Tag Archives: Data61

Nexxis wins AMGC backing for Magneto robotic technology development

Perth, Western Australia-based robotics company Nexxis has been awarded a A$675,000 ($491,420) Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Commercialisation Fund grant to assist its efforts commercialising its Magneto technology.

In August, Nexxis unveiled the world’s first fully design-approved EX-rated robotic camera inspection device – Magneto-EX. The spider-like device with its magnetic feet is the first developed system suitable for use in hazardous area inspections, according to Nexxis.

The A$675,000 grant recognises the value Nexxis is bringing to resources technology and critical minerals processing, one of the Federal Government’s six National Manufacturing Priorities, Nexxis says.

Nexxis Founder and Director, Jason De Silveira, said: “Receiving a share of the AMGC Commercialisation Fund will assist Nexxis create jobs, gain new market exposure and continue to drive innovation in the fast-emerging robotics and tech space. Our team is invested in research and development, engineering and manufacturing to develop transformational technologies across a range of sectors vital to Western Australia and Australia’s economic success.

“Robots such as our spider-like robotic crawler, Magneto, designed in our state-of-the-art headquarters in Perth, are revolutionising the energy and mining industries, putting Western Australian innovation on the global map.”

The funding will help accelerate the speed to commercialisation while allowing Nexxis to develop and scale the workforce required to be a global robotic technology company, the company says.

De Silveira said Nexxis had worked closely with partners NERA and CSIRO’s Data61 through the development of Magneto and were now positioning to take its latest technology to market.

“Our goal is to deliver leading-edge inspection, testing and measuring robots – among a range of other equipment – at fleet scale to Australia and the world across a range of industries,” he said.

“The AMGC Commercialisation Fund is helping us take those next steps.”

Nexxis unveils first EX-rated robotic camera device for hazardous area inspections

The world’s first fully design-approved EX-rated robotic camera inspection device – Magneto-EX – was officially unveiled in Perth, Western Australia, yesterday.

The brainchild of Western Australia-based robotics firm Nexxis, the spider-like device with its magnetic feet is the first developed system suitable for use in hazardous area inspections, according to Nexxis.

Nexxis’ managing director, Jason De Silveira, says Magneto-EX is a game changer for any industry where there is a need for hazardous, confined space inspections.

“Whether it’s operating at heights, deep underground or in the presence of toxic chemicals, industrial worksites are dangerous places,” he said. “And confined spaces pose the biggest risk in terms of death or injury. Anything that can be done to keep humans out of these environments is a great step forward.

“Until now, robotic inspections haven’t been possible in confined and hazardous spaces due to the risk of ignition. But Magneto-EX changes all that. With its design approved, EX-certification, our prototype can work safely and reliably in the most extreme conditions, alleviating the risk to human operators.”

Working in confined spaces is estimated to be 100-150 times more hazardous than operating on an open site. By their nature, confined spaces are not designed for people to work in with poor ventilation allowing for hazardous atmospheres to quickly develop.

“With its stable navigation and seamless movement, Magneto-EX can place its feet in small gaps and on narrow beams, adapting its body configuration to navigate complex geometry and through narrow apertures,” De Silveira says.

“We’re confident Magneto-EX will not only save lives but will also dramatically reduce downtime costs at an industry-wide level.”

Western Australia’s Minister for Innovation and ICT, the Hon Don Punch MLA, said the state government was a proud supporter of the Western Australia-based robotics firm.

“Nexxis’ Magneto-EX is a prime example of how the Western Australia’s robotics sector is thriving and competing globally,” Punch said.

“Innovation has an important role to play in growing and diversifying the state’s economy, and the Western Australian Government is committed to nurturing local innovators.”

Western Australia Chief Scientist Professor, Peter Klinken, added: “Nexxis is a prime example of how innovative and technological expertise can be found right here in Western Australia. It’s fantastic to have a world leading robotics company based in Western Australia and I look forward to seeing Magneto-EX make a real difference to safety levels in the resources sector and beyond.”

Magneto-EX has been developed with the financial assistance and industry support of NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) as well as CSIRO’s Data61 and SixDe.

NERA’s CEO, Miranda Taylor, said it had been exciting to help Nexxis on its journey.

“NERA’s support of Nexxis dates back to 2018 when they were a team of just eight, and it’s been wonderful to have been able to provide that early support to them as they have grown,” Taylor said. “We’re so excited about the Magneto-EX project which we think can both help cut costs but more importantly save lives.

“The next step is for Nexxis to partner with some early adopters in industry and trial and refine the device, all leading to a commercially available version sometime next year.

