Written by Laura Watson
AMSI Media and Communications Officer
If you don’t know Omni Tanker now, you soon will. From start-up to market leader, their innovation transformation is a timely reminder of what’s possible when research and industry come together.
“Universities provide access to world-class skills and facilities and industry provides impetus and demand for research. This circle of innovation is critical as manufacturers, such as Omni Tanker, seek to develop competitive, cutting-edge products that generate sales,” says Dr Luke Djukic, Omni Tanker Chief Technical Officer.
Since emerging on the NSW manufacturing scene in 2007, the chemical transport leader has had a meteoric journey to global success. Innovation capacity has been essential, most recently enabling them to conquer the European market.
Challenged with developing a versatile, lightweight safe composite tank to stringent European standards, Omni Tanker recently partnered with national postgraduate internship program, AMSIIntern. The program’s access to skilled postgraduates and academic mentors across all disciplines proved just what the team needed to take design to the next level.
“We were matched with Manudha “Thinu” Herath at a critical time in this project. To be able to so rapidly and seamlessly tap into his specialised engineering skills made a significant difference for Omni Tanker, and is one of the reasons AMSIIntern is so successful,” says Luke.
Thinu was involved development of both the structural design of the tank and its fire protection system. He also worked to manufacture a full-sized prototype of the 4000L tank used for further testing in Germany. He is keenly aware how rare such an opportunity is for students in his field.
“As an engineer it is rare to be given the opportunity to innovate to this standard. Europe has some of the best engineering standards in the world, to be tasked with helping develop a tank for this market at such an early stage in my career was extremely exciting,” said Thinu.
From concept and development to final product delivery, the project was a win-win experience with Thinu now a full-time member of the team.
“We greatly benefited from Thinu’s involvement in the project. He was able to offer a higher level of finite element analysis capability than we had previously, as well as improving design efficiency and reducing development,” Luke explains.
A highlight for Thinu and a key milestone for Omni Tanker, fire protection testing was recently undertaken on his tank in Germany.
“To have the opportunity to be part of the full design, development and testing process was very exciting. I found the experience of seeing how my theoretical expertise could be applied to affect real outcomes invaluable.”
With new challenges on the horizon, Omni Tanker plans to once again look to AMSIIntern for assistance. For Luke the decision is a no-brainer.
“We are confident that AMSIIntern will have access to the right intern and mentor for our next projects. Their extensive academic network means they can find the skillset we need.”
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