving feed quality and efficiency through minimisation of human intervention, risk reduction and improved plant recovery.

“We partnered with Hetech’s engineering team to design and build a mining automation system to be integrated into gravity-fed spiral circuits. Their customer service and professionalism have exceeded my expectations. They consistently deliver within time-frames and even fly out engineers to assist with diagnosing and maintaining products in the field, ensuring the system was operating as expected. I highly recommend Hetech; they have gone beyond their expectations to ensure the best product possible.”
 
Gerald Van Niekerk, Director – Vanadium Group

Over the last year, we have seen a shift in outsourced manufacturing to overseas countries be brought back to Australian shores. It is predicted that insourcing back to Australian shores will increase significantly over the coming years.

Made in Australia is making a comeback as businesses reverse the clock on years of offshoring jobs. 

With supply chain issues and component shortages continuing to cause delays in manufacturing, there is a big push from businesses across Australia to have their products manufactured locally. Consumers are also driving the change, with Australians now eager to support local, Australian owned and operated businesses. More than three-quarters of consumers prefer to support Australian-made products, according to Roy Morgan data from 2019.

This trend has also been supported by an initiative by the federal government – which is now seeing a big increase in companies reshoring their production, research, design, logistics and distribution in Australia (The New Daily)

Hetech is Australian owned and run and has been designing and manufacturing products for over 30 years, supplying to a diverse range of industries and markets.

We have been working closely with our clients to navigate the impact of component shortages, including assisting them in planning ahead, keeping stock and placing standing orders. We too are planning ahead, with the prediction of insourcing to increase over the coming 5 years, we are expanding with a second manufacturing space, increasing our manufacturing capabilities by 60%.

To see more about our work and services, visit our website or contact us now!

Do you have a product idea that you’re wanting to get into production?

Have you ever wondered what information you’ll need when taking a new product idea to the design and manufacturer stage?

We’ve created a shortlist of just some of the questions you should be asking yourself to get your idea to the next stage of the lifecycle.

  • Do you own the existing IP around the product?
  • Will you retain the IP created in the Design Stage?
  • Are there any third parties involved in the IP of this project?
  • Are there any competitors on the market?
  • What is the expected sales price of the product?
  • Expected volumes? First-year / future?
  • How does your product idea compare with existing products………pro’s and con’s?
  • What distribution channels are there? Partners, etc
  • How will the project be financed?
  • What is the expected budget for the design?

Want to know more or need some help with your idea?

Innovative advances in technology, including digitisation, and automation, are significantly revolutionising the mining industry. Technologies such as AI & Big Data, autonomous vehicles, drones, automated sorting, and dewatering technology are reshaping the industry. Their benefits include but aren’t limited to improving mine safety, predicting mine hazards, and sending real-time information.

By creating more sustainable mining technologies and innovations we can be confident the industry will become greener, reducing the overall environmental impacts.

Here is a snapshot of just some of the ways technology is working to transform the industry. 

1. Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving vehicles are one of the progressions that mining companies are taking to improve the highly volatile sector. For a long time, mining has been faced with problems such as precarious conditions in the mines, lack of skilled labour, and high operating costs. Autonomous vehicles have provided a solution to this because they are safer, cheaper, and reliable. The vehicles integrate technologies such as GPS systems, two-way radio communication, and computing power to make navigation in mines safe and efficient.

2. Automated sorting

The mining industry has incorporated systems to separate valuable mineral ores from waste rock. Mining sorting equipment is not only a practical method to sort particles, but also a way to increase quality, yield, and productivity. The systems manage costs and have low downtime making mining operations highly efficient.

3. AI & Big Data

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data technologies present the mining industry with intelligent machines that work like humans and the benefits of data analytics to improve operations. With these technologies, mining is simplified because the devices can perform a variety of tasks such as drilling, blasting, and sampling. The application of AI and Big data also improves data exchange between users and reduces mining risks to workers because all risks are analysed.

4. Drones

The use of drones in mining solves numerous challenges in the industry by providing faster surveying, better blast optimisation, and improved surveillance of the mines. Data that was inaccessible or otherwise unsafe to reach can now be accessed and sent to the systems.

5. Dewatering technology

Influxes of water caused by weather conditions such as heavy rainfall can significantly slow down open-pit mining. For this reason, dewatering technology is used to handle the maximum inflow of water into the mines. These efforts reduce downtime and prevent the risk of operations.

Examples of Innovative Technology used in Mining

Different kinds of technology will benefit from certain types of mining techniques. For example, underground mines can utilise accurate noise and dust data to minimise health risks for employees or enable location tracking to keep your workforce safe. Meanwhile, surface mining, such as an open pit or open cast miners, can benefit from an automated fleet of remote-controlled equipment to help move materials with ease.

Hetech was involved in the manufacture of LASC (Longwall Automation Steering Committee) products to improve the safety of underground mining employees. 

More details here on the CSIRO website.

We specialise in the advanced manufacturing of IoT technology and electronics that can benefit the mining industry. Our Australian designed and made products can help you future proof your business, so get in touch today to find out more.

Contact Hetech and let us be your Mining Electronics Design & Manufacturing Partner.

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