Sustainability, self-reliance, and compliance strengths focus northern Australia’s JM Switchboards on the future of vital infrastructure

JM Switchboard’s extensive expertise extends from vital defence and wastewater technology through to custom-built solutions for major industry groups, including resources, which depend on excellence in manufacture, reliability, and service.

A company with markets extending over huge tracts of northern Australia and beyond, JM Switchboards, is bringing the benefits of its strong compliance and reliability ethos to key remote and urban infrastructure installations where premium quality, dependability and service are first priorities.

Headquartered in Cairns, JM Switchboards handles projects in areas of Government and industry priority, including water and wastewater, infrastructure, and defence – as well as civil, commercial, and industrial projects benefitting from its experience and reputation for quality and compliance with Australian Standards.

JM Switchboards is a pioneer in the design, manufacture, repair, and installation of electrical switchboards across the industrial, commercial, and civil sector. “We have delivered projects as far afield as Garden Island Naval base in Sydney for maintenance and fabrication work, through to water and waste water projects in some of the most remote of the Torres Strait Island group and resources work in PNG . When you are operating a thousand, or even several thousand kilometres from home base, you have to make sure your supply chains and quality are top notch. There is no room for error,” says JM Switchboards.

JM Switchboards’ work for the Cairns City Council’s new Sewage Pump Station included the fabrication, supply, and installation of a 3200A main switchboard and motor control centres combination. The scope of work included the supply and installation of three 560kW variable speed drives, hydrostatic level transducer and float switches, three 560 kW submersible pumps, PLC modifications, FAT/SAT testing and the commissioning of the pump station, ancillaries and commissioning the generator.

“Everything we are involved in revolves around quality and compliance. We never would have been considered for the work in Sydney, for example, unless we passed a rigorous selection process that qualified us for naval work at the highest level. This is important to us, because Cairns itself is an area of major naval and maritime expansion,” says the company.

Rigorous adherence to Standards is also important to the major industries JM Switchboards serves, which, in addition to water and defence, include manufacturing, mining and resources, sugar milling, construction and engineering, oil, gas and energy, rail and health. The company’s Far North Queensland region is also the focus of major new Government water security and sustainability projects, which are an area where JM Switchboards’ team has considerable expertise.

General Manager Ken Maynard and the company’s team of 18 skilled electrical switchboard and contracting staff range as far afield as projects for Rio at Weipa, and jobs out to the Gulf of Carpentaria and South to Townsville. Clients of JM Switchboards include Cairns Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Reginal Council, Department of Defence, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Mareeba Shire Council, Monnier PNG, Oakey Creek (Glencore), Pogera Mine PNG, Rio Tinto (Weipa), Sunwater, Torres Strait Regional Council, Townsville City Council, Tully Sugar, and Charters Towers Regional Council. An electrician by trade, Ken’s own experience before joining JM 14 years ago included work with BHP and building automation systems, areas which required the same dedication as JM Switchboards’ team to world-class standards of work, with full traceability and compliance.

Ongoing JM Switchboards’ civil, commercial and industrial projects have also helped businesses to futureproof themselves against rising energy prices, through the use of efficient switchboard metering technologies and variable speed drives. “Part of our role as an industry authority is not only to supply technology exactly suited to their current needs, but also to offer ways in which they can prepare themselves for the future,” says Ken Maynard. “This is achieved by drawing on our industry knowledge of where the future is going in terms of energy and sustainability, for example, and compliance requirements, including those contained in the far-reaching AS/NZS 61439 Standard.

JM Switchboards is also a supporter of the National Electrical Switchboard Manufacturers Association, NESMA, which leads industry awareness of the latest safety and compliance issues, including AS/NZS 61439, which is the most important change in the low voltage switchboard design and manufacturing industry for more than 20 years.

“When we first looked at NESMA five years ago we joined up because they were very much on the same page of us with regards to the importance of compliance and widespread support and education through NESMA. What they do and how they spread the message just makes sense.

“The Standards that NESMA promotes offer industry manufacturers and customers safeguards for the future, which are vital to compliance and traceability in all applications. Not all switchboards are manufactured to the same high standards, and it is important that customers know the difference in their Statutory safety and compliance obligations.

“Compliance is now not optional – it is mandatory. If switchboards are sold into the market that are non-compliant, it is an issue that will come back to bite. NESMA’s role in getting the message out there is critical at a time when managing energy, safety and sustainability are more important than they have ever been before, says Ken.

JM Switchboards’ external accreditations include ISO9001 Quality, AS/NZ 4801 Safety, ISO45001 Safety, ISO14001 environment, as well as JAS-ANZ joint accreditation and Gold Master Electrician qualification.

Facilities include:

  • 1457 square metres of land
  • 800 square metres of workshop
  •  100 square metres of office
  • 150 square metres mezzanine floor
  • Bus bar bending and punching facilities
  • Metal manufacturing facilities (welding, cutting, fabrication) Dedicated test Bay

JM Switchboards’ quality focus includes design validation and full factory acceptance testing, ensuring the products leave our facility work fault-free and hassle-free. With the right people, processes and technology, JM Switchboards can assume full responsibility, from the initial concept and design stage to post-installation support and maintenance. JM Switchboards offers a 10 year reliability guarantee.