Wilmar Sugar tradies have started work on one of the biggest fabrication projects ever undertaken in-house. 

About 30 boilermakers across three separate sites are working on the construction of an 80-tonne evaporator for Wilmar’s Victoria Mill in Ingham – a huge capital project worth more than $10 million. 

Work Execution Manager Eric Girgenti said the new evaporator was being built in North Queensland, by North Queenslanders. 

“This is a really important project for our tradespeople in terms of its scale, its cost and its complexity,” Mr Girgenti said. 

“The planning and design work started early last year and we commenced the fabrication work in June this year. 

“Over the life of the project, more than 50 people will be involved – from draftsmen to engineers, tradespeople and trades assistants. And the majority of them work for Wilmar in the Herbert and Burdekin.” 

Mr Girgenti said the evaporator – the vessel where water is boiled off from extracted sugarcane juice – would replace two smaller ones at Victoria Mill. 

“It’s a big project, so we’ve broken the work down across three sites in the Herbert and Burdekin regions. 

“The vapour, juice and condensation pipes are being fabricated at our Herbert Centralised Workshop in Lannercost Street. 

“The bottom cone and steam piping is being fabricated at Macknade Mill. 

“The top cone, body and calandria of the vessel are being fabricated at our Burdekin Centralised Workshop at Pioneer Mill.” 

Herbert Regional Operations Manager Adam Douglas said the new vessel would improve efficiency of the evaporation stage and present opportunities to extend the duration between cleaning stops. 

He said the evaporator project was another example of Wilmar’s success in bringing large-scale manufacturing back to the regions. 

“We’re proud of our ability to take on major projects like this where we can manage the quality and the timeline of the work,” Mr Douglas said. 

“These sorts of projects also enable us to create high-quality work opportunities for skilled tradespeople.” 

Mr Douglas said most of the fabrication work would be completed by early November and the new evaporator would be installed at Victoria Mill in time for the 2021 crush.