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Curtin laser innovation wins major science award

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A Curtin University-developed laser system to measure wear in giant mining crushers and grinding mills was a major winner at this week’s 2013 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

The MillMapper and CrusherMapper technology was developed by Curtin spin-off Scanalyse, eliminating the need for workers to climb inside and physically analyse wear and tear on machines used to crush rocks.

Scanalyse was sold to Finnish minerals and metals processing technology and services supplier Outotec earlier this year and, on Wednesday night, was awarded the Rio Tinto Eureka Prize for Commercialisation of Innovation.

“I’m delighted by this further recognition for Scanalyse, which is already one of the University’s great commercialisation success stories,” Rohan McDougall, Director of Curtin’s Office of IP Commercialisation and Scanalyse Board Member said.

“I’d like to again congratulate the development teams of Jochen Franke, Garth Johnson, Derek Lichti and Michael Stewart on the continued success of these products.

“Curtin prides itself on conducting high-quality research that has relevant and significant impact in the ‘real world’ and both MillMapper and CrusherMapper are fine examples of this.”

Instead of the previous potentially dangerous and time-consuming method of “manual labour”, Scanalyse’s technology involves three-dimensional laser systems that can measure 10 million points in just 30 minutes.

In an industry where downtime on a mine can cost $100,000 an hour, the saved time is vitally important.

Currently based in Bentley, Scanalyse was sold to Outotec in March and its products have been sold to mining operations in South-East Asia, Mongolia, Africa, South America, North America and Europe.

“Scanalyse illustrates a successful path from research to implementation,” Director of the Australian Museum, Frank Howarth said.

“What started as a work of inquiry at Curtin University has been very capably adapted into a large-scale commercial environment.”

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, science journalism and communication and school science.

This year the seventeen sponsored prizes include awards for agriculture, defence, infectious diseases and innovative use of technology.


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