Leeton Shire Council Waste Water Network

We were engaged by Leeton Shire Council to upgrade the control network for their Water and Waste Water infrastructure incorporating 3 water supply systems, 3 sewage plants and 40 pump stations.

Leeton Council future proofs its utilities with state-of-the-art water management system

Located in the NSW Riverina almost equidistant to Sydney and Melbourne, Leeton is the second largest regional centre in the region outside of Griffith and plays an integral role in food production, value-added agricultural processing, education and research and transport for the state of NSW and throughout Australia.

Leeton is the birth place of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and was a purpose-built town designed to serve as a hub for the Irrigation Scheme which was launched immediately after the First World War. The Shire covers 1,167 square kilometres and includes the towns of Leeton, Yanco and Whitton and the villages of Murrami and Wamoon.

The Challenge

In 2016 there was a significant change in key personnel in the Engineering Team at Leeton Shire Council. Within a short period of time, the department manager, engineer and works superintendent all left the organisation which ultimately resulted in a comprehensive review of all existing systems.

The review resulted in a number of key findings:

  • The existing water and waste water monitoring system was no longer supported by the company that implemented it which had ceased trading in 2012.
  • Reliability was an issue – the existing system was using outdated technology and was suffering from significant breakdowns. On one weekend alone, the engineering team received 200 calls about breakdowns and performance issues.
  • Poor telemetry meant information collected regarding performance was sporadic and inaccurate.
  • There was no monitoring and no alarms, so Council was reliant on residents informing the support crews if there was a problem.

The Engineering Department decided that it must make changes to ensure a reliable and cost-effective supply of water to local homes, business, government bodies and service providers. They distributed an ‘Expression of Interest’ document that covered the scope of works for a solution to bring the water and water management system up to the required standard. 

“We received 16 submissions but the standout proposal was from the I2R Group,” explains Kai Attree, Water & Waste Water Engineer at Leeton Shire Council.

“They had a clear roadmap for how the project would look and each element of the process was detailed thoroughly. They were the only business to undertake an audit on our pump station sites and other electrical infrastructure as part of their submission which proved how engaged they were from the very start.

“The level of detail and the innovative solution they presented was impressive but, more importantly, they really impressed us with the collaborative approach they took to the entire process of scoping, planning, fine-tuning and then implementing the solution. The fact that they happened to be close by in Griffith was a bonus.

The Solution

The aim was to deliver a system that allowed the operators and maintenance staff to know exactly what was wrong with an asset before leaving the depot, reducing downtime and costly return trips.

I2R Group has delivered a solution that meets all of Leeton Shire Council’s needs.  By upgrading the electrical switchboards, I2R delivered the latest technology with the following functionality:

  • Remote resettable DOL Starters and VSDs, preventing the need for operators to attend the site to reset pumps during the night and on weekends.
  • Surge protection helps protect the board from power spikes and lightning strikes.
  • Remote resettable fuses for analog and digital signals.
  • SCADAPack with HMI Interface at the board providing detailed information and overviews for operators to fault find and monitor pump performance.  
  • The HMI has security access to allow for a hierarchy of control for different levels of the organisation and external contractors.
  • Intrusion monitoring on the panel doors, which can then be linked to CCTV cameras and overhead street lamps, that are also integrated into the ClearSCADA platform.
  • WIFI communications back to ClearSCADA allowing for high volume data transfer and control capability.
  • A solution for monitoring chemical dosing drum levels, eliminating the need to physically check the drums on a weekly basis and saving a round trip of over 100km per week.
  • Integrated generator input socket so that there is no need to engage a qualified electrician if the power drops out for any reason.
  • ClearSCADA reporting which monitors all aspects of the network, provides all pump levels up and down the network and can allow for different pumping strategies in off-peak times.
  • Compliance and EPA as well as operational reports have been created in ClearSCADA providing real time and historical reports at the touch of a button.
  • A dashboard was created in ClearSCADA providing high level KPI data to key stakeholders on their own console, available exactly when and where they need it.

“The core operating platform is essentially modular and completely scalable,” explains Mr Attree.

“We can add existing systems such as our weather station and sprinkler network to it as well as new systems that are being planned which include solar lighting and building security systems.

“This is a significant project and the roll-out will continue for another 12 months. We are completely replacing the old infrastructure at each site and feel it’s best to convert two or three sites each month to eliminate trip points and minimise any disruption to the network.”

To complement the technical aspects of the solution, I2R provided detailed budget forecasts and project managed the installation so that Leeton Shire Council could focus on day to day activities and the process of change management.  To ensure this part of the project was successful, I2R and Leeton Shire Council conducted monthly project management meetings to keep track of timelines and cost elements.

The system is integrated across all water and waste water infrastructure and the first four pumping stations have been cut across to the new platform.

The Result

Using the old system, the Engineering team had to log-in to the back end using a cumbersome portal and then make a decision about a plan of action based on rudimentary and often dated information. It could be a simple fix but invariably it took some time to even correctly diagnose the potential issue.

