Tag Archives: engineering

Civmec captures another contract at BMA’s Hay Point coal terminal

Civmec Ltd has been awarded a contract to manufacture wharf girders and associated structures for the development of port infrastructure at the Hay Point loading port, owned by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), in central Queensland, Australia.

The BMA agreement will see Civmec make over 13,500 t of these girders and associated structures, with procurement and shop detailing activities commencing immediately and fabrication starting in the June quarter.

Loadout onto Heavy Lift Vessels is scheduled to start in early 2022, with the last vessel planned for load out in the June quarter of 2022. The project will employ over 350 people during fabrication and assembly at the company’s Henderson facility, in Western Australia.

BMA has already engaged Civmec to fabricate, modularise and commission the 1,800 t SL2A ship loader using pre-contract capital ahead of a large infrastructure replacement project at Hay Point.

Civmec’s Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Tallon, said: “The award for the Hay Point port infrastructure work is the second significant package of works that we have been trusted to deliver for this port upgrade. We look forward to delivering a high-quality product to McConnell Dowell to allow them to have a seamless installation at the site location and welcome the opportunity to work alongside all stakeholders on this project.”

These works are part of the Shiploader 2 and Berth 2 Replacement (SABR) project at Hay Point, which McConnell Dowell is heading up. The SABR project scope encompasses replacement of one of the three berths and shiploaders at the terminal.

SRG Global bolsters South32 relationship with more Worsley Alumina work

SRG Global says it has secured a long-term circa-A$100 million ($72 million) contract with South32’s Worsley Alumina operations to provide specialist refractory services, including gunning and casting and installation of refractory products and anchors.

Works under the contract will commence in October 2020 with a duration of eight years.

South32 has also extended SRG Global’s existing engineered access services contract for a further two years, pocketing the ASX-listed engineering firm another circa-A$25 million. This will see SRG Global continue to provide access services at South32’s Worsley Alumina operations until mid-2027, it said.

David Macgeorge, Managing Director of SRG Global, said: “These contracts are a terrific achievement for SRG Global and we are excited to be expanding our partnership with South32 to continue to deliver long-term value for their Worsley operations.”

As part of the Worsley Alumina operations, bauxite is mined near the town of Boddington, 130 km southeast of Perth, Western Australia. It is then transported on the largest overland conveyor belt in the southern hemisphere, for more than 50 km, to a refinery near the town of Collie, where bauxite is turned into alumina.

AVEVA expands mining offering with Select digital transformation program

AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software, has launched a new program that, it says, is designed to help customers accelerate their digital transformation agendas by leveraging the breadth of the AVEVA software portfolio across its install base.

AVEVA Select has programs designed to suit every product and solution specialisation and industry, according to the company, aligning with both market and technology trends to help companies simplify design, optimise production, reduce energy and maximise performance.

The program will expand AVEVA’s reach to a wider distribution of industries, outside its previous core customer base of mid/downstream oil & gas, heavy chemical, power generation and distribution, to incorporate many other sectors including mining.

The expanded AVEVA Select customer base will be able to leverage their installed Monitor & Control (M&C) and Planning & Operations (P&O) solutions from AVEVA to address new challenges, create opportunities and improve the performance of their industrial operations, the company said.

AVEVA’s engineering, P&O, asset performance, and M&C solutions deliver proven results to over 16,000 customers across the globe, according to the company. Its customers are supported by an industrial software ecosystem that includes 4,200 partners and 5,700 certified developers. This includes mining customers such as MMG and Black Rock Mine operations.

Bob D’Agostino, President of AVEVA Select North, said: “The AVEVA Partner Network continues to grow as a hub for the latest thinking on performance management of manufacturing operations and today it is utilised for the sharing of best practices with the partner community as well as harnessing their collective insights to help solve some of the world’s most complex industrial manufacturing issues.

“The launch of the new AVEVA Select Program comes at a time when industrial customer demand for digital transformation is growing exponentially and it will create new opportunities for the customer base.”

Kerry Grimes, Head of Partners, AVEVA, said the company’s Partner and Channel Network was already one of the most active and supportive global networks in the industrial and manufacturing sector.

“The passion of our people is to bring communities together in order to overcome everyday business challenges as well as develop innovative new ideas,” Grimes said. “This is particularly relevant in times like these where many organisations are feeling the effects of the economic downturn in the COVID-19 world.”

