Endeavour Awards Industrial Product of The Year: ThermaMax Panels by Modular Wall Systems

In its second success of the night, Modular Wall Systems was recognised for the Industrial Product of the Year.

Modular Wall Systems, who also triumphed in the Steel Innovation category, won the 2013 Endeavour for Industrial Product of The Year for its ThermaMax Panel product, designed for the mining and energy sector.

MWS has gone from strength to strength over the past nine years to become the market leading manufacturer in its sector, Australia wide. They are the original inventors of the modular boundary wall concept and have more than 6000 projects completed across Australia.

"ThermaMax Panel provides an innovative, one-step modular insulation solution which represents a major improvement on traditional, multi-step installations," explains the company's material.

"ThermaMax cleverly combines existing materials in an all in one composite panel and sits in conventional beam and girt structures."

In direct response to the exacting requirements for the multi-million dollar APLNG Upstream project (Origin Energy and T1 builder Laing O'Rourke), Modular Wall Systems developed the ThermaMax Panel to provide a modular thermal heat control solution that was not previously available.

"We sit down with the client and we look at the holistic response," MWS's sales and marketing manager Jason Harvey told Manufacturers' Monthly.

"And we're thrilled to keep working with those clients."

The client, who had been considering the use of shipping containers at the start of the project, required a pre-finished, 10 meter high modular enclosure that could be built quickly and that would take 180 trucks off the road.

Before the ThermaMax solution, shipping containers were the preferred option to meet height, heat, insulation and finish requirements. This bulky solution typically comes with a significant environmental footprint (a big number of trucks is required for transportation to site. Also, extensive concrete pad footings are constructed as a foundation for the containers.)  

Shipping containers also require higher transportation costs, higher staff costs (a larger team is required to install a wall comprising shipping containers), longer installation and deconstruction times and a lack of customisation of the finish colour or overall look of the enclosure.  

The ThermaMax Panel was developed through extensive research and development and in consultation with major mining and energy companies.  

Challenges identified included meeting the exacting thermal requirements:

– Testing the appropriate material and colours for the panel skins under a large variety or environmental and climatic conditions;

– Finding a solution for maintaining the sealed integrity of the structure under various environmental circumstances such as sloping ground and perforated openings;

– Testing the individual properties within the composite solution under a large variety of heat conditions;

– Exploring the best sheeting profiles (such as trim deck or corrugated steel) to meet minimal loading requirements;

– Testing corrosive characteristics under a large variety of circumstances (tests pointed out that the ThermaMax Panel should not be in direct contact with the ground, but mounted slightly above ground. Base channel flashing was developed to maintain the integrity of the enclosure); and

– Creating a modular enclosure solution, incorporating the ThermaMax Panel, to which tradesmen could easily adapt, using existing knowledge and machinery.

As with the company's QuikWall solution, ThermaMax was developed in response to an industrial user's needs. ThermaMax, says MWS, and its application in current multi-million dollar projects, demonstrates the company's already solidly proven ability within the mining and energy sector. The product was developed and manufactured to meet the most rigorous OH&S, a 25+ year design life and all current and future requirements specific to the sector. Therefore, the potential for this product has been maximized from the beginning.

As with its QuikWall product, the ThermaMax solution offers significant environmental benefits to its user. For example, at the APLNG Upstream project, there are multiple flare enclosures required. If shipping containers were used to contain these enclosures, 180 trucks would have been used. By using the ThermaMax Panel solution instead, the amount of trucks required was reduced to six. For seven sites, this represents a 1000 truck reduction.

The pre-finished ThermaMax Panel is designed to be extremely robust. It is manufactured out of Australian corrugated steel, which is damage resistant. With superior acoustic performance, it could be typically expected there would be up to a 25dB reduction in noise to surrounding areas.  

This translates to a four to five-fold reduction in audible noise.  

Typically, Modular's projects span 2 to 3 months. The APLNG Upstream project, which will run until the end of 2013, will provide the company with a steady income stream, job security and increased credibility and loyalty within the mining and energy sector for years to come.


Image: MWS's Jason Harvey being presented the award by Chris Barnes from BOC

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