Frequently a staff member would attend a site, often after hours and on weekends and often in a relatively remote location, to perform the most basic fix or reset or worse, discover it was a false alarm. Each call out was a costly and demoralising exercise.

The new system allows the Council Engineering staff to monitor and control the system from any web-enabled device. They are alerted to any issues or scheduled activities in real time and can take action from the screen, often fixing any problems with the touch of a button.

Attree explains that the difference between the old and the new systems are worlds apart.

“We have already seen our call-out rates drop because of the increased visibility and functionality and we’re really only getting started,” he said.

“The detailed reporting functionality gives us deep analysis of all core operations, allowing us to map potential pain points and plan for the future. Once we have a stronger data set and we can generate even more efficiencies we will really reap the rewards of this system but, even in its infancy, it’s obvious that this has changed everything.

“We have been reactive for many years but now we have the technology that allows us to not only catch up but get in front of potential issues. It’s a massive shift.

“The truly collaborative approach taken by I2R Group has also been impressive. They have incredibly tight and detailed project management plans and frequent, detailed communications especially regarding scheduling and completing work. They have been extremely easy to deal with at all levels of the organisation.”

Mandolé Orchard

Engaged to Project Manage the establishment of an Almond Milk factory

The I2R Group’s experience and knowledge has taken our business to a whole new level.

Almonds are Australia’s biggest nut crop accounting for over 60 percent of the sector with Australia the second biggest almond producer in the world behind the USA. The NSW Riverina produces 15 per cent of Australia’s almonds and this number is increasing each year.

Mandolé Orchard is one of the largest family owned almond growing operations in the Riverina covering almost 1200 acres. Around half of their land is in full production while the remaining crops, planted over the past few years, will come into full production by the 2022 season.

From their Lake Wyangan base, Denis and Annette Dinicola together with their son Dean run the operation. Recently, their daughter Jenna and her husband Tom have joined the family business and have been working towards taking Annette’s almond-based recipes, including her almond milk recipe, from the kitchen to the retailer’s shelf.

“Developing our almond milk product has required significant time and research and we needed a strong, trustworthy team with the necessary experience and skills to help us upscale and achieve our goals of developing a fully functioning almond milk production facility," says Jenna.

"The moment we met with the team at I2R Group we were extremely impressed. Not only did they have incredible knowledge, they also recognised it would be a collaboration which really appealed to us."

“The team at I2R Group essentially took the model we had developed and replicated it on a larger scale which requires expertise. Based on their experiences setting up wineries, cereal processing plants and the like, they were able to identify opportunities for even greater efficiencies. These efficiencies will help drive our processes in ways beyond our expectations because of their unparalleled passion and commitment to our project,” explains Tom Stefanovic.

"We’re really excited about the future and it gives us great comfort knowing that the I2R Group are on this journey with us." 

The team at I2R Group are equally complimentary of the team at Mandolé Orchard, describing the job as one of the most rewarding they have been involved with since they commenced trading more than five years ago.

“At I2R Group we take a holistic approach to these types of projects,” explains I2R Group Co-Director Donovan Colpo. 

“Having come from operational backgrounds we appreciate that detailed engineering and design is only one part of the equation when it comes to building world class factories. Our collaborative approach helps mitigate risk and allows the customer to be truly engaged in the process.

"By guiding the customer through a well-tested project management process, we actually make the task of building or refurbing a production facility an enjoyable and rewarding experience. 

"Combining the customer’s deep knowledge of the raw materials, the refining process and the various nuances of production with the engineering, automation and project management expertise of I2R, the result is a cost effective, fit-for-purpose production facility, each and every time.” 

Construction and fit out of the new production facility is set to commence in October this year (2018) with trials commencing in the new year and the first products coming off the production line in March next year.

Install & Commission – Calabria Family Wines

Installation of a complete used bottling line comprising over 15 fully integrated machines and measuring over 200m in length

New automated systems give Calabria Family Wines confidence to take on export markets

With the knowledge that a single non-conformance can result in a whole shipment being rejected and a company’s reputation damaged forever, Australian wineries face an ongoing battle to ensure every bottle of wine leaving their production facilities is perfect.

Over the past few years, Griffith based Calabria Family Wines, has taken steps to consolidate its strong position in the domestic market and also penetrate lucrative overseas markets.

The first stage in the process was when they called on I2R Group to help install a second bottling line that effectively doubled the bottling capacity of the business.  I2R Group, the winery control and bottling automation experts, delivered this new bottling line from procurement to fully operational in under 10 weeks.

The I2R delivery team comprised of 12 dedicated engineers, programmers and electricians who completed a full scope, mapped out a clear installation strategy, executed a seamless installation and commissioned the project allowing the winery to operate at full production rates only ten weeks after initial contact was made.     

The new bottling line is capable of producing up to 10,000 bottles per hour for both export markets and the co-packed domestic market and allows Calabria Family Wines to bottle up to 25 million litres of wine each year.

