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Journal Cover Australian Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Engineering
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   ISSN (Print) 1448-8388
   Published by RMIT Publishing Homepage  [403 journals]
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Instructions to authors submitting to engineers
           Australia technical journals
    • PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Abstracts
    • PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Vertical vibrations in rotary drilling systems
    • Abstract: Dyskin, AV; Pasternak, E; Shufrin, I
      This study deals with vertical drill bit vibrations (chatter) in the deep rotary drilling. The vertical vibrations may play negative role in this type of drilling when they cause detachment of a drill bit from the rock and subsequent impacts (bit-bounce) decreasing the cutting efficiency and producing additional wear on the drill bit. On the other hand, if accurately controlled, this kind of vibrations can enhance the drilling performance by reducing friction and improving bit cleaning. The main mechanism of the chatter is the bilinear nature of stiffness in the drilling system because the long drill string has low stiffness as compared to high stiffness of the rock. In this study, we assume the rock as infinitely rigid and model the system as an impact oscillator. This oscillator is excited by the vertical momentum created by the rock asperities encountered by the rotating drill bit in the process of drilling. The oscillations are governed by the combined mass of the drill bit, the collar, the mud trapped there as well as the rotational speed, the viscosity of the mud and the fraction of the energy consumed in rock fragmentation. We demonstrate that the high rotational speeds lead to the vertical chatter and discuss the ways to control these oscillations.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - The performance of hydraulic fractures partially
           filled with compressible proppant
    • Abstract: Neto, LBortolan; Khanna, A
      Mechanical response of a proppant pack to confining stresses significantly influences the aperture of highly conductive artificial or natural fracture channels and, to some extent, determines the efficiency of hydraulic stimulations. This paper presents a simplified mathematical model of a crack partially filled with compressible proppant subject to remote compressive stress and a computational approach for evaluating the productivity rate of hydraulically stimulated wells. The conducted case studies confirm that the proppant pack distribution and compressibility have a significant impact on well productivity. Furthermore, it is suggested that under certain conditions, for example, relatively low confining stresses, the partially propped fractures can lead to higher well production rate than fractures fully filled with proppant. The benefit of reducing proppant pack compressibility for improving the performance of wells with partially propped fractures is also verified.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - The mechanical stress caused by micro-projection
           arrays penetrating the skin for vaccine delivery
    • Abstract: Meliga, SC; Flaim, C; Veidt, M; Kendall, MAF
      The Nanopatch is a silicon array of micro-projections for epidermal and dermal delivery of vaccines, resulting in enhanced immunogenicity in comparison to intramuscular injection. Achieving this requires the fracture of skin superfi cial barriers and penetration to the targeted depth, reliant upon negotiating the complex non-linear elastic and failure properties of skin: a multilayer composite "biomaterial". In this work, computational models of projection-skin mechanical interaction are developed and applied to investigate the mechanical stress generated to fracture skin. Our analytical results on a homogenous linear-elastic skin model suggest that the array projections exert an uneven force distribution on the skin surface, leading to a non-homogeneous stress across the loaded skin region. In addition, the creation of high localised tensile stress is sensitive to a precise trade-off between projection spacing and tip diameter. Numerical simulations are further performed using a layered hyper-elastic skin representation and compared with the analytical findings. The resulting deformation and stresses are significantly increased due to, respectively, the compliant top skin layers and their non-linear elastic properties. This underlines the importance of accounting for the stratified structure of the skin as well as the strain-hardening properties of its strata when assessing the achievement of failure criteria.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Fabrication and characterisation of all bamboo-based
           green composites
    • Abstract: Takagi, H; Nakagaito, AN; Yokota, K; Takeichi, G
      In this paper, we attempted to fabricate all bamboo-based green composites using steam-exploded bamboo fibre as reinforcement and bamboo powder as matrix. The influence of moulding conditions on composites' tensile behaviour was investigated by changing the moulding temperature. Except for the composites moulded at low temperature range from 100 to 120 degreesC, their tensile strength decreased with increasing the moulding temperature. The average tensile strength of the all bamboo-based green composites moulded at 120 degreesC and 10 MPa for 10 minutes was 160 MPa. The decrease in tensile strength of composites moulded at temperatures higher than 120 degreesC may be attributed to the strength drop of the reinforcing bamboo fibre due to thermal decomposition. In order to obtain detailed information about the adhesion behaviour of bamboo powder and bamboo fibre, photomicrographs of the fracture surfaces of the composites were taken. The results show that the fracture behaviour of all bamboo-based green composites was also changed by moulding temperature, and brittle fracture mode was observed in composites moulded at higher temperatures.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Three-dimensional laser scanning vibrometry as a
           visualisation tool for structural health monitoring research
    • Abstract: Ong, WH; Chiu, WK; Nadarajah, N
      The application of three-dimensional scanning laser vibrometry for visualising stress wave propagation in a specimen with a non-surface penetrating defect is presented in this paper. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the use of this measurement technique to achieve a good insight of the propagation of the stress wave over a given region on a test specimen. An investigation into the interaction of the various wave modes with the defect in the structure can be enhanced with this knowledge. The ability to acquire the time series at an array of measurement points in a given region on the structure provide for an excellent means for visualising the propagation of the incident stress and how they interact with the defect present. In addition to the visualisation aspect, the data acquired can also be transformed to assess the modal content of the various wave modes present within the structure. For the purpose of this paper, a flat aluminium test plate with a non-surface penetrating defect will be used. The application of this form of non-contact measurement technique for the stress wave visualisation work will be illustrated. It will be shown that this measurement technique can be used to establish the modal content and the time-development of the incident and the scattered wave modes in the test specimen.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - A numerical study to quantify delamination damage of
           composite structures using an inverse method
    • Abstract: He, S; Rose, LRF; Wang, CH
      Existing vibration-based approaches for damage detection are qualitative. This paper presents a novel two-step approach for characterisation of laminar damage, such as delamination in composites and thickness reduction in metallic structures due to corrosion damage. This new approach first employs a gapped smoothing method to determine the location from curvature data. The severity of damage is then determined in the second step using an inverse method by matching predictions of finite element analysis with deflection (or curvature) data pertinent to low-frequency vibrational response. An assessment of various approaches for computing curvature reveals that wavelet transform is a promising method for simultaneously removing noise and computing curvature. Numerical simulations show that this new two-step approach is capable of quantifying the size and severity of structural damage to be used as input for a residual strength assessment.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Model updating based structural damage detection of
           transmission tower: Experimental verification by a scaled-model
    • Abstract: Yang, J; Lam, H-F
      This paper reports a feasibility study on the use of measured vibration data in the detection of damaged braces of a transmission tower by following a model-based approach. A three-dimension finite element model program was developed in MATLAB for the computer modelling of the target transmission tower in this paper. A newly developed substructure-based structural model-updating scheme is employed to identify the stiffness distributions of the target transmission tower utilising the measured natural frequencies and mode shapes. By comparing the identified stiffness distributions of the undamaged and possibly damaged structure, the damage locations and the corresponding damage extents can be estimated. The contributions of this paper are not only on the development of the substructure-based model updating scheme but also on the verification of the proposed methodology through measured data from a scaled transmission tower model under laboratory conditions.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Experimental and simulation approaches: Effect of
           microwave energy on mechanical strength in sugarcane
    • Abstract: Yin, L; Singh, P; Brodie, G; Sheehan, M; Jacob, MV
      Sugarcane processing produces cane sugar (sucrose) from freshly harvested sugarcane through mechanical milling processes such as shredding and crushing. To make sugarcane more processable, we employed heat treatment of sugarcane using microwave energy to soften sugarcane prior to its mechanical processing. In this paper, we report our first simulation and experimental investigation of the influence of microwave heating on the mechanical properties of sugarcane stalk internodes. Finite-difference time-domain simulations were used to understand the microwave field distribution in the microwave-heated sugarcane specimens. Microwave-heating induced sugarcane property changes in Young's modulus, yield strength and ultimate strength were measured using compressive testing. The results show that microwave heat treatment significantly reduces mechanical strength and stiffness of sugarcane so that treated sugarcane stalks become more processable in mechanical milling processes. This work provides preliminary data with which the sugar industry could reduce shredding and crushing forces, torques, and energy. Potential savings in energy consumption, and operation and maintenance costs would be expected.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Application of finite element model updating and
           reduction techniques to simulate gearbox bearing faults
    • Abstract: Deshpande, LG; Sawalhi, NM; Randall, RB
      Simulation provides an effective method to generate vibration signals in the presence of machine faults such as in gears and bearings. Lumped parameter models (LPMs) and the LPM combined with a reduced finite element (FE) model of the casing were previously used to simulate localised and extended bearing faults in the inner and outer race. The analysis of the vibration signals based on the above techniques clearly indicated the presence of localised inner and outer race faults through envelope analysis in a high frequency band. However, the simulated results showed poor spectral matching over a wide frequency range when compared with the test results. There were also discrepancies in the low frequency region where extended faults in the outer and/or inner race interact with and modulate gear mesh frequencies. This paper describes FE-test correlation wherein the FE model of the gearbox casing is updated based on experimental modal analysis prior to the model reduction. The updated casing model is subsequently reduced using the Craig-Bampton method of component mode synthesis subject to the frequency range of interest. The greatly reduced mass and stiffness matrices are imported into a simulation model developed earlier which has the capability of simulating time-varying stiffness non-linearities and geometric faults for both gears and bearings.

