2S3: Case Study: The integration of ultrasonic acoustic and vibration techniques to enhance our rotating equipment CM program

David Kauppila , Regional Reliability Manager, Wilmar Sugar, Herbert River Mills


Wilmar Sugar is Australia’s largest raw sugar producer and a key producer of green energy. As with many low margin manufacturers, one of our primary asset management challenges is to deliver an effective condition monitoring program whilst maximising the efficient use of a small pool of technical resources. This case study discusses our approach to combining ultrasound and vibration techniques to significantly enhance the capacity of our vibration technician to cover an increasing asset base in a shorter timeframe without jeopardising our ability to provide quality predictive maintenance outcomes. The session will provide an overview of the business case, the higher-level benefits and potential pitfalls, and the key lessons arising from this two year exercise. The session will also offer a ‘technicians-eye view’ of the benefits and shortcomings of this approach in practical terms.


David is currently the Reliability Manager for Wilmar Sugar, Herbert River Mills located near the town of Ingham in North Queensland. He leads a team of Reliability Engineers and Technicians whose roles primarily involve the development of maintenance expenditure and capital re-investment programs, the development and implementation of reliability improvement programs including hydrocarbon management, maintenance strategy development and machine condition management. David is also involved in a number of business improvement initiatives across the broader Wilmar Sugar business.
Prior to his current role, David has spent the past 15 years working as a reliability engineering and asset management professional for a number of leading Australian and international mining and manufacturing businesses.
His specialties lie in asset management, reliability engineering, project engineering, and business process design & implementation.