World-class infrastructure demands high quality products and long-term asset performance, both of which have been delivered through superior workmanship and the use of stainless steel.
Fuchs Lubricants Australasia opened its new $33 million purpose-built plant at Beresfield, New South Wales in February 2018. Operating in Australia since 1979, Fuchs’ expanded and relocated from its original factory in Newcastle due to strong business growth, now being the only major lubricants company to still manufacture products in the country.
Fuchs’ new plant is a blending operation, features two highly-developed laboratories and is three times larger than the old factory, producing 10,000 lubricant products for applications in industries ranging from mining and automotive to transport and food.
Stainless steel has been integral to the plant expansion project design and construction, being the material of choice in demanding environments that involve high heat and aggressive substances. Offering structural integrity and excellent corrosion resistance in high temperature applications, stainless steel is vital in the construction of tanks, pressure vessels, valves and pipework.
The Myriad ConnectionsASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator TFG managed the 12-month stainless steel installation project. This included 9km of 304L grade AS1528 tube ranging from 25mm to 101mm in diameter, 1km of pipe, 33 tanks, and the specialised fabrication of a blending platform and pipe racks for a purpose-designed traffic flow system to move and process raw through to final product oils and lubricants around the 25,000m2 plant. The stainless steel materials were supplied by ASSDA Members Prochem Pipeline Products and Stirlings Australia.
After receiving the process design and piping and instrumentation diagrams from Fuchs, TFG’s Foodline Projects division mechanically designed and installed the pipe routes and pipe racks, increasing production capacity from 30 million to 90 million litres per year. Foodline Projects was integral in the success of the project through designing and incorporating 3D models of the pipe routes and racks which improved performance and efficiencies. Foodline Projects also completed the piping and installation of a custom loading arm.
TFG’s Austline Fabrications division designed and completed 3D drawings of the 35-tonne blending platform and pipe racks, and included 40 per cent extra capacity for future expansion. The 40-metre-long and three-tier platform was pre-fabricated in their Perth workshop, then flat packed, transported, assembled and installed on site.
Processing and Vessels
ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Furphy Engineering designed, fabricated and supplied 33 grade 304 stainless steel tanks ranging in size capacities of 16kL to 180kL, with material including processed plate supplied by ASSDA Member Vulcan Stainless.
The tank designs were produced by Furphy’s in-house engineering team, accommodating for both heat exchange and agitation requirements to ensure that Fuchs were confident in the ability of the tanks and vessels to perform the required manufacturing operations going forward, all of which were completed to AS1210.
The manufacture of the designs heavily utilised a range of innovative technologies in Furphy’s state-of-the-art workshop, including plasma welders, automated strake manufacturing and seam polishing systems, full undercover hydrotesting and QA/QC sign off, as well their own in-house laser welded cavity plate. While widely embraced in Europe, Furphy Engineering is currently the only manufacturer with laser welded cavity plate technology in Australia, a key part of the heat exchange design on this project.
The heat exchange loading on the pressure vessels was high given the materials and size of the equipment, and the laser welded cavity plate system enabled additional heat exchange surfaces to be included on the cones, increasing the active thermal exchange area and optimising the efficiency of the system to ensure effective operation.
The successful collaboration of TFG Group and Furphy Engineering resulted in the project being completed on time and within budget, each using their in-house stainless steel design and technical expertise to deliver a world-class facility supporting Fuchs’ continued expansion and investment in the Australian lubricants market.
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 62 Winter 2018.