      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 2 - Preface
    • Abstract: Kotousov, Andrei
      PubDate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:50:19 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Abstracts
    • PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Technologies for engineering education
    • Abstract: Maclaren, P; Singamemni, S; Wilson, DI
      Within any discipline, teaching involves a distinctive relationship between content, pedagogical approaches and the use of technologies. In engineering education, the content includes mathematical symbolic and diagrammatic forms, traditionally taught using handwritten and talkbased approaches which have not been easily accommodated by keyboard-centric digital technologies. In 2012, a pilot project involving staff in the AUT School of Engineering was initiated to explore the use of digital pen-enabled technologies. This paper reviews educational research supporting the use of these technologies in an engineering education context and reports on findings from the project. The paper also discusses ways of integrating digital pen-enabled technologies with other developments in educational technology to enhance traditional pedagogical approaches to the teaching of engineering, and to facilitate progressive development of transformative approaches.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Application of reliability centred maintenance
           methodology to develop maintenance program for a heavy duty hydraulic
           stretching machine
    • Abstract: Deshpande, VS; Mahant, PM
      The application of reliability centred maintenance (RCM) methodology for developing the maintenance plan for heavy duty hydraulic stretching machine is illustrated in this paper. This machine is used for straightening and stretching of high strength aluminium alloys of various cross-sections. The main objective of RCM is cost effective maintenance with due considerations to environmental management and safety. To undertake the RCM program, functions, functional failures, failure modes and effects of this machine are identified. Breakdown history of the plant for last 2 years has been studied. Total downtime was 1004 hours in a year whereas the loss of production owing to this downtime is estimated to be Rs. 47.44 crore which excludes the cost of maintenance.. The main objective of present study is to minimise the above figures by implementing the RCM methodology. To achieve this, an RCM methodology suggested by John Moubray has been adopted. Cost benefit analysis done at the end on expected results indicates that about 16.83% and 18.62% savings can be achieved in equipment downtime and associated costs respectively.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Impact of walking worker assembly line configuration on
           ergonomics performance
    • Abstract: Al-Zuheri, A; Luong, L; Xing, K
      Manual assembly lines with walking workers may be designed in many configurations. Different configurations have profound impact on the performance of the system. This paper analyses and evaluates the ergonomics performance measures for different system configurations. Based on developed mathematical model, different combinations of structural factors are compared to evaluate effects of these factors on the mentioned performance. The work demonstrates that various design factors should be considered jointly when designing or redesigning walking worker assembly line because setting different levels for factors can considerably affect the ergonomics performance of the system.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Conformal cooling through thin shell moulds produced by
           3D printing
    • Abstract: Bobby, SS; Singamneni, S
      In today's competitive mould industry, a product's time-to-market plays an important role in the success of a company by producing quality moulds. For many years mould designers struggled for the improvement of the cooling system performance, due the fact that the cooling system complexity is physically limited by the fabrication capability of the conventional tooling methods. Even conventional cooling performance may not meet the expectations of the mould engineer to maintain uniform mould temperature. Proper thermal control is useful not only for cooling purposes, but also for the preservation of mould heat to increase the part quality and production rate. Conformal cooling is an emerging methodology to control more accurately the temperature of the mould cavity throughout the process. Controlling of the temperature in thin shell moulds is a challenging task, and if successful, will pave way towards increased part quality and production rate. This paper presents the results of experimental investigations carried out casting aluminium in thin shell moulds produced by three-dimensional (3D) printing with and without conformal cooling channels. The freedom to create the internal geometry by the use of the 3D printing process allows for the fabrication of moulds with complex internal cooling passages compared to other rapid prototyping processes.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Fuzzy integral project manager selection
    • Abstract: Afshari, AR; Yusuff, RM
      As in many decision problems, project manager selection is very complex in real life. Although many studies have investigated this problem, however, dependency of criteria has not been considered in the majority of the reviewed studies. The main objective of this study is to evaluate a candidate by developing a model based on fuzzy integrals for ranking candidates. The model was validated using a case study of personnel selection in a project based company for a project manager position. The effectiveness of the new method was demonstrated by a case study. The results showed that the proposed model is appropriate for selecting personnel considering dependency between criteria. In the real world, in dealing with multiple criteria decision making problems, the criteria are not independent. So they cannot be evaluated by conventional additive measures and there must be better methods to distinguish the preferences by applying a new nonlinear and non-additive model, in which it is not necessary to assume independence.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - An optimisation model for a simultaneous cost-risk
           reduction in just-in-time systems
    • Abstract: Dabee, FEl; Marian, R; Amer, Y
      Just-in-time (JIT) is one of lean manufacturing tools, which evokes images of efficiency, minimising unnecessary costs and attractive value for many organisations. However, the risks arising from these benefits have been ignored. These risks impact on system processes disrupting all supply chain parties (suppliers/ customers) involved. This research focuses on how the proposed model can simultaneously reduce costs and risks in JIT systems. This model is developed to ascertain an optimal ordering strategy for procuring raw materials, in order to reduce the total cost of the products, and at the same time to reduce the risks arising from this cost reduction within production systems. Also, an example problem is proposed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed model. Finally, in comparison between the cost of using the JIT system and the inventory Just-in-time (JIT) is one of lean manufacturing tools, which evokes images of efficiency, minimising unnecessary costs and attractive value for many organisations. However, the risks arising from these benefits have been ignored. These risks impact on system processes disrupting all supply chain parties (suppliers/ customers) involved. This research focuses on how the proposed model can simultaneously reduce costs and risks in JIT systems. This model is developed to ascertain an optimal ordering strategy for procuring raw materials, in order to reduce the total cost of the products, and at the same time to reduce the risks arising from this cost reduction within production systems. Also, an example problem is proposed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed model. Finally, in comparison between the cost of using the JIT system and the inventory system, the results show the superiority of the use of inventory policy. system, the results show the superiority of the use of inventory policy.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Reliability studies of tensile strength for parts
           produced by direct metal laser sintering using Weibull analysis
    • Abstract: Naiju, CD; Adithan, M; Radhakrishnan, P
      A study was carried out to find the reliability of components manufactured by direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) for tensile strength. An orthogonal array of modified L8 experimental design using Taguchi's experimental design techniques was developed and used. Test results were analysed using analysis of variance technique to identify the main process parameter that influences the tensile strength. It has been found that sintering speed had more influence on tensile strength as compared to other process parameters. Regression analysis shows that regression model for tensile strength is within the significance level and adequate within 90%. Detailed investigations on reliability using Weibull analysis shows that the distribution plot considered as a good Weibull design. Results show that the Weibull distribution method can be used for describing the distribution A study was carried out to find the reliability of components manufactured by direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) for tensile strength. An orthogonal array of modified L8 experimental design using Taguchi's experimental design techniques was developed and used. Test results were analysed using analysis of variance technique to identify the main process parameter that influences the tensile strength. It has been found that sintering speed had more influence on tensile strength as compared to other process parameters. Regression analysis shows that regression model for tensile strength is within the significance level and adequate within 90%. Detailed investigations on reliability using Weibull analysis shows that the distribution plot considered as a good Weibull design. Results show that the Weibull distribution method can be used for describing the distribution of failure times for tensile strength of DMLS components for functional applications. of failure times for tensile strength of DMLS components for functional applications.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - A fuzzy decision support system for selecting the
           optimal scheduling rule in robotic flexible assembly cells
    • Abstract: Abd, K; Abhary, K; Marian, R
      The aim of this paper is to present a proposed methodology to select optimal scheduling rule for robotic flexible assembly cells based fuzzy decision support system. Six common scheduling rules are considered, and three independent objectives, namely, the minimising of makespan (Cmax), total tardiness (TD) and percentage of tardy jobs (%T) are measured. A fuzzy decision support system is implemented using the Matlab fuzzy toolbox. The final results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology to select optimal scheduling rule in a multi-product assembly environment.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Navigating the wilds of industrial optimisation
    • Abstract: Wilson, DI
      The continual search for solutions that are better, faster and more efficient is second nature to all engineers. This activity is known as optimisation. But industrial optimisation problems are like the mythical beast, the Jabberwocky: they are big, complex, mean, ill-tempered, and prickly. What is interesting though is how we arrive at optimal solutions; how we can rapidly discard noncontenders, reduce the search-space, and accelerate the passage to the optimum. Essentially how do we optimise the optimisation process? This paper reviews the recent developments in large-scale optimisation algorithms that are suitable for industrial problems. The important issues of correctly formulating the optimisation problem, judging when to add constraints, when to introduce binary variables, and which of the many numerical algorithms to choose are also highlighted with many actual industrial examples such as trajectory planning of the Waiheke ferry, to the optimal operation of steam utility boiler systems, to optimal design of microwave cavities, and the classifi cation of the electrical power usage of suburbs from Dargaville to Wellsford. The take home message is this: with the right tools (many of which are free), all the world's problems start to look like optimisation problems where even a slightly better solution is better than nothing at all.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Structure and properties of high-manganese TWIP, TRIP
           and TRIPLEX steels
    • Abstract: Dobrzanski, LA; Borek, W
      The aim of this paper is to determine the high-manganese austenite propensity to twinning induced by the cold working and its effect on structure and mechanical properties, and especially the strain energy per unit volume of newly-developed high-manganese Fe-Mn-(Al, Si) investigated steels. Newly-developed steels achieve profi table connection of mechanical properties. The newly-developed high-manganese steels provide an extensive potential for automotive industries through exhibiting the twinning induced plasticity (TWIP) and transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) mechanisms. TWIP steels not only show excellent strength, but also have excellent formability due to twinning, thereby leading to excellent combination of strength, ductility, and formability over conventional dual phase steels or TRIP steels. Conditions applied to high-manganese TWIP/TRIP/TRIPLEX steels sheets during deep drawing are different from those applied during tensile testing; the formability cannot be evaluated by mechanical properties obtained from the tensile test. The microstructure evolution in successive stages of deformation was determined in metallographic investigations using light, scanning and electron microscopies as well as x-ray diffractometry. Results obtained for newly-developed high-manganese austenitic steels with the properly formed structure and properties in the heat treatment- or thermo-mechanical processes indicate the possibility and purposefulness of their employment for constructional elements of vehicles, especially of the passenger cars to take advantage of the signifi cant growth of their strain energy per unit volume.

