Waterline’s 3D-printed model delivers a novel solution to support project planning
21 April 2021
Brisbane-based engineering company, Waterline, helped BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Shiploader and Berth Replacement (SABR) Project, by producing a 3D model with more than 2,000 individually printed parts that were assembled in 143 hours to create a 1:100 scale 3D model of the existing and proposed new berth and shiploader.
Access to a tactile and physical model enabled a fast and more detailed understanding of the scope and allowed the project team to have comprehensive, safety-focused construction simulations and plans.
Every berth and shiploader has unique connection details, components and structural features. This means even highly-experienced technical experts must spend significant time familiarising themselves with a new project to understand the unique challenges arising from its existing construction.
Working entirely remotely, Waterline used BMA’s 500+ existing drawings of the berth and shiploader to create digital 3D models. These models were then printed by our in-house PRUSA 3D printers. The 3D-printed model, which included caissons, top sides, shiploader and ship access ladders, enabled the development of detailed methodologies, policies and procedures, driven by a better understanding of the scope and risks.
Upon delivering the model and watching it in action, Waterline’s CEO, Randall Makin, was impressed with its immediate uptake.
“What I found to be most profound was the speed at which people learned about the old berth—and the new berth, it was literally minutes until a detailed discussion could happen,” Mr Makin said.
The model enabled the entire team—from seasoned experts to new graduates, to understand the project scope. This contributed to the efficient resolution of engineering challenges, which were fast-tracked due to improvements in understanding the proposed methodologies and potential risks.
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Waterline was founded in May 2011 by co-founder and CEO Randall Makin, having identified a niche in the market for site-experienced engineers to work with large asset owners to improve the safety, productivity and capacity of their operations. Since then, Waterline has evolved into a multi-discipline company that supports mineral processing facilities, mine sites and ports throughout the east coast of Australia.
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