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Science students have learning experience at mill
12 June 2017
Science students have learning experience at mill

Tarawera High School Year 13 science students brought their learning out of the classroom recently during a field trip to the Oji Fibre Solutions mill in Kawerau.

Currently studying processes, having the opportunity to visit Oji Fibre Solutions was extremely beneficial to the students' learning, as it is one of the largest pulp mills in the southern hemisphere and offers the best fibre cement pulp in the world.

It was the first time in recent years that Oji Fibre Solutions allowed a school to tour through the mill.

Matt Cooke, Dryers Plant engineer and FutureInTech ambassador, as well as the students' main tour guide of the day, said the students had a unique opportunity being able to tour the mill.

"It's been really rewarding seeing those lightbulb moments you hear about when a student grasps a concept."

Wood supply manager Richard Sherratt seconded that saying, "It's fantastic to get students through and inspire them."

The students got the whole mill experience. The day started off with a safety induction which had the students decked out in high-viz jackets, hard hats, safety glasses and ear plugs before they were able to go through the whole pulping process from start to finish.

Science teacher Jalaja Balakrishnan said it was fascinating seeing the process in person.

"As a science teacher I deal with the theory all the time but it was amazing seeing it occurring in front of you. We're really privileged that Oji allowed our students this opportunity.

"It's relevant to the students' learning as well as to their understanding of the very town they live in."

Head girl Taylor Van Gulick agreed saying, "It's given me a better understanding of my community. It's been amazing seeing the mill that our town was built around."

Students saw first-hand how the timber comes in, where it's stored, how it's transported and cut up. They saw the chipper, the digesters and the kilns.

Students were allowed into the control room where they got the chance to take a seat at the control desks. From here the students toured through the washers and dryers where they were able to see the pulping process at different stages and get a hands-on experience; getting to feel the pulp at each different stage.

The tour was wrapped up in the packaging department where the students saw the process in which the pulp is weighed, wrapped, and distributed to the customer. 

The trip was the second the class had been on, the week prior visiting Mercury Energy Geothermal Plant in the industrial complex of Kawerau.

Students witnessed steam from the geothermal reservoirs rotating turbines which then activate a generator to produce electricity.

The trip proved to be an insightful and interesting session where students asked questions not only on the geothermal processes but also on life in the workplace and pathways to becoming an engineer or a worker on an industrial site.

- Supplied by Tarawera High School

 

source: Rotorua Daily Post 

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