Engineering

ASBSH member profile: Michael Wiemers

ABHR speaks to Michael Wiemers, associate and supervising mechanical engineer at Hatch and member of the Australian Society of Bulk Solids Handling (ASBSH).

I am a member of ASBSH because…

Being a member of ASBSH really helps to stay abreast of what is happening in an industry that covers a large range of business sectors, different systems and types of equipment.

I got into bulk handling because…

I pretty much fell into it. I grew up on a farm which has materials handling in many various forms. The farm gave me a good introduction to the practical aspects of materials handling. From there most of the companies that I worked for in my junior years either had plant and processes that involved materials handling equipment or were involved in the design of plant with materials handling systems.

I am currently researching… 

Climate change. The need to address climate change is upon us and we need to understand how to address it properly in our studies and execution work for our clients. We need to be able to understand the risks associated with climate change and be proactive to put measures in place to control them. Public reporting of client change impact is becoming increasingly important with standards and legislation being introduced in other parts of the world, and the process is now beginning in Australia.

In my role it’s important to… 

Do my homework before and during any engagement with a client to understand the needs of the work and be proactive with any potential issues and opportunities that may arise. We must act like owners and have the owner’s mindset when addressing issues and proposing solutions. That said, we must be unconditionally honest and let the owner or client know our viewpoint as well to reach the best outcome. It is very important to have a thorough understanding of quality and how it is associated with all aspects of project execution.

The project I am most proud of is… 

The surface coal handling plant for a new underground coal mine development, which included the upgrade and extension of raw and product coal systems at the existing preparation plant. The new mine was remote from the existing plant, incorporating ROM stockpiling and crushing facilities, an overland conveyor, and additional raw coal stockpile facilities. In-plant conveyors were upgraded along with the product coal load-out, sampling systems, and new product coal stockpiles. Conveyor tie-ins were required on both the raw and product coal conveying systems. I joined the project as the lead mechanical engineer after concept development and worked on it through prefeasibility through to execution, with my team introducing significant developments and improvements over the concept design during the subsequent study phases.

My career highlight is…  

I was very lucky to get asked to lead the mechanical and piping team on an oil sands Ore Preparation Plant project in north Alberta, Canada. My young family and I transferred to our Calgary office for two years to work on the project. Everything was huge! And cold! The design criteria temperature range was -45°C to +45°C. The engineering community in Calgary was amazing, both in size and the multi-cultural aspect of it; coming from Australia in 2007 it was a huge experience to be working with a team of engineers and designers from at least seven different nationalities. 

I am inspired by … 

The technical brilliance and passion of some of our younger engineers and how they can articulate this with my older generation and our clients. There is so much that they need to be on top of in this society compared with when I was a junior engineer.

When I am not working you will probably find me… 

Walking in the forests and parks around Brisbane or along the river. 

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