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Case study - ICT / Information Technology

Demand for CEED students from information communications technology (ICT) disciplines has
increased dramatically in recent years, most noticeably in the manufacturing sector where more than a third of client projects now require ICT rather than engineering interns.

Talented final year and masters students have proven to be a cost-effective resource to help CEED clients develop new applications, review and improve existing systems and implement a range of initiatives, which have far reaching benefits for their businesses. 

RSA Security - 2010 CEED project 
 Above:  on left Jacob Evans (CEED student) with his supervisor
 from RSA, the Security Division of EMC.  Jacob completed a
 software security project with RSA during 2010.

Projects have been completed for clients in the banking, mining and government sectors, but it is manufacturing companies, who have been the most noteworthy as they establish themselves as significant users and developers of new software applications.

With the emergence of .NET and Open-source software (OSS), companies now have the tools to
develop their own systems, without having to pay expensive external contractors.

By using CEED students as a dedicated resource, they are undertaking ICT projects to reduce waste, improve operations and aid strategic analysis and planning. 

CEED ICT students have helped companies develop
new software apps using .NET and OSS

Case study
– Campbell Brothers Limited

The client and project background:

Campbell Brothers Limited is an ASX-listed, chemical manufacturer and specialist analytical laboratory services group, with more than 7,000 employees and annual revenue in excess of $800 million.

Cleantec, (until recently) a division of Campbell Chemicals, is a leading manufacturer, supplier and developer of cleaning, sanitising, water treatment and engineering systems, servicing the dairy, food and beverage industries.

In the 1990s Cleantec developed a product called Monocle to monitor and measure the ‘Clean in Place’ (CIP) process, which involves the automatic cleaning of the interior surfaces of pipes, vessels, process equipment, filters and associated fittings, without disassembly.

Cleantec’s clients cannot risk microbial infections so it is vital to ensure every part of all machinery is thoroughly cleaned.

Monocle was based on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, which was then the only way of getting information from the factory floor into the back office system. Cleantec used this data to analyse cleaning operations.

By 2003 technology had evolved far beyond SCADA and Cleantec saw an opportunity to redesign and repackage Monocle.

CEED project part I:

By 2004, Cleantec had defined all the specifications for a and approached CEED to find two ICT students capable of helping develop it, run trials and record data to make it market-ready. One student stayed on after the CEED project and was paid an hourly rate to fine-tune the software.

FOODSAFE® uses a Microsoft SQL database, Kepware technology to transfer data from the factory floor to the back end, and custom designed OPC (Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Process Control (PC), connectors to connect to the front end user interface and database.  Because it was developed using the Microsoft .NET Framework, it can be embedded into existing systems.

The application enables dairy and beverage producers to extract far more accurate and reliable data from their CIP process. FOODSAFE® monitors temperature, conductivity (detergents & sanitisers) and mechanical action (flow rate).  Users can program their own parameters so anything outside of an acceptable variance triggers an alarm. Huge amounts of data can be processed and recorded as graphical information.


The collaborative project – in which the students did all the development work and Cleantec supervised everything, shared its knowledge and gave the time of senior, experienced people – resulted in the FOODSAFE® software being successfully launched to market in 2005.

FOODSAFE® has achieved widespread recognition in the dairy industry; it is installed in nine sites in Australia, monitoring 60 CIP systems and bringing in thousands of clean records every day. The software also won the Dairy Industry Association of Australia’s innovation award in three states and nationally.

  • 1995 Cleantec develops Monocle using SCADA
  • 2002 Microsoft releases .NET Framework
  • 2004 CEED students redesign and repackage Monocle using new apps
  • 2005 FoodSafe launched to market
  • 2007 Email and SMS alerts added
  • 2008 Cleantec concept for optimisation module
  • 2009 Second CEED project to develop ‘Cost of Clean’ plug-in
  • 2010 Cost of Clean testing starts in two customer sites
  • 2011 New product to be launched

CEED project part II

Since its launch, FOODSAFE® has undergone a number of upgrades in response to customer feedback, and features have been added such as email and SMS alarms.