“Nexxis is helping to position Australia as a world-leader in automated robotic inspection research and manufacturing. They’re already exporting robotic parts to help with the clean-up at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Magneto-EX is a major step forward in safer inspections in the industry.”

CSIRO looks to drones, apps for survey success

Australia’s CSIRO believes the use of apps and drones could make surveying even the most isolated areas more efficient, easier, cheaper and safer.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has been working with industry and universities to explore how these two digital tools could transform mineral exploration in Australia and around the world.

One of these tools is the FAIMS, or Field Acquired Information Management Systems, mobile field app.

This automated system was originally developed at Macquarie University, in Australia, to record archaeology data, including samples, GPS coordinates, photos and notes. Using CSIRO’s paper-based data collection tools as a starting point, its developers have created a geochemistry module.

CSIRO Geoscience Analytic Team Leader, Dr Jens Klump, said: “When you use this app in the field, you know where you are, what the time it is, what you’re doing, who you are, what campaign you’re on.

“Any additional information then boils down to just a few drop-down menus, and maybe a note and taking a photo, and everything is documented. We had immediate take up because it saves so much time. Geochemists love it.”

CSIRO Team Leader for Minerals and Water, Dr Nathan Reid, has used the app in several major CSIRO projects, including a recent geochemical survey of the Nullarbor Plain, in southern Australia.

“By using the app, we shaved time by about 40 or 50%, which, when you’re using a helicopter, literally time is money with the amount of fuel you’re burning,” he says.

FAIMS improves data quality, accuracy and consistency by reducing human error during recording and transcribing, according to CSIRO. It also produces barcodes to stick onto sample bags, so researchers don’t need to write IDs and other details on them.

The app automatically uploads data onto a portable server, which increases data security and makes it easy for researchers to work in very remote locations, because they don’t need WiFi or phone networks, CSIRO said.

This means data can be processed quickly and strategic decisions can be made in close to real time, leading to more efficient operations and cost savings, CSIRO explained.

Dr Klump says: “Introducing this new technology into fieldwork really gives us the opportunity to make the whole process more dynamic and to feed back what we have learned from analysing the data much more quickly. This makes the whole exploration process much more efficient.”

FAIMS is relatively inexpensive, CSIRO says, so could benefit smaller companies by giving them more affordable options to produce better results. It could also make fieldwork safer, by reducing the time researchers spend in the field, and marking hazards and fencing-off areas.

Over the past few years, CSIRO has worked with several companies using the app, including the Geological Survey of Queensland and Geological Survey of New South Wales. While the focus so far has been on mineral exploration, Dr Reid believes FAIMS could be adapted for almost any industry that collects data outside.

“At the end of the day, this is just a data capturing mechanism. The idea is to make something that you can adapt to make a workflow,” he says.

In addition to FAIMS, CSIRO sees drones as promising exploration tools. CSIRO recently received its operator’s licence – the first large, interstate organisation in Australia to do so, it says – and has started collaborating with Monash University, in Victoria, on drone data processing.

According to Dr Klump, there’s a gap in the information that can be gathered from air- and space-borne surveys and ground-based surveys – and drones are ideal for filling it.

“Drones allow us to cover relatively large areas compared to somebody walking in the field and provide data at a much higher resolution than aircraft do, because they fly closer to the ground. It’s cheap, it’s high resolution and it’s fast,” he says.

Drones, like FAIMS, could be used to improve safety in exploration by identifying dangers like geohazards, landslides and sinkholes, CSIRO believes.

For example, Hovermap technology developed by CSIRO’s Data61 is giving operators insights beyond what the eye can see into areas that have not been mapped before. Hovermap’s advanced autonomy capabilities allow operators to unlock above and below ground data with confidence and safety, CSIRO says.

It also has the versatility to let users switch easily from drone to handheld use, backpack or vehicle-mounted scanning, enabling the collection of critical data both from the air and on the ground.

Currently, CSIRO is collaborating with industry and universities in Australia and overseas to develop and integrate FAIMS and drone technology, it says.

When it comes to FAIMS, Dr Reid says his team is looking to create a workflow generator and modules that can be tailored to individual company needs.

“We’re also looking at how to upgrade the hardware and server box, and make that into a simple, off-the-shelf product,” he says.

And when it comes to drones, he says the plan is to put more processing power on the aircraft to allow for data pre-processing and cleaning, without having to download raw data that needs to be processed later.

“A package of app, machine learning and drone could make exploration more accessible, because it would be easier and cheaper to produce high-quality data on relatively large scales compared to today,” he says.