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Case Study: Controlling Dust and Improving Operations at Miles Integrated Supply Hub

 

About the Client

Miles Integrated Supply Hub (MISB) is a Qube run facility located in the Western Downs Region, Queensland. The hub provides logistics and storage for a global oil and gas corporation. It comprises over 55,000sqm of roads and hardstands where hundreds of trucks and forklifts operate on a weekly basis.

Reported Problems

The client was experiencing issues with visible dust as well as the deteriorating conditions of roads and hardstands. Chris Welsh, the site manager for MISB and Geoff Draper, the Contract Manager, contacted Dust-A-Side looking for an effective dust control solution which could be implemented across the entire facility. They outlined the following areas of concern: 

Operator visibility

Mr Welsh and Mr Draper reported to our team that plumes of dust had become a recurring problem at the hub. Truck and forklift drivers were experiencing issues with visibility. Conditions were such that lead vehicles couldn’t be easily seen within a truck's length. Management at the facility were concerned about safety and wanted to prevent an accident occurring. 

In addition to this, there was so much airborne dust that clouds of it were being blown across the facility and out towards the main road. The supply hub runs parallel to a major highway and while there had been no directives from local council to contain the dust, management sought to address this before it potentially became an issue. 

Before_1

Reduced productivity

As well as operator visibility issues, the network of roads and hardstand areas were in poor condition. Running surfaces were becoming unstable after every rain event as the wearing course layers of these surfaces were not adequately sealed. Mr Welsh and Mr Draper explained that it took days for the ground to dry out properly and this was having a significant impact on productivity.

Mud would usually form due to all the excess dust, further compounding the issue by creating soft spots. It was not uncommon for forklifts to start to sink into the ground, forcing work to a standstill. When the ground eventually dried out, deep ruts became a permanent feature, which led to the further deterioration of the network. Repairs had to be made which further decreased productivity outcomes. 

Other concerns

The high levels of dust had further flow-on effects. Vehicle servicing costs were increasing due to the impact of excessive dust particles on engines and air filters. Management also noticed that computer equipment and printers in the office blocks were experiencing premature failure. 

Additionally, Mr Welsh and Mr Draper reported that both office workers and operators were experiencing irritation to their eyes, noses and throats due to all the dust. This made for uncomfortable working conditions.

With so many different issues being experienced across the facility, it was clear that a holistic approach was required to achieve effective and long-lasting dust control. 

Before_2

Previous Solutions 

It was shared with us that MISB had previously used a dust suppression spray on their roads and hardstand areas, however management found this solution to be ineffective. Truck and forklift tyres would collect the dust suppression material and spread it across the facility, making those areas slippery. MISB wanted to implement a more effective dust control system without having to worry about such a side effect.

Dust-A-Side took this information into consideration when developing our proposed solution. 

 

Dust-A-Side’s Solution 

Our team identified that the constant generation of dust was primarily due to the network of roads and the hardstands being in poor condition. With so many different types of vehicles coming in and out of the hub each day, these surfaces needed to be properly sealed and stabilised in order to prevent tyres from constantly churning up coarse particles and creating airborne dust. 

The proposed solution involved the full scarification of 40,000sqm of roads and hardstands. This involved using Dust-A-Side operated graders, water carts, rollers and skid-steers.

The most important component of the scarification process was the blending of Dust-A-Side’s flagship formulation - DAS Product - into the wearing course layers of the treated surfaces. DAS Product is a bituminous emulsion binder with sealing and dust control properties. Once applied, the emulsion breaks and allows the bitumen to cure which binds the wearing course together to form an impermeable seal that resists water ingress. This in turn helps to prevent wheel generated dust as well the formation of soft spots. 

DAS Product was blended in with the top 100-150 mm on roads and hardstands across the facility during the scarification process. A greater depth of scarification was needed on certain hardstands which require vehicles to manoeuvre in tight spots. 

After_1

One of the key benefits of DAS Product is that it’s an all-weather treatment. Treated areas recover quickly from heavy rain and remain dust free during dry periods. This allows MISB to avoid those costly production delays it was previously experiencing. 

The whole process took 10 days to complete. Our operators carefully planned out their schedule of work to minimise impacts on operations during this time. Management at MISB recognised that any short term inconveniences would be well-worth it in the long run. 

Dust-A-Side and MISB also collaborated carefully to ensure relevant safety practices were met whilst our operators were working on site. We provided all relevant documentation and both MISB and Qube management reported they had confidence that all relevant safety protocols have been adhered to.

 

Ongoing Maintenance

With all the scarification work now finalised, Dust-A-Side continues to work with MISB to deliver a comprehensive maintenance program. 

While the DAS Product formulation which was blended into the wearing course layers will continue to provide sealing and dust control properties, ‘top-up’ applications are required to ensure continued protection and surface sealing. This involves Dust-A-Side water carts attending site for 1-2 days a month for 8 months out of the year to re-spray surfaces with DAS Product. During winter, less frequent maintenance is needed as the cooler weather means less dust is generated.

Skid steer operators also attend site during these top-up applications to carry out any minor repair work.

After_2

 
Results

Mr Welsh and Mr Draper reported they are completely satisfied with the results of both the specification and maintenance programs. Visible dust is no longer an issue and the road network is trafficable year round, even during the storm season. This has greatly improved safety conditions as well as productivity levels. 

Qube management has decided to extend the original maintenance contract for another year and has also contracted Dust-A-Side to deliver a similar road treatment program at another facility in Kumbarilla, Queensland. 

 

Interested in learning more about DAS Product and our road management services?

You can give us a call on 1800 662 387 or click here to arrange a no obligation consultation. We’d be happy to put together a suggested scope of work and a quote based on your specific dust control and road management needs.