Wednesday the 16th October saw 14 people visited the Lion Drinks & Milk Company at Lenah Valley.
Firstly a huge thank you to Dale Barnes VK7DG who is the chief engineer and David Goodrick VK7FABE who is a Dairy Technologist at the factory.
We all assembled in the lunch room and kitted up with personal protective equipment including glasses, dust coats hair and beard nets and shoe covers. A wash of the hands and we entered one of the cleanest factories you will ever see! The maze of food grade stainless steel pipe work is a wonder to behold!
We started at the loading dock where the B-Double milk trucks back in and unload into the refrigerated holding tanks. We then went into the valve matrix room where the milk is routed from the tanks into the various pasteurises. The valve matrix is fully PLC controlled and Dale explained the Profibus system and how it is used to control valve, motors, etc.
We then headed into the pasteurising area where the milk is heat to 76 degrees for a certain period of time then chilled back down through heat exchangers. This was also the room that contained the Central Processing Unit for all the process control throughout the factory. Many screens showed the processes going on throughout the factory.
It was then into the carton and bottle filling lines. These are highly automated processes where bottles are flying in from conveyor systems into the fillers and capping processes and then moved out into milk crates where they are automatically packed and sent to the cold stores ready to be shipped out. The milk carton folding, filling and sealing machine was fascinating.
It was then up to the pasteurising room where there are 10 tanks and a valve matrix switching arrangement that takes four input and 10 tanks or outputs and can switch any input to any output based on what the PLC is telling it via the touch screen – operator control panels. The array of sensors in use is mind boggling, these all tell the PLC when different parts of the process are starting and finishing, radar units telling depth of liquid, interrupt sensors and many others.
We finished in the power and motors control room with an array of switch gear and PLC control panels for the various motors used within the plant.
We looked at our watches and wondered where that two hours went! We thanked Dale and David and headed home and I am sure we will not look at that litre of milk the same way again!
A huge thank you to Damien VK7SD and Alan VK7KAD who were our fantastic hosts for the tour. Both Damien and Alan are technical support staff at the ABC and welcomed and showed us around.
We started in the live music recording studio which was being upgraded and then moved to radio studio 703 and were shown the control surfaces and control screens that make up an ABC radio studio. Everything is configurable and can be personalised for any presenter in the studio. Next door the ABC Radio Hobart presenter and producers were busy with the evening program.
It was standing room only and we had a visitor in VK2 Bob VK7BS who has moved down here and is about to become a member of REAST.
The room was setup in a theatre of the round configuration with a big table in the middle with three different Oculus Rift headsets (DK1, DK2 and CE1), computers, high power video cards, controllers and cameras.
Ian then took the audience through the video games that pioneered 3D and VR with Doom and Quake. We started to see standardised 3D gaming engines that most manufacturers adopted.
Ian Mackintosh started with a presentation on Virtual Reality (VR) Archeology. Starting in 1965 with Ivan Sutherland and Ian took the audience through the development of computer graphics and specifically three dimensional computer graphics. The VR boom took off in 1970-80s with Atari with arcade games which overtook the military applications and development. The game that took Atari to another level was Star Wars with vector graphics and Ian bought along service manual for this game. The 1990 saw NASA put resource toward VR along with Nintendo Virtual Boy and SEGA cockpit arcade game. But unfortunately each manufacturer would custom build and develop the hardware and software. Most of these were commercial failures. Ian then went through the VR Recipe including 3D hardware, multi-thread multi core processors, six degrees of freedom, 3D audio, etc.
Wow standing room only for our REAST member Ron Cullen’s presentation on some very impressive radio control kit.
Ron started with some history of his Radio Control (RC) journey starting in 1979 when he was in the Air Force and they had an Aero modelling club and even showed and RC controller from that era.
Ron was posted all over Australia and he took his RC planes with him. Zoom to 1998 and Ron left the Air Force and shelved his interest in RC. A couple of years ago he started to get back into it. The night Walrus was his first purchase and some VR google was he first foray back into RC. This included some interesting innovations including a Visual Approach Slope Indicator for his RC planes and this mirrors the use of this technology at commercial runways.
We had a great roll up to our forum with many people coming along with show and tell.
Notable there was a large 1.8m AZ/EL dish that was trailer mounted that Richard VK7ZBX brought along – more on that later.
The night was all about sharing people’s experiences. We started with Rex VK7MO who took us on a picture journey of his adventures in dish mounts starting with 1296 and working through each iteration of the mounts and heading into the 10 & 24GHz telescope mounts with milling machine table used for accurate azimuth adjustment. Rex’s show and tell included the azimuth and elevation measuring devices. Thanks Rex.
Kim Briggs VK7KB gave a fantastic presentation on support the Scientific Program run by the Australian Antarctic Division with some communications references as well.
Kim started off with the Aurora Australis ship and the many different aspects that it is used for and how it is used. It is a very versatile ice-breaking science platform that is leased from P&O.
Throughout the talk there was references to the many many projects and programs that Kim has been involved in – from camera mounts, trawling, echo sounder refits, operating maritime mobile, calibrations, battery packs, data collection, whale recorders, Conductivity, Temperature, Depth instruments, etc. Kim has been involved in it!
We ran out of time for the communications presentation so we have booked Kim in for that presentation next year.
We finished of with many questions and ran a video from one of the trawl camera showing the sea bed at a variety of depths down to over 500m.
A huge thanks you to Kim and we look forward to the sequel.
The talk was videoed and will be played at this Wednesday night’s DATV Experimenter’s night.
Thursday night saw a good group at the front door of the ABC next to the Railway Roundabout and we were welcomed by Damien VK7SD and Alan VK7KAD who were our fantastic and very knowable hosts for the night.
We started in one of the radio studios with producer Dave who took the group through the preparation of radio segments using the various tools that are used to edit and queue radio promotional segments around Australia. Thanks Dave.