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PACE Zenith Awards: Glencore Tahmoor Coal wins top honours

It was a closely fought race for top honours at the 2014 PACE Zenith Awards but last night it was Glencore Tahmoor Coal who took out the Project of the Year as well as the Water and Wastewater Category.

Keynote speaker, CSIRO's John Barnes enthralled the audience with key insights into additive manufacturing and laid out the promise and potential for this novel technology in Australia.

And MC Greg Champion kept the audience in splits with his unique brand of humour.

Project of the Year sponsored by Honeywell Process Solutions

Water & Wastewater Project of the Year sponsored by Bürkert Fluid Control Systems

Winner: Glencore Tahmoor Coal

Tahmoor Colliery built a sustainable recycled water management system to service the operation, conserving approximately one million litres of fresh drinking water per day, by treating and utilising waste mine water.

The project was completed following several years of consultation and design review with several government agencies including the Office of Environment & Heritage (formerly the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water), the Environment Protection Authority, the NSW Office of Water, and the Office of Hawkesbury Nepean.

The project involved the construction of a 1 megalitre per day capacity Recycled Water Treatment Plant, and two 250,000 litre concrete water tanks to supply treated water to the underground mine.

Burkert Fluid Control Systems

Glencore's Nicholas Wandke (L) and Ian Sheppard (R) receive the PACE Water & Wastewater Award from category sponsor Jon McKenna (C), Sales Manager, Bürkert Fluid Control Systems.

The plant was constructed at a capital cost of approximately $3.31m ($2m of which was provided by the NSW State Government as part of a Water Savings Funding Agreement through the Office of Environment & Heritage).

Since May 2013, full-time operation of the plant has demonstrated significant potable water savings, 
Tahmoor Colliery has historically purchased approximately 1.5 million litres of potable water per day from the Sydney Water main supply system, for virtually all underground and most surface processes, including all cooling and dust suppression water which are significant points of use.

During the peak of the drought in 2006, Tahmoor Colliery was named in Sydney’s top ten water users.

The judges were impressed by Tahmoor Colliery’s construction of a sustainable recycled water management system that conserved approximately one million litres of fresh drinking water per day by treating and utilising waste mine water.

The project team was able collaborate with several government agencies and departments to ensure a successful outcome. 

Manufacturing Project of the Year sponsored by Siemens

Winner: Machinery Automation & Robotics for MAR Automatic Plastic Bottle Palletising and Pallet Handling System.

To increase their competitiveness, VIP Packaging sought the help of MAR to address their high cost in production. MAR Automatic Plastic Bottle Palletising and Pallet Handling System consists of vision systems, robotic palletising systems, pallet handling system, pallet strapping system and automatic pallet wrapping.

The design, manufacture programming, installation, and commissioning of the CP bottle line palletising of VIP Packaging was performed by MAR.

The achievements of the project are the increase of operation safety, increase of process quality, increase of process speed, increase work area management, less maintenance and overall decreasing cost of manufacturing.


Paul Gekas (R) of MAR receives the PACE Manufacturing Award from sponsor Chris Vains, Business Unit Manager of Siemens.

According to the judges, "The CP bottle line palletising designed and installed by MAR is noteworthy as it decreased manufacturing costs while improving quality and safety.

"This implementation allowed MAR’s client to remain competitive, helped no doubt by the fact that the entire automated robotic palletising process is initiated and controlled by a single operator."

Best Fieldbus Implementation of the Year sponsored by Beckhoff

Winner: UGL for Eastern Tertiary Alliance

The Tertiary Upgrade Project at the Eastern Treatment Plant, Melbourne is a landmark wastewater and recycled treatment project for Australia, due to advancements in tertiary treatment.

Through this project, Melbourne Water has been able to achieve its two key objectives being the improvement in treated water discharge to the receiving marine environment as well as producing a new high quality Class A recycled water for the benefit of future generations.

The integration of the new tertiary treatment step with the existing secondary treatment plant, the high standard of output water quality required, and the requisite high level of reliability of the plant dictated the need for a very sophisticated control and communication system.

The control system processes developed during the Alliance achieved outstanding results in terms of value for money, timeliness and operator satisfaction.


UGL Senior Control and Instrumentation Engineer Arjan Koolhas (R) receives the PACE Best Fieldbus Implementation Award from category sponsor Steven Sischy, Managing Director of Beckhoff.

The judges were impressed by "UGL’s ability to provide Melbourne Water with a control system that combined robustness and high availability.

"UGL was able to harness multiple fieldbus and network technologies around the plant, including Ethernet, Profibus and HART."

Best Food & Beverage Projest of the Year sponsored by ifm efector

Winner: AP Automation for Grinding and Batching upgrade

AP Automation, an animal feed manufacturer embarked on a plan to modernise its manufacturing plant. Initially, the idea was to find a solution that would see the plant grow in line with its modern requirements, become more efficient, consume less energy and comply with food safety regulations of tracking and tracing, while being robust enough to handle the repetitive grinding and batching functions.

For AP Automation, the key attraction of the solution was its ability to adapt to any grinding or batching application and its advanced diagnostics capability.

The solution was based on software libraries which can be tailored for any application and consequently provide AP Automation with the flexibility to produce various product lines efficiently.

ifm efector

Andrew Phan (R), Managing Director AP Automation Services receives the PACE Food & Beverage Award from category sponsor Dave Delany, Managing Director of ifm efector.

The judges remarked: "The solution that was implemented enabled AP Automation’s client to easily adapt to any grinding or batching application and also included advanced diagnostics capabilities.