      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 2 - Preface
    • Abstract: Singamneni, Sarat
      PubDate: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:34:06 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Use of radio frequency identification active
           technology to monitor animals in open spaces
    • Abstract: Barbari, M; Leso, L; Rossi, G; Simonini, S
      Recent testing of an active radio frequency identification (RFID) system within an outdoor fenced-enclosure housing four fattening pigs is described. The system is a modular active-RFID system composed by marker, reader and beacon tag. The enclosure was divided into three areas using three marker's loop-antennas. These areas were the pigs' feeding, drinking and resting areas. The duration in seconds verified by video recordings that individual animals attended in the zones outlined by the markers was compared with the duration acquired by the active-RFID system. The results indicate an acceptable accuracy of position-data, as overall 5% underestimation was achieved. Different levels of precision were achieved by the active-RFID system according to the feeding, drinking and resting areas monitored. In particular, problems were encountered due to the behaviour of the pigs surrounding the perimeter of the marked areas, the size and positioning of the tag on the pig's collar, and other software, hardware and calibration issues some of which may be overcome. These issues, together with the cost, are main limitation when using this technology.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:49:32 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Integrating radio frequency identification into the
           piGUI system to recognise sampling bias and detect feeding behaviour
    • Abstract: Tscharke, M; Banhazi, TM
      A machine vision system was developed to determine the live weight and growth rate of groups of pigs. During development, it was important to determine whether the sampling method had potential to cause bias and subsequent error in the daily weight estimates calculated by the system. Sampling bias can occur toward certain pigs because of their appearance or the frequency and duration in which they reside in the pen-region beneath the camera. To determine whether these forms of bias could occur, radio frequency identification (RFID) was integrated into the system to monitor the attendance of individual pigs in the pen-region observed by the camera. Test results indicated that both forms of bias had occurred as a result of the system's filter settings and the installation position. As the system observed a single feeder space, the opportunity arose to analyse the data further and determine whether the feeding behaviour of individual animals could be recovered from their attendance at the feeder. Preliminary findings indicate that the attendance recorded by the RFID system at the feeder is related to weight gain and that attendance might be useful in detecting feeder demand and out of feed events. In addition, it is believed that the RFID-recorded interactions between pigs at the feeder may provide a novel way of automatically recording competitive behaviour between individual animals in a group. Continuously identifying individual pigs at the feeder helps to fine tune the vision systems parameters to overcome bias related issues concerning layout and sampling. Additional information can be gained by the RFID system which prompts further investigation.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:46:49 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Assessing a new approach to covered anaerobic pond
           design in the treatment of abattoir wastewater
    • Abstract: McCabe, BK; Harris, P; Baillie, C; Pittaway, P; Yusaf, T
      Churchill Abattoir Pty Ltd (CA) is a beef abattoir and rendering facility that has operated for 43 years as a government entity, and for the past 11 years as a private enterprise. Since the changeover, there have been significant improvements in CA's environmental performance. In response to improving waste treatment and minimisation, CA has developed a novel covered anaerobic pond design for the treatment of abattoir wastewater. This design consists of five smaller ponds arranged in a cell configuration which has been driven by a number of factors including, manageability (for desludging ponds) and ease of removing and applying covers. Industry design and management standards are based on generalised metrics for anaerobic ponds rather than industry specific data. To inform pond design, an intensive study of pond behaviour was performed on the covered anaerobic ponds. This paper gives an overview of the literature reported on the use of anaerobic ponds in the treatment of high-strength wastewater and outlines the key findings in the preliminary assessment of the behaviour and performance of these novel anaerobic ponds. The use of five smaller ponds instead of one larger pond has proven successful in terms of crust and sludge removal. The primary issue with the covered ponds at Churchill, however, was the build-up of fat/ crust that prevented the capture of biogas and effective use of the cover. Despite the operational difficulties in relation to fat/crust accumulation, results indicate that satisfactory, stable operation has been achieved for the smaller five-pond system, notwithstanding the higher than desired organic loading rate of the two primary ponds.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:44:09 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Growth recorded automatically and continuously by a
           machine vision system for finisher pigs
    • Abstract: Tscharke, M; Banhazi, TM
      Conventional livestock weighing methods require direct contact with the animals. This contact creates a physically demanding and hazardous situation for those undertaking the weighing activities. Alternatively, the weight of livestock can be estimated from their body measurements using non-invasive methods. This article presents recent improvements in the ongoing development of a completely automatic, two-dimensional machine vision system labelled the piGUI system, designed to obtain body measurements of pigs to estimate their live weight. Results comparing pig weights obtained by a weigh-scale and the vision-based method are reported for pigs in their finisher stage of growth. During offline testing of a video dataset, the piGUI system demonstrated that it was capable of estimating the average group weight within a 2.5% error relative to the actual group average weight. In addition, the weight deviation of the groups was estimated within a +/- 1 kg error of the actual group weight deviation. During on-farm testing the average group weight was accurate to 2.5% relative error and the estimated weight deviation was within a +/- 2 kg error of the actual weight deviation. Continuous recording of livestock growth is important as growth data can be used to measure animals' responses to various factors such as the surrounding climate, housing environment and nutrition. Assessing the animals' responses to these conditions is essential in improving the efficiency and welfare of livestock in both research and commercial settings.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:40:34 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Weight estimation of sows during pregnancy using
           machine vision
    • Abstract: Tscharke, M; Banhazi, TM
      The body condition of sows, before and during pregnancy, has been shown to affect the quality and survivability of their offspring. Therefore, it is desirable to monitor and manage the body condition of sows to ensure that their nutritional and environmental requirements are met. A sow's condition can be determined from its body shape, back-fat measurement and weight relative to its age and parity. However, often these factors are not monitored frequently due to the high level of labour required. As weight is a strong indicator of condition, a machine vision system was developed to continuously estimate, without operator involvement, the weights of pigs from their size. This article presents the weight estimation results achieved by the system for sows between days 71 and 82 of pregnancy, and a brief insight into the morphological changes in two sows' body dimensions determined by the system which occurred in the days before and after giving birth. The system determined the average weight of the group of pregnant sows to within 1.5% mean-relative error of the actual group average weight. Using the system's combined dimension and shape filtering method, 82% of the individual weight assessments of these sows were found to be within 5 kg of their actual weight. The system identified clear changes in body dimensions for two sows before and after giving birth. The effect that pregnancy has on the shape and body dimensions of sows should be investigated further as it is likely to be a contributing factor to poorer weight estimates. However changes in body dimensions may also be used to model and classify condition or the onset of pregnancy.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:36:45 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Understanding the user: Learning from on-farm
           application of precision farming technologies in the Australian livestock
    • Abstract: Eastwood, C; Trotter, M; Scott, N
      The use of precision farming technology for enhanced farm management will play an essential role in future Australian livestock farming systems. Currently a gap exists between the potential perceived by precision technology developers and the on-farm benefits achieved by farmers. The concept of technological innovation systems is used in this paper to discuss the current challenges for successful precision farming in practice through case studies of farmers using the technologies in the dairy, beef, and sheep sectors. These case studies highlight the need for greater emphasis on the "user" phase of the technology development cycle. The concept of technological innovation systems provides a path forward for agricultural engineers where a more holistic approach is taken to technology development, and where the processes of learning, knowledge creation, and ongoing adaptation occur alongside new technology design. The value proposition for farmers needs to be clear to encourage them to invest time and money in not only the purchase and installation of such technology, but also into the early learning that is required. There is a requirement for investment in human capital to support precision technologies, while also creating knowledge sharing structures to link farmers to the lessons learnt by others.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:34:43 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Determining the growth of pigs in commercial
           facilities using machine vision: On-farm and offline results
    • Abstract: Tscharke, M; Banhazi, TM
      A vision system was developed to determine the live weight of pigs from their body measurements non-invasively. This article presents on-farm and offline results obtained from the piGUI system while estimating the weight of grower pigs. During the on-farm trial the system recorded the growth of four successive batches of grower pigs at a commercial piggery. The growth output from the system was used to demonstrate the system's potential in detecting the effect of undesirable conditions in practice. As according to the system, extreme summer temperatures may have been responsible for a decrease in the animal's activity and growth. Offline results indicated that the group average weights of the grower pigs could be estimated within 1.3 kg error and group weight deviations within 1.2 kg error. More than 65% of all the estimates of individual pigs were within 2 kg of their actual weight, while estimates greater than 5 kg error were restricted to less than 5% of all estimates.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:29:58 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Seasonal, diurnal and spatial variations of
           environmental variables in Australian livestock buildings
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM
      To identify the most practical and representative sampling locations for air quality and environmental variables inside intensive piggery buildings, the variation in the spatial, diurnal and seasonal concentration of major airborne pollutants, and related environmental parameters, were analysed over a 2.5-day period at several locations within different piggery buildings. Major airborne pollutants including, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and airborne particles were monitored along with environmental parameters of airspeed, temperature and humidity. To determine the air quality within each building, cyclone attachments were installed to measure particles of less than 5 .m along with a seven hole sampler attachment to measure inhalable airborne particles. An Osiris optical particle counter also monitored the concentrations of airborne particles. Ammonia and carbon dioxide were monitored using a multi-gas monitoring machine and airspeed was measured using a hot-wired anemometer. Interesting patterns in the concentration of carbon dioxide, dust and ammonia were observed over time and space. Carbon dioxide, airspeed and dust concentration demonstrated an obvious circadian pattern. The difference in the concentrations of ammonia and carbon dioxide was not statistically significant at alternative sampling locations inside each building. However, the gravimetric measurements indicated that the concentrations of inhalable particles were not uniform throughout the buildings and proved to be higher above the walkways. Ammonia and respirable particle concentrations were significantly higher in summer when compared to winter conditions. These results combined, identifi ed the most appropriate sampling times and sampling places for reliable evaluation of air quality in intensive livestock buildings.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:19:28 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Review of methods to determine weight and size of
           livestock from images
    • Abstract: Tscharke, M; Banhazi, TM
      In this article, the technologies which can determine the weight and growth of livestock are reviewed. Limitations of the weighing task by these different methods are defined. Comparisons between the different techniques highlight the superiority of the non-contact visionbased method. Modelling techniques for weight estimation, size and composition are reviewed along with image segmentation and recognition methods. Conclusions identify that further work is required in regards to (i) estimating the weight, (ii) estimating the weight deviation of groups of livestock animals, (iii) estimating the weight of individual animals, and (iv) improving the design of livestock weighing methods to function in commercially realistic environments. Future direction also centres on enhancing automation, minimising invasive environmental-control, maximising precision and repeatability during the recovery of body measurements and identifying and controlling the effect of any bias in weight estimation.

