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When second choice is more than good enough

A SMALL engineering firm’s revolutionary iron-ore transport wagon has beaten some big engineering names to take out this year’s Institution of Engineers (WA Division) Award. And to make the award more memorable, the winning project was a second-choice entry.

Lynx Engineering’s subsidiary LynxRail’s won the praise of the engineering community and several iron-ore companies for its New Generation Wagon, which won the overall prize as well as the Small Projects Award.

The design is the first significant change in more than 50 years, and while the cart is lighter and holds more volume, the company’s joint managing director, Kris Kilian, said the outside dimensions had to remain the same.

“You can’t change the shape of the wagon because of the iron ore companies’ loading and un-loading facilities. To change that would be billions of dollars,” he said.

“We could not change the external dimension but we redesigned the boundaries. We extended the volumetric amount so that there was more room inside but the outside did not change.

“We also made it lighter. Overall we reduced the weight of the box by 30 per cent and the overall weight by 10 per cent.”

Mr Kilian said his firm used the most advance engineering standards possible, including computer simulations and the use of sensors in the wagons full functionality.

BHP has been the main beneficiary of the project with the LynxRail team working with it through the development phase to complete the wagons to industry requirement.

Mr Kilian said he had received interest from several resource companies in Australia and over-seas.

“BHP took 350 on top of an initial 109. They are looking now at getting a further 120,” he said.

The New Generation Wagon was a back-up entry for the West Perth based company.

Mr Kilian said the Automotive Train Examiner (ATEx) was the first-choice entry but was not ready when entries became due.

“We are finalising a more challenging product. It is video imaging technology that ... takes pictures of trains at high speed and picks up all faults on the train,” he said.

LynxRail’s New Generation Wagon was chosen over category project winners Construction of the Harvey Dam, Esperance Port Upgrade, West Angelas Process Plant and Car Dumper and many other high-calibre entries.

p Full winners list, see For the Record, page 25.

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