Automating manufacturing will not affect the need for quality industrial materials.

How Locker Group will aid the Industry 4.0 evolution

Industry 4.0 is coming. The next logical step in the evolution of manufacturing from a human labour-based industry to one that's technologically automated, the changes ahead will reshape the very factory space itself. Industry 4.0 will also change the sector's job structure from a significant proportion of low-skilled blue collar labourers to highly skilled interpersonal workers.

Indeed, Mr Jeff Connolly, Chair of the Prime Minister's Industry 4.0 Taskforce, said in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia 'it [Industry 4.0] need not be seen as a threat to manufacturing jobs – even though the jobs will definitely evolve. Indeed, Australia should see the fourth industrial revolution as an opportunity.'

Industry 4.0 need not be seen as a threat to manufacturing jobs – indeed, Australia should see it as an opportunity

Although Industry 4.0 will undoubtedly have a huge affect on industry, there will always remain a need for quality industrial products that guarantee the efficient operation of your production line and ensures your workers can operate in the work space safely. Locker Group has more than 60 years of experience in developing quality industrial products and these reliable industrial products will be much-needed in the changes to come.

Improving efficiency

With Industry 4.0, basic jobs previously reserved for manual labour will be completed by machines and human managers working together. This will ensure processes are completed quicker and more effectively, while still retaining adequate quality control. Efficiency in production will also be achieved by working with effective industrial products that will make the manufacturing process more streamlined.

Locker's industrial range, including perforated metal, Expanded wire mesh and woven wire fabric are durable and tough, designed to stand up to the rigours of rapid production. While automation will change the infrastructure of production, Locker Group 's range is guaranteed to be up to the challenge.

Guaranteeing safety

Industry 4.0's evolutionary changes will remove the need for human involvement in the more dangerous mechanical processes. However, maintaining and repairing malfunctioning equipment will remain a very human role, while access to all areas of the manufacturing space will still be required. Locker Group have a range of safety products, like Safe T Perf, designed to ensure that equipment operators and managers are able to safely navigate the workspace.

Even after automating basic manufacturing roles, durable industrial materials will still be essential.Even after automating basic manufacturing roles, durable industrial materials will still be essential.

Grating products like Gridwalk and Gripspan are steel flooring options designed to ensure maximum grip for pedestrian access and prevent dangerous conditions underfoot. We also have a range of walkway kits, prefabricated and ready for installation, that enable workers to navigate heights safely. Ensuring safe human management is vital to making the operation of automated machinery more effective.

Industry 4.0 will bring a lot of changes to bear on the workings of Australian manufacturing – but what will not change is the need for quality products that bring optimal production quality and guarantee safety for workers. Locker Group's range of products are industry-noted, so go on and contact us today – prepare for the future!

Faulty construction products can be dangerous. Use Locker Group solutions instead!

Why cheap construction materials can be deadly

 

There is now an increasing tendency to forgo using quality construction products in order to save money and time. This may reflect well on a budget sheet, but the consequences can be deadly. Last month, the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in the U.K claimed the lives of dozens of people, with cheap, combustible building cladding the culprit.

Cutting corners also extends to Australia, with a series of spontaneously exploding glass balconies in Melbourne apartments highlighting the rising tide of cheap imported construction materials. In an effort to address this, the Australian Building Codes Board recently launch a new website to help people understand the building code and the importance of product safety, according to a Housing Industry Association release.

”A national webpage like this is important for everyone in the building product supply chain,” said HIA Chief Executive of Industry Policy Kristin Brookfield.

”It is vital, now more than ever, to take action and ensure that builders are not the only people responsible for checking product quality.”

It is important to ensure that builders are not the only people responsible for checking product quality.

At Locker Group, we create architectural solutions that are carefully designed, rigorously tested and meet stringent Australian safety and quality standards. The cost of using inferior products in your next construction project could prove calamitous, so have a look at why Locker Group products are the way to go.

Architectural

Locker Group’s architectural solutions have been widely used in installations and buildings nationwide, notably at the Float Art Project in Sydney and the La Trobe University Dining Hall in Melbourne. Our designs combine innovative visual appeal with unrivaled architectural functionality.

