The Blast Furnace is a monthly meetup, competition & education session

aimed at all levels of programmers.

Next Event
Our events are held monthly, check here for the next events time & schedule.

Each Blastfurnace event is organised into three main areas. Introduction to coding for beginners, coding competitions for intermediate skill levels & project-based collaborations for advanced coders.


11th March, 2021


6:30pm - 9pm


Dashworks Makespace

Industrial IoT with Senquip
This month, Norman Ballard - electronics engineer, self-proclaimed Technocrat, Innovator, and problem solver, will be teaching us how to utilise programmable telemetry devices for the field! A valuable in-demand skill you do not want to miss out on. Norman is the founder and CEO of Senquip. Senquip manufactures programmable telemetry devices such as the ORB-X1 shown below. The ORB-X1 can connect to almost any industrial sensor or system, allowing remote sensor data to be available anywhere in the world. Users can write their own JavaScript on the ORB to process measurements, create custom events and control connected systems. Be sure to join us this Thursday for an expert-led crash course on telemetry devices and how you can harness them for real-world applications.

Norman Ballard

Norman Ballard, electronics engineer, self-proclaimed Technocrat, Innovator, and problem solver has worked as an Electronics Engineer for the last 23 years. After completing a Master’s Degree in Electronics Engineering at the University of Cape Town, Norman worked as an design engineer at General Electric where he learned good design practice and the importance of rigorous systems; he then moved into the world of sales, working for Avnet Electronics as a Product manager and then as Director of the Semiconductor Division. A later move to Motorola, a global semiconductor manufacturer, exposed Norman to best and worst practices in thousands of small and medium sized manufacturing businesses. After a move to Australia, Norman used his experience in design, sales and business to establish Hummingbird Electronics. Hummingbird electronics enjoyed significant growth, becoming well known for delivering innovative electronics solutions in the automotive sector. Hummingbird Electronics was the recipient of the 2014 Business of the Year award in the Hunter Region Business Excellence Awards and was acquired by Adelaide-based advanced manufacturer REDARC Electronics in May 2015. In 2019, Norman decided it was time to gain new skills and start new adventures. Subsequently, Norman has joined BlueZone Group, a supplier of Remote and Autonomous Defence Systems, as Engineering Manager; and is a founder the Newcastle based startup Senquip, a manufacturer of programmable telemetry devices for industrial markets.

Each Blastfurnace is carefully structured to accomodate all skill levels!
Welcome to Blast Furnace

Each Blast Furnace starts with an introduction to all coders and a break down of the coding languages and challenges we will be tackling. The guest presenter for the beginner section is introduced and the rules are covered for the coders doing the comps. We take a sneak peek at next month’s event before getting stuck into coding!.

CODE Learn to code.

This section will run through the basics of coding for using the technology of the night. Will be a Do-as-I-Do format where the participants follow the presenter after some basic introduction. This should not be too in-depth and will walk you through the “Hello World” of the technology or software we will be using for this event. This will run for 1 hour.

COLLABORATE For all coders!

Interactive session where all members form groups and work on writing some code together to compete with other groups at the end or just generally complete the challenges set out. This follows a pizza break after the first hour. The goal for this section is to work together to write code. This is where the pros can teach the new comers. The challenges are designed by the presenter, in collaboration with the Blast Furnace organisers.

We’d love to see you at our next event
All Blastfurnace attendee’s will keep track of their progress through their free CYFERLinx profile. Sign up before you come or we can sign you up on the day to access lessons, projects, keep track of your points & view the leaderboard.
Keep up to date with Blastfurnace through our social accounts. We’ll post our upcoming events and news

The Blastfurnace is proudly supported by The Business Centre.

The Business Centre boasts a team of Business Advisors, Trainers and Mentors. Their team has curated a range of business advisory programs, accelerators, incubators, workshops, accredited and unaccredited training courses.

The Blastfurnace is proudly supported by SISP.

The STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) is an initiative of the NSW Department of Education, delivered in association with Regional Development Australia. Through the connection of education and industry, we provide an educational model that engages students, inspires them to study STEM and prepares them for STEM careers

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