China has engaged South Australian water industry experts to direct aquifer recharge trials in an effort to reduce flooding and improve supply.
The consortium of six South Australian companies, known as the Australia China Sponge City Consortium, has opened an office in the Shandong capital Jinan. Work will begin this year on a pilot project in Jinan as part of the Sponge City initiative, which has a budget of up to AU$128 million per city.
Consortium spokesman Geoff Fisher, from Australian Water Environments, said the group would leverage the skills and experience gained from the delivery of several successful aquifer recharge projects in the South Australian capital Adelaide over the past two decades.
“Our role will be threefold: to address flooding and water quality, improve the liveability of Jinan through good design and re-instate the springs and their associated spiritual and cultural value,” he said.
“The city has a world-renowned spring system which is being depleted by rapid urbanisation.
“We’ll be taking our knowledge and years of experience to Jinan but we’ll also be learning from them – for example, they have problems with acid rain which Adelaide doesn’t have, but dealing with that problem will extend our knowledge”.
China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development, and Ministries of Finance and Water created the ‘sponge city’ initiative to help prevent flash-flooding in the wet season and capture stormwater and rainwater for use during the dry season.
In April 2015, the Chinese Government announced the first 16 pilot sponge cities including Jinan, a city of about 7 million people.
The six members of the South Australian consortium are Syntec Global, Alano Water, Water Data Services, Aqueon, Hassell and Australian Water Environments.
The Water Industry Alliance is a cluster of 150 water-related organisations focused on sharing South Australia’s water expertise with the world.
CEO Rachel Barratt said the Jinan office would grow as the project developed.
She said the six companies in the consortium had a range of complementary skills to cover the broad range of expertise required for urban water reuse projects.
“In the example of a wetland project there’s a number of technical expertise required from landscape and urban design through to managed aquifer recharge, water quality monitoring, remote sensing and IT,” Barratt.
“These companies have worked together on projects in Adelaide and that’s the collaborative model we are taking to China to provide an integrated solution.”
Rapid urbanisation, poor water management and drainage contributed to more than 230 Chinese cities being affected by floods in 2013.
Barratt said while flood mitigation would be a feature of the projects, improving urban landscapes and water reuse were also important.
She said the stored water would likely be reused for secondary purposes such as industrial use and irrigation.
“It will be about providing a liveable environment that might have wetlands, green space and bicycle trails to draw the community in and at the same time it would have some water treatment through various processes and managing the aquifer recharge,” she said.
“The aquifers in Shandong move a lot faster than the aquifers in South Australia so they will have to design it appropriately with that in mind.”
South Australia is the driest state in the driest continent on earth and has become a world leader in water treatment and reuse technologies.
The state and Shandong Province, which has a population of 100 million, have a 30-year relationship as sister states, paving the way for the collaboration. The Jinan office was officially opened earlier this month during a South Australian Government-led trade mission to China.
Barratt said pre-existing relationships were crucial in securing the deal. She said the visit to Adelaide by a Chinese delegation in September last year also provided an important opportunity to showcase successful water management projects in action.
“We showed them a lot of sites where we have applied this technology so we have really leveraged off of a lot of these existing relationships, which has proved really important,” she said.
“We’ve already been invited to come back for their spring festival and present to other cities in Shandong and then we can look broader than that into other provinces but it is a pretty big market.”
South Australian software that allows air conditioning companies to design system layouts accurately and efficiently is being rolled out across the globe.
Plandroid, a program from Delft Red Simulation Technology in South Australia, uses a standard floor plan drawing to create the optimal heating and cooling solution for a property and provides a project quote in minutes.
International demand for the software has grown over the past year from zero to about 10 per cent of the company’s revenue and includes customers in South Africa, New Zealand and the United States.
Delft Red Simulation Technology founder Mike Garrett said he expected exports of Plandroid to rise significantly in the next year and estimated the business to almost double in size by 2018.
He said the company was expanding rapidly to meet demand and was aiming for a push into Europe in the coming months.
“The industry standard is still graph paper and drawing rough hand designs with crayons,” he said.