Our variety of metal facade sheets are ideal in making your building exterior striking while also providing screening from the sun and maintaining air flow. The internal facade options are custom designed and easily installable to enhance visual appeal while creating spaces you can re-design endlessly. All products are made from strengthened steel, copper and aluminum substrates, coupling beauty with brawn – and all are meticulously tested to meet Australian standards.

The effects of poor construction materials can be deadly.The effects of poor construction materials can be deadly.

Industrial

Working in heavy industry throws up the threat of numerous costly breakdowns and worker injuries as a result of substandard materials. Locker Group’s industrial range is one of the largest in Australia, with everything from grip-designed and durable metal flooring to robust conveyor belts and roof walkway kits for safety working at heights.

Our products, including the characteristic variety of metal sheets and wire meshes definitive of Locker Group, can be custom designed to user specifications and are able to resist the extreme temperatures of industry, meaning your production will be able for full efficiency in no time.

It is important to factor in the cost of replacing inferior building products later on. It is important to factor in the cost of replacing inferior building products later on.

Mining & Quarrying

Locker Group have been supporting Australian mines and quarrying for years with quality products that are rigorously tested to meet extreme conditions. Roaring heat, high pressure and constant abrasion are just some of the tests that construction products face here, so we have designed ours to be as strong as they are functional.

Our screen meshes and machine accessories are made from a variety of materials, including mild steel, rubber and other durable materials requiring minimal need for maintenance or cleaning. Failure to meet safety standards for equipment and products in mining and quarrying can be catastrophic and deadly, so make sure you use reputable products with a history of supporting the industry.

Using construction products that meet Australian standards will be less costly in the long run, after considering the time-consuming maintenance and repair of inferior construction products. Locker Group are industry-certified and Standards compliant, and have been since 1956. For more information on any of our construction solutions, or for assistance picking out the superior Australian-made product you need for your next project, contact the team.

Rugby meets industrial architecture as Locker unpack their solutions to Australia's Super Rugby weaknesses.

Locker Group’s industrial fixes the envy of Australian Super Rugby

 

It has been a tough season of Super Rugby for the Australian franchises. The five sides have performed poorly on-field, only managing 18 wins between them over 14 rounds. Off-field, they have been contending with plummeting attendance, poor senior management and deteriorating revenues that will see one of the franchises – as of yet undecided – fold after the current season.

While Locker Group can’t fix the Australian sides’ numerous on-field problems, they certainly can provide efficient solutions for your business’ industrial architecture needs. These solutions include security strengthening and addressing conveying issues, problems the Super Rugby franchises would surely love to fix as well. Locker Group’s range of industrial building materials are industry-vaunted in providing lighter, stronger and more durable products for industrial use, giving your business a toughness, visual appeal, and unrivalled functionality.

The Australian franchises have lacked the toughness or durability of Locker's industrial building range. The Australian franchises have lacked the toughness or durability of Locker’s industrial building range.

Expanded Security mesh

This season, Australian franchise sides have conceded nearly 2,000 points, a staggering statistic. If an industrial space had such regular breaches of security, they would contact Locker Group asking about Expanded Security metal mesh.

Traditionally, mesh sheets have been placed over doors and windows as fly screens, with one-way vision technology preventing outsiders from seeing in. Expanded Security operates with the same one-way vision, but set inside a reinforced frame to act as a lightweight but durable security fence.

Locker Group’s industrial building materials are industry-vaunted in providing lighter, stronger and more durable products.

Conveyer Belting 

The mesh also comes in perforated metal, with its small holes impermeable to hot embers from bushfires and sheer impact from knives or other objects. Expanded Security has passed all the Australian standards for impact damage and security, making it the perfect option to secure a leaky defence or valuable industrial unit.

Tries have been rare for the Australian sides; only five bonus points have been secured for scoring four or more tries, pointing to an issue conveying the ball over the try line under tough conditions. Locker Group’s Conveyer Belt designs are made from a variety of metals and can operate under extreme temperature or pressure conditions, built with durability and towards customer-specification.

