TITLE: Proposal for the Improvement of MTS Reels for Cost Efficiency
INSTITUTION: AWTA Ltd., 70 Robertson St, Kensington VIC 3031
SUPERVISOR: Laura Walker
Agricultural, Horticultural & Materials Testing
Currently, MTS tuft reels for staple length and strength testing are shipped from Launceston and Fremantle to
Melbourne on a per kilogram basis. There are some problems with the current MTS reel design: it weighs more
than is desirable and the disc material and flywire are prone to breakages. Therefore, AWTA would like to
explore ways in which the weight of MTS reels might be decreased while simultaneously increasing the strength
of the reel’s components. This could either be by replacing the current materials with more lightweight
alternatives, or by a novel approach to the transportation of wool tufts. An empty reel with wire currently
weighs approximately 3kg. Alone, an empty reel weighs approximately 625g, meaning that the flywire accounts
for most of the weight of each reel at circa 2.4kg.
As detailed in Table 1, approximately 1300 reels are shipped to Melbourne on a per kilo basis each year. Each
of these reels must be returned empty to their origin. Full reels are shipped overnight, while empty reels are
shipped using regular post, hence the large difference in cost.
Table 1: Costs of Shipping MTS Reels (excluding wool)
Cost of Shipping to Melbourne
Cost of Return Shipping ($/kg)
Number of Reels Shipped Annually
Cost of Shipping per Annum
Reels from other areas such as Queensland and New South Wales are shipped by volume, rather than weight. In
addition to the considerations of weight, the new materials used must be either durable or cheap enough to
dispose of after use. Currently, the wire using on the MTS reels is prone to tearing and the plastic end discs of
the reels are easily broken (see Table 2).
Table 2: Cost of Reel Replacement
Cost of Replacement (each)
Frequency of Replacement (per annum)
Cost of Replacement (per annum)
Wire Mesh
Plastic End Discs
Version date: 2 October 2013
It is therefore important that the most cost effective materials be chosen, as each decision will have to be
financially justifiable in terms of savings. Table 3 shows a projection of possible savings to be made in
changing the reel design.
Table 3: Potential per annum savings if costs can be reduced by x%
Shipping (to Launceston and Fremantle)
Reel Component Replacement
Total potential savings
Costs (per
The purpose of this project is to find a more lightweight and durable (or disposable) alternative to the current
MTS reels AWTA uses. This may have a two-fold benefit, in reducing the costs of shipping and reducing the
costs of replacing broken reels. The student will research and select a suitable and cost-effective replacement
for the current MTS reel. The student will then write a report detailing the reasons why they have selected the
materials, including a detailed cost/benefit analysis and a timeline of when tangible financial benefits would be
received by replacing current MTS reels with the new design. Additionally, they should locate possible sources
for any new materials. This project will allow a student to test their ingenuity as well as give them real life
research and business experience, including report writing and cost/benefit analysis.
Possible Directions
While ultimately it will be the student’s responsibility to determine what direction would best suit this
project, AWTA have come up with a couple of possible directions. Basically, either the existing reel will
need to be modified to fit the requirements of this project, or the reel will need to be substituted with an
alternative tuft container.
For the first of these alternatives, a new bobbin material and, more importantly, a replacement for the fly
wire might be sourced. Perhaps the circular ends of the reel might be discarded and replaced with more
durable, metal alternatives which are fixtures of the MTS machines themselves, and are not shipped with
the reels, instead being used simply to ensure the winding of the reel happens evenly.
The second direction leaves the student with a lot more scope for change, but requires that some
consideration be given to how the tufts will be conveyed from the MTS to the new reel substitute. Some
suggestions for a suitable reel replacement are:
• Disposable plastic bags (saving on return postage costs) which might be created
by laminating the edges of two plastic sheets together with the tufts enclosed,
• Shipping the tufts in plastic boxes (which has the disadvantage of making it
difficult for staple prep workers to extract single tufts) or
• Using stackable trays for tufts, thus tufts might be boxed and packaged in a
similar way to eggs, on layered trays.
Version date: 2 October 2013
Once a decision is made, the next phase is trialling the new reel substitute. This is optional and depends
on the availability of the student. Between the two trials, the reel substitute will need to be either created
or purchased.
The student will have already demonstrated that the reel substitute results in considerable savings, and
now the substitute needs to be trialled in the laboratory. MTS operators and staple prep workers will trial
the replacement and give their comments on its practicality and functionality, perhaps offering
suggestions for improvements also. The handling time will be monitored and compared to the time
expended using the traditional reel. The student will write a report, recommending the implementation of
the new reel substitute if applicable or suggesting further modifications to the design.
