Founded in Warrnambool Victoria, Tasweld Engineering is on the cusp of making history and creating new markets with its revolutionary RAM, or Rotated Arc Mixer which the SME developed in collaboration with the CSIRO. Tasweld has been working on this with the CSIRO for four and a half years now.
The RAM is an industrial mixer with the ability to mix thick viscous fluids such as paints, foods, cosmetics or explosives, the only one of its kind in the world. Conventional mixing technologies, such as static mixers, can clog and develop material build-up. This can result in production downtimes. But the RAM, which works with two cylinders, one inside the other, mixes materials without clogging or destroying ingredients.
It has been commercialised by Tasweld with the financial and management assistance provided by the Advanced Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing.
Under the licensing agreement with the CSIRO, Tasweld will use the RAM to target the food industry which covers a wide variety of sectors, from dairy to confectionary to pet food. The processed food and beverage industry is Australia’s largest manufacturing industry and growth in the value of output has averaged around 2 per cent a year over the past ten years.
The RAM uses 60 to 90 per cent less energy than conventional devices while at the same time, potentially producing a better product.
Tasweld Engineering director Richard Parkinson says a prototype of the the RAM is now being trialled at a food production company. To commercialise it, Tasweld is taking it from the laboratory to an industrial setting. “They have some issues with the current mixing technologies so they are very keen to try this technology to see if it can improve the product quality,’’ Parkinson says.
Tasweld is looking forward to taking the RAM through some product trials “It mixes difficult to mix viscous fluids. In this particular case, we are doing plant trials with a local company to validate the technology,” he says.
“Once we get a commercial sized mixer in place and have the product trials and proven it, then we can go to market with a proven product,’’ he says. “It’s a matter of proving the technology in a full sized industrial environment rather than a laboratory.”
The reality about this technology however is that it will be different with every different company using it. “It will change within any client’s application, depending on the throughput, depending on the viscosity, depending on the type of product,’’ he says. “It’s not a one mixer fits all, each one is going to be purpose built.”
That puts Tasweld in a strong position commercially when the product finally goes to market. Parkinson hopes that after the trials and validation testing, the product will hit the market early next year.
While Tasweld plans to sell it to food companies in Australia and New Zealand, it plans to take the unique technology to the world.
“The food industry in Australia only represents two per cent of the global market so it’s going to be more in the United States and Europe, they will be our major target markets,’’ Parkinson says.