This customer focus provides you with belting truly fit-for-purpose. For lightweight products, we use Flexigrid parallel wiring to ensure no damage; for heavier products, we use strong steel mesh to counteract extreme conditions and heavy loads. The metal belts are all easily assembled and able to withstand a range of temperatures, from blast chilling at -250°C to heating and drying at 1200°C.

Their industrial strength will see your conveyor operations simplified, and could show the franchises a thing or two about efficient conveying.

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Gridwalk flooring

Even without poor performances on-field, Australian Super Rugby’s numerous off-field issues have prevented the franchises from finding any steady footing from which to improve. Maybe they should have contacted Locker Group to discuss stable flooring options.

Gridwalk is an expanded metal flooring range, designed to create industrially tough floors and walkways that’ll stand up to most conditions. Their expanded diamond pattern provides extra strength and grip for walking or transporting equipment, and they are hugely easy to install. Customers have the option to use removable fixing clips for adaptability, or weld them directly to a structure for increased strength.

They are virtually maintenance-free and durable through most industrial processes, making Gridwalk the perfect option for those looking for a strong and reliable base that won’t collapse beneath them.

Had the Australian franchises recognised their need for industrial strengthening early on, perhaps they would have had a more durable and long-lasting season. As for industrial customers looking for architectural solutions that have industry-noted success and functionality, look no further. Contact our friendly Locker team today to figure out how to improve your industrial problem with simple architectural solutions.

Alien would have had a very different ending if Locker Group products had been used to build their spacecraft.

How would Locker Group products have seen the Alien crew safely home?

 

The much-hyped new Alien film is about to grace our screens, and we’re sure it’s going to be an absolute thriller. However, we can’t help but feel that if the Alien crew had been using Locker Group products to build their spacecraft, there wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much of a kerfuffle in the first place. Here’s why.

Highly corrosive acid just isn’t a problem with Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP)

We all know that scene in the original film, when Kane (played by John Hurt) has a mysterious alien attached to his face that can’t be removed. As the crew try to cut the creature from him, they discover that the blood that gushes from the wound is actually a highly corrosive acid. The crew, scared it’s going to breach the hull, chase the acid as it rips a hole through several layers of spacecraft.

This makes for a great movie scene, but had their walkways been made using FRP, this would never have been an issue. Locker Group FRP is ideal for use in corrosive environments (for example, chemical plants, or perhaps spaceships with a high chance of alien encounters). It can be subjected to continuous spills, fumes or even submersion, and its non-sparking and non-conductive properties mean it’s also perfect for hazardous electrical applications where atmospheric gases might otherwise explode.

If your spaceship happens to go slightly too close to the sun, FRP’s UV inhibitors also help protect against sun damage and degradation.

The added safety of perforated metal and Pic-Perf means no more heading unawares into dark rooms

Remember that scene when Brett (played by Harry Dean Stenton) follows the ship’s cat into an engine room, where an alien just happens to be lurking ready to kill him? Well that would never have been a problem if the spacecraft had perforated metal screens. The holes in the metal allow people to see out while stopping others seeing in, meaning Brett could have had a good old look before entering the engine room. Likewise, the alien might not have been able to plan its attack so well if it hadn’t been able to see Brett coming.

Spaceships in general could do with a little more interior design, and we think Pic-Perf is the best material for it.

Perhaps Locker Group’s Pic-Perf could have been a welcome addition to the spacecraft. It has all the extra safety features of normal perforated metal, but also has the capacity for images, which are made out of the hundreds or even thousands of holes placed into the metal. Spaceships in general could do with a little more interior design, and we think Pic-Perf is the best material for it.

We work closely with our clients so that we can tailor our products to their exact specifications. Perhaps if the Alien crew had contacted us, they would have made it home safely.

Locker Group rural flooring is perfect for your farming needs.

Why is Locker Group metal flooring best for your livestock?

 

If you’re a farmer, your livestock’s health and comfort is probably one of your principal concerns. The flooring that your animals spend their time on, therefore, is of great importance. Did you know that Locker Group don’t just do metal floors for industrial sites, but is committed to providing the best rural flooring for your farming needs too? Here’s why we’re a great option for you and your animals.

