Kent Town-based advanced technology company VALO is helping Norwood Oval achieve its ambitions to become truly carbon neutral, while also heightening the game day experience for AFLW and SANFL fans.
The Norwood Oval upgrade has so far seen over 300 lineal metres of VALO’s impact-resistant Horizon LED visual display screens installed around the oval’s perimeter.
The stadium lights will soon be replaced with VALO’s ultra high-powered Zenith Gen-V units, with installation completed in time for the start of the AFLW season.
VALO CEO and founder Aaron Hickmann says this will enable the facility to reduce its energy use for lighting by 80 per cent and reduce its carbon footprint by swapping out annually printed sponsorship and advertising panels for the LED ones.
The oval is also partnering to install solar panels and batteries to power the lighting and screens.
With the lighting engineered to perform for more than 72,000 hours – equivalent to 8-hours of daily use for 24 years – and warrantied for 10 years, the investment is a “no brainer”.
Hickmann believes it is important for the lighting sector to bring manufacturing back to Australia and support local suppliers.
“Manufacturing locally creates numerous jobs and saves substantial lead times and delivery costs,” he says
The company’s $8 million investment in its new Kent Town advanced manufacturing facility includes an automated printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) line, data logging for traceability, and a testing facility.
Next on the cards for VALO is a move in to the US, where Hickmann says the total available market for stadia and sports grounds is fifty times greater than that of Australia.
“The United States is nicknamed ‘land of the sports’, so we aim to be there by the end of 2022 with an office on the West Coast,” he says.
“We’re targeting sports projects first, but we may also look at airports and seaports.
“Then the plan is to organically grow into Europe and the Middle East markets… exporting an Australian made product to the world.”
Also in the pipeline is VALO’s launch of commercial drone operations for lighting system maintenance.
Meanwhile, the company is continuing to innovate, cooperating with university PhD programs to undertake world leading research in mass-scale production technologies.
The first of these has explored leveraging recent advancements in nanomaterials to improve heat transfer and dissipation, to deliver an even lighter, brighter, more energy efficient light in the future.
The work was supported by the Australian Federal Government’s Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and the National Research Internships Program.