      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:19:28 GMT
  • Volume 10 Issue 1 - Preface
    • Abstract: Jensen, Troy
      PubDate: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:19:28 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - An app for heritage: DigiMacq
    • Abstract: Woo, D
      Mobile phones and music devices are no longer restricted to a limited set of voice call features. Today, the mobile device is capable of a huge variety of functions now that the platforms have been opened up to application developers and a business distribution model is in place. This provides an opportunity to deliver interactive multimedia experiences to a huge audience that spans several demographics. DigiMacq, a mobile heritage experience is an example of the next generation of interactives that delivers historic themes on a mobile device. The project was developed in conjunction with Parramatta City Council as part of the Lachlan Macquarie bicentennial in 2010. The content consists of stories that are based around events and people who were part of colonial Parramatta and provides sign-based clues physically located at six places around the city, corresponding to relevant heritage sites. The clues are used to unlock media content that tell a story that is connected to the place. This project sets the scene for how engineering heritage can be brought to life and to a younger audience using the next generation of mobile devices.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:56:05 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Spreading the load: The management of heritage timber
           truss bridges in the NSW road network
    • Abstract: North, M
      The use of timber in bridge construction was prevalent throughout NSW in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading the state to be dubbed the "Timber Truss Bridge State". Over the period c.1880-1930 over 400 timber truss bridges were constructed throughout the state, opening up traffic for trade and settlement and providing river crossings in often remote and inaccessible areas, using readily available local materials. Built to a load standard of approximately 15 tonnes, the remaining bridges within the NSW road network are now regularly subjected to loads of 45 tonnes or greater, with pressure to further increase freight limits. How then can such bridges be managed within the context of the demands of a modern road network, where it is not always possible to upgrade the bridge or divert traffic' This paper examines a strategic management process developed by the author with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority to assess the ongoing suitability of the remaining portfolio of 48 timber truss bridges and develop a long-term management strategy which is sustainable from a cost and operations perspective, while ensuring a representative selection of these important engineering heritage assets are retained within the road network. This framework has served as the basis for negotiations with the Heritage Council of NSW to ensure that a selection of bridges can be conserved into the future.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:55:04 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - The performance of heritage buildings in the 2010/2011
           Christchurch earthquake swarm
    • Abstract: Marriott, A
      The Canterbury region in the South Island of New Zealand has sustained a number of significant earthquakes from 4 September 2010 until the present. The author has been advising Christchurch City Council's heritage earthquake response team on its heritage buildings since 1 March 2011 and this paper is intended to review the performance of the listed heritage building stock in the earthquake swarm. It will detail the history of how the region's buildings developed, typical building types, the tectonic setting, the events of 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011, civil defence procedures, inspections and indicator buildings, heritage buildings, other buildings, types of failures, performance of seismic retrofits, churches and personal experiences.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:54:11 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - The engineering of Budj Bim and the evolution of a
           societal structure in Aboriginal Australia
    • Abstract: Jordan, JW
      In the minds of most present day Australians, both indigenous and non-indigenous, "engineering" came to the continent with the first Europeans. However, if one looks at what "engineering" really is, then structures from history and pre-history, especially in the Middle East, which supplied water to growing settlements cannot be ignored; there were excellent examples present in Australia which may even pre-date those in many northern hemisphere civilisations. This paper looks particularly at the aquaculture structures built from the Budj Bim lava flows (Mt Eccles) in southwestern Victoria. The aquaculture industry produced a permanent food supply, a permanent settlement, food trading and a different form of governance than was generally found elsewhere in Australia. The works have now been recognised as an Engineering Heritage National Landmark by the Institution of Engineers Australia (commonly referred to as Engineers Australia).

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:51:39 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Getting it right at heritage sites
    • Abstract: Baker, K
      The paper sets out opportunities for greater engineering involvement in heritage conservation, with examples where engineering input is absent, miss-directed or undervalued, and it makes suggestions as to the stronger role engineers could play. Opportunities sometimes present themselves when there is a structural failure or a requirement for a statutory assessment, but lack of sympathy for heritage can sometimes result in an easy condemnation rather than a more considered preservation approach. But there are wider avenues for engineering involvement when engineers are more proactive in the heritage conservation field. The paper is illustrated with examples of engineering input to heritage conservation and opportunities yet to be realised.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:49:41 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Conserving Tamworth's electrical heritage
    • Abstract: Greer, RW
      The paper reviews what heritage is, why it should be conserved, how it can be conserved, and the difference conservation of heritage makes to a community and to the nation. It draws on the experiences of the Tamworth Powerstation Museum in conserving both local and national heritage. This includes the first practical use of electricity and its impact on early life in Australia, conservation of the site of a national heritage event, and conservation of the world's only two surviving John Fowler under-type steam engines. The museum's effort to conserve some of the heritage of Australia's only electric lamp manufacturer before its loss to global manufacturing rationalisation is discussed. The rewards for conservators, museum volunteers and visitors, and the question "Are we really making a difference'" are examined.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:49:22 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - The Callington Mill at Oatlands: A story of dreams,
           booms, busts and recoveries
    • Abstract: Farley, M; Murphy, H
      The Callington Mill at Oatlands is Australia's only remaining example of a Lincolnshire-style windmill. Built in 1837 to take advantage of the commercial opportunities inherent in the system of colonisation and administration of the convict system, the mill experienced a challenging commercial life until it was abandoned in the late 1890s to fall into disrepair. From the 1970s onwards a series of partial stabilisation and restoration attempts occurred until a 2004 feasibility study identified the potential to restore the mill to full working order and to create a historic heritage tourism facility in combination with the milling of Tasmanian grown grains into flour. Achieving this goal required analysis of the tower's stability, reconfiguration of the interior and the manufacture and fabrication of a complete and authentic set of mid-19th century milling machinery, cap and sails. This "mill" was manufactured in the UK by a millwright, assembled, disassembled and packed into two containers and sent to Australia, mirroring the 1830s import. The millwright followed and moved into a mill tower that had been redesigned, reconstructed and met current approval requirements to operate as a commercial mill. This required the input of engineering, architectural and building professionals to ensure the balance of heritage authenticity and heritage and contemporary compliance requirements. In late 2010, the Callington Mill recommenced milling operations, providing both a sense of achievement for the local community and those involved over the years, as well as providing the catalyst for Oatlands to take its place as a key destination for those with an interest in heritage.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:44:55 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Tasmania's heritage wilderness railway
    • Abstract: Cooper, I; Tomlin, J; Reeve, T
      The ABT Railway was once the lifeblood of the Mt. Lyell Mining and Railway Company, hauling copper ore from its mine in Queenstown to ports on Macquarie Harbour. The railway ceased operations in 1963 when road transport became a more economical proposition. The unique feature of the Railway was its rack-rail and pinion system which assisted the purposebuilt locomotives negotiate steep sections of the Railway. Over the years local pressure grew to have the Railway restored as a tourist, heritage railway. In 1998, the Australian Government contributed $20.45 million from its Centenary of Federation Fund towards its reconstruction. The environmentally and technically challenging planning, design and construction work commenced in early 1999, with train services operating as the West Coast Wilderness Railway over the full 34.5 km length of the Railway in early 2003. The Abt Railway Restoration Project was awarded The Institution of Engineers Australia Engineering Excellence Award in 2001 and the Colin Crisp Heritage Prize in 2005 in recognition of the signifi cant achievement to bring this iconic railway back into service. This paper discusses the early challenges of the restoration, which included tight budget constraints, strong focus on maintaining the environmental and heritage values of the track, locomotives, rolling stock and buildings, while still providing an operating system that would meet the latest rail safety regulatory requirements. The paper goes on to look at the railway today, improvements and additions made in recent years aimed at improving operational effi ciency and visitor interpretational experiences, fi nally exploring some of the future challenges the railway still faces to remain in operation in the long term.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:44:34 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Lake Margaret power scheme: Something old, something
    • Abstract: Brown, D; Johnston, B
      The Upper Power Station of the Margaret Power Scheme was opened in 1914 by the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company. The Upper Power Station initially consisted of four generating sets and by 1930 was expanded to seven 1200 kW horizontal Pelton units. In 1931 the Lower Power Station was opened, utilising water from the Upper Power Station. In June 2006 the scheme, now owned by Hydro Tasmania, was closed due to safety concerns. In 2009 the Upper Power Station was returned to service with a new woodstave pipeline and modern protection scheme to facilitate unattended operation. In 2010 the Lower Power Station was expanded and a new 3200 kW Turgo unit installed beside the original. This paper describes the journey of redevelopment and challenges in a modern operating environment.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:44:09 GMT
  • Volume 9 Issue 1 - Barwon Heads Bridge: History or heritage'
    • Abstract: Beauchamp, D
      The Barwon Heads Bridge, built in 1927 near the mouth of the Barwon River in Victoria, was the largest timber bridge built for the Country Roads Board. During its life it was altered, widened and strengthened to meet changing traffic requirements. In 1999 it was placed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Ten years later it was dismantled and replaced with a steel and concrete "replica". This paper sets out the history of the original bridge and examines the question of the heritage value of the new bridge.