1) Superior strength

We use heavy duty woven wire for our rural flooring, which is far stronger than a lot of the other materials often used for livestock. This means it’s highly durable and will last a long time. Your installation costs will also be reduced if you go with Locker Group, as we design and make our floors to order, so there’s less messing around when it comes to construction.

Locker Group are here to help with your farming needs.Locker Group are here to help with your farming needs.

2) Self-cleaning

Our floors are self-cleaning, which means not only do you have to spend less time washing our products, you’ll also massively reduce the chance of your animals picking up disease. As our floors are made of woven wire, there are holes for pig waste to fall through, meaning you’ll no longer have a problem with dirty and slippery floors.

3) Eliminates slips

It’s very hard to handle animals when they’re panicking, and one of the main things that causes them distress is if they start slipping over. Fortunately, Locker Group has anti-slip mechanisms in place for all of our rural flooring. For sheep, this involves a four direction wave to increase resistance. When it comes to pigs, the crimping of the wire gives them a secure foot hold, while the smoothness and roundness of the wire makes it comfortable for them to lie on.

Lambs in particular are prone to slipping, which is why we've taken anti-slip measures with our rural flooring.Lambs in particular are prone to slipping, which is why we’ve taken anti-slip measures with our rural flooring.

4) Better ventilation

As our floors are made of wire, there is increased ventilation for your livestock, meaning reduced risk of overheating.

5) Versatile

Our metal flooring can be used for a range of rural purposes, including in abattoirs, stock transport, farrowing pens, weaner crates, bacon/grower pens, feed lots, and shearing sheds. On top of this, it’s light weight and easy to transport.

We also provide agricultural mesh for fencing and screening. If you’re interested in obtaining Locker Group woven wire flooring for your agricultural needs, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Is your workplace safety up to standard?

‘Safety starts with you’ – NSW’s workplace safety challenge

 

One of the factors that binds all industries in Australia together is workplace safety. It doesn’t matter if your business operates in the mining sector or the structural engineering industry, it’s vital for businesses to protect their most important assets – employees.

‘Safety starts with you’

Workplace safety should always be a hot topic for employers.Workplace safety should always be a hot topic for employers.

With this in mind, NSW has launched ‘Safety starts with you’, a campaign that aims to make the state the safest across the nation.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy explained that there has been a 39 per cent drop in serious injuries and illnesses since 2005, but improvements can still be made.

“The current figures are still unacceptably high. Anyone with a job in this state has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and whether you are an employer or a worker, and regardless of your industry, occupation or background, workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

Although this campaign is focused on NSW, lowering the number of workplace fatalities and injuries is a priority across all states and territories. This is especially true given April 28 marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and Workers’ Memorial Day.

“The current figures are still unacceptably high.”

So, if your business wants to improve safety outcomes on site, what are the various ways this can be achieved? Here’s three examples from the Locker Group range.

1) Gridwalk

Steps and trips are among the most common injuries, so it makes sense to address what your employees are walking on. Gridwalk is expanded metal flooring that can be used in both quarry and mining applications. Its benefits include a reliable underfoot grip and robust strength – perfect for areas with high foot traffic.

Gridwalk can also be customised to fit your workplace, attached with removable clips or welded to the structure itself.

2) Handrails

If the handrails on your premises are starting to look a little tired, it might be time to learn more about our options. Ideal for both commercial and industrial applications, our handrails can be used in car parks, stairways and even fire escapes.

Our handrails are strong, cost-effective and easy to install – everything you need when it comes to workplace safety.

3) Safe-T-Perf

With its anti-slip properties and tough design, Safe-T-Perf is a good option in industrial environments. The 360 degree skid resistant surface is easy to install and offers fantastic load bearing characteristics in more heavy-duty applications.

If you would like to learn more about the different ways you can improve the safety of your workplace, feel free to get in touch with the team at Locker Group today – we look forward to hearing from you.

How do Locker Group's conveyor belts help the food industry?

How Locker Group is helping support Australian food production

 

We’ve previously looked at the role conveyor belts play in food production, but we thought it was worth taking a closer look at this industry and Locker Group’s involvement supplying metal conveyor belts and assistance. The Australian government has identified food production and agribusiness as an area of competitive strength for the country, and Locker Group is proud to be a part of it.