"Boosting efficiency while reducing energy consumption for the animal feed manufacturer is indeed a commendable achievement."

Machine Builder of the Year sponsored by B&R

Winner: Repeat Plastics Australia for Replas’ Queensland plant

Plastic recycler, Replas, has unwrapped plans to set up and operate a plastic recycling facility in Queensland in 2014. The facility will reprocess plastic waste collected locally and produce products which can be used for infrastructure throughout Queensland.

The production equipment used is a hybrid of technologies that was developed in house by Replas 22 years ago and has been refined ever since.

The new Replas facility will be the only operation in Queensland able to process a full range of plastic packaging materials and turn it into end products.

From shopping bags, shrink-wrap films, sterile wrap and many other types of plastic used in the packaging supply chain.


Mark Yates (R), Director Repeat Plastics Australia receives the PACE Machine Builder Award from sponsor Armin Fahnle, Director Operations of Daanet.

The judges remarked: "We were impressed by Replas’ unique technology which allows the mixing of different plastic polymers together to create complex three dimensional shapes.

"Plastic film recycling is one of the major challenges facing the recycling industry and the company must be commended for moving from a simple manual operation to a robotic processing system."

Mining & Minerals Processing Award sponsored by Emerson Process Managament

Winner: Machinery Safety Systems for Machinery Inspection Operating Control System MiOCS

Machinery Safety Systems has developed an electronic pre-start system to replace hard copy log books traditionally used to record checks on components and the use of machinery.

The company expects that the MiOCS device will become essential tools for industry to improve pre-start checks and better manage the use of machinery.

The three key advantages are: (1) Identification of the Pre-Start person; (2) The RFID tags in their respective positions ensure the operator goes to each checkpoint; and (3) Users of the plant/machinery are recorded via the MCU. The reporting via the PDA also captures real date/time usage of the plant/machinery.

Emerson Process Management

Loretta Reid (R), Director Machinery Safety Systems receives the PACE Mining & Minerals Processing Award from sponsor Karl Wigginton, Managing Director of Emerson Process Management.

The judges were impressed by the unique solution being that enables an electronic pre-start system to replace hard copy log books traditionally used to record checks on components and the use of machinery.

They noted: "The Machinery Safety Systems offering will ensure the safety of personnel and offer management a higher level of engineering control for personnel and plant and equipment."

Oil & Gas Award of the Year

Winner: Apex Optimisation and Esso Australia for Hot Oil Process Control Improvement Project

In late 2010, Esso Australia Pty Ltd commissioned Apex Optimisation to assess opportunities for improvement of the Hot Oil system process control configuration at the Long Island Point (LIP) LPG Fractionation Plant.

A number of improvements to the DCS control configuration, as well as a new multivariable predictive controller (MPC) were recommended to reduce Hot Oil temperature variance and improve overall efficiency of the two hot oil circuits onsite.

The final outcome was a very successful campaign of process control improvements which reduced energy consumption of 10.7% and 8.5% for the two hot oil circuits and resulted in an overall project payback period of less than 6 months.

PACE Zenith Awards

George La Grange (R), Senior Consultant, Apex Optimisation receives the PACE Oil & Gas Award from Ian Swift, Lead Instrumentation & Controls Engineer Ma'aden Aluminium Project. Ian is on the judging panel of the PACE Zenith Awards.

According to the judges, "Apex Optimisation was able to optimise the operation of existing equipment at the LPG Fractionation Plant by implementing better process control.

"There were impressive reductions in energy consumption of the hot oil circuits as well as significant increases in MPC controller uptimes. An overall project payback period of less than six months is impressive."

Transport and Energy Management Award of the Year

Winner: SAGE Automation for Inline fuel delivery system

Pacific National is Australia’s largest private rail freight business. Ensuring reliable and cost effective fuel supply to locomotives on long distance travel was a pain point for Pacific National with a fuel delivery system which was not fit for purpose and was resulting in high fuel costs, delays and driver frustration.

SAGE Automation worked with Pacific National to develop a robust system to refuel the locomotives on-route which is suited to the environment in which they operate.

The inline fuel system is proving highly effective and delivers accurate data in real time and is removing costs, delays and frustration from their operation.

PACE Zenith Awards

Ty Borlace (R), Project Manager SAGE Automation accepts the PACE Transport and Energy Management Award from CSIRO's John Barnes.

Young Achiever of the Year sponsored by SICK

Winner: Daniel Egan-Wyer from Machinery Automation & Robotics

Daniel has shown great innovation, initiative and technical skill in cutting edge automation technologies of 3D vision and complex robot control.

He has developed structured Visual Basic code to coordinate the actions of the robot and implement the sensing algorithms to automatically execute multiple robot tool changes.

Actions include raising the conveyor belt whilst still running and complete replacement of worn idlers with new idlers before lowering the conveyor belt down on the new idler set.

The code written by Daniel controls the steps of this process, during normal operation as well as under fault conditions or when the cycle needs to end prematurely.


Thomas Hughes (R) of MAR accepts the PACE Young Achiever on behalf of his colleague and Winner Daniel Egan-Wyer from category sponsor David Duncan, Managing Director of SICK.

The judges said: "Daniel has shown great innovation, initiative and technical skill in cutting edge automation technologies of 3D vision and complex robot control.

"This project has provided significant uptime savings to the client by being able to change out worn idlers without stopping the conveyor belt as well as totally eliminating the risk of injury to operators which is prevalent in the traditional manual idler change out process."

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