On 17 April, the YPF crew boarded two buses – provided by Sargent – to be taken around APIA members’ facilities in Wollongong. The tour provided an opportunity to learn about the entire pipe making process, with visits to the BlueScope Steel mill, the OneSteel pipe manufacturing plant and Bredero Shaw’s pipe coating plant.
Attendees were split into two groups, with the first group starting at the BlueScope Steel mill and the second starting at the OneSteel and Bredero Shaw facilities.
Making the steel
After a thorough induction and history of BlueScope, the YPF group was taken on a tour of the plant, which covers over 8 sq km.
Three main stages of steel production are undertaken at the BlueScope plant, including ironmaking, steelmaking and rolling. Kitted up with the appropriate safety equipment, young pipeliners were able to witness steel being made using the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) furnace.
The BOS furnace can hold approximately 280 tonnes of steel and heats up to temperatures around 1,700 degrees Celsius. After steel scrap, molten iron and fluxes are melted, the furnace is tilted and the steel is poured into a large ladle. In the ladle, alloying materials are added to give the steel specific properties. The steel is then cast into shapes so that it can be handled more easily and rolled.
In the hot seat
The two groups joined up for lunch, held at BlueScope. After a good feed, the young pipeliners had a chance to ask representatives from all three companies about the pipe making process. Questions from the YPF group elicited a well-rounded response as each company had different answers based on their role within the pipe making process.
However, all companies had the same idea about safety – with BlueScope, OneSteel and Bredero Shaw all emphasising the importance of safety management within their workplaces.
Producing the pipe
Young pipeliners were again treated to an induction and video about the plant, before starting the tour of OneSteel’s facilities.
Splitting into smaller groups, pipeliners were taken around the floor of the OneSteel plant and received a detailed explanation of how the pipe is made and tested. The groups saw OneSteel employees bevelling the edges of produced pipe and witnessed hydrotesting of the pipe.
After an induction at the Bredero Shaw coating yard, the young pipeliners split into two groups to view the factory. The groups were walked through the different processes and witnessed machinery applying an internal coating on pipe.
The different types of pipe coatings provided by Bredero Shaw were explained – such as three layer polyethylene, fusion bonded and dual layer fusion bonded epoxy, as well as yellow jacket.
An action packed day
The tour was a great way for young pipeliners to gain more knowledge about the pipe making process. All of the facility tours were detailed and informative – leaving the YPF gang talking about pipes for the bus ride home.
A big thank you goes to APIA for organising the event, as well as BlueScope’s Dave Langley, OneSteel’s Garry Burgess, Bredero Shaw’s Dean Bennett and Nick Ritchie, and Sargent’s Ed Burrows. Thanks also go to Bredero Shaw for providing beverages for the trip home.