This post was originally published on September 2020.

With the US and China in the grip of a trade war—and manufacturing disrupted globally by COVID-19, now is a great time to manufacture electronics in Australia. But some companies have long realised the benefits of partnering with local manufacturers. For these lucky few, it’s business as usual.

One such company that’s been enjoying continuity in manufacture is experiential design consultancy, Art Processors.

For seven years, Tekt has helped Art Processors realise their vision for a rich, immersive visitor experience within museums and other attractions. Tekt has developed and manufactured unique electronic hardware offerings that meet the demand of rigorous daily use as required by cultural spaces.

The relationship started with the development of bluetooth location beacons in 2013, long before Apple released products like the iBeacon. These market leading beacons were initially made to support the unique space and custom tour guide system at MONA in Tasmania. They are still in use today. Next, Tekt went on to create a mass charging solution (TAP-109) for the 1000 iPods used in the same guide system.

The TAP-109 Charging Bay system provides rapid charging for a fleet of iPods in any commercial setting where mass charging is imperative.

Key to this partnership is a shared appreciation for technology’s potential to solve practical and experiential challenges. Another crucial factor is Tekt and Art Processors’ proximity to one another. As both companies are located in Melbourne’s inner north, Tekt has been able to rapidly create and iterate through prototypes that allow Art Processors to both see and touch the products they envision. This has resulted in a highly productive and trusting relationship. Tekt’s capacity to deliver solutions quickly has enabled Art Processors to become leaders in their field.

Industrial Designer Charles O’Connor (above) and Electronic Engineer Sahil Khanna build and inspect the TAP-109 iPod charging units in Abbotsford, Melbourne.

Art Processors and Tekt have progressively evolved this charging solution further, so that it can be used at a larger scale—and across the globe. The processes and technology developed through Tekt’s relationship with Art Processors are now deployed across the world in familiar cultural spaces such as the Smithsonian Institute in the US.

There are of course also financial benefits to manufacturing locally. The geopolitical tensions between China and the US are creating barriers to market entry due to new tariffs and import duties. These are not applied if products are made in Australia and shipped direct to the US. If you’re wanting to export to the US compared with say China, it’s going to be cheaper and easier than it has been previously. This is an advantage that Art Processors and other companies making in Australia can enjoybased on their long term commitment to companies like Tekt.

Through strong local partnerships both companies have continued to grow and enjoy worldwide recognition as leaders in technology creation. Now the average user experience in cultural spaces isn’t average at all, but extraordinary and inspirational.

About Art Processors

Art Processors is an award-winning creative technology company with an international reputation for enhancing visitor experiences. Their work strives to create a harmony between people, place, content and technology.

Main photo courtesy of Art Processors: The Spirit of ANZAC travelling exhibition uses technology built by Tekt Industries.