The food industry’s rise to prominence

In terms of the conveyor belt market, the food industry makes up a large part of our customer base. Previously the automotive industry was a big consumer of conveyor belts as part of its manufacturing process, particularly for heat treatment. Michael Willmott, Locker Group’s National Product Manager, says that the automotive industry has been decimated in Australia, but this has led to food producers stepping in as the main consumer of conveyor belts.

“We still support the other parts of the industry and there’s still sales in that part, but it’s certainly nowhere near as large as the food industry,” he says.

Locker Group has been making metal conveyor belts for decades, and has cemented its position as a go-to provider in the industry.

According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), employment figures in the automotive industry dropped by more than 6,000 in the period between 2012 and 2015. Ford, Holden and Toyota will all have ceased manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017.

Food processing, by contrast, made up almost a third of Australia’s manufacturing industry in 2015, according to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC). Statistics from the DIIS say that in 2015 there were 206,700 Australians employed in food product manufacturing, compared with just 40,642 in automotive manufacturing, and there were more than 14,000 actively trading businesses in the food manufacturing sector.

Locker Group’s conveyor belt production

Locker Group has been making metal conveyor belts for decades, and has cemented its position as a go-to provider in the industry. We’ve built this reputation through several factors: Firstly, Locker’s large geographic footprint means that we can supply products to businesses across the country. It also means we can provide a level of customer service – including face to face assistance – that smaller suppliers can’t.

In addition to the wide range of products that we manufacture in-house, Locker is also an agent for several major overseas manufacturers, so we can help when customers need specific products that are not made here in Australia.

Locker has a long history of serving the food production industry.Locker has a long history of serving the food production industry.

Our long-standing relationship with the food industry

A significant reason we’ve been able to build this customer base is that we’ve been making quality conveyor belts for a long time. Quite simply it’s been a case of doing the same thing, and doing it well.

Metal conveyor belts are by their nature labour-intensive products to make, but Michael points out that Locker has been able to automate the process to a certain extent. Most of the conveyor belts Locker sells are made specifically to order. Michael says this is due to the huge variety of different configurations a customer could possibly need.

“We don’t keep belts in stock because there’s such a variety of materials, dimensions and other factors within the Australian market,” he says. “So typically everything that we do is manufactured to order.”

Most of Locker Group's conveyor belts are made to order so they fit the customer's exact specifications.Most of Locker Group’s conveyor belts are made to order so they fit the customer’s exact specifications.

Who are the customers that come to Locker Group for support?

The businesses that come to Locker for conveyor belts generally fall into three categories. Our primary market is repeat customers that are already using Locker’s conveyor belts, and either need replacement parts or want to upgrade or expand their set-up.

“The majority of our sales is repeat business,” Michael says. “We’re supplying within the industry, and we’ve been within that industry for a long time. Because of this long history we’ve managed to build up ongoing relationships with many local food manufacturers.”

Because of our long history Locker has ongoing relationships with many local food manufacturers.

The next group we supply to is businesses with installed conveyor belts from other providers. In this case we would look at and advise on what’s needed, and either provide our own products or, if necessary, import the required parts from our overseas suppliers.

Thirdly, we supply conveyor belts for brand new applications. “We’re probably dealing with original equipment manufacturers who are designing a conveyor,” Michael says, “So, once again we’d assist them with what is correct for that application.”

If you’re already a customer then you know you can rely on Locker Group for quality conveyor belts and attentive, expert service. For businesses who need support for their existing food production machinery, or who are in the process of setting up a new facility, Locker Group can offer a varied range of conveyor belts and parts to suit all applications. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help.

Conveyor belts can be made from a range of materials.

Conveyor belts and their role in the food industry

 

The conveyor belt has come a long way since its first inception.

Transport of bulk materials via conveyor belts dates back to around 1795, according to the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). Originally used in the agriculture industry to transport grain over short distances, these conveyor systems were very primitive and often made of leather belts travelling over flat wooden beds.

