Powering Australian made innovation

AusProof has been experienced in designing and manufacturing electric couplers for almost 50 years, with many more exciting developments on the horizon.

When you think of mining innovation, gigantic bucket wheels and drill rigs often come to mind.

But often, it’s the products on a much smaller scale that gel everything together.

AusProof’s electrical cable couplers offer safe and reliable power to be transmitted throughout underground and open cut coal mining environments.

Based in Gladstone, in the heart of Australia’s coal industry, AusProof has an astute understanding of what customers demand in a bespoke coupler.

“We claim that we’ve got the safest coupler in the world,” AusProof managing director Aston Marks tells Australian Mining.

“We have almost a perfect run on the board with our safety. Our couplers have never failed due the integrity and design of the plug.”

The company’s latest addition to the Ex Flameproof range, offers an enhanced level of safety, reliability and pedigree.

This feature is a newly designed live line indicator, which has been re-engineered to use an LED.

With the design using an LED instead of a bulb, it now provides 50,000 hours of life. The LED light is bright enough to be seen in broad daylight, showing if there is power in the coupler.

The existing, but advanced range of the Ex Flameproof coupler range also recognises the need for safety and efficiency within the industry.

According to Marks, a coupler can be potentially hazardous if its surface is scratched or fouled. The repair job for a scratched coupler is quite burdensome.

The Ex Flameproof range prevents complicated maintenance and repairs using nothing but an Allen key.

“The biggest feature is the removable flange. This means that if a mine scratches the surface of the coupler, it makes it easier to repair,” Marks says.

“The traditional way of repairing a coupler meant you’d have to roll a 200-metre electrical cable up from underground and transport it up to 200-300 kilometres away to a certified workshop. Nine out of 10 times they’d have to cut the whole thing off and buy a new one and replace it.

“Our removable flange solution in the Flameproof range has four screws in the front flange area. You can unscrew those and replace only the flange.

“You don’t need a qualified person on the mine site to do that operation, it’s just an Allen key to undo four screws.”

To continue with coupler designs at such a high standard, AusProof’s research and development (R&D) team is looking at ways to enhance its range even further.

“We heavily invest in our R&D. We’ve got a team of four or five people in our R&D team that’s constantly doing research and development for AusProof,” Marks says.

“We are the first ones in Australia to have that product, which is bright enough to be seen in daylight, where before it struggled in daytime.”

The live line technology in AusProof’s flameproof couplers was developed over two years, with three more exciting developments in the pipeline within the next six months.

Looking further ahead, Marks says AusProof is working on ideas and concepts that will be launched in two or three years.

“That’s how long it takes because we are perfectionists. We’re not going to release products into the market until we’ve done a lot of testing and a lot of proving that it’s right,” he says.

With an Australian company making huge leaps forward in coupler technology, Marks believes there’s a lot of pride to be taken in that.

“There’s a sense of pride in Australia to have the best plug in the world and to be exporting it overseas,” Marks says.

AusProof products are recognised globally by customers in Africa, the United States, South America and parts of Asia.

“Hopefully the industry would feel honoured that this little company is just in their back yard. We’re proud of it and hopefully they can be proud of it too that they’re buying Australian,” Marks concludes.

This feature also appears in the September edition of Australian Mining.

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