On the Fast Track for innovation

Thursday 6 June, 2019

A Shepparton business is bringing old technology back to life while developing skills and delivering jobs to the Goulburn Valley.

Fast Track Fabrication and Design in McGill St is a business boasting a mix of online skills, in-house engineering and building a reputation for innovation in the region’s all-important water industry.

A case in point is the four large steel structures currently dominating the Fast Track factory floor. Each are several tonnes in weight, several metres tall and slightly curved to replicate the parts they are meant to replace in a major engineering project commissioned by Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW).

These are four replacement radial gates for the Stuart Murray Canal off-take at Goulburn Weir – one of the primary structures controlling accurate irrigation deliveries to hundreds of farmers producing millions of dollars in agriculture productivity.

Fast Track has precisely designed the replacement gates on computer.

Fast Track has precisely designed the replacement gates on computer.

The Stuart Murray Canal offtake structure at Goulburn Weir.

The Stuart Murray Canal offtake structure at Goulburn Weir.

 Originally installed in 1967, the old gates are rusty, degraded and require replacement to ensure continued customer deliveries. Unfortunately, however, these 50-year-old gates were one-off products that can’t be found on any shelf.

“This is where we come in,” Fast-Track Director David Molloy-Hunt said.

“We can look at what is available, what will work and how we can deliver from concept through to design and fabrication.”

Fast Track commenced in 2011 and is a specialist in water industry engineering, with design and fabrication jobs from Mildura to Albury-Wodonga and many points in-between.

“These sorts of projects, like replacing these large gates that are more than 50 years old, allow us to grow and develop as an innovative design and manufacturing firm,” he said.

“We like a challenge and people come to us for that reason.”

Fast Track Fabrication and Design has been successful in tendering for GMW capital works projects for a number of years, with jobs at Dartmouth Dam, Cairn Curran and Newlyn Reservoirs to the Nyah pumped irrigation district among others.

 “Every year GMW awards millions of dollars in contract work to help us maintain the $5 billion asset base we operate to harvest, store and deliver water to our customers,” GMW General Manager Infrastructure and Assets Marc Lo Ho Kee said.

“It’s pleasing to see local businesses successfully bid for these projects and grow their skill base and expertise.” 

Mr Molloy-Hunt said the engineering and design needs of the water industry in northern Victoria are paying dividends for Fast Track Fabrication and Design.

“In January last year we had myself as the sole engineer, two directors and two designers.

“Today we have three more engineers and another 10 staff in our Shepparton workshop,” Mr Molloy-Hunt said.

“These sort of projects, like the Stuart Murray Canal gates, are our bread and butter – designing from the ground up and delivering the best engineering solution possible to our clients.”

Replacement of the gates began last month and is expected to be completed in July, ensuring the off-take is operational for the commencement of the irrigation season on August 15.