NT manufacturing boost with the world’s first air-powered side-tipping trailer

NT manufacturing boost with the world’s first air-powered side-tipping trailer

An Alice Springs-based manufacturer will ramp up production of its world-first pneumatic trailer, called Air Tip.

Developed in collaboration with local businesses Ross Engineering and Complete Group, it was hailed as the first major innovation in siding technology in four decades.

Using the truck’s standard pneumatic system, the technology removes the need to modify expensive hydraulic systems, and reduces trailer weight by 12%, while increasing payload by 4.8 percent.

The project is supported by co-investment from the NT Government via the Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF) managed by Advanced Manufacturing Growth Center (AMGC).

The fund is jointly investing $7.5 million in projects that expand the NT’s manufacturing capabilities, following the 2020 Territory Economic Reconstruction Report which proposed the ambitious goal of making the NT a $40 billion economy by 2030.

With Ross Engineering, Air Tip will also establish the first robotic steel fabrication ecosystem in Alice Springs – with custom design, manufacturing and contract manufacturing capabilities.

Air Tip founder and managing director Clarke Petrick said: “This co-investment will have wider implications across the region, giving Air Tip, Ross Engineering and the Complete Group the ability to design components in Alice Springs, to design and manufacture – a capability once outsourced interstate.

“Adding new robotic laser cutting and computer numerically controlled capabilities will allow us to test, develop and commercialize the Air Tip system in shorter time frames, reducing the lag effect of outsourcing core manufacturing processes.”

The Managing Director of AMGC, Dr Jens Goennemann, said the co-investment in the partnership would establish a long-needed and highly valued manufacturing capability in the town, supporting manufacturing activities beyond the group’s own products.

“To date, AMGC, via the AMEF, has expanded the area’s manufacturing ecosystem with a new electronics test facility, robotics and training support and now advanced CNC and robotic laser manufacturing skills to provide an enduring capability for the area – exactly what the fund was designed to do,” Goennemann said.

According to the AMGC, the project is expected to create ten new jobs over the next five years, including engineering, manufacturing, professional and apprentice roles in Alice Springs.

NT Government figures show the territory’s manufacturing sector accounted for 2.6% of overall employment in 2021/22 and 3.6% ($1.1 billion) of GSP in that year, a figure that has fallen over the past decade .

On the other hand, Territorians appear to see great value in manufacturing, and their appreciation of it is the highest of any place on mainland Australia, according to the AMGC’s 2021 Perceptions of Australian Manufacturing Report.

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