Wednesday, 18 April 2018 08:47

Lindenow attacks new contract head-on

Lindenow company ZCG Scalar has won a multi-million dollar contract to supply high-end antennas for the Australian Defence Department. The awarding of the contract to ZCG, which has manufactured antennas since the 1970s, means the creation of 12 extra jobs for the business as production increases. The company presently employs 20 people and has warehouses in Brisbane and Perth. ZCG managing director, Garry Kelly, said he was looking forward to the challenge of producing an additional 48,000 aerials over the next five months to meet the contract requirements. The antennas will form part of the technology designed to keep troops safe from explosions in the field. The advanced troop protection system, designed by the Defence Science and Technology Group and manufactured by L3 Micreo in Brisbane, includes the custom made antennas that have been designed and tested at ZCG’s Lindenow head office. The locally made antennas are a critical component of the suite of robust troop protection devices specifically designed for use by Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces, for use by troops on foot and mounted in light vehicles. “The ZCG technical team spent six months last year working with our partners in Defence to develop antennas for devices that block radiofrequency transmission so enemy combatants can’t remotely trigger improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” Mr Kelly told the News. “Our antennas play an important role in keeping troops safe from IEDs in conflict zones around the world.” This is the second time the company has worked with Defence and L3 Micreo on this project, known as REDWING, and Mr Kelly said it gave the business an opportunity to be more innovative.

“Over the past two years, we have supplied more than 150,000 antennas, on time and on budget, for the first version of this technology,” he said. The new contact takes the business to a whole new level. “As a small rural enterprise, we had to step up and increase our capability so we were eligible to win larger, more complex defence contracts.” Mr Kelly, who is a radio-frequency expert, took over the company in 2004 and has progressed the business from its humble beginnings of making antennas for mobile phones and CB radios. Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, who is also the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, commended Garry and Sally-Anne Kelly for their continued commitment to Gippsland. He said ZCG was an example of a business being able to thrive from a regional base. “It is essential for local companies, such as ZCG to win major contracts, which help secure jobs, strengthen Australia’s capabilities and ensure the security of technology,” Mr Chester said. A couple of years ago, Mr Chester had the opportunity to visit Australian troops in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and said he was pleased to learn the locally-made product was already saving lives among Coalition forces in their battles with the Taliban. “They were very well received by the Coalition forces; it’s about providing additional protections from IEDs, which are the Taliban’s choice of weapon in many cases, so there’s no question that this is going to help to save lives and reduce the number of serious injuries in Afghanistan and other battle fields.” ZCG has worked to continually improve its systems to ensure it meets the minimum criteria for engaging with major defence players. It renovated and restructured its Lindenow head office and completed a lean manufacturing and continuous improvement program run by Melbourne consultants, OPTIM Improvement, which was co-funded by East Gippsland Shire Council. The program helps local businesses to structure and operate their workplaces to be more competitive in domestic and export markets. Today, ZCG offers premium off-the-shelf and customised solutions to clients around the world, providing everything from mobile antennas for use on vehicles and the marine industry to base stations for police and emergency towers. It also produces custom-designed broadcast antennas that enable radio and television broadcasters to deliver a high quality, targeted signal.