Clunies Ross Awards

Clunies Ross Award winners 2014

Ravi Ravitharan, Peter Mutton and Graham Tew

Ravi Ravitharan, Peter Mutton and Graham Tew are the inspirational leaders behind the highly successful Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University.

For more than 40 years (13 years at Monash University and, before that, 28 years as the Railways Engineering Group at BHP Research) this group of engineers has provided technologies that enable the highest axle loadings in the world, highly reliable operations and many millions of dollars saving per annum due to the avoidance of costly derailments.

They have had a major impact on the performance of the heavy haul railways systems in the Pilbarra and through this have been a significant contributor to Australia’s national wealth.
In recent years their technologies have extended to cover a number of metro and suburban rail systems and their impact has extended well beyond Australia, into Asia, the Middle East, USA and Brazil.

Their technology developments are wide-ranging and cover railway track systems (including rail welding), the wheel/rail interface, the design and performance of wheels sets and the dynamic performance of rolling stock.

Their most important development is a comprehensive suite of instrumentation and associated analytical software that monitors load-carrying rail cars in operating trains. The data from the instrumentation can be viewed remotely (for example the performance of Rio Tinto’s rail network is seen both at Rio’s operating centre in Perth and at the Institute’s offices at Monash University) and provides information on the condition of the rail track that can be used to drive both operations and maintenance programs.

Professor Kevin Galvin FTSE

Professor Galvin has been central to the invention and development of a remarkable technology, the Reflux Classifier. His technology attracted an ACARP Research Excellence award in 2004 following the completion of his pilot and full-scale trials of the Reflux Classifier.

In 2008-2009, Professor Galvin achieved a major advance leading to a new laminar-shear separation mechanism. The technology was re-designed in order to incorporate this advance and a host of new improvements.

In the context of fine coal beneficiation, the Reflux Classifier now solves what was previously an intractable problem. Revenue is maximised by setting the separation between the product and reject at a single density, for the coarse, small, and fine particle sizes. This has not been previously possible.

Spiral separators struggle to separate at densities below 1800kg/m3, hence it is necessary to compensate by separating the coarse coal at very low densities. This difference in separation densities comes at a significant loss in yield and hence revenue. In some cases, the required product quality cannot be achieved, making entire coal measures non-viable. Thus the implications here are huge.

The Reflux Classifier solves this problem by achieving very sharp separations, allowing much lower densities to be targeted. Non-sharp separations result in extremely low yields that are unsustainable. With new installations and upgrades, the Reflux Classifier is on the verge of displacing the existing spirals technology from the Australian coal industry, and is having similar impact internationally.

The Australian coal industry is unique with its significant split between energy and metallurgical coal production. Metallurgical coal, which is needed as a reducing agent in the iron and steel industry, has special properties for making coke, and hence commands a premium price. The new opportunities for generating more metallurgical coal are very significant for Australian exports in this premium “boutique” industry.

The Reflux Classifier is the ideal separator in dense mineral applications, providing simultaneous desliming, and retention of high value, finely liberated dense minerals. This combination of synergy, which is not available in other technologies, maximizes grade and recovery by a significant factor. Pay-back times of a few days have been achieved. Although the technology commenced its application in the coal industry it is most likely that the wider minerals industry will become the greatest beneficiary.

Dr Ezio Rizzardo FRACI FTSE, Dr Graeme Moad FRACI and Dr San Thang FRACI FTSE

The three researchers have developed a revolutionary new method for polymer synthesis now used by more than 60 companies worldwide for the development of products in healthcare, biotechnology, electronics and engineering.

Benefit to Australia includes significant royalties to CSIRO, improved technologies for Australians, increased employment and commercial products by Australian‐based companies.

The process, dubbed RAFT (Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer) polymerisation has facilitated the synthesis of previously unattainable polymers, the application of polymers in many new areas and given rise to more commercially viable methods for the synthesis of some existing polymer structures.

The commercial interest in RAFT polymerization is intense. Some 60 companies have filed more than 500 US patents/applications that are dependent on CSIRO’s RAFT polymerisation.

The companies form a list of “who’s who” and include Du Pont, L’Oreal, Shiseido, Mitsubishi, Medtronic, Mitsui, Arkema, IBM, Eastman, Unilever, Rhodia, Goodyear, 3M, Bayer, Bausch & Lomb, JSR, Fujifilm, DSM, GE, BASF, Johnson & Johnson and Dulux.

