Revolutionising automated safety

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CASWA is changing the pace of automated safety systems with its innovative access control system, AccessPack, the only system of its kind on the market. 

Taking out the Australian Industrial Product of the Year Award, AccessPack ensures equipment can only be used by authorised personnel. "It is smart, simple and marketable," the Endeavour judges said.

Accepting the award, Director of CASWA, Paul Kelly, said that the use of automation, rather than relying on a dedicated person to monitor employees, increases occupational health and safety in the industrial space.

"The Access Pack quite simply extends the existing safety practises and principles that are in place at the moment and extends them into the physical realm, whereas before you told someone who wasn't meant to use a piece of equipment they shouldn't use it well now the equipment simply doesn't work for them," Kelly said.

"The changes from an administrative control into a physical control are a safer thing to do. People recognise the safety benefits and that is what has really made it a success in the market."

AccessPack uses wireless technology through Bluetooth to 'communicate' with other systems. 

A 'control puck' (containing an RFID reader and other smart electronics) is fitted to the machine and programmed with relevant information about the machine, its location and the qualifications required to operate it. Machines will only work when the user swipes the puck with a valid RFID card.

One key safety advantage of the AccessPack is that the machine will only operate with a valid ticket and will lock out those without. 

It also has an automatic system of recording when the operator starts and stops, which increases accountability and can lead to changes in behaviour thereby preventing abuse of equipment.

Kelly said receiving the Australian Industrial Product of the Year Award, sponsored by BOC, was recognition that hard work leads to success, "a fact that is not only true for CASWA, but for manufacturers in general".

"This isn't a surprise, we work really hard in innovation and manufacturing as do all of you and none of us should be surprised by success. We all know how hard it is to get there," Kelly said.

"As innovators and manufacturers, I think the hardest part that any of us is having to source the sheer gumption to persist and create that which was not there before. 

"My hat goes off to all of you because I seem to find myself in a room that has half the world's supply of gumption in it," Kelly said.

This relentless persistence was also demonstrated by CKAS Mechatronics who were highly commented in this category for its "Cranky" Full Motion Wharf Crane Simulator which offers training for crane operators on a full motion, high fidelity device. 

The replication is full scale of a typical cabin and has highly accurate software and a full six degree of freedom motion system. 

The hardware was developed in-house with the resources available to a small engineering innovation company. There are currently orders for the machine both domestically and internationally. 

While Kelly is not sure what the thought-process was in selecting the winner, he is certain that Australia has the talent and innovation capability to be global manufacturing leaders.

"I have no idea what went into the judges minds when they were judging, but I certainly think that there is a great pool of talent and innovation capability in Australia," he said.

"I think the other finalists did just as well as we did frankly. We may have just pipped them because we were a little more out there and a little bit more innovative, but not a lot."

CASWA is a Perth-based SME that develops innovative solutions for helping customers translate data from equipment sensors into better business decisions. 

The company also manufactures and sells a range of unique industrial devices for improving safety associated with operating high risk equipment, including AccessPack which can be fitted to any type of electrically powered device such as mobile, remote and battery operated equipment.

Image: Bruce Currie (left), Director Strategic Marketing, BOC, congratulates Paul Kelly of CASWA for winning the Award.