Handling industry's big problems

Boasting an unmatched worldwide reputation as a leader in bulk solids handling, TUNRA Bulk Solids (TBS) has close links with a variety of industries both domestically and internationally.

In its 36 year history, TBS has handled around 3500 projects for more than 1000 companies across 40 countries.

"Our work is unique in terms of the spread of bulk handling activity contained within one research group. It ranges from fundamental and applied research through to industry practice and professional development programs," TBS Director Professor Mark Jones said.

"We are world leaders in providing conceptual solutions to any on-site bulk materials related issues. No other organisation can match our service and we are now in a fortunate position where the work comes to us rather than us seeking it out."

At TBS, the line between academic research and the commercial arm is happily blurred. With comprehensive laboratory testing facilities, TBS is actively involved in all facets of research and operates at the cutting edge of knowledge. It covers the entire spectrum of bulk solids handling and storage applications including:

  • instrumentation and control;
  • belt conveying and mechanical handling;
  • industrial fluid mechanics; and
  • all aspects of conveying and transportation of bulk solids.

"While the majority of our work is with mining and minerals companies, we also work across a host of other industries such as chemical processing, agriculture, bulk transport, food production, power generation and pharmaceutical manufacturing," Professor Jones said.

"One day we may be dealing with a stockpiling issue for iron ore mining in the Pilbara, the next balancing the way colour pigment is distributed in domestic paint production.

"The advantage of TBS is the way it tackles problems by applying research knowledge and longstanding experience in basic, fundamental engineering principles.

A simple example was a recent project where TBS worked with a well-known port to minimise dust generated during ship loading. The use of fundamental principles led to the development of a new type of chute arrangement which laboratory trials showed reduced the level of airborne dust by 60 per cent.

TBS was the first division to be established by Newcastle Innovation, the University of Newcastle's commercial arm. Through industry leading research programs and testing and consulting services, TBS has led Newcastle Innovation's engagement with the minerals industry.

CEO of Newcastle Innovation, Dr Brent Jenkins, said the TBS business was poised for even greater success under the leadership of Professor Jones.

Mark Jones in front of some machinery"Newcastle Innovation and TBS are currently exploring how to best service the growing market in Southern Africa. We believe that the same service model and industry relevant capabilities will find a strong market in the rapidly expanding African mining industry," Dr Jenkins said.

TBS is also part of the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER). NIER addresses national priorities in sustainability and energy, producing a range of solutions for sustainable production and energy use.

Unrivalled in Australia in scale and the quality of research infrastructure, NIER is located at the former BHP-Billiton Newcastle Research Laboratories, a 3.8 hectare site adjoining the University of Newcastle's Callaghan campus.

Collaborating with national and international partners, NIER provides practical and viable benefits to industry, the community and the economy by advancing research in clean energy production, energy efficiency and the minimisation of carbon emissions.

Professor Mark Jones is Head of the School of Engineering and Deputy Director of the University of Newcastle's Centre for Advanced Particle Processing and Transport.

Visit the TUNRA Bulk Solids website

Visit the Newcastle Innovation website

Visit the NIER website

Visit the Centre for Advanced Particle Processing and Transport website

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.