      PubDate: Mon, 7 Jan 2013 09:43:19 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Queensland's Timber and Iron Lighthouses: 19th Century
           Colonial Innovation
    • Abstract: Marquis-Kyle, P
      The geography, resources and economic circumstances of the colony of Queensland fostered the local design and construction of two related types of composite timber-framed, iron-clad lighthouse towers in Queensland from the 1870s - an early type clad with riveted wrought iron plating, and a later type clad with corrugated galvanised iron. This paper gives a short historical account of their design and construction, outlines the range of towers and how they have been changed. The paper concludes with an assessment of the success and influence of the type, and a table of major 19th century lighthouses.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Engineering of 'Engineering a City'
    • Abstract: Venus, RJ
      The South Australia Division of Engineers Australia has recently produced a small guide to the engineering heritage of the City of Adelaide. The publication supports the 'Looking Back' theme of Engineers Australia's 90th Year. Although little physical evidence of Adelaide's engineering heritage remains, the research for the booklet uncovered many more sites than were expected. This paper describes the planning process and provides a brief summary of the heritage aspects covered.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Coorong Battery at the Winnecke Gold Mine, NT
    • Abstract: Ridgway, N
      The Winnecke gold mine was one of the remotest gold mines in Australia, not far from the more renown Arltunga mines, 90 km east-northeast of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, which have been extensively researched by Donovan, Forrest, Holmes and Phelts et al. An examination of the site relics and literature reveals the important links to engineering in South Australia, early steam engine technology of Hawke & Co., and their national contribution to mining. It was also found that the records of Hawke are randomly dispersed, and it is hoped this paper will encourage others to conserve the engineering heritage and records of Hawke and Co.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Early Electricity Supply in Melbourne
    • Abstract: Pierce, M
      This paper traces the commencement of public electricity supply in Melbourne in 1882, placing it in the vanguard of similar developments worldwide. The subsequent participation of other private enterprise ventures and the entry of the Melbourne City Council into the field are then outlined, along with the range of electricity supply technologies that were successively adopted - from high voltage series DC, single-phase AC, low-voltage DC to three-phase AC.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The History of High Voltage Direct Current Transmission
    • Abstract: Peake, O
      Transmission of electricity by high voltage direct current (HVDC) has provided the electric power industry with a powerful tool to move large quantities of electricity over great distances and also to expand the capacity to transmit electricity by undersea cables. The first commercial HVDC scheme connected the island of Gotland to the Swedish mainland in 1954. During the subsequent 55 years, great advances in HVDC technology and the economic opportunities for HVDC have been achieved. Because of the rapid development of HVDC technology many of the early schemes have already been upgraded, modernised or decommissioned. Very little equipment from the early schemes has survived to illustrate the engineering heritage of HVDC. Conservation of the equipment remaining from the early projects is now an urgent priority, while the conservation of more recent projects, when they are retired, is a future challenge.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Remnants of Early Hydraulic Power Systems
    • Abstract: Gibson, JW; Pierce, MC
      This paper briefly outlines the development of water hydraulic power systems and devices during the 19th century, and then describes a range of extant system elements from Australia and New Zealand. The significance of this early motive power technology is underlined by the many end-use applications that evolved, and further work in identifying, recording and, where practicable, conserving extant remnants is advocated.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - American Bridges in New South Wales, 1870-1932
    • Abstract: Fraser, D
      New South Wales Government Railways and the Department of Public Works began with British technology, particularly for rail and road bridges such as the expensive iron lattice girders. Long-serving Engineers-in-Chief, John Whitton and W. C. Bennett, applied their authority to exclude contemporary American bridge technology. However, by 1890 the merits of American bridges were well known and had economic appeal for Government funding. The effect was that in 1894 there was an abrupt and complete change to American Pratt truss bridges, which became the standard for the next 50 years. The first uniform application to railways was for the new standard gauge North Coast Railway, 1911-1932. They are now an historic class of bridges of high heritage significance. For road bridges, American Howe timber trusses were dominant post-1894, and 29 are on the State Heritage Register. Also, steel Pratt truss road bridges from this period are still in-service. This paper details the change to American bridge technology.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - John Harry Grainger: Engineer and Architect
    • Abstract: Tibbits, GR; Beauchamp, D
      Shortly after John Grainger arrived in Australia in 1877 he won competitions for the design of three bridges in Adelaide, Sale and Melbourne. During his life, despite being subjected to recurring bouts of debilitating illness, he designed at least 14 bridges, five water supply and irrigation schemes, and a large number of buildings, many of which are on heritage registers in both Australia and New Zealand. Today he is largely forgotten.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Engineer as Landscaper and Cultural Warrior
    • Abstract: Dolan, D
      In 1910, American philosopher William James called on governments of all nations to eschew fighting each other, and instead jointly pursue 'the moral equivalent of war' - a war against nature. Believing the world to be fundamentally hostile to the human struggle for survival, James was inspired by the projects of the great 19th century engineers. He saw their work as a grand cultural endeavour, transcending merely building infrastructure to solve local practical problems. Pipelines, railways, roads, tunnels, bridges and canals tie formerly separate places and people together, creating new political, economic and population zones. The engineers of the Victorian and Edwardian era literally reshaped the landscape and redrew the maps, changing forever the ways we experience, conceptualise and understand the environment. In the context of the British Empire, impressive engineering works were articulated to enhance the credibility of the imperial enterprise. The visual impact on the physical landscape was controversial, but the new spatial and cultural reality they created is reflected in landscape art and popular national imagery. The fame and drama that surrounded C. Y. O'Connor in Australia and New Zealand, and his international peers, made them significant cultural figures in their own right, as influential as literary or visual artists in creating cultural imagery and sense of place.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Seek First to Understand Before Being Understood
    • Abstract: Brennan, Michael; Stinson, Tracey
      The power industry has plans for an unprecedented level of capital expenditure over the next decade on projects that are required to meet increasing demand and reliability, and the replacement of aging infrastructure. A substantial proportion of this expenditure will be spent on overhead lines and major substations, assets that elicit increasingly more hostile reactions from the community. The mere suggestion of a proposal for a new sub-transmission line often brings out the 'nimbys' on mass, making the job of the power industry increasingly more difficult. Overhead lines, underground cables and substations can inevitably impact on landholders and the community. Community scrutiny is increasing. Communities and individuals are better educated and informed, and are able to rally more readily than ever to demand involvement in the decision making about project outcomes. Informed and well organised communities can delay the roll out of major works. The community wants and deserves better justification, analysis and reasoning behind decisions. If stakeholder engagement is done well, it can lead to innovative solutions and stronger relationships with local communities, built on mutual respect and understanding. This involves a shift in mindset for infrastructure providers and their project teams. Through genuine engagement of key stakeholders, infrastructure providers can tap into the ideas and problem solving abilities from within communities to assist in identifying innovative solutions that are far more acceptable to all parties. This paper reflects on past and present attitudes and community consultation practices, and proposes a fresh approach that combines the technical skill and knowledge of engineers with a genuine desire to listen and understand landholders and the community. These partnerships can generate thought-provoking ideas for achieving creative and technically-sound solutions that are embraced by the community and landholders. The authors draw on experience and observation gained in community consultation and landholder negotiation in a major power infrastructure project in the Clarence Valley.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Broadband: New Highways for Regional Development in the
           21st Century
    • Abstract: Hitchiner, Peter
      Broadband has been the subject of serial inquiries since the Broadband Services Expert Group reported in 1994. Rarely has a subject been so heavily inquired about without, apparently until recently, a great deal of action. Like transport infrastructure it is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Broadband communications is as essential infrastructure in today's economy as is road and rail: this importance is perhaps not so readily realised. The user of broadband is the economy, the digital economy, which is critically dependent on appropriate engineering of this infrastructure and in its investment. Like road and rail, broadband infrastructure has to be engineered with changing user needs in mind. This paper will explore the issues faced by engineers and engineering in the development of broadband networks, and the critical needs of the digital economy, including in the management of other (eg. utility, road and transport) infrastructure. The paper will also consider the need for connectedness of people and services, the importance of connecting information systems (including advanced computing capabilities) and the contribution to be made by broadband in addressing sustainability.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Best Practice in Planning Transport Infrastructure for
           Regional Australia
    • Abstract: Nairn, Robert J; Stewart, David