Opt2go and Tata Consulting Engineers combine engineering and digital expertise

Opt2go Pty Ltd has signed a strategic alliance with Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) aimed at providing the latest proven engineering expertise and digital solutions to the energy, metals & mining and oil & gas sectors in Australia and Oceania.

The combined expertise of the professional service company and digital enabler (Opt2go) and the leading engineering company (TCE) will enable customers to access world-class, cost-effective engineering, digital transformation and optimisation solutions, which will significantly improve business bottom-line performance and operational costs, they said.

Steve Hyslop, Opt2go CEO, said: “Our unique approach, combining process engineering, automation & control and software is not only what differentiates us, but also what makes us successful. We provide a broad range of services and solutions to help organisations facilitate change, achieve their vision and optimise the financial performance and productivity of their assets.”

Rajat Kaushal, VP International Marketing and Sales at TCE, said: “Coming from one of India’s largest and most respected business groups, we are recognised amongst the most reliable engineering consultants, known for several first-of-its-kind projects. The interdisciplinary skills of our 3,000+ engineers substantially support our problem-solving DNA. With our extensive experience and expertise, we are looking forward to scaling new frontiers with focus on industry 4.0.”

One recent mining project TCE has contributed to is the Vedanta Resources-owned Gamsberg zinc project, in South Africa (pictured).

MEC Mining looks to fill geotechnical engineering gap with new services arm

Australia-based engineering consultancy MEC Mining will soon launch a geotechnical services arm to cater for industry demand, the company has announced.

The geotechnical engineering division will be led by MEC Mining’s Technical Services and Western Australia Manager, Erin Sweeney (pictured), who is an internationally experienced Geotechnical Engineer.

MEC appointed Sweeney to open its Perth, Western Australia, branch in November last year and in that short time her team has grown from three to 11, with plans to now employ a geotechnical engineering team as well.

After discussions with clients, and through research, she recognised there was a shortage of geotechnical engineers in the market and knew clients would benefit if MEC offered the service as an in-house speciality division, the company said.

“We are really excited to launch the geotechnical engineering arm, which will complement our technical and advisory service arms,” Sweeney said. “I’d like to see us grow to be the most trusted geotechnical services brand in mining globally.

“We will be providing a one-stop-shop, as previously clients may have had to manage multiple consultants and now all trusted advisers will be working together to collaborate more effectively.

“For our clients in the mining sector, it gives them just one consultancy to go to for both their geotechnical services and mining design needs.”

MEC Mining General Manager, Christofer Catania, said MEC’s move to provide a geotechnical services arm was part of the company’s vision to provide clients a full suite of technical services.

“It’s exciting to further grow MEC’s service offerings to meet the needs of our clients,” Catania said. “Since establishing the Western Australian office in November, our team has continued to grow and it’s a trend we see continuing despite these somewhat challenging economic times.

“We see Western Australia as the front and centre of the next mining uplift, with some great projects coming online.”

Christofer Catania graduates to GM role at MEC Mining

Mining engineer, Christofer Catania, has been appointed General Manager of Australia-based engineering consultancy firm, MEC Mining, almost 15 years after becoming one of MEC’s first university vacation students.

Back then MEC Mining serviced Queensland’s coal industry and Catania was studying at university in Brisbane when he began work for the company’s three founding directors. MEC Mining now has a global presence, working in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania, and has projects across a variety of mineral sectors – no longer just coal.

Catania has been influential in the company’s growth strategy having worked for MEC for about eight years in total, across four stints, since 2005, the company said. In the past three years at MEC Mining, he has moved from Manager of Consulting, to General Manager of Operations before his current appointment to General Manager.

Catania said he was both “excited and humbled” to be appointed as General Manager.

“I’ve spent a lot of my career invested in making MEC Mining better, so to have any opportunity to lead the company means people must have believed in the commitment I’ve applied and my understanding of the business,” Catania said.

“For MEC Mining, our vision is to further diversify our market and service offerings, including potentially in the complementary technical fields. I’m excited to help navigate through those challenges and grow into a much bigger and more diverse company.”

During Catania’s role as General Manager of Operations, MEC Mining opened a Perth office led by Erin Sweeney and, in March this year, the company created a new Underground Metal Principal role based in Western Australia, filled by Alessandro Dotta.

“A lot of our growth is in the Western Australian market and in underground metals, particularly in the gold market,” Catania said.

