Sage Automation gets juices flowing in Mildura

When fire caused more than $10 million damage to its processing plant on Australia Day this year, Mildura Fruit Juices Australia (MFJA) needed to find a “Mr Fix It” urgently.

One of Australia’s largest processors of fresh citrus juice wanted its factory back up and running by May 1 when 100 tonnes of fruit was due to arrive on its doorstep for processing.

The company then called SAGE Automation. Within eight weeks of being engaged, SAGE Automation had designed, re-built and installed a complete new electrical distribution and automation control system for MFJA’s primary production facility on schedule, on budget and in line with all relevant quality and safety standards.

Following this success, SAGE is now working on stage two of the project. This stage involves the design, construction and commissioning of an electrical distribution and automation control system for a variety of new plant and equipment including a new peel plant, a new juice plant, a blending room and additional machinery due for delivery in September. “

The initial brief was to take a burnt-out shell, perform a complete strip out of existing electrical distribution and control systems and turn it back into a fully working processing factory working with and around other project activities such as structural and mechanical refurbishment, within eight weeks to meet the first shipment of new season fruit,” SAGE Automation Chief Executive Officer Adrian Fahey said.

“It was a challenging brief and our first work for Mildura Fruit Juices. I’m pleased to say SAGE delivered with certainty.

“The electrical cabling and wiring had to be completely replaced and a new process control system designed, built and installed under very tight timeframes.

“At one stage SAGE had over 50 people on site working to ensure we met the deadline and to ensure the key safety and procedural objectives were also being met.

“SAGE is often called out by clients in emergency or recovery situations. “Our ability to be flexible and mobilise resources to where they are needed is something our clients rely on. We pride ourselves on pulling out all stops to get the job done right.

“This builds a sense of trust and reliability early on in a client relationship which is very important for the long-term. “As a result of our work during the initial recovery phase, we were later called on to assist in the second stage of the plant’s development.

“We now have remote access to the facility and are also assisting Mildura Fruit Juices Australia on other areas of continuous process improvement.”

MFJA’s General Manager, Michael Rolfe, said the success of the Stage One recovery process had meant it had not missed an order to its regular customers despite the fire damaging approximately 90% of its plant.

“When we called SAGE we were looking for a company with a history of delivering and with the resources required to get the job done professionally and on time,” Mr Rolfe said.

“It was also important the insurers had confidence in the company we were using too. SAGE helped us get back on our feet at a critical time.”

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