The completion of Kalamia Mill's $25m capital replacement program is just around the corner, with the last of four new evaporators currently being installed at the Wilmar Sugar and Renewables factory.
It's perfect timing, ahead of the upcoming production season, with the final stage of the three-year program coming to fruition.
The first new evaporator was installed at the Burdekin sugar factory in 2022, two more went in last year, and the last one was being installed as of February 12.
Senior Project Engineer Chris Lammas said the four new vessels were replacing older vessels that had reached their end of life.
"This work represents an almost total renewal of the evaporator station at Wilmar's Kalamia Mill, which should deliver improvements to rate and reliability," Mr Lammas said.
The evaporators are critical components for the early stage of the sugar manufacturing process.
The vessels evaporate water from sugarcane juice and concentrate it into a syrup before the sugar crystals are made.
Mr Lammas began working on the evaporator replacement program in 2020, and said he was looking forward to seeing the finish line.
"I've lived and breathed this project for four years," he said.
"It's the biggest and most expensive capital program I've worked on. It's involved a lot of people with a multitude of skills from across the business, as well as external contractors."
The new vessels were engineered, fabricated and installed in-house, with the major components fabricated at Wilmar's Burdekin Centralised Workshop at Pioneer Mill in Brandon.
Manager Projects David Innes said the capital replacement program had provided an opportunity to standardise and improve Kalamia Mill's evaporator station.
"The existing evaporators were of different sizes and capacities," Mr Innes said.
"The new ones are all seven metres in diameter and have a heating capacity of 3200sqm. This creates greater efficiencies in design and construction.
"Approximately 100 tonnes of steel went into the fabrication of this evaporator and a further 33 tonnes of stainless steel tubing is installed on-site."
The new evaporators are part of a much larger program to replace end-of-life vessels across Wilmar Sugar and Renewables' eight mills.