      In the mid 1990s, regional organisations were taking an interest in transport as it served regional economies. The Northern Rivers regional economic development unit in 1995 commissioned a study of the economic and other benefits from rapid upgrading the Summerland Way. This paper reviews that work, examines the outcome from it and considers the broad appraisal process for transport infrastructure. The work used techniques developed by one of the authors from several decades of examining regional economies from the transportation viewpoint. The aim of the various state environmental planning and assessment acts of the 1970s and 1980s was to provide for a broader view to be taken of development and its consequences, and to give a voice to the various interests in the outcome. Although the environmental assessment process has generally served the community well for several decades, the process would appear to be out of control, in terms of properly reflecting community views, in terms of cost and time, and in terms of public credibility with the outcome. This paper uses the Summerland Way studies to review the place of the environmental assessment process, and examines ways to reduce the time to assess the environmental acceptability of infrastructure development proposals. Several other regional road corridors are also commented on as illustrations of the process.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Transport System Efficiency Trade-offs
    • Abstract: Brinsmead, Thomas S
      A first principles analysis presents a systems perspective broad-brush overview of the design limits of transport systems to sustainably provide socioeconomically valuable services. Motivated by future possible constraints both on greenhouse emissions (to reduce climate change risk) and fuel availability (due to diminishing global supplies), the primary focus is environmental performance (fuel demand and greenhouse emissions), given consideration of service performance (the quantity, reliability and timeliness of material movements). Other measures, such as nongreenhouse pollution, health impacts, material resource use, land-use, financial cost and service flexibility, will not be discussed systematically. The transport value chain (cf. the energy conversion chain of Lovins, 2004) provides the service of the translocation of material (or information) payload over a net distance. This induces a logistics and network design dependent demand for gross movement across a gross distance, which then induces the final demand for resource usage that is dependent on traditional engineering efficiencies. Constraints on potential efficiency are investigated in broadly quantitative terms, considering the use of alternative fuels and drives. Crude quantitative models are used to explore, in less quantitatively precise terms, the potential performance of alternative network designs. Noting that the ultimate motivation for payload translocation is the valuable conjunction of material or information, urban design, land-use planning, logistic redesign and other ways of spatially reorganising socioeconomic activity are briefly mentioned.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - The Hunter Rail Car: A Versatile Design Solution for
           Regional Rail Transport
    • Abstract: Duncan, Brian
      Rolling stock orders in Australia are often for small numbers of vehicles with sophisticated requirements. The design cost associated with these small orders is a significant percentage of the total vehicle cost. A versatile design solution has the potential to satisfy various applications that may be required in the future in an economically sensible manner. The Hunter Rail Car was primarily designed to provide an urban/regional rail transport solution for the Hunter Valley. During the concept design stage, the Hunter Rail Car was configured in such a way to enable convenient modification for other applications such as intercity travel over longer distances. This paper describes how the design configuration of the Hunter Rail Car was developed to be able to accommodate a variety of configurations to suit different suburban and regional rail transport applications. The paper also provides some insight into rail vehicle acquisition and typical considerations for the design of passenger rail vehicles. All 14 Hunter Rail Cars have been delivered to RailCorp and are providing a successful, reliable service.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Rural Fencing
    • Abstract: Jenkins, Christopher
      This paper addresses some of the engineering aspects of post and wire fencing in rural New South Wales. Many different post sizes and materials are used, and the wire properties and layout also show wide variations. The basic structural properties of these systems are examined and comments made on the desired outcomes. Some suggestions are made in an effort to provide a logical basis for the choice of fencing systems for the intended site and use. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of steel W-beam (guard fence) and wire rope road safety barrier systems to demonstrate their similarities with rural fence systems.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Slurry Pipelines: Past, Present and Future
    • Abstract: Cowper, Norman T, Snr; Cowper, Norman T, Jnr; Thomas, Allan D
      The world's first long-distance mineral slurry pipeline was built in Australia in 1967 for the Savage River magnetite concentrate mine in Tasmania. Since then, in the Australasian region, the following slurry pipelines have been built: the 24 km Gladstone limestone pipeline; the 18 km NZ steel ironsand pipeline; the 304 km Century zinc/lead concentrate pipeline; and most recently the 62 km OneSteel Whyalla magnetite pipeline commissioned in 2007. The current paper reviews the development of long-distance pipeline technology, describes the existing pipelines in the Australian region, and considers the engineering, construction, operation and current status and future of long-distance slurry pipelines in Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Spatial/Political Relations and the Uncertainty of
           Regional Railways
    • Abstract: Gray, Ian
      The recent history of Australia's regional railways indicates a degree of government policy inertia, constrained by our system of governance as well as reliance on competition as a solution to inefficiencies in transport. The approach taken by governments to reforming regional railway systems was placed under the same blanket of competition policy-derived measures: creating competing businesses by way of privatisation and 'open access' to tracks, or at least allowing competitors for the government's operator, in the case of Queensland, onto the states' tracks. An inquiry into the condition of Victoria's regional network has indicated that, at best, this approach has been inadequate. During 2008, the NSW Government implicitly acknowledged the shortcomings of competition-dependent policy by restoring some assets to public ownership. It also appears that insufficient consideration was given to the spatial arrangement of the main line and regional systems, which, in the light of experience in Canada and the USA, appear to be better treated separately due to different conditions and constraints on branch lines, and the greater productivities available on main lines. Following some analysis of the branch line system of NSW, this paper attempts to propose that a political/geographical analysis in company with the basic economics of railway operation would point towards different plans for branch and main line systems, and avoid the conditions now threatening regional freight railways. Such plans should be accompanied by a different approach to regional-central government relations and reconsideration of Commonwealth, state and local government roles in regional transport development. This paper mentions the recent history of local-central government relations in Australia, highlighting the present difficulties faced by local interests in developing rail services for local industrial development. It places regional transport issues in that context before suggesting some ways to give greater certainty to sustainable transport options, both passenger and freight, for regional Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - The Sydney to Brisbane Railway: Yesterday, Today and
    • Abstract: Laird, Philip
      The paper outlines the development of the Sydney to Brisbane 'coastal' railway, which includes the Sydney to Maitland section completed in 1889; the linking up of branch lines between Maitland and Kyogle by 1923; and the completion of the Kyogle to South Brisbane section in 1930. Comment is given on the present state of the Sydney to Brisbane railway (which has 40% of its length on tight radius curves) and the ongoing upgrading of the Pacific Highway, along with a decline in rail's modal share of corridor freight from about 24% in 1996 to less than 12% today. In addition to the track upgrading due to be completed by 2010 by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, the paper recommends not only upgrading the present Strathfield to Hexham section, but also consideration of rail deviations north of Hexham. The resulting improvement in rail freight efficiency and competitiveness from construction of a 'fit for purpose' Sydney to Brisbane railway could give rail a 50% share of line haul freight. Compared with a projected 5% share by 2014, this upgrade would save 52 ML/a of diesel, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce external costs by over $90 million per annum. A major track upgrade would also allow for faster passenger train services and improve road safety.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Reflections on the C.38 Class and Overhaul of Heritage
           Steam Locomotive 3801
    • Abstract: Mackey, Craig
      This paper outlines some of the history behind the introduction of the famous New South Wales Government Railways 38 Class passenger locomotives, including influences on the design of the locomotive. The story then focuses on locomotive 3801, which was preserved in the mid 1960s for tourist steam hauled trains; its rebuilding in the 1980s; and its impending boiler replacement and heavy overhaul, which will ensure it continues in heritage service for years to come.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Twentieth Century Delivery Use of Horses
    • Abstract: Jenkins, Colin
      This paper is essentially a record of the author's actual eyewitness experiences. Although references have been checked and are listed in the bibliography, they mainly enable a documentary comparison of the author's experiences with what appears to be the experiences in other cities in both Australia and abroad. There is a brief conclusion stated, but most readers should find those conclusions self-evident anyway.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Uncovering and Understanding Australia's First Railway
    • Abstract: Campbell, David; Brougham, John; Caldwell, Rod
      In 1831 the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) began operations of its first coal mine in Newcastle to serve the growing colony of New South Wales (NSW). It honoured an agreement (and contract of 1824) to take over the sourcing of coal from the NSW Government, which since 1801 had been carried out inefficiently using convict labour under supervision of the military. The mine was developed on 'The Hill' overlooking Newcastle's Harbour and was connected to a staith (coal loader) on the wharf by a railway. With an official opening date of 10 December 1831, the railway can rightly claim to be Australia's first. However, for many years little was known about the design, history or archaeology of this railway to give this claim substance and credibility. This paper will first explain the historical background to the AACo's coal mine and railway based on evidence unavailable until recently. This evidence includes sketches of the mine and accounts from the AACo's records. It suggests that AACo carefully designed and resourced its first mines with technology of the time that was developed for mines in the northeast of England. In a second part, this paper will describe recent archaeological evidence and research that shows that the design of the mine and the supply of equipment for the railway was of a high standard for that time (c. 1826). The opportunity to do this follows a very fortuitous uncovering of an iron relic from the early AACo mines by local historian and co-author, David Campbell. Recent research of early rail line technology has provided an understanding of this relic and its historic provenance. International inquiries have led to the discovery that the railway line may be contemporary in design and supply with some of the very early English railways. Railway historians in the UK are also surprised that a rare, cast iron 'fish-belly' rail section, similar to that used on their famous Stockton to Darlington Railway of 1825, could be found from a railway in Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Ports, Ferries and Bridges: Clarence Valley's
