Project Summary

Investigating and restoring capability to RAN hospital facilities.

HIFraser conducted an engineering assessment of the hospital facilities on-board one of the Royal Australian Navy’s vessels to identify compliance to Class Rules, Defence and Australian standards. HIFraser’s recommendations formed the basis for a Detailed Design Package to rectify the identified deficiencies and non-compliances of the hospital’s medical air system.



Royal Australian Navy Hospital Medical Air System Upgrade – 2019

Project Overview

  • In order to increase the reliability for this critical service to the hospitals, two medical grade breathing air compressors with 100% redundancy were specified for each ship.
  • The HIFraser Engineering Consulting team set about the challenging task of converting a storage room into a machinery space to integrate these compressors into the medical air system.
  • The HIFraser team designed the ventilation, fire protection, electrical and control systems to ensure a safe and optimal operation of the medical air compressors.
  • We drew upon our extensive systems engineering experience to conduct a Requirements Review against the customer’s functional objectives and applicable standards including AS2568, AS2896, Lloyd’s Register Rules, and DEF(AUST) 5000.


  • The greatest challenge of this project was the structural design.
  • HIFraser designed a modular frame and medical air distribution system to allow the two medical air compressors to be stacked whilst withstanding the operational loads and vibrations both from the compressors themselves and the ship’s structures.
  • The frame was modular to allow for it to be disassembled, manoeuvred through the limited on board access, and assembled within the small storage room available for this project.
  • Importantly vibration analysis was conducted to ensure that there was no harmonic resonance between the ship and the medical air compressors.
  • As a result of this analysis, the skid design was modified to provide additional stiffness in certain areas and avoid certain frequency modes present on the ship.
  • The HIFraser Repair and Overhaul team worked within the tight schedule window during the ship’s maintenance availability to manufacture and install the medical air system into both of the ships in the class. This included modifications to the compartment for additional ventilation and monitoring.


  • Once the system was installed, HIFraser commissioned the newly integrated medical air system.
  • The medical air system’s performance was tested and confirmed to be compliant with the Australian Standard for onshore hospital, thus providing the highest quality of medical air supply on board a navy vessel.

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