Five minutes with … Tim Predeaux, Lighting Designer at SEMF

Combining computer simulation, cutting-edge modelling techniques and a dose of imagination, lighting design is a dynamic and evolving aspect of building engineering. Here, we talk with SEMF’s resident lighting designer Tim Predeaux.

What are the aspects of your job that you most enjoy?
I like using tools to design lighting. At SEMF, we mostly use computer simulations to achieve this. The best part of working on a lighting design project is being able to use technology to visually represent exactly what’s going to happen and meet technical requirements. It’s a nice little puzzle to try and solve.

What led you down this career path?
Initially, I was working in the building services area and I came across lighting design as part of that. Traditionally, the old school would use hand calculations and spreadsheet calculations to complete lighting design projects but I was pretty comfortable with computer simulation so I decided to take it up. I haven’t looked back!

What is your favourite project to date?
Probably designing the lighting for the Myer store in Hobart. It’s really nice to work in your hometown.

What is a typical day for you at SEMF?
Usually I come in, fire up the models and start tinkering with whatever project I have going on that day. At the moment, we’re working on a whole bunch of projects. The variety is great – there’s never a dull moment.

What’s your favourite thing about working at SEMF?
At SEMF, there’s a real focus on people. And unlike a lot of other companies, this goes beyond corporate policy. It really makes a difference to your working life.

Posted by SEMF on 26 October 2012

The power of outsourcing

At SEMF, outsourcing packages offer a powerful antidote to resourcing crises in the mining sector.

Wide-scale growth across the Australian mining sector is fuelling greater demand for skilled environmental and engineering staff – a trend that has sparked major resource scarcity issues across the country. This staff shortage is creating critical project delays and inefficiency, an issue that is set to escalate as this crisis worsens.

According to Maximising Growth in a Mining Boom, a 2012 report commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia, the mining and mining-related sectors account for 20 percent of the country’s economy and are growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year. This has heightened the need for an approach to staffing that is flexible and highly scalable.

Dr John McCambridge, National Environmental and Infrastructure Manager at SEMF, believes that outsourcing can offer a powerful solution to this problem.

“By outsourcing engineering and environmental staff to a recognised provider, mining operators can reap the benefits of a stable project team – a fact that is central to the success of a project,” says McCambridge. “It means that the same team will work on a project from start to finish, regardless of the project timeline. This plays a major role in ensuring project efficiency and delivering seamless results.”

SEMF’s project teams largely comprise local and interstate team members, a combination that capitalises on site-specific knowledge, expertise gleaned from mining projects across the country and experience working on remote sites. This trifecta allows SEMF to tailor versatile outsourcing packages that respond to clients’s conflicting and complex needs. 

Posted by SEMF on 26 October 2012

A champion effort


It seems that SEMF’s ability to kick goals on site extends to the soccer field. Not to Scale, SEMF’s in-house soccer team, were crowned the division champions in Winter Men’s Indoor Soccer, a fifteen-week competition held at Melbourne’s Oakleigh Indoor Sports Centre.

Not to Scale beat out Scoregasms, to win the grand final – a victory made sweeter in light of previous defeats at the hands of the rival team. The team finished on top of the ladder, thanks to 12 wins and 127 goals throughout the season.

SEMF owes its stellar performance to the following all-star lineup.

Don Silak – Goalkeeper

Daniel Skermer – All-rounder

Jonathon Schulz – Tentative Defender

Ross Thompson – Captain

Thomas Lennie – Handsome Midfielder (self proclaimed)

Ahmad Al Banna – Goal Scorer Extraordinaire

The Melbourne office was able to participate in a soccer tournament as result of the Workhealth grants program, a Victorian government initiative aimed at fostering a healthier office environment. 

Posted by SEMF on 26 October 2012

PACE Awards dinner inspires, informs and entertains


The Annual PACE Awards dinner presented unique opportunities to fly the SEMF flag.

In its ninth year, the PACE Awards aim to publicly recognise and award excellence and achievement across Australia’s process and control engineering industries. Hosted by PACE magazine, the event is also the industry’s premier awards night.

SEMF was named among seven finalists in the Machine Builder category, a new division that acknowledges remarkable growth in this sector. The dinner was attended by over 250 people and was hosted by Shane ‘Kenny’ Jacobsen. The actor and comedian drew plenty of laughs – particular when presenting the Machine Builder award to CKAS Mechatronics’ “Cranky the Crane” Full Motion Wharf Crane Simulator Project.

“It was an enjoyable night with plenty of opportunity to fly the SEMF flag” says Jason Bodnar, Manager, Industrial and Process.

“It also offered the chance to make new connections within the industry.” 

Posted by SEMF on 26 October 2012


SEMF attracted a finalist’s nomination at the 2012 Pace Zenith Awards for its work on the Sante Fe project, a barge with the largest payload and jacking capacity in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sponsored by Pace magazine, the Zenith award recognises excellence and innovation across the Australian process and control engineering industry. SEMF earned a finalists’ nomination in the Machine Builder category for its work on the Sante Fe jack-up barge, a hydraulically-operated four-leg vessel designed to serve as a construction platform at sea. The project was undertaken in partnership with McConnell Dowell.

SEMF navigated a series of technical and operational challenges including deep waters, payload weights in excess of 35000 tonnes, mobility issues and highly specific automation requirements, to construct the barge.

Headed up by Principal Electrical Engineer and Director, Andrew Bongetti, SEMF addressed these complexities by designing a simple programmable logical controller featuring remote input/output racks and hydraulic power packs, located on each leg. The team also incorporated a linear displacement transducer on the working catch of each leg, to measure the position of the jacking cylinders and protect the jacking teeth from damage.

Although most barges are limited by outdated screw-thread jacking mechanisms, SEMF’s innovative jacking system allows for higher operational speeds and a significantly heavier lifting capacity – a feature that makes it easy to carry out heavy-duty ocean work.

“One of the challenges was providing a fast response and offering support to the barge operators – this is complicated by the fact that the barge operates offshore and in remote coastal areas all around Australia,” says Bongetti.

 “We equipped the barge operators with the ability to dial and access the control system from anywhere in the world. Once we make the diagnosis, on-board electricians can fix the problem.”

 The Sante Fe barge was rebuilt at the McConnell Dowell Construction Yard in Batam Indonesia with final fitout and commissioning performed at Cape Lambert in Western Australia.

Posted by SEMF on 26 October 2012


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