Collaborative NCMC & Wiley team deliver major capital projects at Casino facility

Originally published in Australian Meat News, September 2016.

Since the knocking box, beef and veal race and steam services relocation were commissioned in January, the upgrade project at NCMC, Casino is nearing completion.


The current projects for NCMC at their Casino facility are designed to provide the company with facilities that will enable future growth and greater efficiencies. Four key upgrades were identified that are pivotal to the business: the knocking box and race; steam services relocation; the tannery and cold chain management system.

Using the design build project delivery methodology, Wiley completed and commissioned the knocking box, animal race and the steam services relocation by January and the tannery was completed in March. The cold chain management facility is expected to be complete in October/November.

The NCMC business model is based on a Co-operative, catering to operators who use the facility to process their livestock for domestic and export markets. Processing a range of cattle breeds and veal brings its own challenges.

“There are only two other twin rotary knocking boxes in operation in Australia, making the installation at NCMC leading edge technology. Rotary knocking boxes are regarded as the gold standard in this type of equipment due to the reduction of stress on the animals, safety of the operators and production rates achieved. The knocking box at NCMC is longer than other similar units and was designed to suit a larger range of cattle,” said Wiley’s Senior Project Manager, Barry Murphy. “The nature of the co-op means that NCMC receive a variety of cattle which has an impact on cattle length as well as weight, meaning that for shorter cattle, their head position is incorrect. An innovative design modification has allowed the operators to shorten the length of the knocking box to keep the animals forward.”

Since commissioning, the knocking box and animal race systems have been functioning very well, managing the daily production levels each day. The downturn in available herd numbers has meant there is capacity for further increased production to meet requirements at that time without any further modification. In addition, the design of both the veal and beef races are based on industry expert, Dr Temple Grandin’s principles, and have delivered exceptional animal welfare outcomes including a reduction in problems experienced in either race since January. The design has helped reduce stress on the animals and improved life for the drovers by enabling a greater storage capacity within the races which benefits the production flow.

The Tannery

Wiley were also engaged by NCMC to design and construct an upgrade to the existing chrome precipitation plant to allow increased processing, modifications to the process to improve waste stream segregation and additional hair removal with new hairsavers. The general waste water flows were also redirected to run through the existing dissolved air filtration (DAF).’

The key objectives achieved from the project were;

  • Ensure long term environmental sustainability
  • Maintain Gold Rating with Leather Working Group
  • Maintain and potentially improve on the existing higher value markets for CHT’s wet-blue hides
  • Tannery expansion capabilities-

The waste water treatment facility at the tannery has been fully operational since March providing NCMC with upturns in wastewater quality.

Cold chain management

The final piece in the NCMC major upgrade is the cold chain management system, comprising an automated storage and retrieval system, plate freezing capacity, blast chill tunnel and full ‘cold chain compliant’ loading dock facilities. The upgrades when completed will manage ‘cold chain’ requirements through best practice from the boning room to loadout.

Plate freezers

“Due to the nature of the NCMC business the company produces a large range of product and volumes; this has in the past required a greater amount of product handling than is ideal,” said Barry. “The new automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) supplied by Dematic for installation into the facility designed and delivered by Wiley, will allow NCMC to better manage product flow by being able to place small order SKU’s (those products that are less than a full pallet) in the storage facility and fill the pallet when sufficient numbers are produced, significantly reducing the amount of manual handling. This installation is the first ASRS in a frozen environment in Australia and only the second in the World.”

“Also, in a first for Australia, the loading dock system will be able to accommodate shipping containers and pantech trucks (refrigerated trucks that have hard wall freight hulls) in a fully sealed, refrigerated environment. Each loading dock has an ‘igloo’ that the truck reverses into and a seal encloses the access point to the back of the truck – and now containers – to maintain full cold chain compliance. This development we believe will soon become the norm for the industry.”


Blast chill tunnel equipment

“To date, we have completed upgrades to the front end of the facility with the design and construction of the new knocking box with good results. With the tannery completed and the cold chain management elements in commissioning phase, we can finalise the distribution end of the business to give NCMC a complete upgrade that caters to their unique business model and provides opportunity for flexibility and growth.”

When the project is completed, NCMC will have achieved improvements at the entry point of the process by improving animal welfare, capacity and working environment with the flexibility to adapt to any length of animal through the new Knocking Box and race ways. There will also be more efficient cold chain management through the construction of the new blast chill tunnel, plate freezer, ASRS and loading docks. In addition, the tannery has seen increased performance in wastewater management, improvements in economical outlay and final product quality.

Completed Knocking Box