Project Profiles

Bureau of Sugar Experimentation Stations (BSES), Meringa

Bureau of Sugar Experimentation Stations (BSES) has a large sugar cane research facility located near Meringa, just north of the small township of Gordonvale in Far North Queensland. Many specialised experiments are carried out at this facility, with particular focus on the improvement of production within the Sugar Industry in Queensland.

One of the specialised facilities at this site is the Photo Period Facility (PPF).  This facilities key function is to control and simulate external weather conditions in the small confines of a chamber. Jackson & Jackson constructed the first PPF in 1986, construction was ordered for and a further two units in 2000 and 2006.

Jackson & Jackson Refrigeration Pty Ltd was selected to provide the mechanical and electrical services for this interesting project.

The air conditioning for this project is based on split-ducted, reverse cycle air conditioning systems.  Each chamber is fitted with an individual air conditioning system to allow for heating or cooling temperature control as required to maintaining the required temperature depending on the set point required. The temperature sensing is carried out at three separate levels in the chamber and averaged to take into account, any temperature gradient present within the chamber.

The lighting in each chamber was selected to provided ambient lighting similar to natural daylight at the beginning and end of each day. The lighting consists of a combination of florescent and incandescent light fittings.

The roller doors for each chamber are automatically raised at the required time each morning before the tram is winched out. In the evening the doors are lowered after the tram is parked in the chamber. Infra-red beam sensors are utilised to ensure that the doorway is clear before the door is lowered.

Each of the cane trolleys is automatically winched from its respective chamber and into the daylight at the calculated time each morning. In the evening, the tram is winched back into its chamber at the calculated time.

The lighting is switched on or off as required by the control system to achieve the required day length. Each individual chamber is equipped with an electric winch fitted with steel cable to pull the tram from each end.  Each chamber has a tram track of varying lengths to allow each tram to receive full sunlight during the day. Electric limit switches are installed at each end of the tram track to stop the winch at the required place.

As each tram reaches the end of its track, an irrigation coupler engages to the irrigation station.  The station is fitted with a solenoid to allow for control of the irrigation system.  Each tram is irrigated a number of times during the day according to the selected irrigation schedule. The irrigation coupler disconnects as the tram moves into its respective chamber each evening.

The control system for each of the PPF facilities is based on a number of Innotech Genesis II DDC controls. This control system calculates the almanac sunrise and sunset each day and controls all the functions of the facility including the lighting, air conditioning, roller doors, winches, irrigation, data-logging and alarms. A wind-speed sensor is installed to monitor the ambient wind-speed. If the wind-speed exceeds a pre-determined set-point all the trams are winched into the chambers and the doors closed to protect the sugar cane. This powerful control system allows this the facility to be completely automatic in operation.


BSES, Meringa BSES, Meringa (164 KB)

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