Once the bottling line was operational, the Calabria family engaged in discussion with I2R Group about how to ensure quality control of the bottling process. They required a solution that would measure fill levels, monitor cork levels and assess cap application.

Calabria Family Wines had looked at inspection systems in the past but found either reliability or cost prohibited them from investing in the technology. Having partnered with I2R Group to install, commission and the optimise a new bottling line, Managing Director, Michael Calabria was confident I2R could find a solution.

With bottling lines capable of over producing 10,000 bottles per hour, it’s almost impossible for any individual to detect cap defects with any level of consistency.  The bottle inspection system created by I2R can comfortably inspect 20,000 bottles per hour and is even able to provide feedback to engineers on fill levels for Statistical Process Control (SPC) purposes, allowing the bottle filling system to be optimised, minimising overfill and delivering maximum efficiency.

Once installed, the operator can be deployed to other more productive tasks or the cost of production can be reduced.

Ensuring the end user is always at the forefront of design, the HMI has been laid out for easy operation and management of the system. I2R can provide interfaces into any SCADA or PLC system so that operators and managers are always aware when bottles are not up to the appropriate standard.

Operators can review the last 10 bottle fails, allowing them to conduct an initial fault assessment and make any necessary line adjustments. Maintenance teams can go further and understand trends of failures, presenting the opportunity for fault finding and preventative maintenance.

Based on the results of installations already in full operation, the I2R Vision System detects rejects at rates of approximately 0.05 - 0.1%. Over a daily run of 80,000 bottles this means around 400 bottles are detected as non-conformant which is up to 400 customers which may receive product which is not up to standard.

Aaron Webb, Operations Manager at The I2R Group, says the strength of the business is its ability to assess, analyse and resolve each situation on an individual basis and deliver customised solutions.

“We are not a one size fits all business nor are we one that will sell our clients something they don’t need because it’s not necessarily the most complex solution that is the most reliable, cost effective and easy for the customer to use. It should always be the right technology for the right situation to generate the very best solution,” he explains.

“I2R is not a traditional electrical engineering business. We are more focused on identifying and then implementing the best technology for the application, that is cost appropriate, reliable and effective.”

Michael Calabria was delighted with the solution delivered by I2R.

“Calabria Family Wines now has the confidence that every bottle produced will be ready for the rapidly growing Asian wine market,” he explains.

“We are very pleased that we engaged I2R Group to help us make these significant improvements to our business over the past few years. They truly are subject matter experts in this area.”

The I2R Group has over 20 years in the wine industry and the highly skilled team has managed a diverse range of projects for over a dozen winemakers. There aren’t many systems they haven’t installed, repaired or optimised. The team at I2R Group has a true passion for building reliable systems and then optimising them to get the best return for their clients.

I2R offer a High-Performance Vision Solution to meet all bottle inspection requirements including Bottle Fill Levels, Cap Colour Inspection, Label Application and Cap Application (Anvil, Tuck and Thread) all at high speeds, (over 20,000 bottles per hour) and high accuracy rates. The I2R Group can develop a solution that meets your individual requirements, saving time and money that stems from customer rejections, quality recalls and rework.

Automation Programming – PDP Fine Foods (Wicked Sister)

Together with RMR Process, I2R delivered a turn key control solution to a green field desserts factory.

The delivery included:

  • ‍Process detailing
  • ‍Control cabinet manufacture
  • Automation including PLC and SCADA
  • ‍On site process engineering and automation support
  • 24/7 Remote support

SCADA Upgrade - JBS (Riverina Beef & Feedlot)

A complete audit of their existing wireless and SCADA infrastructure resulting in an entire system upgrade to the SCADA and Wireless network.

I2R took complete ownership of the project:

  • ‍Assessed exiting wireless system
  • ‍Network Design
  • ‍SCADA Visualisation Design
  • ‍Floor Automation and Basic Metrics
  • ‍Commissioning
  • ‍Ongoing Performance Monitoring and Maintenance

Project Management – Freedom Foods

Project Managed a portfolio of 5 projects

  • $14M upgrade of the Freedom Foods facility at Murrami
  • Delivered on time and well within budget
  • Start-up saw production at planned capacity within 3 days from completed installation
  • Delivered best capital project execution to date for Freedom Foods Group as acknowledged by the CEO.

Some of the efficiencies we delivered included:

  • ‍Cereal batching & blending
  • ‍Extrusion & drying
  • ‍High speed packing and palletising
  • ‍Muesli bar production

Network Design & Integration – SunRice

Designed and developed an automated food processing system.

  • ‍Installed Mini Cake flavouring and packing line processing 90,000 cakes per hour
  • ‍Tested and commissioned electrically in three days
  • ‍Flexibility completed installation and commissioning without interruption to business continuity
  • ‍Integrated production, flavouring and packing equipment into one SCADA and control system
  • ‍Retorted sterilising under pressure
Freedom Foods
Wicked Sister Fine Foods
Birch & Waite
Leeton Shire Council
Carathool Shire Council
Warburn Estate
Calabria Family Wines
Dee Vine Estate
Berton Vineyards