           Engineering Heritage
    • Abstract: Mashiah, Greg
      In the late 19{th} and early 20{th} century, coastal shipping provided the only reliable transport link between the Clarence Valley, in northern New South Wales (NSW), and Sydney. Towns such as Grafton, Lawrence and Maclean developed as ports, which also served the NSW Northern Tablelands region prior to construction of a railway to that area. Engineering infrastructure developed to support shipping included extensive port entrance works, a dry dock at Ashby, associated road transport links, vehicular ferries and bridges. Following completion of the Sydney to South Grafton railway in 1923, reliance on coastal shipping declined and cessation of regular trade in 1954 made much of the port infrastructure redundant. The transport engineering infrastructure developed in the Clarence Valley, primarily in support of coastal shipping, provides a rich engineering heritage and examples of engineering technological development in the late 19{th} and early 20{th} centuries.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Dray to Steamer: Road Transport Connections between
           Coast and Tablelands in Northern NSW
    • Abstract: Glencross-Grant, Rex
      This paper provides background to the various road transport routes between Grafton on the north coast and the Northern Tablelands of NSW, and why the Grafton-Glen Innes line was eventually chosen. The development of the Grafton-Glen Innes link and its evolution through to the contemporary line are discussed, along with some unique circumstances and events of that period. Not only was local competition active among towns vying for direct road links, but also competing with the burgeoning rail network, expanding throughout NSW. Eventually rail won out and remained the dominant form of land transport in the area well into the 20{th} century. However, that win had some losses in other areas, resulting in change to town and population dynamics and patterns of settlement.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Large Road Bridges in Northern NSW: 19th Century
           Evolution from Timber to Iron and Back Again
    • Abstract: Glencross-Grant, Rex
      This paper describes the evolution of large road bridges in NSW, citing examples of various timber and iron genres in northern NSW. In particular it highlights the high proportion of iron bridges constructed in northern NSW over approximately a 25-year period from around 1870. Various postulates are canvassed as to why that might have been so. Financial astringency forced the engineering profession to account for deteriorating economic conditions and political imperatives. Typical of such major changes was a dramatic swing from substantive and expensive iron road bridges to more slender, astutely-designed and economical timber truss bridges. These colonially-designed 'lean and mean' timber truss bridges were a far cry from the earlier, stockier, high maintenance versions that were inherited from British/European designs. In some respects such innovative local design was a symbolic way of releasing the restraining shackles of the colonial past and the spawning of a new nation. For over 40 years these new-style timber bridges, of successively improved forms, dominated timber truss bridge construction in NSW, to the extent that NSW was euphemistically known as the 'timber bridge state'. It was not until innovations and improvements were made in steel production, steel-fixing and concrete technology in the early 1930s that the newer materials started to replace timber.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - American Bridges of the NSW North Coast Railway
    • Abstract: Fraser, Don
      The North Coast Railway of New South Wales from Maitland to South Grafton, 1911-1923, was the first trunk line of the NSW railway network built to uniform standards for track and structures, particularly the underbridges. Unlike the earlier trunk lines, north, west and south of Sydney, which were progressively upgraded to main line standards, the North Coast Railway was designed and built to main line standards to ensure reliable long-term, cost-effective performance compatible with the projected extension of the standard gauge railway to Brisbane. Importantly, all the steel trusses, steel girders and transom-topped timber spans were based on American bridge technology, including the American Railway Engineering Association Design Code. The original steel bridges continue in service (the timber bridges having been replaced by welded steel girders) and now constitute a family of historical bridges of high heritage significance. This paper summarises the background to the change from British bridges to the new designs by eminent bridge engineer J. W. Roberts, culminating in closing the gap across the Clarence River in 1932 with an American double-deck bascule bridge.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Real-time data requirements for model-based adaptive
           control of irrigation scheduling in cotton
    • Abstract: McCarthy, AC; Hancock, NH; Raine, SR
      Model-based adaptive control strategies can be used to determine site-specific irrigation volumes with the aim of maximising crop water use efficiencies and/or yield. These strategies require infield weather, soil and crop measurements to calibrate a crop model: the crop model is then used to determine the irrigation applications throughout the crop season which produce the desired simulated crop response or condition (eg. maximum yield). However, data collection spatially over a field and throughout the crop season will potentially lead to a large sensed data requirement which may be impractical in a field implementation. Not all the collected data may be required to sufficiently calibrate the crop model and determine irrigation applications for model-based adaptive control; rather, a smaller dataset consisting of only the most influential sensor variables may be sufficient for adaptive control purposes. This paper reports on a field study which examined the utility of five sensed variables - evaporative demand, soil moisture, plant height, square count and boll count - to calibrate the cotton model OZCOT within a model-based controller and evaluate the relative significance of each sensed variable (either individually or in combination) as a control input. For the field study conditions, OZCOT was most effectively calibrated (and therefore able to predict the soil and crop response to irrigation application) using full data input, while for situations where only two data inputs were available, the simulations suggested that either weather-and-plant or soil-and-plant inputs were preferable.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Numerical predictions of air temperature and velocity
           distribution to assist in the design of natural ventilation piggery
    • Abstract: Mossad, RR
      Pigs are subjected to intensive environment control and management for higher productivity due to their sensitivity to climatic variation, which affects their growth and impacts greatly on the profitability of this industry. The appropriate temperature and air speed inside a piggery that meets the thermal comfort of the pigs depends on the age of the pigs; in this study grower pigs (32-52 kg) are considered. The aim of the current work is to model the air flow in a natural ventilation piggery numerically and hence predict the velocity and temperature of the air inside the piggery. The effect of some variation in the design of the piggery on the environment inside the piggery, and more specifically at the pigs' level, has been also investigated. A steady two-dimensional numerical model including the effect of buoyancy, turbulence and heat generated by the pigs was solved using the computational fluid dynamics software Fluent, which is based on the integral volume method. Temperature and air speed inside the piggery and at the pigs' level were predicted for a particular wind velocity and temperature to facilitate the comparison of the effect of the different variations in the design proposed in this study. These variations were reducing the height of the outer wall of the piggery to the same level as the pens and changing the type of fence used in the pens as well as adding louvers in the air opening, changing the shape of the roof and adding insulation to the roof. Air was assumed to enter the piggery at speed of 0.92 m/s to the southwest and at temperature of 34 C. The results suggest that varying the type of fence from a solid internal fence to ones made of separated bars (new fence) only did not have much impact on the environment inside the piggery. When this change was combined with the other variation such as lowering the outer walls it made some improvements. Combining the new fence, lowering the outer walls and changing the shape of the roof resulted in the highest increase in the air speed of about 0.2-0.4 m/s at the pigs' level in comparison to the original design. Unfortunately this reduction was not large enough to bring temperature and air speed to the thermal comfort of these pigs at that climate; however this improvement would be sufficient in a milder climate. It was concluded that water sprayers are needed in this hot climate to meet the pigs' thermal comfort limit. The addition of sprayers has been investigated and results show that a large portion of the piggery with the sprayers meets the thermal comfort of the pigs at this age. However, optimisation of the location of the sprayers and the amount of water to be used in the sprayers is recommended for future study so an economical watering system is obtained.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Oil spraying as an air quality improvement technique in
           livestock buildings: Development and utilisation of a testing device
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Saunders, C; Lu, V; Banhazi, A; Nieuwe, N
      Air quality is known to affect the production efficacy, health and welfare of different livestock species, as well as the health of farm workers. It is therefore important to improve air quality in facilities housing livestock to reduce the incidence and severity of respiratory diseases, improve animal welfare, production efficiency and reduce the potential occupational health and safety risks arising from exposure of farm workers to airborne pollutants in livestock facilities. This paper outlines the development of test equipment that enabled the standardised testing of different oil application rates (to be applied in bedded livestock buildings) on the resulting levels of dust suppression. Specifically the development of the equipment enabled optimum stirring and rotational speeds to be determined to give consistent levels of dust generation within the test chamber. This allowed for different oil inclusion rates to be determined in the oil/water mixture to achieve optimal dust reduction rates. Results showed that increased amounts of oil water mixture resulted in a decrease of airborne dust particles from the bedding material. However, an economically optimum rate was also identified, when the diminishing return (in terms of dust reduction rate) on the amount of oil applied was also considered. The paper also reviewed some previous studies conducted in Australia aimed at fine-tuning and applying oil spraying in livestock buildings to suppress dust.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Assessment of the performance of evaporation
           suppressant films: Analysis and limitations of simple trialling methods
    • Abstract: Hancock, NH; Pittaway, PA; Symes, TW
