• Dingo is hoping to bring its predictive maintenance software into Defence. (Supplied)
    Dingo is hoping to bring its predictive maintenance software into Defence. (Supplied)

A common refrain in Australia's effort to improve sovereignty in defence industry is that we should capitalise on our expertise in adjacent industries. In other words, look at similar areas in which we're globally competitive and bring those technologies into defence.

One obvious area in which Australia excels is resource extraction – mining, oil and gas, wind – and Brisbane-based Dingo is a major software player in those industries around the globe. The company provides predictive maintenance services on mining trucks, wind turbines and more for heavyweights such as Bombardier, Siemens, Rio Tinto, Hitachi and AngloAmerican, and is now looking to bring that software into the ADF.

"Dingo is currently managing the health of over $13 billion worth of heavy vehicles worldwide," Ron Parrello, Dingo's Managing Director Defence, said to ADM. "Mainly in mining, and we have a presence in Australia, Canada, the US, Chile and South Africa."

Dingo also has history in defence industry: Trakka's predecessor FleetOil was used to support oil sampling and health analysis of the Chinook fleet out of Oakey in the early 2000s.

Now, Dingo's cloud-based Trakka software monitors the wear and tear on heavy vehicles and assets and is able to integrate into existing enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP S/4HANA, which is currently deploying as the base ERP system across the whole Australian government.

"Trakka analyses information from multiple sources," Parrello explained. "It could be an oil sample, vibration analysis, or heat monitoring, and all that information is recorded in the ERP and given to Dingo to put through Trakka and run predictive analysis.”

"Trakka has profiles of each type of equipment it supports. So regardless of whether it’s a wind turbine or the gearbox on a truck or a military vehicle, the software looks for deviations from the norm."

According to Parrello, Dingo's move into defence is motivated by the current pace of vehicle replacements happening in the ADF, which includes huge programs such as Land 400 and Land 121.

"Army's maintenance program on those older vehicles is built around scheduled maintenance and failure repair," Parrello said. "But with new and modern platforms coming in, there's an opportunity to bring the intelligence within the vehicles' health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) into Trakka to provide usable information for operators."

The company believes that its expertise and experience in mining translates into Defence, which is the largest operator of oversize and over-mass vehicles in the country.

"The mining industry has large vehicles and lots of them," Parrello said. "Defence has a similar equipment profile. It makes sense that the equipment can be monitored in the same way."

Currently, Dingo is partnered with ECLIPS Logistics on a contract with the Defence Innovation Hub to work on a condition-based maintenance support system, and is looking to work with ECLIPS and other OEMs on using Trakka as part of similar support systems for existing and future vehicle fleets.

"We have a commercial off-the-shelf version of Trakka we'd offer for the in-service fleets, which is essentially what we use in mining but configured for Defence," Parrello said. "Certainly the Land 121 Phase 3B vehicles, assisting in maintaining the ASLAV fleet until its withdrawal from service, the Bushmasters, and potentially helping maintain the M113s until they're withdrawn as well. We could deploy it across 100-200 vehicles in six weeks.

"With new projects, we're looking to assist Hanwha Defense Australia on the self-propelled guns under Land 8116 and we're supporting its bid for Land 400 Phase 3, specifically with the off-board health and usage monitoring system."

According to Parrello, the company is looking forward to engaging with Army and industry at Land Forces next week, and also has an eye on the US Army's SPARTN program.

"That's bringing predictive maintenance into robotic combat vehicles," Parrello said. "By extension, we would look at the same equivalent program here in Australia."

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