The ideal student will studying in the areas of physics and/or materials science. This placement will based in the
AWTA building in Kensington. There is flexibility for attendance time; placements can be undertaken either
full-time or part-time (total placement time of 80 hours) but full-time placement is preferred. Placement start
time will be during the upcoming mid-semester break (preferably July 2014), and an allowance of $25 per hour
(payable by AWTA Ltd.) will be available. Applications will be accepted up to June 27th, 2014. Successful
completion of the placement confers eligibility for the Monash INV1000 Passport unit.
Version date: 2 October 2013
Science Industry Placement Program Application Form
For more information visit http://monash.edu/science/current/undergraduate/getting-the-most/sipp/sipp-main.html
All applications to be lodged in electronic form only, emailed to [email protected]
Personal details - Please type or write legibly
Student ID number
Given Names
Date of Birth
Postal Address for
Student email address
Home Phone number
Mobile number
Course details
Course Name
Course Code
Course Start
completion date
Current Year of Study
Project details
Industry partner name
AWTA Ltd., 70 Robertson St, Kensington VIC 3031
Project title
Proposal for the Improvement of MTS Reels for Cost Efficiency
Dates available
Working hours available
e.g. 6 January – 6 March 2014
e.g. 9 am – 5 pm daily
Meeting placement requirements
What units have you completed that will make you a suitable candidate for the project?
What attributes do you have that will make you a suitable candidate for the project?
Version date: 2 October 2013
Supporting documentation (please attach following documents with your application and tick box below)
Curriculum Vitae of no more than 3 pages.
Statement of results (download from WES--official versions are not necessary).
Eligibility Criteria
To be selected for the Science Industry Placement Program, you need to meet the following criteria:
Be currently enrolled in a Faculty of Science course, must have completed at least 48 credit points and have no
more than 48 credit points remaining in the course; and
Demonstrate a preparedness and capacity to complete a minimum of 30 hours or a maximum of 80 hours
placement at an industry partner organisation without compromising their other science studies; Demonstrate
work readiness (i.e. we are looking for evidence of personal qualities which equip you to function appropriately
and autonomously in a professional work environment).
Selection Criteria
The selection criteria are the ‘best fit’ match between your enrolled course, units you have completed, interest and
experience with the particular project requirements. The industry partner has the final decision. Applicants who are closer
to completing their course will be given priority if they meet the 'best fit' match. Please visit the projects section to view the
projects available. The webpage will be updated as project proposals are submitted by the industry partners.
The information on this form is collected for the primary purpose of applying for the Science Industry Placement Program
which includes deciding whether the application will be granted and sending related correspondence. If the form is
incomplete, it may not be possible for the Faculty to process the application. The information provided by the applicant in this
form, curriculum vitae and academic may be provided to the industry partner of the project in the event that the student is
provisionally matched with that industry partner in order for the industry partner to assess the application.
All information for the application of the Science Industry Placement Program is managed in accordance to the
University’s Privacy Policy. If you wish to access or inquire about the handling of your personal information contact the
University Privacy Officer: [email protected]
Version date: 2 October 2013
Applicant’s Declaration
I am enrolled in a course belonging to the Faculty of Science and have completed at least
48 credit points and will have no more than 48 credit points remaining to complete
I can commit to completion of a minimum of 30 hours or a maximum of 80 hours as
required by the industry partner without compromising my studies
I have addressed the selection criteria including my suitability and match to the agency/ies
and the project/s offered by those agencies in my cover letter
I understand that no salary will be paid for the industry placement and Monash University
holds no responsibility for any allowance agreement between the industry partner and the
On signing the Science Industry Placement Program application form I agree:
That I meet all of the eligibility criteria for the Science Industry Placement Program.
To represent Monash University in a manner that does not compromise the integrity, reputation or
relationship of the University and Faculty with the participating industry partners in any way.
That information provided by me in this form, my curriculum vitae and academic transcript may be
provided to the industry partner in the event that I am provisionally matched with that industry
partner in order for the industry partner to assess my application.
Student Declaration
I declare that the information provided on this form and the information given to support my
application is correct and complete.
I acknowledge that Monash University, Faculty of Science reserves the right to vary or reverse
any decision on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information.
Student signature
Received by (print)
Version date: 2 October 2013