The sweeter side of engineering work Thursday, 09 August 2018

A Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering student has received an up-close look at the inner mechanics of Australia’s sugarcane industry, which she now appreciates is an important sector for engineering.

In the first of three four-week placements for her Australian Sugar Industry Scholarship, Rhianna Cardamone spent a month at the Sugar Research Australia (SRA) station in Ingham, Queensland.

“It has been a great introduction to the sugar industry,” she said. “Coming from Brisbane, I had never been to Ingham before and didn’t have an appreciation that the sugar industry is such a huge employer and such an important industry for Australia.”

Ms Cardamone is among the 2018 cohort of undergraduate and graduate students participating in bursary and scholarship programs supported by the SRA and the Sugar Research Institute (SRI).

Working with SRA agricultural engineer Joseph Bonassi, she said as an engineering student it was beneficial to get a taste of such diverse, possible careers on offer in the sugar industry.

This type of work includes the recently rebuilt chopper test rig, which is a stationary machine that replicates the feedtrain of a sugarcane harvester. It is used for both research and adoption to assist SRA’s research program for reducing sugar and cane loss.

SRA said the scholarship is awarded to university students in their penultimate year studying chemical, mechanical, process or electrical engineering degrees who have an interest in working in the Australian sugar industry.

Bruce King, SRI’s Learning and Development Manager, said scholarships and bursaries are awarded to a variety of undergraduate and graduate engineers, with the aim of investing in young people, as well as building capacity in the industry. Since the program’s inception in 2015, graduate recipients have gone on to work in the sugar industry.

“Past recipients gained valuable learning experience of process systems and machinery, insights into the maintenance requirements of a sugar factory, people skills and opportunities to apply theory on real projects that improve process efficiency, sugar quality and plant design,” Mr King said.


Image:  SRA agricultural engineer Joseph Bonassi and Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering student Rhianna Cardamone. Source: via Queensland Country Life.