Fast forward over 200 years, conveyor systems have become a lot more sophisticated and are an integral part of a diverse range of industries. Not only are they an efficient and cost-effective way of transporting goods, conveyor belts can be integrated into the manufacturing process, dramatically improving their throughput.

Conveyor belts have revolutionised the food industry.Conveyor belts have revolutionised the food industry.

Conveyor belts in the food industry

The food industry has been revolutionised by the application of conveyor systems. With the right belting material, food processing (such as cooking, freezing) can be facilitated almost entirely without human intervention.

Take the baking industry, for example. Conveyor belts are able to follow the goods from raw to cooked product through ovens on a single line, cutting production time and increasing throughput.

Choosing the right material in a conveyor system is key in determining its applicable functions. Below, we’ve outlined several products and their use in the food industry:

1. Spiral wire: This versatile product can be used for many applications, from heat treatment to food processing, thanks to the wide range of metal wire types the belts can be manufactured from.

2. Plastic hybrid: With the versatility of plastic and strength of stainless steel, plastic hybrid is particularly useful in cooler environments, such the transportation of seafood or frozen goods.

3. Rolmat: Airflow is important in the transportation of food, whether cooling a product down or preventing moisture buildup. Rolmat belts are flat with a maximum open area to facilitate the flow of air around a product.

4. Uniflex: This highly flexible belt is made made up of interlocking strands of high-tensile wire. Widely used in the confectionery and snack food industries, Uniflex is used in drying, washing, coating, cooking and cooling applications.

Part of what makes a conveyor system such a vital part of industry, not just food manufacturing, is the versatility it brings. With metal belts, Locker Group can manufacture systems to any width or length, withstanding temperatures as low as -250°C and as high as 1200°C.

To find out more about our range of products, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

How can wire mesh reduce risk in industry?

3 applications of wire mesh in risk management

 

Wire mesh serves many functions across different industries, thanks to its versatility and ability to custom fit any application.

Depending on the type of material used, the size of aperture or the use of woven or welded wire mesh, this product has an exhaustive range of uses, including risk management.

Below are three applications where Locker Group’s wire mesh helps reduce the risk to both businesses and employees.

Wire mesh can help make work environments safer.Wire mesh can help make work environments safer.

1. Bushfire mesh

Preventing embers from gaining access to the interior of a building is an essential fire-prevention tactic. Installing a bushfire mesh over windows, air vents or other openings can help guard a building against errant embers and radiant heat.

Regulation bushfire mesh must have a maximum aperture of 2 mm and be made from corrosion-resistant steel, according to Standards Australia. Locker Group’s stainless steel mesh can be tailored to your building’s specifications and at-risk areas.

2. Rodent mesh

In grain-growing regions of Australia, the prevention of rodents from accessing food is an ongoing battle with serious consequences. In 1993/94, a mouse plague caused a loss of $100 million in the agricultural industry through the consumption, contamination of foods and other downstream effects, according to Dr Peter Brown of Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Ecosystem Sciences.

Locker Group’s custom fit wire mesh is well suited to preventing rodents and other pest species from infiltrating valuable food reserves.

3. Guard mesh

Preventing accidents in the workplace comes down to identifying risks and ongoing upkeep in order to minimise them.

Preventing accidents in the workplace comes down to identifying risks and ongoing upkeep in order to minimise them. In 2015, there were over 500,000 workplace injury or disease reports according to Safe Work Australia, with over 100,000 serious claims. Among the most common workplace injuries were falls and getting trapped between stationary and moving objects.

For preventing workers falling through holes or openings, Safe Work Australia’s code of practise recommends using a strong material, such as wire mesh, to prevent people or objects from falling through. Locker Group’s wire mesh range can go a long way to preventing such injuries from occurring.

Safe Work Australia also advises that manufacturers should consider the working environment and implement guards to impose a physical barrier between moving parts and human contact. It also recommends that these barriers be securely fixed but also easy to remove if necessary, something that is achievable using Locker Group’s guard mesh.

To find out more about other applications of Locker Group’s wire mesh products in industry, get in touch with the team today.

Which materials are best for salt mining?

