ASC Shipbuilding has signed a contract with SA company MG Engineering to build four modules that represent ship blocks in the Hunter class frigate.
The ‘mini-blocks’ will be used to test leading-edge manufacturing techniques that will be used to build the submarine hunting warships. Each six metre ‘mini-block’ will have similar features to a real ship block, including watertight doors, manholes, hatches, passageways and confined spaces.
The blocks will be installed at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s south before the end of this year. ASC Shipbuilding is partnering with Flinders University to research advanced manufacturing processes that will be adapted to the digital shipyard at Osborne.
Using the blocks, researchers will undertake a range of trials including conducting confined-space robotic blast and paint, implementing electronic tag boards, testing wireless connectivity and using various adhesives and paints.
The four blocks will also be used for training and to showcase research and technology opportunities to students.
As part of the ‘mini-ship’ block project, MG Engineering has contracted SA Indigenous company Murra Services to apply the protective coating on the blocks which will provide a training opportunity for one young employee.
“It’s really exciting for Murra Services to be involved with MG Engineering," Gavin Wanganeen, CEO Murra Services said. "My vision is to empower young Indigenous people to work alongside established, capable companies, giving them a taste for various trades while working on significant projects, like the Hunter program.
“As a young Indigenous person growing up in Salisbury, I was lucky to find football. Murra Services is all about creating training and employment opportunities for young people, and giving back to local Indigenous communities.”
“We are delighted to work with MG Engineering, a local business with years of experience in shipbuilding," ASC Shipbuilding Operations Director and Shipyard General Manager, Jim Cuthill, said. “Through Hunter, ASC Shipbuilding is committed to creating and developing 15-20 new Indigenous businesses, and we commend MG Engineering on creating opportunities for First Nation businesses – and we encourage other suppliers to do the same.
“Contracts like this underpin our effort to maximise Australian Industry Capability on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and to develop a continuous naval shipbuilding capability for Australia.”
“This is a unique project and we are thrilled to have collaborated with ASC Shipbuilding in developing the ‘mini-blocks’ concept, which will help to educate the next generation of shipbuilders in South Australia," Anthony Brdar, Managing Director from MG Engineering said. “ASC Shipbuilding has showcased innovative ideas and technology capabilities and we look forward to growing our involvement in Australia’s shipbuilding industry.”