Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The Australian sugar milling industry now has fast online access to a historic library of research, thanks to a large-scale scanning project conducted by Scan Conversion Services (SCS) for the Sugar Research & Innovation group at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on behalf of the Sugar Research Institute (www.sri.org.au).

The research means today’s sugar milling companies and academic researchers can quickly increase their understanding of sugar processing technologies over the years, to help them make informed decisions about the future of the industry.

Project leader Associate Professor Geoff Kent, a Principal Research Fellow at QUT, said that his group’s specialist capabilities target sugarcane milling, power generation, sugar refining and sugar chemistry.

“The research benefits mainly raw sugar factories in Australia,” he said.

The project to scan more than 110,000 pages and images, and capture over 300,000 characters of database information, added an invaluable source of historical data to the SRI library.

“The SRI has a close working relationship with its member mills and our researchers frequently collaborate on experimental work,” Dr Kent said. “We also have a strong tradition of collaborative work with other leading universities.”

Individual sugar mills no longer need to maintain their own copies of the reports, which go back to the SRI’s beginnings in the 1950s.

“When the reports were originally produced every mill got a copy,” Dr Kent explained. “But not every mill would maintain the same document set. Now everyone has access, according to each mill’s access privileges, to the same, validated data. This will help speed up investigations and improve the understanding of the sugar manufacturing process over the years.”

As part of the project, Scan Conversion Services Queensland scanned some 110,000 pages of A4/A3 and large format colour and black & white pages. Detailed meta data was captured for each document and validated against SRI’s existing data.

Queensland and northern NSW are the heartland of Australia’s sugar industry, with 25 sugar mills processing 30-40 million tonnes of sugar cane a year.

The aim was to protect and to improve access to the data in some 2,000 reports, but a further 4,000 reports were added as the project proceeded.

“We took longer getting started and then we underestimated the volume of documents and the need to validate each one in three stages,” Dr Kent said.

“SRI implemented a document access control strategy to ensure confidentiality of the system now and in future as more documents are added.”

The effort paid off. Sugar researchers can search through the digital library by title, author, date, report number, report title, report type, project number and unstructured text.

“It now takes a few minutes rather than a few days to lay your hands on the information you need,” Dr Kent said.


About the Sugar Research Institute
Sugar Research Limited, trading as Sugar Research Institute (SRI), delivers world-class technology solutions that underpin the global competitiveness, sustainability and profitability of our stakeholders across the sugar industry. On July 1, 2005, Sugar Research Limited entered into an exclusive affiliation with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), providing stakeholders with access to enhanced research and consulting capabilities and facilities.

The SRI research portfolio focuses on fundamental and applied research on issues specific to the entire sugar processing industry and aims to enhance clients’ overall operational efficiency and market competitiveness.

Major research targets include:
* Sugarcane harvest, transport and cleaning;
* Sugarcane preparation, milling and diffusion;
* Sugar processing - clarification and filtration, evaporation, crystallisation and sugar separation and drying;
* By-products and value-adding - bagasse, molasses, mud;
* Energy - cogeneration, gasification, biofuels and ethanol;
* Process control, engineering and design;
* Computer modelling - computational fluid dynamics, finite element stress analysis;
* Sugar chemistry;
* Sugar quality and sugar refining;
* Environmental and waste management.

SRI has a strong tradition of collaboration with other leading universities, including the University of Queensland, James Cook University, the University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Monash University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, University of Southern Queensland and Central Queensland University. It also has engaged in collaborations with CSIRO, BSES Ltd (Bureau of Sugar Research Stations), Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and the sugar-related Cooperative Research Centres.

Contact Profile

Scan Conversion Services

Scan Conversion Services provides industry-leading scanning, document conversion and CAD conversion services for corporate, government, legal and defence requirements in Australia and New Zealand. A Commonwealth Government Endorsed Supplier, SCS was founded in Adelaide in 1996, and has since expanded through partnering and mergers with leading scanning services in Queensland and New Zealand. Growing demand from international clients promises an even brighter future for the company, which offers specialist and customized scanning solutions as a bureau or in-house service. Typical solutions include Accounts Payable, Conservation, Remittance Processing, Medical & Legal Records, and Compliance for the most complex needs.
Duncan Lord, SCS Queensland
P: (07) 3211 7710
M: 0414 69 70 71
W: www.scanservices.com.au


Scan Conversion Services software is being used by the Australian Sugar Industry to electronically catalogue 60 years of data.



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