Bright lights, big exports: Coolon’s shining global success

Headquartered in the regional centre of Hallam, Victoria, electronics manufacturer Coolon exports its purpose-built lighting solutions to mining and architectural clients across the world. 

Coolon is redefining safety and productivity in the global mining and industrial sectors. 

The advanced electronics manufacturer specialises in robust and purpose-built LED lighting systems for harsh environments such as extreme heat, humidity, salt, vibration, impact, dust and voltage spikes. 

‘Innovation is at the core of what our company is about,’ says Coolon’s Director of Partnerships Taya Permezel. ‘We choose to invest in local talent and have built a reputation for creating the highest-quality products in our chosen market segments.’ 

From Hallam to the world 

Headquartered in the regional centre of Hallam, Victoria, Coolon is a preferred supplier to mining giants across the globe. 

Focusing efforts on exports to Latin America, Coolon established an office in Chile 10 years ago. 

‘We chose Chile as our primary exporting destination because of the support we received from Austrade initially, and the ongoing support from Global Victoria,’ says Permezel. ‘Both organisations have been fantastic.’ 

Since then, the company has enjoyed a significant increase in sales to Chile. Other important export markets include Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, the US, Canada and UAE. 

Smart light technology puts Coolon on the map 

In 2021, Coolon launched a new generation of smart lights enabled by its Brilliant Connected Lighting (BCL) technology. 

The lights can automatically create a wireless mesh network across a mining or industrial site. This mesh network serves as a platform to enable multiple industrial applications and Internet of Things (IoT) services. 

For instance, it offers the ideal backbone for asset tracking. Gaining real-time site-wide visibility enables site management to instantly locate any tagged item anywhere on site, including indoors and underground, with relative precision. This maximises asset utilisation, efficiency and productivity. 

‘Many IoT technologies are already available on the market. However, complexity, and the need for large investments for deployment and maintenance, make it difficult for companies to adopt the rising IoT options on the market. This is what Coolon’s BCL technology solves,’ says Permezel. 

‘When our customers upgrade their existing lights as part of regular maintenance, they gain access to these additional benefits.’ 

Homegrown hero

All of Coolon’s products are manufactured locally. 

‘Coolon’s vision has always been to revive and improve Australia’s sovereign advanced manufacturing capabilities. To this end, we use local supply chains as much as possible. We manufacture our product end-to-end in Hallam,’ says Permezel. 

‘This maintains control over quality and IP. It also means we can adapt to challenges in real time, creating sophisticated advanced manufacturing custom solutions for complex client problems.’ 

Coolon plans to increase its capabilities by bringing in new processes, expanding its premises and investing in manufacturing technologies not currently available in Australia. 

Creating regional careers

Coolon is helping grow Australia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities by creating local jobs. 

‘A company is only as strong as its people. Investment in human capital, upskilling, training and hiring talent is a key priority now and into the future,’ says Permezel. 

‘We develop our staff professionally and technically, and engage in community programs to encourage young students into STEM careers.’ 

The company has coached university students via the Global Victoria Intellect Program’s Global Trade Accelerator and Job Smart Edge program. 

It also partnered with the City of Casey to host factory tours to bolster students’ interest in STEM and advanced manufacturing. 

A focus on R&D

Coolon invests heavily in R&D and is always developing new products and technologies. 

‘Drawing on almost 30 years of experience in electronics design and manufacturing, we’re reshaping our business to do more for our customers,’ says Permezel. ‘Key to this is having proximity to real users of our technology. It means we can understand first-hand the gaps and opportunities on mine sites and bring our multidisciplinary R&D expertise to solving problems.’ 

Coolon is currently expanding its R&D team to hasten an exciting cloud platform development. 

‘We are also accelerating our roadmap of new product development in smart lighting and communications,’ adds Permezel. 

Australian Export Awards the most prestigious of its kind

Permezel says winning the Resources and Energy Australian Export Award 2022 presents a great opportunity to meet like-minded businesses exporting into similar markets. This allows for shared learnings and cross-collaboration both domestically and abroad. 

‘The Australian Export Awards is the most prestigious award program of its kind, with recognition available at state and national levels. Award recognition reminds us why we put in the dedication, love, effort and time into creating cutting-edge technologies with a long-term view, rather than prioritising short-term fast profits,’ she says. 

‘It may be easier and more financially lucrative in the short term to import and resell products than it is to build something from raw components. But advanced manufacturing is exactly what Australia needs to make complex, high-quality products locally.’

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