Fibre reinforced plastic in the salt mining industry

 

Salt is incredibly valuable. Our body needs it to survive, and it forms the backbone of many industries. In fact, the Australian government estimates there are over 14,000 uses of the stuff.

Unsurprisingly, salt mining makes up a significant portion of Australia’s nonmetallic mineral mining industry. According to Ibis World, Australian salt production has grown over the last five years to exceed 13 million tonnes in 2015-2016. Western Australia produces around half of the industry’s volume of salt, with the rest spread around Queensland and South Australia.

However, salt is a reactive mineral and a significant contributor to corrosion and weathering of materials, which can pose significant problems to infrastructure when it comes time to harvest. Selecting the right material for construction in this industry requires a creative solution: Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP).

FRP is an ideal solution for the salt mining industry.FRP is an ideal solution for the salt mining industry.

What is FRP?

FRP is a composite material made from a blend of a polymer matrix (plastic) with a reinforcing material, which in this case is fibreglass. It poses a number of distinct advantages  over other forms of grating material, depending on the application. Its primary uses are in industrial flooring, access walkways, screens, nonslip surfaces, machine guards and stair treads.

In the salt mining industry, this material’s resistance to reactivity is what sets it apart from other flooring products.

What makes FRP suitable for the salt mining industry?

In the salt mining industry, this material’s resistance to reactivity is what sets it apart from other flooring products.

FRP is unreactive to all concentrations of sodium chloride, magnesium salts, potassium salts and more at a wide range of temperatures, which makes it the perfect material for this industry.

In a harsh environment, such as the kind where salts and water can mix, the maintenance, degradation and eventual replacement of flooring materials is a significant ongoing cost. Metal products give way to corrosion and rust, while other materials degrade quickly when exposed to the high levels of UV radiation solar salt beds need to evaporate the excess water.

Not only is it highly resistant to corrosion, FRP is protected against degradation from the sun due to UV inhibitors within the material. It also has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio thanks to its singular, interwoven pattern. For these reasons and more, FRP is not only a durable, but also cost-effective industrial flooring solution for the salt mining industry.

To find out about what other industries FRP is suitable for, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

How much water does Australian industry use?

How are industries reducing their water consumption?

 

The United Nations World Water Day is held on March 22nd. Its focus: bringing to attention the importance of freshwater and its sustainable management. Each year revolves around a specific aspect of water, and this year, the theme is wastewater.

Wastewater is a result of consumption – water that has been used as part of commercial, industrial or residential processes. In general, wastewater is no longer potable or safe to introduce back into the environment, which reduces the total amount of freshwater available.

Australia is a nation that depends on its water resources. In 2014-2015, we consumed over 17,000 gigalitres (GL) across all sectors – the equivalent of 35 Sydney Harbours, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). For reference, 1 GL is equivalent to 1 billion litres.

At Locker Group, we want to celebrate the responsible use of resources in industry. So how are different industries reducing the amount of water they use?

Reducing water consumption is important for sustainability.Reducing water consumption is important for sustainability.

Conserving water in mining

According to the ABS, the mining industry consumed over 700 GL of water in 2014-2015. This is partly due to the number of vital roles water plays in the processing of minerals and the prevention of toxins entering the environment. However, this doesn’t meant that there aren’t innovative ways for mines to reduce their consumption and discharge as much as possible.

Mines can utilise nature in the form of wetlands to ‘purify’ wastewater.

Mining Facts highlights some of the active and passive ways to treat water so that it gets recycled and doesn’t go to waste. Active treatments, such as filtration or chemical treatment to remove contaminants are common methods. Passively, mines can utilise nature in the form of wetlands to ‘purify’ wastewater – filtering water to the point where it can be reincorporated into the environment. Other solutions include using bacteria to remove harmful toxins from water, allowing it to be recycled more easily, as outlined in the Australian Trade Commission’s Urban and Industrial Water report.

On the other hand, not all water used in mines is hazardous. Using something as simple as screens or grating to catch surface runoff on floors and walkways can contribute to the reduction of water used in mines.

