First Hand Experience Solving a Real World Problem.

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What started out as a concern for mine workers’ safety while conducting routine tests on heavy machinery on a mine site in Muswellbrook, has turned into a hugely successful business not just in the Hunter Valley but also overseas in less than four years.

28-year-old Luke Dawson was a heavy mobile plant mechanic out at Mt Arthur mine at Muswellbrook in 2018 when he found himself quite concerned that workers were still being exposed to serious or even fatal injuries when undertaking routine pressure testing of hydraulic equipment.

He was onsite routinely checking hydraulic pressure in machinery at the time himself, and he believed there had to be a better way.

“After working for Australia’s leading Caterpillar dealer and on many mine sites in the Hunter Valley, I saw firsthand the need to develop technology to test heavy plant machinery from a safe distance,” said Luke.

In his spare time over the 18 months that followed, Luke started working on developing specialist wireless testing solutions that allowed workers to maintain heavy machinery from a distance and not be exposed to any risks or serious injury.

ATCF 27 Safe Gauge 2

The team at The Melt at Warners Bay helped Luke in the initial phases of his project. In 2020 SafeGauge launched its first product to market – the SafeTest PT4 kit which is a Bluetooth kit that is used to wirelessly test hydraulic pressure from up to 50m away. The second product they launched was the SafeTest Dial Indicator which is a smart tool measuring wear on heavy machinery components improving the accuracy and reliability of readings compared to others on the market.

ATCF 27 Safe Gauge 3

“SafeGauge aims to improve the safety and efficiency of testing heavy machinery. Previously completed by technicians who were often exposed to the line of fire SafeGauge has developed and produced a wireless system that disconnects the technician from danger,” said Luke.

Not only do the products disconnect the technician from danger, but they also reduce the testing time by 80%.

The team at The Melt helped Luke and SafeGauge get their product to the stage where it could be pitched for capital funding and in 2021 SafeGauge received $1.6 million to move their start-up company to the next level.

That was enough to set SafeGauge up in a workshop of their own at Beresfield.

Since its inception, SafeGauge has won numerous awards and the list keeps growing – they’ve been nominated and won awards through the Hunter Manufacturing Awards and the Good Design Australia awards. The most recent accolades were winning the 2022 NSW Small Business of the Year Award at the NSW Mining Industry and Suppliers Awards and only just this year being named as a finalist in the 2023 Hunter Safety Awards.

SafeGauge is incredibly popular at mines in the Hunter Valley with the company supplying their smart tools to around 13 sites in the Hunter plus 6 OEM workshops and a part of many field service team toolkits. It didn’t take long for word to get out overseas either with SafeGauge now also supplying their product to businesses in eleven other countries including New Zealand, the United States and Mongolia.

Luke said the best thing about their products is the simplicity for its user.

“Our aim is develop easy to use products that solve a real problem – designed with the technician in mind, allowing them to complete high risk tasks safely,” said Luke.

SafeGauge plans to continue growing its business both here and overseas to make the mining industry an even safer place for employees.

Luke added that “growing further in North America, working closely with their key customers to solve new safety and efficiency problems in the workplace” is what they plan to do next.

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