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Brisbane company wins grant for bridge-monitoring device



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-1> A U S T R A L I A ,ll

T h e H o n . J o h n Mo o r e , MR M in iste r fo r Industry, Science and Tourism

M e d i a

Release

Friday 17 May 1996 35/96

BRISBANE COMPANY WINS GRANT FOR BRIDGE-MONITORING DEVICE

Brisbane company, Infratech Pty Ltd, has been awarded a $500,000 Federal Government grant to develop bridge-monitoring equipment that could save the Australian economy billions o f dollars.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, Mr John Moore, announced the Industry Research and Development Board (IR&D Board) Competitive Grant today.

Infratech will use the grant to develop and commercialise its bridge-monitoring system which tests the load capacity of bridges.

“This device will have huge benefits for Australia’s road transport industry,” M r M oore said.

“Hauliers need to know exactly which bridges can cope with their loads so that goods are freighted as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

By determining load capacity on Australia’s 30 000 bridges, the bridge-monitoring device will allow bridges with a lower capacity for load bearing to be identified and eliminated from transport routes.

This will help achieve a more efficient and cost-effective road freight network. Road transport representatives have quoted a benefit o f between $10 000 to $20 000 per tonne payload increase per vehicle per year, or a potential saving o f up to $9 billion annually.

More efficient routes for vehicles with higher axle loads could also be determined by using the bridge monitoring equipment. This would ensure that Australia stayed internationally competitive and was able to use the larger heavier containers - the super containers - being employed in Europe.

“International interest in this area is very high and there is an opportunity here for Australia to take the lead in the development o f this technology,” Mr Moore said.

“It is very encouraging to see the development o f such innovative products coming from the small business sector. The Government is a strong supporter of small businesses which develop products that benefit the Australian economy.”

Contacts: CMR049

Cheryl Cartwright Mr M oore’s Office 06 277 7580

Chris Butler Auslndustry 06 276 1348

Bruce McKenzie Infratech 07 3870 4688

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The IR&D Board administers the Government's research and development competitive grants and tax concession programs to encourage R&D in industry. In addition, the IR&D Board administers a concessional loans program which supports early-stage technology commercialisation activities for small to medium sized firms.

Eligible companies undertaking R&D can apply for assistance through the Competitive Grants for R&D or Concessional Loans for the Commercialisation o f Technological Innovation. All applications that meet the eligibility criteria are assessed on relative merit.

Infratech is a small Brisbane company with internationally recognised experts on its staff on bridge infrastructures and proof loading. The company is already working with the Austroads organisation to secure some o f the proof load bridge testing market in Australia and New Zealand.

Some of Australia bridges are more than 100 years old. Design loads for bridges have increased significantly over the years, from a 16.25 tonne truck in the early 1920s to a 44 tonne semi-trailer in the 70s. The current legal load limit for trucks is 22.5 tonnes, for

semi-trailers 42.5 tonnes and for B-doubles (two trailers) 62.5 tonnes.

Present bridge testing costs more than $75,000 per bridge. The monitoring device would halve these costs and increase the speed o f testing. The company expects domestic and internationally sales to be about $5 million in the first year and increase rapidly after that

There is a significant market for the technology in South-East where bridges have been built to a wide range o f design load requirements.

A profile o f Infratech is attached.

Infratech Systems & Services Ply Ltd ACN 072 140 0 4 0

1 st floor, όό High Streel, Tbowong, Brisbane. PO Box 818, Toowong, Qld 4066, Australia. Telephone: + 617 3870 4449 Facsimile:+ 617 3870 491 5

PO Box 6106, Baulkham Hills

Business Centre (BHBC1 NSW 21 53, Australia. Telephone: +612 9894 0344 Facsimile: +612 9634 7744 email: 100242.1527@compuserve.com

INFRATECH SYSTEMS & SERVICES - COMPANY PROFILE

Infratech Systems & Services was formed in January 1996 as a high technology company with the initial aim o f developing and marketing technology for monitoring the structural health of the world’s deteriorating infrastructure of bridges. Currendy Infratech is the recipient of funding from Auslndusby for a 3 year R&D project designed to fully develop this technology. Currendy the major areas o f activity for the company are:

* Developing and implementing monitoring and interpretation technologies * Developing, manufacturing, and marketing monitoring instrumentation * Design of stress laminated timber bridges * Project management for the construction and upgrading of timber bridges.

The creation of Infratech brought together recognised world experts from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, RJ Taylor Consulting in Sydney, and Blastronics in Brisbane. Within this group world class expertise in each of the above areas was achieved.

With offices in both Brisbane and Sydney, Infratech is already well established in the eastern states of Australia. Examples o f projects undertaken or being undertaken by Infratech are as follows:

1. Proof load testing of the Cox’s River bridges at Lithgow in NSW 2. Dynamic load testing of the Cameron Creek bridge at Raymond Terrace in NSW 3. Proof load testing of the Pine Rivers bridge at Bald Hills in Queensland 4. Monitoring the crack response of the bridge at Brushy Plains in Tasmania to traffic and the

environment

5. Monitoring the crack response of the bridge at Inglis River in Tasmania to traffic and the environment 6. The long term monitoring of the effects of differential temperatures on the cracking in 6 Tasmanian bridges 7. Design of stress laminated timber bridge at Lignum Creek in NSW 8. Design of stress laminated timber bridge at Lcycester Creek in NSW 9. Dynamic load testing of plank bridge at Goulbum in NSW

10. Proof load testing o f bridge at Maria Creek in NSW 11. Proof load testing o f bridge at Upper Warrell Creek in NS W 12. Proof load testing o f bridge at Weeroona Road in Sydney 13. Long term monitoring of the traffic loads and differential temperatures at Korns Crossing bridge in

NSW

14. Design of the deck replacement at St Albans bridge in NSW 15. Design of stress laminated timber bridge at Wallaby Rocks in NSW 16. Design of prototype stress laminated Queensland hardwoods timber bridge in Queensland.