Innovation awards power up Queensland company

QUEENSLAND electrical switchgear company NOJA Power is now using cutting-edge software technology to design its next generation of products.

QUEENSLAND electrical switchgear company NOJA Power is now using cutting-edge software technology to design its next generation of products.

The company is using three-dimensional computer modelling and simulation to test its products in the virtual world, on the computer, before building prototypes.

Using computer simulation, called ‘finite element analysis’, NOJA Power can replicate the full range of mechanical, electrical and environmental stresses that the products might face — such as extreme temperatures, high voltage and lightning strikes.

NOJA Power’s new suite of high-technology products is being developed with the help of a $2.3 million Commercial Ready grant from AusIndustry.

Managing Director Neil O’Sullivan said the grant meant the company had been able to invest in the very latest research and development tools, and employ a team of engineers trained in this leading-edge research.

“Before a single part is built we completely model and test the products using three-dimensional modelling,” O’Sullivan said.

“By the time we move from the virtual world to the real world, we have very high expectations that the part will pass testing in the marketplace.

NOJA Power makes low and medium voltage ‘switchgear’ — equipment that increases reliability of electricity networks. The company exports to 42 countries with channels for marketing its products in more than 70 countries.

In Australia, NOJA Power’s products have increased the reliability of Energex’s urban network in Brisbane.

In Bangladesh, the company’s technology has been used to create new electricity distribution networks. In some parts of Bangladesh, people have been able to receive power for the first time, from substations protected by NOJA Power’s equipment.

In Finland and Lapland, the products have been installed and work under temperature extremes down to -40°C. The products have helped to maintain a reliable electricity supply during snow storms, especially in areas which are hard for technicians to access.

“The prime reason for our success has been our environmentally conscious approach,” Neil said. “We use an insulation technology called solid dielectric insulation.

“It completely eliminates the need to use harmful insulants such as oil and sulphur hexafluoride — which is widely acknowledged as the world’s most harmful greenhouse gas.

“We think that many of our contracts with electricity utilities around the world are a direct result of the green alternative that we offer,” O’Sullivan said.

NOJA Power has also received a $720,000 innovation grant from AusIndustry and this project was finalised in 2006.

This funding helped the company with its first stage of developing a ‘recloser relay’ which protects power supply, plus supporting electronic hardware and software.

The project was a commercial success and the products continue to develop sales growth through NOJA Power’s global marketing channels.

NOJA Power’s founders spend a lot of time travelling to better understand customer demand and this is then fed back to ensure new product development meets the needs of customers worldwide.

The company has won several awards including the Australian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association’s Excellence in Exporting Award in 2006.

For more information email NOJA Power