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Major plant expansion boosts pole production capacity

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A major expansion of Rocla's pole plant at Rockhampton in Central Queensland has increased production capacity and reduced lead times on delivery of concrete poles and piles. 

The $4 million plant upgrade included a factory extension, new pole spinning and computer controlled curing facilities, upgrading of existing machinery and overhead handling capacity, as well as the streamlining of production flow and elimination of bottlenecks.

When combined with the recent upgrade of Rocla's Victorian pole plant at Wodonga, the Rockhampton expansion provides a significant increase in production capacity and consistency of supply for major pole customers in Queensland and NSW.

Project management of the factory extension was carried out by Rocla's Manufacturing Engineering and Technology (MET) division. MET engineers designed the facilities with input from Poles personnel.

The factory extension was designed by Maunsell Australia and built by Landsdene Constructions of Yeppoon. Despite the busy construction market in Queensland, the project was completed on time and within budget, with minimal disruption to the existing production works.

Rocla® steel-reinforced and prestressed concrete poles are made using a centrifugal spinning process that creates a high density, hollow concrete pole with great strength and stiffness and a long, maintenance-free service life.

Concrete poles and piles offer a range of benefits, including high durability, resistance to termites, corrosion and bushfires, low whole-of-life costs and structural efficiency. Fittings for attachment of cross-arms, insulators, etc., can be built-in during manufacture of the poles.

Rocla has developed the in-house engineering expertise to create optimum solutions for all aerial support applications, including lighting, power transmission, high mast, communication and outdoor signs, as well as for concrete piles for bridges, foundations and marinas.

A further advantage of the Rockhampton plant expansion is an increase in Rocla's ability to supply high volumes across the full pole range, particularly heavier poles for applications in 132, 220 and 330kV transmission lines.

The new Rocla "strong pole" range includes poles up to 55 metres in height. A typical strong pole for a high voltage transmission line is 35 metres with an ultimate tip load of 220kN.

Rocla's national Poles Manager, Ken Beattie, said the completion of the upgrade gave Rocla the manufacturing capacity to fully meet customer needs across the eastern states.

"We also have the capacity to further increase production in higher capacity poles for power transmission," Mr Beattie said. "This is an important market where we can offer cost effective and innovative solutions, and we have already received interest in the new products from electricity authorities and major power users."