“In the past year MEC Mining experienced 25% growth from the year before, largely associated with our growing international presence and our establishment of a WA team, and we look forward to meeting or exceeding that growth in the coming year.”

MEC Mining Non-Executive Director, Simon Cohn, said Catania’s high level of technical and operational expertise, project management, and leadership experience would make him an exceptional General Manager.

“Chris has a deep history at MEC Mining with a proven track record for delivering successful projects at an operational and leadership level, both domestically and overseas,” Cohn said.

“I look forward to working with Chris and the entire leadership team as we further grow MEC Mining and our standalone advisory arm. It is also great to have James Cooney leading MEC Advisory which specialises in strategic management and evaluation of resources projects.”

Catania’s position of General Manager is supported by Chief Financial Officer, Julia Cooper, who celebrated eight years with the company in April.

Worley to help sustain Alcoa of Australia’s mines, refineries and smelter

Worley says it has been awarded a three‐year services contract with Alcoa of Australia for the company’s integrated mining, refining and smelting operations.

Under the contract, Worley will provide engineering and project delivery services for Alcoa’s site‐based sustaining capital program of works.

The contract continues the existing relationship between Alcoa and Worley, and establishes Worley as the preferred engineering services provider for baseload works across the Wagerup, Pinjarra and Kwinana alumina refineries, Bunbury port terminal and the Willowdale and Huntly (pictured) bauxite mining operations in Western Australia, it said. Worley will also support Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria, Australia.

The services will be executed by Worley’s Australian teams in Perth and Geelong and supported by its global integrated delivery team, the company added.

Chris Ashton, Chief Executive Officer of Worley, said: “As Australia’s leading energy services company, we are pleased to continue supporting Alcoa’s Australian operations. This portfolio is one of the largest in our mining, minerals and metals business and includes our specialist alumina, bauxite and aluminium teams.”

Kinder engineers a case for high performance plant, equipment in bulk handling ops

As mining companies continue to search for cost efficiencies at their operations against a backdrop of subdued metal prices and uncertainty related to the onset of COVID-19, bulk materials handling equipment provider, Kinder Australia, is warning them to focus on sourcing engineered and high-performance components that have been optimised for the application at hand.

Today’s global economy means when sourcing bulk handling equipment, operators are spoilt for choice with the vast selection of conveyor component suppliers and access to highly engineered and innovative solutions to advance their end to end handling processes, Kinder Australia says.

“For most operators, price alone is often the motivator for purchase,” it said. “However, buyer beware, lower price products are more often ‘copycat’ and ‘knockoffs’ offering on-par standards and functionality benefits to the original product.

“The reality of inferior, lower price copycats is the untold costly, irreversible damage these products can have to the conveyor structure, conveyor belts itself and the unscheduled maintenance and productivity downtime to replace these inferior products…only to be discovered shortly after the installation hurdle.”

When considering cost cutting on a corporate level, many plant and equipment suppliers are also challenged by the dilemmas of large corporate purchasing department heads who are ignorant of the engineering differences between genuine and counterfeit products, and quite often make their purchasing decisions based solely on price, often at the expense of quality, Kinder Australia says.

Trusted quality

In the case of lower cost polyurethane skirting and anti-wear lining products, on the surface, they look and feel the same as the genuine engineered polyurethane skirting.

“However, conduct a quick internet search and you’ll soon realise the countless suppliers using sub-standard/cheaper manufacturing practices to design, manufacture and market far inferior polyurethane products and conveyor components and pass them off as high-quality engineered equivalents,” the company said.

The use of non-genuine engineered conveyor components can lead to frequent production stoppages, belt wear damage, other unpleasant material spillage and safety hazards, according to the company.

Neil Kinder, Kinder Australia CEO, says: “The mark of quality in our industry is ISO 9001 certification. These international standards provide assurance and commitment to our diverse customer base that Kinder provides highly customer-focused bulk materials handling products and solutions that are safe, reliable and of high-quality standards.”

He added: “Kinder Australia partners with an independent laboratory to facilitate and conduct ASTM D 4060 quality testing and certification of competitive lower cost conveyor components”.

The “Taber Test” carried out by independent testing laboratory Excel Plas, showed Kinder Australia’s K-Superskirt® Engineered Polyurethane abrades less by comparison with the competitor’s polyurethane and is therefore four times more durable than the competitor’s polyurethane tested, according to the company.

