Tasmanian success story, Liferaft Systems Australia, is enjoying international sucess in the marine safety industry through the research and development of world-class marine systems and products, with their most recent success being a world first development –an inflatable slide that can be used in conjunction with the liferaft.
Based in Hobart, Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) is a privately owned company established in 1992, specifically for the design and manufacture of Marine Evacuation Systems (MES) and large capacity liferafts. The LSA Head Office and production centre are both housed locally at Derwent Park, supported by two offices based in Europe and North America.
Initially creating life rafts for Tasmanian business INCAT, LSA have expanded from servicing one Tasmanian company to now employing 50 full-time employees and creating export revenue of approximately $10 million each year.
LSA was formed by a small group of marine industry professionals who identified the need for a revolutionary approach to the design and performance of marine evacuation systems, by pioneering a simple-slide based Marine Evacuation System designed to deliver passengers and crews directly into large capacity liferafts.
Since this time, Managing Director Mike Grainger and his team have gone on to become the first manufacturer in the world to design and build an inflatable liferaft to support up to 100 people, and have also developed an inflatable slide that connects directly to the internationally-approved liferaft – a world first development.
Mr Grainger believes this research and development has not only been pivotal in developing new products for new and existing markets, but also for improving the existing product range over time – products that are installed on a large number of vessel sizes, including conventional and high speed passenger ferries, military vessels and large private yachts.
“Research and development is an integral part of our ethos and is crucial to the continued success and evolution of the company,” said Mr Grainger.
Much of LSA’s cutting edge work was made possible by the AusIndustry research and development tax incentive, a program that helps businesses offset some of the costs of research and development investment.
“Thanks to this research, we were the first company in the Australian marine industry to have European Union approval,” Mr Grainger said.
“We were also the first to supply our vessels to the UK Royal Navy for installation on their new Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier vessels, the first of which is to be launched in the coming year.
“We are currently working on a new development that we also expect to receive funding for in the near future.”