Round 10 of the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants program is open, with $10 million available for projects that provide innovative solutions for the recycling and reuse of plastics, paper, glass and tyres.
Building material manufacturers, like the players in other major industries, are under constant pressure to raise the bar on their waste reduction targets to meet their company’s sustainability targets.
According to lubrication industry expert Steve Keown, it is paramount that lubricant and penetrant products used in recycling plants are able to perform in environments that have a high concentration of contaminants.
“Dirt, debris and water can come from the plant location itself or from the material that is being recycled, and they can hamper the effectiveness of the plant equipment and components. So, it is important that the lubrication can withstand these environments,” says Keown, CBC Australia’s Product Manager for Lubricants.
Keown recommends CRC Industries’ comprehensive lubricant and penetrant product range for recycling plant applications. The Tac-2, for instance, has a tough adhesive quality which will bond to chain/wear surfaces to keep conveyer chains in peak operating condition.
The Chute Lube, an NSF H2 registered silicone spray for package handling applications, forms a colourless, odourless, non-staining film that lubricates and protects in most metal to non-metal applications.
“CRC Chute Lube eliminates the binding and sticking of packages and boxes, while protecting most surfaces,” explains CRC Industries National Marketing Manager Simon Hatton. “This lubricant helps boxes glide down chutes and rails on package handling and sorting conveyors.”
Other lubricant products offered by CRC that are appropriate for recycling plants include the 808 Silicone and Dry Glide for sliding surfaces, the Contact Cleaner and Lectraclean to maintain conveyor motors and drive systems, and Long Life to maintain hinges and other moving machinery systems.
“CRC’s aerosol lubricants are an ideal product to use – whether it’s a ‘spray in place solution’ or whether it’s a bulk product for a plant shutdown for a routine maintenance program,” says Hatton.
“The benefits of CRC’s high performing lubricants include reduced product consumption through extended service internals, increased equipment life through reduced wear, and lower energy consumption from reduced friction.”
Moreover, CBC can offer recycling plants across Australia with a localised service through their network of branches. This includes extensive inventory analysis for recycling plant customers, to make sure the right products are used by engineering teams when carrying out component change-outs or other maintenance work.
“The lubricants and penetrants are there for the site maintenance teams at the recycling plants to use. Our main aim is to supply these products to those teams so they can have effective lubrication products on hand when they need them for the wide array of applications in the recycling plant,” says Keown.
CBC works closely with CRC Industries at both the national and local level, including taking joint call-outs to recycling plant sites for site surveys, inventory assessments, and application checks. This ensures that lubricants and penetrants are fit for purpose at particular sites.
“Based on our interaction with our customers, we also provide CRC with feedback on products that are very successful, and we provide suggestions on what could be added to the CRC range or what could be improved,” says Keown.
“CBC’s close collaboration with local CRC representatives, gives customers confidence that we can both supply them with the right products for their applications and, also, provided the infrastructure, resources, and staff to back up those product offerings.”
CBC has distribution centres in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, with the capability to send products all their local branches across Australia.
This means that if a recycling plant requires lubrication, not only can the well-stocked branch network supply products on demand, but the distribution centres are able to resupply products that are not locally available overnight if needed.
“We have a more extensive branch network nationally than anyone else, with a large amount of distribution centres. You don’t get that level of coverage with other suppliers – they don’t have the sales staff and the engineering teams to cover all regions like we can,” Keown states.
“When companies are looking at contracts to supply their plants – whether they be metropolitan or regional and remote – they can see that we have it covered.”
CBC has been working with industrial customers since the 1950s, with a long history of working with recycling plants. Some of CBC’s current staff have 30-plus years of experience in dealing with these types of processing plants.
“Those decades of experience filter over to other people in the company that work with them. Our team is very prepared for the challenges and the specific requirements of working with recycling plants,” said Keown.
“It is very reassuring for the customer to be able to pick up the phone and talk to a person that will visit their site, who is familiar with the type of equipment they have and the challenges that may occur at their recycling plant.”
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Building 4.0 CRC, a collaborative initiative that seeks to reduce waste and emissions from building projects, has received a $28 million Cooperative Research Centre grant from the Federal Government.
Monash University, Lendlease, The University of Melbourne, Donovan Group, BlueScope, Sumitomo Forestry and CSR, along with 23 other partners, have been successful in securing the funding to establish Building 4.0 CRC – an initiative seeking to transform how buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.
Announced by Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews, the $28 million grant will leverage a combined $103 million from industry, government and research partners – bringing the combined research budget to $131 million over seven years.
According to a Monash University statement, the Building 4.0 CRC research initiative is focused on using digital solutions, new products and processes to transform Australia’s building industry to a tech-enabled, collaborative future.
“Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include: an 80 per cent reduction in construction waste and a 50 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions for more sustainable buildings,” the statement reads.
Building 4.0 CRC Chair and Engineers Australia CEO Bronwyn Evans said the initiative will bring together expertise in the fields of architecture, design, planning, construction, engineering, business, information technology and law to develop industry-wide practices and protocols intended to transform the entire sector.