This polyurethane has been successfully and effectively installed in a multitude of applications, including the harshest mining environments, delivering significant cost and labour savings to operators globally, Kinder Australia said.

Conveyor planning & engineering design

Conveyor engineering design focuses on providing solutions to customers issues around three key areas: productivity, safety and cost reduction, Kinder Australia says.

Materials handling operators are constantly challenged by increasing production outputs and cost reduction targets. Ensuring the recommended solution is fit for purpose and practical from a cost, installation and maintenance perspective are also key engineering considerations.

Cameron Portelli, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Kinder Australia, says: “The issue of poor belt life is often encountered during on-site evaluation; it’s one of the top conveyor problems seen by our mechanical and field applications engineers.”

Conveyor Belt Support Systems are designed to protect this expensive and important asset, according to the company.

At the critical conveyor transfer points, having the full force of the impact absorbed rather than resisted means the impact load zone belt support system below the belt takes the hit rather than the conveyor belt itself. This effectively improves and extends the wear life of all conveyor components such as the belt, idlers and structure life and makes for a quieter transfer in serious applications.

Kinder’s K-Dynamic Impact Idler/Cradle Systems (pictured) target conveyor transfers as “burden is being accelerated due to fall and changes in direction from one system to the next which prevents steady state flow and requires additional thought into supporting the belt to improve the life of the belt and transfer components”, says Portelli.

“It would be wise to start from the problem at hand and work backwards to isolate the root cause. This may involve chute design improvements before any transfer chute sealing options should be looked at.”

Another regular occurrence encountered on-site are grooves on the top cover created by product getting under hard and soft skirts, particularly at the transfer point.

This problem can often be solved through the installation of a combination of conveyor skirting and sealing & conveyor belt support system, which can also effectively eliminate dust and material spillage and create work environments that are productive, clean and safe, Kinder Australia said.

This is where SOLIDWORKS® Simulation Finite Element Analysis, an upgrade to the basic software licence, can accurately predict and design solutions that mimic real-world applications and scenarios.

“With this powerful information, industry lead mechanical engineers have the necessary tools to analyse results, plan and expertly optimise future designs, geared at maximising productivity improvements and efficiency gains,” the company said.

When planning, designing, and recommending solutions, safety is an integral part in delivering operational productivity and efficiency, with engineers ethically and legally responsible for the solutions they recommend and implement.

“In some cases, if all reasonable risks are not considered, the risk of legal action against the company and the individual could have massive financial ramifications, along with the ongoing damage to the brand and stance in the industry,” Kinder Australia said.

Portelli says all of Kinder Australia’s new and innovative designs are stringently risk assessed for hazards at the critical installation, operational and maintenance stages.

“Through the effective use of SOLIDWORKS, Simulation Finite Element Analysis tools can potentially reduce any ongoing risks by analysing the specific areas where a design can be better improved,” he said.

Portelli elaborated on this: “This software can also assist clients to see the overall bigger picture, as well as take into consideration future installation and maintenance issues.

“Although SOLIDWORKS doesn’t produce all scenarios, it can be a beneficial tool for starting a conversation with clients. This mostly centres around how the solution will function after installation and its serviceability.”

In recent years, materials handling conveyor components supplier Kinder Australia has made significant investments in engineering design through the expansion of its mechanical engineering team to three staff. The engineering team’s capabilities extend to high proficiency in Helix Conveyor Design and AutoCAD, it said.

These tools can help make decisions on the drive power requirements; belt tensions and a suitably specified belt; specifications for suitably sizes idler rolls; take-up dimensions and gravity take up weight requirements; specifications for a suitable gearbox; and the design of pulleys to meet standards AS1403 (shafts) and limit stresses in the shells.

Neil Kinder concluded: “For the past 30 years, the driver for the business has been the resolution and advancement of our customers end-to-end handling processes, harnessing our engineering expertise and keeping abreast of innovative and emerging industry technologies.

“Developing a connection with our diverse customer base who have differing application needs and expectations through on-site visits, our highly technical mechanical engineering and field applications team become better at solving our customers problem and measuring up the solution.”

Monadelphous engineering and maintenance divisions hit by COVID-19

Engineering company Monadelphous Group says both its Engineering Construction and Maintenance divisions have been hit by measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In reaction to this, it said its Chairman, Managing Director and Non-Executive Directors had agreed to a 30% reduction in salary and fees for the next six months, while the Executive and General Management teams would take 10-20% salary cuts over the same period.

