Case Study: Aquacon™ 345 application at Wilmar Sugar

Case Study: Aquacon™ 345 application at Wilmar Sugar

Aquacon™ 345, the new lightweight, durable coated material from GALE Pacific was fabricated into a huge dam cover by Darling Downs Tarpaulins for Wilmar Sugar in Queensland.

When it came to the supply and manufacture of a dam cover which needed to cover the area of five football fields, the team at Wilmar Sugar Australia decided to use the Australian made, GALE Pacific product branded Aquacon™ 345. The job of constructing such a large area of Aquacon was undertaken by the team at Darling Downs Tarpaulins (DDT) in their Toowoomba facility. The dams are used to store Bio Dunder which is the liquid co-product of ethanol. Wilmar Bioethanol is the only company in Australia to operate the Biostil process. The end product is a liquid fertiliser that contains a viable source of readily available potassium used in crop growth.


Due to the large area to be covered, Wilmar’s BioEthanol team requested that the Aquacon™ 345 material was fabricated into eight sections, each approximately 4000m².  The covers were welded using a 40mm Hot Wedge Welder. DDT transported the covers to a local Toowoomba showground to refold the covers ensuring ease of deployment on site. Two sections of covers had a pocket stitched across the leading edge and a series of air tubes were fabricated to slide into the pockets. This assisted with towing the leading edge across the dam’s BioDunder material. Man handling and positioning such a large cover is always challenging but particularly so when the site experienced high winds and heavy rain during the installation process.  There was also a small installation window due to a fast approaching monsoon which is a common event in the region.


Two DDT staff members travelled to the North Queensland site with portable welding equipment. The eight prefabricated sections were unrolled on the bank and progressively welded together and towed across the dam using winches that had been specifically set up for the project.  A central pontoon was constructed to split the dam cover into two more manageable portions and to offer better access and control during installation. The cover was anchored to the pontoon and sandbagged around the sides.  The sandbags were also manufactured out of Aquacon™ 345 by DDT. 


The Aquacon™ 345 product was a perfect solution for this dam cover application. The material is a light weight polyethylene material including a woven reinforcing scrim which provides dimensional stability along with high puncture, tear and tensile performance properties. The excellent chemical resistance and advanced coating technology results in excellent welding and layflat characteristics. Aquacon™ 345 is a 100% recyclable material ensuring minimum impact on the environment with no chlorine or heavy metals used in the production of the product. Lightweight, flexible and durable Aquacon™ 345 exhibits class leading welding characteristics, providing effective and efficient field welding performance, ideal for in-factory fabrication and deployment on-site.

"Aquacon 345 was chosen for its long life, durability, ease of fabrication and resistance to wicking. Also, for its buoyancy on the product".
Michael Ryan - Managing Director Darling Downs Tarpaulins