Queensland Sugar Limited
What does your role entail and what does your company do?
I am a Project Engineer at Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL). QSL operate six bulk sugar terminals throughout Queensland, handling over 3 million tonnes of raw sugar each year.
As a Project Engineer, I manage capital upgrades, equipment procurement and major maintenance projects across the sites.
Many of the projects involve the corrosion protection and refurbishment of the ageing steel and concrete infrastructure such as wharves, ship loaders, conveyors, storage sheds etc.
What has been your favourite corrosion project that you have worked on and why?
My favourite amongst the terminals is the Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal. Lucinda has a Jetty that extends 5.7km offshore, which was constructed in 1979. The corrosion protection of the steel piles and headstocks of the structure has been an ongoing favourite project of mine, for a number of years.
It’s a fantastic project since being such a large structure, there is enormous scope for innovation. Making investments in the process through engineering, tooling, different materials, techniques etc can all give big payoffs since the potential benefit of any successful idea is multiplied hundreds of times across the structure.
I can point to millions of dollars of long-term savings that have been put in place through my work on this project and I’m far from done – there are plenty of innovations still to be made (and plenty of structure still to be protected).
It is also particularly rewarding to work on such an iconic structure that is beloved by the local community, and a pretty special place to work, with an abundance of sea life including the whales, who sometimes put on a show during their annual migration.
What are the important corrosion related issues facing industry/your business today?
In everything we do, the safety of workers and the health of the environment is a key priority. Our typical corrosion protection works are high risk in both of those categories, typically being at height and often over water.
Ensuring workers and supervisors are utterly committed to these priorities is an ongoing challenge, but fortunately, we have some excellent contractors that we work with.
At the same time, ensuring the quality of the corrosion protection works is necessary to reduce long terms costs and risks and avoid redoing work.
While having good contractors helps, we have found that we need to build up our team’s corrosion knowledge and competence to ensure projects are selected, specified and completed correctly. Unfortunately, the field is a very broad one and this takes many years!
Why are you a member of the ACA?
The ACA has really helped me to develop corrosion knowledge over the years. The corrosion industry and the wealth of knowledge and techniques in existence is somewhat obscured to the average engineer, being something not well covered in a typical engineering degree.
The ACA, through publications, events, courses etc, brings the various parts of the industry together for a clearer overview of what is ‘out there’. For example, the ‘Corrosion and Prevention’ magazine was enormously informative for me when I was new to the industry and is now even more relevant for discovering different techniques and extending knowledge.