(Not so) mean machines. Brisbane’s Brad Parsons gets the most from industrial equipment

Did you know there are 2.6 billion electric motors in the world using 43% of the planet’s electricity?

Brad Parsons does and he realised if these motors or machines aren’t functioning efficiently, there is an instant and huge impact on the world’s precious resources.

Brad Parsons
“We want to change the way industries operate,” Brad says.

So the 47 year old father of two founded MOVUS, to develop FitMachine®: the ‘FitBit® for Industrial Equipment’ to continuously monitor machine health and predict failures, before they happen.

FitMachine is a sensor, cloud and artificial intelligence solution, made and invented in Brisbane.

It measures motor vibration, temperature and noise to give operators an instant online health assessment and real time diagnostic data of their machinery.

“It sounds ambitious and grandiose but if we can monitor machines 24/7 and predictively detect failures then we can change the life cycle of machines.”

Quitting his job two years ago and starting industrial solutions company MOVUS, Brad and his team launched FitMachine in 2016.

Built for use across all industries the FitMachine technology is designed to check the operating efficiency of all motors and machines, which often need weekly or monthly checking by an engineer in remote, dangerous or unpleasant places.

Recently FitMachine sensors were installed on sewage systems at Brisbane Airport to monitor the efficiency of pumps taking sewage from aeroplanes. Work previously done by committed engineers can now be done from the comfort of their desks.

“No one wants to go in there,” Brad says.

“You don’t want to put humans in that situation, so the FitMachine sensor can monitor it. It is able to instantly tell us if there is a problem.”

https://www.iothub.com.au/news/movus-wants-to-simplify-industrial-iot-410708.


To get FitMachine off the ground Brad received a $100,000 grant from the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund, which has been crucial in allowing MOVUS to create a prototype and get the invention out in the field.

He also received funds from a Commercialisation Australia Grant and he and his team work from offices at the University of Queensland iLab Program.

The investors, technology partners, designers and manufacturers behind FitMachine are all based in Brisbane and Brad is proud of the knowledge and expertise available in Queensland.

“We’ve all had global experience but have moved back to Brisbane,” he says.

“There are very few places on the planet better to build this type of business than Brisbane. Queensland has one of the world’s largest coal seam gas fields, our natural resources businesses are globally significant, the worlds’ largest miners are here. We have some of the best engineering capability on the planet.”

Brad is so trusting of the capabilities of Queensland talent he employs students from the University of Queensland before they even graduate.

“It is exciting and scary; these kids can do so much,” he says.

“One of our interns has been up until 3am trying to figure out how to compensate for gravity — the skills required to do that are phenomenal! We keep bringing in really clever people and they are right on our doorstep.”

Brad’s goal with FitMachine is to change the way global industry operates; from a system of building machines, using them, then throwing them away — to a system of building quality machines for life.

He and his team want to help build and monitor industrial equipment that lasts longer into the future for the sustainability of industry, but more importantly for the health of our people and our planet.

“We don’t want to see machines which are bought, used and dumped in the ground. We want machines that are sold and monitored throughout their life, so in the end it doesn’t go in the bin — it goes back to the manufacturer and puts the onus back on them,” Brad says.

And he won’t stop there. Brad is now determined to help the next generation of Queensland innovators to act on their ideas and create jobs for the future.

His advice to anyone with an invention or a solution is to tell as many people as possible until you find people to help you on your journey.

“Share your vision, share your ideas and share your plan for the future,” Brad says.

“If it’s worthwhile and will have impact, people will gravitate towards you. Find people who are smarter than you and surround yourself with them.”
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