A newly-upgraded locomotive was a key point of interest at a pre-season tour of Pioneer Mill.

The Kilrie is one of four 40-tonne locos to come off the production line at Pioneer Mill’s loco workshop this year, following rebuilds from the chassis up.

Wilmar’s Burdekin Regional Operations Manager Paul Turnbull, Burdekin Regional Work Execution Manager Glenn Brock and Pioneer Mill Production Superintendent Tyrone Small hosted the information session and tour for growers, grower representatives and agronomists on Wednesday, 12 May.

Mr Turnbull reviewed last year’s factory performance for Pioneer and Inkerman mills and outlined the work that had been done to address the major causes of lost time.

He also spoke about the new capital projects, including Pioneer Mill’s new No. 2 boiler economiser and Inkerman Mill’s new bagasse conveyor.

Mr Brock gave participants an overview of Wilmar’s strategy of bringing large-scale manufacturing back in-house, and the flow-on effects for local skills and jobs.

He said Wilmar’s Burdekin workshop was the central hub for major manufacturing projects across the business. The Burdekin team had built the major components for Victoria Mill’s $10.6 million evaporator and Proserpine Mill’s $6.1 million pan, which are being commissioned ahead of this year’s crush.

He said the team had rebuilt four locos ahead of this year’s crush: Invicta Mill's Kilrie and Rita Island locos, and Victoria Mill’s Jourama and Cairns locos.

Each loco got a $1.7 million upgrade that includes a new cabin, engine, transmission, reversing box, electrical upgrade and remote shunting unit. Wilmar’s Integrated Work Management (IWM) team completed all of the work in-house.

Mr Brock said the upgrades were part of a 10-year strategy to upgrade the company’s entire loco fleet. So far, 15 of Wilmar’s 40-tonne locos have been rebuilt.

Wilmar has also hosted pre-season grower tours at Proserpine Mill and Plane Creek Mill this month.  A final pre-season tour is planned for Victoria Mill next week.