Their patents cover a multitude of applications including polymer therapeutics, drug delivery, biomedical materials, biosensors, plastic solar cells, cosmetics, inks, microelectronics,  desalination membranes, lubricants, paints and adhesives.

CSIRO has signed 19 licence agreements, has six industry research collaborations in the field and five RAFT-based products are currently in the marketplace.

The royalty and research income received by CSIRO for RAFT products and projects over the last three years is $5.2 million and is expected to reach $32.85 million by 2020-21.

Dr John Nutt AM FTSE

John Nutt was awarded an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) of The University of Sydney in 2012 on the basis that he is an outstanding person who has achieved at the highest level in his field of endeavour.

Dr Nutt is an Australian engineer who has worked on projects throughout the world and helped to lead and shape the world-famous engineering consultants, Ove Arup and Partners.

Dr Nutt was educated at the University of Queensland and was appointed to an assistant lectureship at the University of Manchester. For five years he carried out research into the buckling and collapse of steel structures. After joining Arup in London, he helped pioneer the use of computers in engineering practice through the design and analysis of the Sydney Opera House roof. Upon commencement of construction of the shells, he moved to Sydney and provided liaison with the contractor and the London office during the transfer of key design information. He headed the design group which completed the remainder of the building.

In 1963 he helped found the Australian practice of Ove Arup & Partners, becoming a Partner in 1968, and Chairman/CEO in 1973. During his leadership, the Australasian practice grew to a staff of 500 with 10 offices in four countries with a fee income of $50 million per year. Dr Nutt specialised in the design and analysis of high-rise buildings, and the firm completed many tall buildings in Australia including National Australia Bank Melbourne, Westpac Plaza Sydney, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney, and Governor Macquarie Tower, Sydney.

When he was in London he became involved in wind engineering and on his return to Australia he was invited to join the Australian Standards Loading Code Committee and was its Chairman for 15 years when he oversaw the drafting of the Wind Code and the Loading Code, and advised on the Earthquake and Snow Load Codes.

He was the Project Director/Project Manager on many major projects undertaken by his firm both in Australia and overseas including, the Sydney Football Stadium, Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney, and, the Overseas Chinese Banking Corp Head Office, Singapore.

Under his leadership, Arup Australia won many awards including the top award from the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia, and the Institution of Structural Engineers London, Special Award. Arup received the American Institute of Architects Honor Award in 1992 for engineering on the Sydney Opera House and other projects.

In 1991, he headed a taskforce that undertook a Review of Australian Building Regulations for government. The Australian Building Codes Board was then established and he established and chaired the Fire Code Reform Centre Ltd, a non-profit fire research centre of excellence. He successfully fundraised over $8 million to support this research.

Dr Nutt has great interest in education. He introduced the Arup Engineering Scholarship Program that sent young Australian engineers overseas for international experience. He was the Chairman of the Barker College Foundation that raised some $2 million. He has also sat on a range of selection committees of The University of Sydney and he was appointed by the University of Queensland to chair a review the Civil Engineering Department. In 1996, he reviewed the Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and in 2001, the Faculty at the University of NSW.

He has contributed significant time and sponsorship to UTS over the years. He was the Founding Chairman of the Industry Advisory Network, Faculty of Engineering for eight years. He founded and sponsored the Sir Jack Zunz Distinguished Lecture Series at UTS in 2001 with the inaugural lecture given by Sir Anthony Mason, former Chief Justice of Australia.

He has also been active in the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE) since his election in 1997. He served as Vice-President for three years, sat on its National Board, and, has served as a Governor of the ATSE Clunies Ross Awards.

The profession and the community have bestowed many honours upon him. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “services to engineering” and awarded the Centenary Medal. In 1995 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by Macquarie University followed by an Honorary Doctor of Engineering by the University of Technology, Sydney.

The 1992 President’s Award of the NSW Chapter, Royal Australian Institute of Architects was made to Arup “recognising the outstanding contribution to architects of John Nutt and Peter Thompson and their firm.” In 2001, he was awarded the John Connell Gold Medal of the Institution of Engineers Australia “in recognition of his role in many of Australia’s most significant buildings and his leadership in the field of structural engineering”. His most significant honour was in 1998 when the Institution of Engineers, Australia awarded him the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal, the highest honour it bestows on an individual.