Agribusiness & Food

Allied Grain Systems delivers GrainCorp rail loading facility

Allied Grain Systems delivered a rail loading and storage facility as part of GrainCorp’s Project Regeneration. ABHR speaks with Allied’s managing director John White to learn how the company uses its experience to deliver major grain projects.

Allied Grain Systems delivered a rail loading and storage facility as part of GrainCorp’s Project Regeneration. ABHR speaks with Allied’s managing director John White to learn how the company uses its experience to deliver major grain projects.

When GrainCorp recently launched its ‘Project Regeneration’ initiative, designed to improve its network of grain storage sites, the company sought an experienced industry hand to help in the process.

And with more than more than 30 years’ experience in the grain storage and conveying industry, Allied Grain Systems fit the bill.

As part of GrainCorp’s initiative, a new rail loading and storage facility was to be constructed at Yamala, Queensland, that would feature extremely fast rail loading times.

Fortunately, Allied Grain Systems’ considerable experience included similar projects it had previously done for GrainCorp, the largest grain storage and handling facility on the east coast of Australia.

Allied Grain System managing director John White said the two companies had a strong relationship, and that his team was confident it could deliver the goods.

“We are market leaders in this field,” he told ABHR.

“Our philosophy is to build a cost-effective grain storage and handling systems that suit specific requirements, will last, and take into consideration future needs to remain cost-effective to run and maintain – all without compromising quality.”

Allied Grain Systems’ contract with GrainCorp meant it had to deliver two 1000-tonne silos, two 100-tonne cone silos for weighing, a conveyor intake system (including 30-tonne capacity drive over hopper), an outloading conveyor to dual 100-tonne garner bins on weigh cells, and a rail car loading system with an automated swing chute.

The new facility needed to be ready by the 2019–20 harvest season, which White said was a tight timeframe.

“This meant our execution needed to be thoroughly planned,” he said.

Yamala is approximately 20km from Emerald in Queensland’s Central Highlands Region, and its remote location meant Allied needed to be nimble during the design and delivery. Its engineers started work on the plant, collaborating closely with GrainCorp to ensure all equipment would suit the application.

Regular meetings between the two organisations involved the sharing of 3D models and walkthroughs to show how the design was involving. This process allowed GrainCorp’s engineers to provide input at each step of the way.

A big part of Allied’s approach was to avoid relying on third parties as much as possible, so it could have autonomy over the process.

In the grain industry, according to White, it’s especially important that clients know they can rely on you to deliver.

“We do things the way we want to do them and create our own standards and quality assurance as well,” he said. “That means we don’t have to accept what others might perceive as normal; we strive to provide a higher quality.

“That means we own all of our construction equipment, including cranes and boomlifts, that we can take from project to project. We also maintain our own logistics, with a fleet of semi-trailers to deliver everything to site.”

All of Allied Grain Systems’ structural components are manufactured at its steel fabrication plant in Young, NSW, using Australian steel. Over the past two years, the company has doubled its workshop capacity at the site and purchased new offices to accommodate its expanding engineering team.

This self-sufficiency helps Allied know exactly what needs to be done and makes handling the logistics of a remote site delivery significantly easier.

Construction on GrainCorp’s Yamala facility was completed in October 2020, in time for the upcoming 2020-2021 harvest. White said Allied was always learning on each job to find where it can do better in following projects.

“We learned a bit more on how to deploy our structural connections quicker, to help our site construction crews when it comes to the assembly process,” he said.

“We bring a lot of our experience and knowledge to the table when it comes to grain-handling projects. There are very few projects we haven’t done previously, and we stick to what we know – we don’t do any mining work or subcontract out structural steel.

“The whole company is focused and developed to servicing the grain industry.”

Much of Allied Grain Systems’ staff have been with the company for years. It encourages development within the company, with an apprentice scheme to internally produce tradespeople who are then encouraged on to learn project management or engineering skills.

The company is currently helping deliver a grain export facility for T-Ports at Wallaroo, South Australia. As part of the project, Allied will deliver 20,500 tonnes of storage at the port itself with around 240,000 tonnes of storage nearby at a bunker site, along with a 500m rock causeway with a conveyor to a shiploader to load a transhipment vessel.

White said the company excels at these kinds of projects and is excited to continue growing its fabrication capabilities.

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