Innovation snags Ipswich company top award

TECH-GURU: Ipswich-based TAE Systems earned an InnovationAward for the FountX system.
TECH-GURU: Ipswich-based TAE Systems earned an InnovationAward for the FountX system. Gary Worrall

A CHANCE conversation about technology sharing led Ipswich company TAE Systems to develop world-class remote video technology.

The FountX system received the Civil Industry National Innovation Award at the 2017 Avalon Air Show, said Andrew Sanderson, CEO of TAE Systems.

"This was our second award, the first was for vacuum brazing, a technology we developed here in Ipswich for the F-35A Lightning project," he said.

"As an enterprise, we are good at what we do, there is a question of how do we project that to others."

After a meeting with CSIRO scientists at their Pullenvale facility, Mr Sanderson said TAE Systems jumped at the opportunity.

"The original concept was first developed as a training aid for a previous tender, then we saw the Guardian Mentor Remote, and realised there was an aerospace application," he said.

While TAE is a global leader in jet turbine service and repair, with a 'Time on Wing' for F/A-18 Hornet engines double that of their competitors, Mr Sanderson said the FountX project was an opportunity to connect the company's strengths of innovation.

"It is a virtual Jiminy Cricket, it sits on the technician's shoulder," he said.

With a need for TAE Systems to expand beyond maintenance and into innovation, Mr Sanderson said the FountX was an example of the company's desire to grow.

"There is a wide potential customer base, in the short term we will stick to our core aerospace and military strength, but there are many markets to the left and right of our core clients."

Mr Sanderson said there was a shortage of trained aviation technicians globally, and the FountX acted as a 'knowledge multiplier'.

"It allows knowledge to be projected from one to many, it has secure communications, making it ideal for our industry."

The FountX uses a backpack PC with a six-hour power supply, along with two headband units, one for the camera and display unit, and the other for a audio communication, said Laurence Beraldo, TAE System's New Technologies Manager.

"The field technician can find a problem, contact head office or the manufacturer, who can then give them real-time advice," Mr Beraldo said. The system can record and capture images, allowing the adviser to interact with the user.

"We don't use glasses, it is a miniature monitor and everything is designed to retain situational awareness for the user, and it can be worn under PPE in hazardous areas."

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