“It will also leverage the latest technologies, data science and artificial intelligence to enable the application of robotics and digital fabrication to optimise all phases of building delivery – including development, design, production, assembly, operation, maintenance and end-of-life,” she said.
“The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing those broad sector needs.”
Wastech Engineering has welcomed the Federal Government’s $20 million commitment to grow Australia’s domestic recycling capabilities.
Funds are available through round eight of the Cooperative Research Centre grants program, which opened 13 August.
Wastech Managing Director Neil Bone said the grants are a step in the right direction, following the Council of Australian Governments export ban announcement on 9 August.
“Companies such as Wastech are ready and well prepared to assist local government and industry, with a wide range of solutions and products that will meet the desired outcomes of converting waste products into useful products for the Australian consumer,” Mr Bone said.
“This is a fantastic initiative by the Federal Government, and allows any organisation with an interest in diverting waste from landfill to apply for the grant and start minimising its environmental footprint.”
Mr Bone said in addition to reducing waste, the program will likely spark job creation and further recycling sector growth.
“With Wastech’s proven industry capabilities and equipment range, we can offer turn-key solutions for material recovery, including co-mingled recyclables, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition, commercial and industrial, waste to energy and e-waste,” Mr Bone said.
“Wastech personnel can also assist interested parties in applying for these grants.”
The aim for Yarrabilba in south east Queensland to become Australia’s first ‘sustainable food city’ has given rise to the world’s first compost hackathon.
As part of the Food Agility CRC project, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Lendlease invited tech-savvy groups to develop a prototype for community composting.
Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients Director Johannes Biala said the event was organised as a hackathon to bring coders, developers and designers together around a common cause.
“Hackathon competitors were asked to develop high-tech organics recycling and food production systems, where in-situ monitoring and data collection facilitates a ‘green credit’ reward and incentive based circular economy for organics,” Mr Biala said.
“Fun, food and connections was the motto of the hackathon, which was hosted and facilitated by Substation 33 — an e-waste recycling and digital innovation social enterprise in Logan, south of Brisbane.”
The event included peer-to-peer skills exchange, roving technology, innovation and business mentors and the opportunity to meet Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp.
“Team names such as Rawesome Foursome, Rumble Tumble, Green Cycle, Throw’n’ Grow and Wastey Boyz is a good indication that everyone had a good time,” Mr Biala said.
“It was also hard work for all competitors, for example, one group developed a fully integrated network of existing and start-up companies to make a circular economy for organics work.”
Mr Biala said other examples included a prototype for a sensor driven rotary home composter and a sensor enabled organics collection bin that rejects non-organic materials.
“Prize money of $1000 for the winning team was incentive enough for competing teams to put on the thinking cap and burn the midnight oil,” Mr Biala said.
“In the end, the judges selected the Wastey Boyz as the winning team. The presentation of the prize money in form of an old fashioned cheque gave most of them the opportunity to see a fossil of our payment system for the first time in their lives.”
Project leader and QUT Lecturer Dr Carol Richards said the winning team would be invited to work with Substation 33 to further develop the prototype, with the aim of piloting the innovation at the Yarrabilba master planned community.
The University of South Australia, with funding from Tyre Stewardship Australia, is working to develop and test reinforced crumbed rubber concrete (CRC), for use in the residential construction industry.
CRC is made by replacing sand with crumb rubber, from end-of-life tyres, in concrete mixes.
Tyre Stewardship CEO Lina Goodman said the University of South Australia testing has assessed both the material itself and its structural properties, with encouraging results.
“Nearly 40 per cent of the annual total of approximately 9.6 million cubic metres of Australian pre-mixed concrete is used for residential construction,” Ms Goodman said.
“That volume presents a significant opportunity to consume very substantial quantities of recycled rubber, and could account for a large proportion of the 56 million end-of-life tyres Australia generates each year.”
According to Ms Goodman, CRC showed no difference in performance when compared with conventional concrete during a full-scale trial of residential slabs.
“There were no issues related to the mixing and delivery of CRC by a commercial ready-mix supplier, and the residential slab contractors working with the new product reported easy application and no difference when finishing the concrete surface,” Ms Goodman said.
“In addition, as with conventional concrete, no visual deterioration was observed on the rubber concrete slab surface after three months. All the initial results indicate that CRC in residential slabs is a promising and potentially viable alternative to conventional concrete.”
Ms Goodman said the commercial potential for CRC is considerable, with positive properties including increased toughness and impact resistance, reduced tendency for cracking and shrinkage and better acoustic and thermal insulation.
“Given the ongoing population growth that is sure to sustain a growing domestic construction industry, the work we are supporting on the development and testing of CRC is one of the most promising areas of market development,” Ms Goodman said.
“Ultimately, the aim is to find valuable uses for tyre-derived material that generate a strong domestic market, create a value for the resource and, in that way, deliver a sustainable circular economy outcome.”