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Hide processing with the environment in mind

Supplier: WILEY
30 April, 2010

Swift Australia's objective was to create an environmentally sound hides processing facility, allowing them the ability to process hides in-house.

This required engineering the process in an entirely new way, in particular the use, storage and recovery of salt – traditionally, this has an adverse environmental impact.

Wiley was contracted to design, engineer and construct the new facility to meet Swift's hide processing needs from multiple plants throughout Queensland.

Project challenges

  • Fast tracking all stages of the project – design, development approval, building approval, mechanical engineering, design documentation, construction and commissioning.
  • Meeting all the environmental requirements of Swift and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).
  • Connecting the services to the existing facilities infrastructure, without disrupting operations.
  • Designing all aspects of the facility to deal with the highly corrosive salt environment.
  • High occurrence of inclement weather.
  • Meeting the requirements of concerned local council.

Wiley delivered:

  • Stringent project management to meet a fixed time schedule which included design and documentation, mechanical engineering, procurement, approvals, development approval, building approval – managed on a critical path using "just in time" project management.
  • Provision of a target sum price.
  • Brief for the evaporator prior to tendering to ensure desired rates.


  • Meet the facility design capacity of 6,000 hides per day, a 600 hide per hour design rate for conveyors, fleshing and palletising.
  • All materials and design elements were analysed and specifically selected to deal with the highly corrosive salt atmosphere.
  • Inclusion of a post-tensioned concrete floor within facility, which removes the need for floor joints that are easily damaged by forklifts, makes maintenance easier, reduces surface cracking and lasts longer than traditional concrete floor slabs. This design gives less opportunity for brine to seep into the ground and water table.
  • A fire-engineered solution to meet all statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Ensured the maximise noise level of 40 decibels at the site boundary is met.


  • Meet the facility design capacity of 6,000 hides per day, a 600 hide per hour design rate for conveyors, fleshing and palletising.
  • Design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all aspects of the plant, including:
    • Brine evaporator to remove excess water created during the curing process – one of seven of its kind in the world and the only one in the southern hemisphere.
    • Gas fired boiler 3.5MW to provide heating requirements for the evaporator.
    • Cooling tower 2.8MW with a water feed of 172m3/hr to provide cooling to the evaporator.
    • 2 fleshers allowing back to back fleshing to optimise throughput, improve safety and minimise labour.
    • Class A environmentally acceptable recycled water used for all wash down, filling of raceways and toilets.
    • Bio-filter used to deodorise waste air from the evaporator.
    • Paddlewheels to circulate water and the hides in the raceways.
    • Blowers to create aeration in the raceways for circulation and hides floatation.
    • Overhead chain conveyors to transport the hides.
    • Fleshings transportation augers at fleshers to feed to fleshing pumps.
    • Palletising stainless steel tables with scales for folding and weighting hides.
    • Presses to flatten pallets and further reduce brine.
    • Pallet racking 5 deep x 4 high, hot dip galvanised steel construction.


  • Earthworks and site preparation – removed vegetation, cut and fill to form pad for building.
  • Foundations – reinforced concrete pad footings and bored piers.
  • Floors – reinforced concrete laid to falls with additive to protect concrete from corrosion from the brine water.
  • Structural steel – hot dip galvanised steel portal frames, rafters cranked to form curved roof. Steel used is designed for use within 100m of breaking surf.
  • Roofing – colorbond ultra fixed to zam purlins to avoid salt corrosion with gutters and downpipes powder coated stainless steel.
  • Walls – horizontal precast panels with colorbond ultra sheeting on zam girts.
  • Metalwork – guard rails, walkways, handrails, stairs, louvers and platforms.
  • Raceways – 8 x 200KL brine raceways, reinforced concrete and sprayed with waterproofing membrane.

Project result
A world-class hide processing facility for Swift that is innovative, environmentally-effective, sustainable and designed to last in a highly corrosive salt atmosphere. The facility is easy to operate, maintain and is cost-efficient to build and operate over its lifecycle.