In 2008, Cleantec realised they had a major opportunity. As FOODSAFE® was such an easy, user-friendly system, and the company enjoyed a close working relationship with its customers, it had a very good overview of CIP processes and inefficiencies.

The idea was to add a ‘plug in’ module to FOODSAFE® to track utilities’ usage - including water, chemical, steam, power, and effluent - for every CIP event and provide reports.  Customers would be able to minimise the use of water, chemicals and energy, reduce the impact on the effluent system and cut cleaning time, resulting in lower ‘cost of clean’ and increased available production time.

The brief:

Cleantec turned to CEED again in 2009 to find ICT students to help with the project.

Candidates would need experience with Microsoft XP, Visual Studio 2008, .NET2 Framework, MS SQL, OPC Protocols, Kepware, LinkMaster and SCADA applications.

But just as importantly, Cleantec needed students who would be able to ask questions, seek guidance and clarification, liaise with other team members and make sure the project stayed on track within the given timeframes.

The student:

Mr Jian (Leon) Liang, who was completing a Master of IT degree at QUT was chosen to develop the proposed ‘Cost of Clean’ module and review the existing FOODSAFE® software application and code.

Two other CEED students have contributed to the Cost of Clean project, including Leon who stayed on to test and finetune the software, and has now commenced a PhD at QUT.

The approach

Leon firstly created a specification and timeline before starting the development work in-house. He was responsible for designing a reporting function, integrating the new module into FOODSAFE®, testing, de-bugging and reviewing with the Cleantec team.

Leon also developed an installation and user manual, successfully installed and tested the integrated module at the test site and helped upgrade FOODSAFE®, including the new Cost of Clean module, to Microsoft Windows 7.

The work was completed at the beginning of 2010.

 Suncorp Sydney - Edgar Martinez Rico, during 2010 project
 Above:  Edgar Martinez Rico (3rd from left) with his Suncorp
 Sydney mentors during their software development project 
 in 2010.

Fast Facts

CEED has sourced students for almost 100 ICT projects between 2008 and 2010 including 50 ICT
research & development projects ICT is CEED’s fastest growing area CEED students can help clients with application and web development, business and information systems modelling and improvement (BPM), data security, data migration, database and report development, software engineering and enterprise architecture Clients include Suncorp, CITEC, Data#3, Hemisphere GPS, Oracle, RSA – the Security Division of EMC, Trueline Technology and Australia Post

Further project examples available at


FOODSAFE® can now be used as a CIP optimisation – as well as validation – tool, making it a vastly more marketable product.

The software developed with the help of CEED students
will be taken to market in 2011

Manufacturers can save 20 to 30% of their cleaning costs, which can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In addition to savings in chemical, water and energy, the reduction in time taken to clean, frees the machinery up to undertake more production.

Plus, the combined package of optimisation and validation ensures they don’t jeopardise the quality control.

Cost to Clean is currently being trialled in two customer sites and will be released in 2011. Campbell Brothers will firstly target the nine FOODSAFE® customers before taking it to the wider market.

Client conclusion:

Paul Driscoll, National Manager - Chemical Systems Engineering – said Cleantec would use CEED students in the future.

“It’s a great program, which deserves the success it is enjoying; the results we have achieved greatly exceeded our expectations,” Mr Driscoll said.

“Compared to the cost of going to a software developer, it is incredibly good value for money.

The CEED program provides a way of contributing to the training of the next generation.

“We know of other companies that have spent significantly more, developing similar systems to FOODSAFE®.”

Mr Driscoll said the students also greatly benefited from the exposure to the commercial and industrial world.

“As an employer, you have to put the effort in to get results and have the technical ability in-house to oversee the projects, but it is hugely beneficial for everyone involved,” he said.

“Campbell Brothers sees it as a way of contributing to the training of the next generation.”


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