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Awards - 2012 BHR Awards Winner
Bulk Handling Facility of the Year (Manufacturing and Processing)

The Facility:

Northern Cement Ltd
Berrimah, Northern Territory

The Challenge:

Northern Cement needed a new facility to dry and store slag. Brolton Group’s solution provides optimum reliability and efficiency (including environmental benefits).


  • Complete civil works
  • Front end loader Hopper
  • FEL conveyor
  • Incline conveyors
  • Dryer feed conveyors
  • Ventilex fluid bed slag dryer
  • Outfeed BG bucket elevator
  • 300T Dry slag storage silo
  • 300T Silo discharge conveyor
  • 80T Fringe silo
  • 600T Truck discharge silo

Raw materials:

Slag – A by-product from the foundry industry


30 tonnes per hour plus

Project Outline

In 2011, Brolton Group began construction of a significant addition for the Northern Cement facility part of the Adelaide Brighton Group.

Project Details

The facility includes Ventilex’s fluid bed dryer, chosen for its ability to deliver greater consistency, as well as an energy saving of around 25% over conventional rotary drum dryers.

The dryer/cooler has been designed with a 9m fluid bed area which is capable of drying 30T/h at 10% initial moisture to a final moisture content of 6%.

The evaporation capacity of the dryer is 3,200kg/h. This level of evaporation reflects a still quite impressive rate of 22T/h at an initial moisture content of 15%.

The drying air temperature at maximum capacity is 450-475°C, allowing for a very fast evaporation time.

A cooler section is integrated in the fluid bed to cool the product to ~75°C before exiting the tunnel.

To ensure that particles are contained within the system, the exhaust is de-dusted with an automated filter installation. A portion of the exhaust air from the cooler section is re-circulated and the remainder of the exhaust air is emitted through the filter installation. It is this re-circulative system that significantly reduces the energy consumption of this type of dryer together with closely monitored loop control and highly efficient instruments.

In terms of rate control the Infeed conveyor speed is set by the evaporative rate of the water in the product (less water content, faster infeed speed).

From the Ventilex dryer, product is transported via a BG bucket elevator to the 300T storage silo. Continuous level monitoring and high level detection is installed in this silo. Depending on the recipe of the concrete being milled, the dried slag is metered from the silo via the 300T discharge conveyor, using a belt weigher, into the main mill conveyor using a PI&D loop, varying the belt speed to vary dosage rate.

Output product from the mill is then assessed as part of the quality control measures for tolerance and any out of tolerance product is stored in the 80T Fringe silo, to be metered back into the milling process through a rotary valve, at a variable feed rate dependant on the recipe being used.

Final product is conveyed from the milling process into the 600T Truck discharge silo ready to fill the trucks moving the product off site. Filling of the trucks is looked after by a stand-alone unloading station operated by the truck driver.

Automation control is though a Siemens S7-300 PLC system. Inter PLC communication is via Profibus and Profinet on copper and fibre for galvanic isolation. Distributed IO is in the form of Siemens ET200M units and VSD’s are Siemens Micromaster 420. Local HMI is Siemens Multipanel for operator level, and Citect SCADA for managerial control. System safety is looked after by Pilz safety relays with individual component feedback to the PLC in order to display locality information on the HMI.


Having taken the project from a bare patch of earth to an operating plant with the quality of finish that was achieved, is for me a very, very satisfying out come.

From the concept design and drawings, to the fabrication shop, from the wrangling with accounts, scheduling of labour, arranging flights and accommodation, loading trucks, packing & painting, engineering solutions and liaising with contractors and suppliers, building panels, pulling cables there have been many, many people involved in many different ways and the cumulative input has made this job a great success.

The team of Brolton Group and some local contractors worked 7 days a week for many weeks in order to complete the installation by the desired date. We were very lucky to have such a proactive team to work with from Northern Cement which ensured that we completed this high quality install in good time. Like all interstate regional jobs our team were away from their families for extended periods of time, this award entry and potentially a win is dedicated to their efforts.


Awards – 2008 Bulk Handling Awards


The Facility:

The Rockcote Dry Mix Blending Plant Sunshine Coast, QLD


Rockcote, is an architectural coatings company that produces high quality, highly environmentally friendly building products. Rockcote wholeheartedy lives, breathes and pursues green living, and wanted its new production facility – to be constructed in Yandina, Queensland - to set industry benchmarks for waste reduction, production and energy efficiencies.

Project Outline:

Rockcote selected Brolton Engineering Group to construct the $8.5m, 4000 m^2 facility. The new plant produces high quality, highly consistent products at a rate of 24 tonnes per hour (with a batch time of 90 seconds), scalable by 100% to meet future demand.

Importantly, the facility also satisfies Rockcote’s sustainability requirements. Having gone live – with a push-button start – late in 2007, it is delivering average energy savings of up to 25%, as well as being completely self-sufficient in water and making optimum use of other resources such as natural light.

In all, the facility is a first of its type, engineered and constructed without precedents: providing an environmental benchmark for the manufacturing industry.

Project details:

This project involved Brolton Group integrating the production systems – nominated by Rockcote – into a process and production flow that would deliver on the client’s required energy and production efficiencies.

Key environmental outcomes – and processes underlying their achievement – include:

Reduced energy requirements
The plant’s energy requirements are up to 25% less than the average facility of its size and type. This has been achieved via a gravity-feed production process that:

  • combined with energy-efficient machinery significantly reduces the plant’s overall energy requirements.
  • Water
    The plant is completely self-sufficient in its water usage. The facility has been designed as a huge sand filter, with water from the raw sand being collected and used in onsite gardens and the local community.
  • Total waste stream is further reduced by Rockcote’s ‘no scraps’ policy through which all compostable rubbish is fed to onsite worm farms and chickens.
  • Energy efficient sand processing
    The facility includes Ventilex’s fluid bed dryer, chosen for its ability to deliver greater consistency, as well as an energy saving of around 25% over conventional rotary drum dryers.
  • Open swale drains emulating a natural river system allowing for the filtration of water that is extracted from sand bay bins, which means the plant does not place an additional water burden on the community.
  • Efficient dust collection systems throughout reducing the amount of ambient dust increasing air quality for operators.
  • Open eaves on warehouse allowing cross ventilation.
  • Use of low-energy lighting throughout the plant.
  • Large eaves on three sides of building reducing internal heat to the warehouse as well as allowing for shaded areas for truck loading and unloading.
  • Rotating industrial vents in roof to allow air movements and hot air extraction from the tower increasing the comfort of plant operators.

Installation features and considerations

In all, the facility is a first of its type, engineered and constructed without precedents: providing an environmental benchmark for the manufacturing industry.

Brolton Group’s Director, Ben Lynch, comments that the lack of working role models of sustainable manufacturing facilities of this type meant the process was a series of ‘firsts’ – so it was vital that Brolton engineered and carefully checked each step, as well as communicating clearly with Rockcote about how each step would work.

Rockcote’s MD, Bob Cameron says there were “any number” of experts confident that it simply wasn’t possible to build a successful, environmentally sustainable manufacturing facility.

“But on the other hand, I had Ben showing me not just how certain designs could be done, but how they would work towards our objectives,” Mr Cameron says.