In a market update issued last week, Monadelphous said COVID-19 operational impact measures taken by governments and industry across the world to prevent further spread of the virus had impacted the economy, resulting in the delay, suspension, deferral or reduction of services across a range of the company’s projects and worksites, as well as materially disrupting productivity levels.

“Monadelphous continues to take all necessary measures required to proactively manage the business through this unprecedented period to ensure the safety of its employees and sustain business continuity,” it said.

In the Engineering Construction division, which recently secured major contracts on BHP’s South Flank, Rio Tinto’s West Angelas (pictured) and Albemarle Lithium’s Kemerton projects, Monadelphous said it had experienced supply chain issues causing delays on large resources construction projects currently in progress. It had also witnessed several temporary deferrals to potential new construction contract award dates.

In its maintenance division, the company has experienced a material reduction in activity levels, particularly in fly-in-fly-out operations with customers reducing non-essential work, delaying discretionary maintenance spend and deferring shutdowns, it said.

On top of this, and following several water projects approaching completion recently experiencing an escalation in contract disputes and “disappointing levels” of profitability, Monadelphous said it planned to discontinue its Water Infrastructure business operations in New Zealand, plus consolidate its east coast engineering construction operations into a single Eastern Australian business unit. This followed a strategic and operational review of the business in Australia and New Zealand.

Rob Velletri, Monadelphous Managing Director, said: “We will continue to work closely with our customers during these challenging and uncertain times. Our disciplined and prudent management, loyal workforce and strong balance sheet mean that we are well positioned to deal with the challenges ahead, and the opportunities that will arise in time. I am confident that the actions we have taken to refocus the Water Infrastructure business will deliver more profitable and sustainable pipeline of opportunities over the longer term.”

Worley cuts 5% of staff on COVID-19-related uncertainty

Engineering firm Worley has decided to cut 5% of its staff as it continues to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said it had seen a contraction in the business from customers’ delays, deferrals and cancellations, particularly in field-based work and, more specifically, in lower margin construction-related activities.

This has seen headcount drop to 56,000 as at March 31, 2020, down 5% from 59,000 as at January 31, 2020.

Worley explained: “The current economic circumstances have led to a rapidly changing environment for Worley’s business. To date, the impact of these changes has been limited.”

As a result of the acquisitions of AFW UK in 2017 and Jacobs ECR in 2019, Worley says it is a “more diversified business” in the energy, chemicals and resources sectors, with reduced exposure to both oil and gas and general capital expenditure.

Despite the economic outlook and customers’ responses being difficult to predict, the company said it was preparing for a range of scenarios.

“Worley is delivering projects and providing services to support our customers with most of our office-based people working from home,” it said. “Worley also continues to provide field-based services to build, improve, maintain and operate critical infrastructure in Australia and around the world.”

In response to the current economic circumstances, and recognising it is still early, Worley says it has and will continue to implement measures to adjust both operational and support cost structures; postpone all non-essential capital expenditure; protect cash, manage receivables and minimise discretionary spend; optimise staffing levels and costs while retaining capability; and maintain productivity on projects and operational support services.

“Worley is closely monitoring developments and opportunities in each of the regions in which we operate and will consider additional initiatives as appropriate, recognising the current economic circumstances present opportunities to work smarter and more cost effectively in the future business environment,” it said.

On top of having a strong financial position, Worley said it was better prepared to face any potential fallout from COVID-19 following the strategic acquisitions of AFW UK in 2017 and Jacobs ECR in 2019.

Around 20% of Worley’s revenue is derived from exposure to customers’ upstream and midstream oil and gas capital expenditures, down from 65% prior to the acquisitions. Meanwhile, 45% of Worley’s revenue is derived from customers’ operating expenditures, up from 10-15%, it said. “Operating expenditure contracts tend to be longer term, multi-year contracts,” the company noted. Lastly, 37% of Worley’s revenue is derived from the chemicals sector, up from less than 10%. The chemicals sector has shown in previous cycles to be less cyclical than others, Worley said.

Chris Ashton, Chief Executive Officer of Worley, said, “We are responding with agility to the rapidly changing environment. We are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our people, we have increased our liquidity position and we continue to review and adjust the business operationally.

“I am proud of our people as they demonstrate resilience and harness their ingenuity and expertise supporting customers, colleagues and communities.”