Reducing runoff in agriculture

By far, the industry that uses the most water in Australia is agriculture. In 2014-2015, this sector used over 10,000 GL, according to the ABS. However, despite accounting for the vast majority of freshwater use (60 per cent), the agricultural industry is also leading the charge in reducing the water it consumes. Lauren Binns, Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistical Delivery and Communication, explains.

“The largest decrease in water consumption was in the agriculture industry. Ongoing dry conditions across the eastern states meant farmers used less water for irrigation, so consumption was down 10 per cent to 10,410 GL in 2014-15. This followed an 8 per cent decrease in the previous year,” said Ms Binns.

Preventing runoff from irrigation is crucial to reducing the amount of water that gets wasted.

According to the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, most of the water used in agriculture goes towards the irrigation of crops. Preventing runoff from irrigation is crucial to reducing the amount of water that gets wasted. As in farming, this runoff often contains an excess of nutrients and particulates that, if introduced to rivers and streams, can contaminate fresh water supplies.

Strategies such as using screens or mesh are options to reducing matter in wastewater, whilst diverting its flow into retention ponds where it can be reused for irrigation is an effective way to curtail the total volume used.

The outlook is positive. Australia decreased its consumption of water by 7 per cent in 2014-2015, a trend supported across the majority of Australian sectors, reports the ABS.

To find out more, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

How are drones changing the construction process?

4 ways drones have improved the construction industry

 

Drones seem to be everywhere these days. From delivering packages, scaring birds away from airports – even to racing them – these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have proven their versatility and worth as an emerging technology.

UAVs have also revolutionised the construction industry in a number of predictable (and surprising) ways. At Locker Group, we’re excited to see how construction projects can benefit from the implementation of drones to provide innovate solutions.

1. Land surveying

In remote or wild areas, often the biggest hurdle in construction is simply surveying the land. Traditionally, the only method to accurately gauge an area was to do so on foot – an expensive and arduous task. Getting up in the air back then required physically putting a person up there, and the problems that come from manning light aircraft came with it. When drones arrived on the scene, everything changed and became a lot quicker and cheaper.

Drones allow surveyors to access and gain insight of property they would otherwise be unable to attain. Being able to accurately analyse an area, regardless of terrain, is a huge time and money saver in the overall process.

2. Safety of workers

UAVs provide an opportunity to monitor workers and their environment to ensure that everything is safe and up to regulation. It’s easier to routinely monitor a site via a UAV than it is to visit in person, and their ability to constantly record whatever they see provides a valuable record of a construction site in the event of an accident or mishap.

Drones provide a unique point of view in the construction industry.Drones provide a unique point of view in the construction industry.

3. Showing progress to clients

Traditionally, balancing a complicated and time-consuming construction project with the needs of the clients has been less than simple. Not only is a construction site unsuitable for tours, often clients are located a significant distance from where a project is taking place.

UAVs can be used to bridge this gap by providing an unobtrusive way to regularly feed clients and customers regular videos and images of a project without the need to don hard hats and steel-capped boots. What’s more, these “tours” can be done in real time with the option of live video streaming in order to improve the dialogue between clients and contractors.

For example, architecture projects using drones to show clients how their building fits in with the wider environment can help them decide which external facade best suits the surroundings.

4. Communicating between multiple sites

A building project has more than just one site, and a construction company usually has more than one project in the works. Successful contractors often aren’t able to stay on-site 24/7 and must rely on others to relay progress back to them.

When it comes down to it, drones aim to provide greater efficiency in the construction process.

With the use of UAVs providing a second, or even third pair of eyes, contractors, designers and architects no longer have to rely solely on others to ensure the job is progressing to plan. In mining construction, Rio Tinto’s aviation manager, Kevan Reeve, explained that drones have helped them bridge the gap between surveyors in remote locations.

“We have got our operations centre here in Perth that’s bringing that information in, and we are using the drones to increase our ability to get that information.” he said to ABC news.

When it comes down to it, drones aim to provide greater efficiency in the construction process – whether that be in the form of making sites more accessible for clients, or by improving communication between contractors and inspectors.Those efficiencies, in turn, translate to crucial savings on what are otherwise expensive projects. The construction industry in Australia alone is worth over $100 billion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, so reducing costs where applicable is key.

To find out more, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

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