Rockstarter – Revolutionising Mining Power

  • 2019

  • Engineering

Designed By:

Commissioned By:


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Rockstarter is a multi-function outlet starter that can power loads from 415 to 1000 Volts. Rockstarter’s integrated approach offers a more versatile solution compared to traditional designs. Designed for customers in the mining, tunnelling and industrial sectors, Rockstarter is the latest innovation from Australia’s leading integrated electrical technology equipment provider, Ampcontrol.

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  • Rockstarter was developed following joint visits to mine sites by Ampcontrol’s Sales and Engineering teams, where consultation with customers revealed large starter ‘graveyards’, prompting the question why? Further investigation revealed challenges faced by mine operations, specifically relating to the restrictions associated with traditional starters, including the way they are engineered and procured. Traditional electrical starters used in hard rock/metalliferous mines are designed to power specialised equipment types such as fans, drills or pumps. The tender process is also long and costly due to custom starter engineering specifications. This limits a starter lifespan, resulting in short-term capital investments for operators.

  • Driven by a desire to address customer challenges, it took a multi-disciplinary team of Electronic and Electrical Engineers plus Industrial Designers 30 months to bring Rockstarter to life. The design was shaped by customer feedback including a desire for a standardised solution that offered improved monitoring, functionality and usability. This type of successful result is only possible with an industry focussed, ‘ground up’ design approach. Ultimately Rockstarter delivers a completely versatile and standardised solution, which can be used to start almost anything; it’s reusable and scalable, while satisfying statutory testing requirements through the use of innovative design principles.

  • Rockstarter makes a significant positive commercial impact for operators who will see a reduction in capital and operational costs due to Rockstarter’s standardised technology approach. Traditionally starters are moved into storage, re-engineered or used for parts and create a ‘graveyard’ of starters at significant cost to the operation versus Rockstarter’s standardised solution. This combined with a reduction in the procurement process including the removal of lengthy tender documentation will increase business performance for operation based tendering, commercial and purchasing teams. This standardised approach is already gaining momentum, with Ampcontrol increasing its market share in this competitive environment.

  • When developing Rockstarter the value proposition was clear, Ampcontrol had the ability to bring together market leading technology in an original way; resulting in a re-usable, scalable and standardised solution for customers. Drawing on Ampcontrol’s depth of electrical and electronics expertise, we were able to incorporate the latest technology in electrical protection systems addresses earth continuity, earth leakage, earth fault lockout, frozen contactor, loss of vacuum, overload, short circuit and more. Higher engineering control design was implemented to improve the functional safety level, such as arc fault mitigation instead of arc fault containment. The design team spent considerable time ensuring the user interface was easy to understand and operate, incorporating touchscreen technology to make the user experience seamless. The robust, innovative touchscreen is able to operate in harsh environments, including surface contamination such as sand, oil or water plus the ability to withstand significant levels of impact or damage including cuts and shattered glass. Incorporating this technology in a starter is a world first and will continue to push the industry forward as they consider how prioritising user experience can inform future designs.