“It’s inefficient and using Plandroid they can do all the planning in a fifth of the time.
“The thing about Plandroid is it’s a simple, point-and-click, drag-and-drop program that anyone can use – you don’t need to be an engineer to get the right design.”
The software is targeted towards large manufacturers such as Advantage Air, which then use installation teams to deliver their products.
These smaller teams are able to choose from a stock list of items from the air conditioning companies and drag them onto a CAD-style ducting design superimposed over a house plan. This eliminates the need for custom designing of a project.
Plandroid calculates basic heat loads, the total design cost and creates reports for the customer, installer and supplier.
It also saves favoured designs as pre-sets to be used on other buildings.
Garrett said Plandroid would be beneficial for shopping centres, airports, factories and large commercial buildings but was primarily used for high-end houses.
Delft Red Simulation Technology has more than 350 clients around the world and is in the process of expanding the program to include more features.
“We are working on a lighting mode right now,” Garrett said.
“The old barriers between electricians, plumbers and air conditioning installers are being reduced and our program will expand into more of those jobs.
“In the future you will be able to do solar panel installations, underfloor heating and more electrical designs throughout the house.”
Using remote access technology, the company supports customers across Australia and the world.
Delft Red Simulation Technology is based in South Australia’s capital Adelaide, at the Base64 business centre run by technology entrepreneur Simon Hackett.
Hackett was part of the group that developed the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet) – the first emergence of the Internet in Australia.
By Caleb Radford
A WORLD leading surface engineering company is licensing its laser technology for the global market.
LaserBond this week announced to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) it has shipped its first customised laser cladding system to China in a AU$1.4 million deal.
The Sydney-based firm has its R&D department in South Australia’s capital Adelaide, which is overseen by company founder Greg Hooper.
The 1.6m x 5.5m China-bound laser is a “junior version” of LaserBonds’ 16kW laser cell developed in Adelaide. The sale will also attract ongoing royalties and licence fees and is the company’s first step in expanding its business.
LaserBond Chairman Allan Morton said the 16kW machine included a number of unique components and would be the most powerful laser of its kind in the world.
“The company in China approached us about two years ago and wanted to license our technology,” he said.
“This ‘junior version’ is about one-fourth the power of the Adelaide model.
“It will be used to make better performing products that last much longer.”
The system design and integration for this export package was carried out within LaserBond’s own in-house facilities.
The company has been using thermal coating techniques to produce hard-wearing components and products for the mining, power generation, manufacturing and agriculture industries since 1992.
LaserBond’s technology division was established in response to a number of international enquiries to license its technology.
Many of the major components, assemblies and technologies are developed and manufactured for heavy industry and protected with patents (and applications).
Products are typically made from steel and then applied with materials such as nickel alloys, tungsten, titanium carbides and ceramics. Manufactured items include mining picks, furnace doors and ‘down the hole’ hammers.
Executive Director Wayne Hooper said cladding large mining industry components was different to other laser applications.
“Our niche is focused at the heavy end – maintaining close operational control of the laser head and work piece, over a long reach with heavy loads and sustained high temperatures called for a rethink in design of the multi-axis work piece manipulator and its associated control system.
“Many surface engineered products for our resources sector customers require extended running times at high power levels. Some of these projects run 16 hours at full power.”
To accommodate these challenges, LaserBond engineers have developed a number of innovations including a powder injection nozzle that is able to better mange intense heat accumulating in the laser head in long runs.
The heavy-duty work piece manipulator provides more stable support of heavy, hot, large and complex components and the design of the control software offers more accuracy and provides an easier, more intuitive user interface.
LaserBond predominantly manufactures for the mining industry and exports about 80 per cent of its products to countries including Chile, Mongolia and South Africa.
It is also collaborating with the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute to develop 6-axis robots and a position system with capacity up to 20 tonne for the large laser cell in Adelaide.
The company recently received a $2.6m research grant from the South Australian Government in support of its partnerships with Boart Longyear and the Future Industries Institute.
LaserBond is establishing a new centre of excellence in Adelaide, which will help resource, infrastructure, defence and agricultural industries become more productive. It aims to open the centre early next year.