      The potential utility of monomolecular layers ("monolayers") and other surface film materials for the reduction of open water evaporation has long been argued. However, outside the laboratory, trials to quantify the effectiveness of artificial surface films have produced highly variable results after application to water surfaces, whether natural water bodies or managed farm storages. This paper briefly reviews the physical mechanisms involved in evaporation suppression and the biophysical literature on aquatic surface microlayers. The wide-ranging results from 16 months of outdoor trough-scale and (simultaneous) replicated bucket-scale evaporation reduction trials are interpreted using biophysical measurements made on microlayer and immediate subsurface water samples taken from the experimental troughs. When the prevailing environmental conditions and other ancillary measurements are taken into account, plausible hypotheses arise to account for at least some of the observed trial-to-trial differences in evaporation reduction and surface film performance. Results for the commercial monolayer product are inconclusive, as the concentration of the active ingredient in its formulation lacked the uniformity required for the accuracy at which these trials were conducted. Results for the temperature differential between open (unprotected) water and film-covered water, and the influence of windspeed on evaporative loss, indicate that the mechanism of evaporation suppression for mono-molecular (monolayer) organic films differs from that for thicker silicone oil films. These results have implications for both small-scale trialling of evaporation suppressants and the deployment and management of artificial surface film materials on agricultural water storages. In addition, it concluded that despite the attractiveness of simple side-by-side comparisons of performance, meaningful interpretation of results must consider prevailing meteorological conditions, and a timescale of hours rather than days.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Treatment of airborne pollutants in livestock buildings
           with ozone as potential abatement option
    • Abstract: Banhazi, T
      Previous research has demonstrated the negative effects of sub-optimal air quality on profitability, production efficiency, occupational health and safety, environmental sustainability and animal welfare. Ozone application has been used in North America to reduce internal air pollutant concentrations in livestock buildings and as a result potentially reduce airborne pollution emission. The main objective of this research was to evaluate the potential of using low concentration ozone (0.03 ppm) in Australian piggery buildings to reduce airborne pollution levels within piggery buildings and thus reduce pollution emission potentially. The data collected during the experiments demonstrated that ozone could be used effectively to reduce airborne bacteria (on average by 30% within this study) and reduce the concentration of inhalable particles (by 21% on average within this study). However, it appeared that ozone treatment did increase the concentration of respirable particles in the airspace of piggery buildings (within this study by approximately 26% on average).

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle as a remote
           sensing platform in agriculture
    • Abstract: Jensen, TA; Zeller, LC; Apan, AA
      One of the limitations of using hobbyist remotely controlled aircraft with an attached digital camera is that a great number of images look alike and unless a large number of natural features or artificial targets are present at the location, it is hard to identify and orientate the images. This paper investigates the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for use in agricultural applications. Trials were conducted, in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and Queensland University of Technology, on the ability of a UAV autopilot to accurately trigger a two-camera sensor when at a desired location. The study area was located at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield, near Toogoolawah (152.460 , -27.098 ) in southeast Queensland, Australia. The airfield has dedicated areas for use of remotely controlled aircraft, with the mission being undertaken on 5 March 2008. The target and waypoints were arranged so that the UAV flew in an anticlockwise flight pattern. Three separate missions were flown with images being acquired when over target on each of the nine passes. Although capturing the target in the image was achieved on every flight, the accuracy of capturing the target in the middle of the image was variable. The offset from the centre of the image to the target (zero in the perfect system) ranged from just under 15% to just over 60% of the image extent. The misalignment was due to a combination of the predetermined offset value, cross-wind, global position system/autopilot error, the UAV not being level when the image was acquired, and/or inaccuracies in positioning the sensors in the hinged pod. The capacity to accurately acquire images over pre-determined points is essential to ensure coverage and to expedite mosaicing of the images. It will also expand the application of these technologies into the broader-scale applications, such as imaging in broadacre cereal cropping or imaging along transects.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - The development and commercialisation aspects of a
           practical feed intake measurement instrumentation to be used in livestock
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Lewis, B; Tscharke, M
      The aim of the research presented in this paper was to further develop and field-test a simple and robust feed-mass measurement apparatus in order to facilitate the on farm feed-intake measurement of a distinct group of livestock. The underlining technology described in this article is known as a "mass-flow" measurement technology. After progressing through a number of development stages, the final version of the feed measurement apparatus was developed in close collaboration with an industrial partner. The measurement apparatus underwent significant and continuous changes during the study. The hardware and software were progressively improved on by the utilisation of magnetic coupling technology, the development of a calibration function, the integration of a control system and user interface. These improvements were the results of assessment of the instrument and the recursive identification of opportunities for enhancements. Experiments conducted under controlled conditions proved that the reliability and precision of the apparatus was excellent under simulated field conditions and was not affected by change in feed temperature and/or feed composition. A limited number of tests were also conducted on a commercial pig farm with encouraging results. Future development of the feed-measurement unit has the potential to improve the technology to a level where actual feed wastage can be measured and reduced by innovative use of the underlying technology.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Development of a smart monolayer application system for
           reducing evaporation from farm dams: Introductory paper
    • Abstract: Brink, GN; Symes, TW; Hancock, NH
      Chemical monolayer films are potentially an economical low-impact means of reducing evaporative loss from farm water storages. However, their performance can be highly variable as they are affected by climatic and environmental factors: principally wind, wave action and bio-degradation. Some of this observed variability is associated with the monolayer materials themselves and their interaction with the water-surface physics and biology, but the fact that they are only a few nanometres thick means that a very small amount of material has to be distributed over a very large area. Therefore, appropriate and timely autonomous application of monolayer, with regard to prevailing (and changing) wind conditions on-site, is required. Although a number of autonomous application systems for monolayer already exist, none has proved overly successful. It is argued that while this is in part due to sub-optimal performance of monolayer materials, it is also due in large measure to inaccuracies and/or inappropriate design in both application systems and particularly application strategies, which are not adaptive to the prevailing environmental conditions. Therefore a control system is being developed to adaptively and spatially vary monolayer application rates according to changing conditions monitored on-site. This will form part of an autonomous electromechanical system for the optimal application and spreading of any given chemical monolayer. This paper reports progress towards this objective; firstly by evaluation of the design requirements for automated systems at a range of spatial scales; and secondly via the construction of a first pre-prototype to act as an evaluation platform and concept demonstrator.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Improved image analysis based system to reliably
           predict the live weight of pigs on farm: Preliminary results
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Tscharke, M; Ferdous, WM; Saunders, C; Lee, S-H
      A computer vision system was developed to automatically measure the live weight of pigs without human intervention. The system was trialled on both research and commercial farms to demonstrate the ability of the system to cope with different conditions and non-uniform lighting conditions. Early results demonstrate that the system can achieve sufficient practical accuracy. The results of the initial trials demonstrated that weight of the pigs can be predicted with an average error of 1.18 kg. Precision, reliability and repeatability are likely to be increased in future through improved weight prediction models, increased image resolution and algorithm enhancement.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Development and evaluation of a prototype precision
           spot spray system using image analysis to target guinea grass in sugarcane
    • Abstract: Rees, SJ; McCarthy, CL; Baillie, CP; Burgos-Artizzu, XP; Dunn, MT
      Herbicide usage in weed control represents a significant economic cost and environmental risk in Australian sugarcane production. Weed spot spraying has potential to increase sugarcane production while reducing chemical usage and environmentally damaging runoff. However, weed spot spraying is traditionally a laborious manual task. This paper reports on a precision machine vision system that was developed to automatically identify and target the difficult to control weed Panicum spp. (Guinea Grass) in sugarcane crops. The infield machine vision system comprised a camera and artificial illumination to enable day and night trials. Image analysis algorithms were developed to discriminate Guinea Grass and sugarcane based on colour and textural differences between the species. A positive weed identification from the image analysis activated solenoid-controlled spray nozzles. Evaluations of the system in a sugarcane crop established that the image analysis algorithm parameters required frequent recalibration during the day but that the requirement for recalibration was reduced at night with constant artificial illumination. The algorithm was only effective at detecting mature Guinea Grass. The developed technology is considered a viable alternative to manual spot spraying of mature Guinea Grass in sugarcane at night. A cost benefit analysis of the new weed control system indicated potential grower savings of $170/ha by adopting the technology.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - 2009 society for engineering in agriculture
           international conference
    • Abstract: Banhazi, Thomas
      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - 3rd Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference
    • Abstract: Peake, Owen
      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
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