New technology to help ports pylon the money

The automated structural integrity system prototype.
The automated structural integrity system prototype. Artemis

PORTS will be able to get more out of their moorings through technology that's being established by a Mackay and Whitsunday-based company.

Whitsunday Moorings and Marine Constructions has discovered a way to use robots to test the structure of pylons without getting wet and it's 98% better.

Managing director Darren Foster said it has taken three years and $1.3million in research and development to come up with the Automated Structural Integrity System.

The robot it has created, crab walks its way up and down pylons scanning the structure inside and out.

This would be revolutionary for the shipping industry according to Mr Foster, whose company tests pylons.

Currently, a pylon is tested visually by a person and with a point ultra sonic test which examines 2% of the pylon.

The result from this test is then assumed to be the same throughout the entire pylon.

Engineers then formulate how long the pylon will last and because of the limited amount of data, just 2%, they take 30-50% of the life of the pylon, meaning it would have to be replaced sooner than required.

But with Mr Foster's ASIS, 100% of the pylon can be assessed and engineers would be able to leave the 30-50% on the pylon's life expectancy.

He said the technology could save companies millions of dollars by extending the life cycle of pylons reducing the number of replacements that needed to be made.

"Considering to build a berth costs about $2billion, if you can delay it 7-15 years you would do it," he said.

Also, he said, it would be able to detect structural flaws in the pylons better than the human eye, minimising risk.

Mr Foster demonstrated the machinery to possible investors on Thursday and Friday at the company's Whitsunday office.

"We are in negotiations with Hydrix to undertake the commercialisation of ASIS version one," he said.

Hydrix is a company that specialises in developing high technology devices for a wide range of industries.

And it's not just Hydrix the company is talking to.

Mr Foster will also be presenting the technology at the Coast and Marine Structures Summit in March.

Topics:  mackay ports technology whitsunday

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