Fonterra Cooperative Group's Milk Powder Plant, Southland, New Zealand

Fonterra
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Fonterra Cooperative Group is New Zealand's largest company by turnover and is owned by around 13,000 farmers throughout the country

It is the fourth-largest dairy company in the world and processes approximately 2.4 million metric tonnes of dairy ingredients in New Zealand. The company operates one of the largest milk powder plants in the world at Clandeboye, along with plants in Whareroa, South Taranaki, Darfield, Canterbury and in Edendale, Southland.

The plant at Edendale is the largest milk processing facility in the world. On 30 September 2009, the company installed the world's biggest milk dryer (ED4) at the processing plant. The expansion of the facility was to handle the anticipated growth in the milk supply of Southland.

Fonterra's Edendale milk powder facility

"The company operates one of the largest milk powder plants in the world at Clandeboye."

In January 2008 the company announced an expansion project of its Edendale plant that would increase its output capacity by about 40%. Following a NZ$212m investment, the site's processing capacity increased from 10.6 million litres of milk a day to more than 15 million litres.

The plant was commissioned on 30 September 2009 along with the installation of the new dryer, which is capable of drying 100lt of milk to 10kg of milk powder every second. The new dryer processes 4.4 million litres of milk to produce 700t of milk powder a day.

The plant processes milk and manufactures regular UHT and instant whole milk powders. The facility currently has four drying units and produces whole, skimmed and buttermilk powders, as well as cheddar and refined and edible-grade lactose, whey, cheese, casein, anhydrous milk fat and whey protein concentrate.

The four milk driers include three Niro multistage driers and a stalk-nozzle drier, which process 1,500t of products daily. The milk powder is mineralised and enhanced with vitamins A, D and C. The facility also features two cream plants AMF1 and AMF2, which produce 60,000t of anhydrous milk fat (AMF). AMF2 uses advanced technology and can produce 17.5t of milk fat per hour.

A gas-fired cogeneration plant is also installed at the site. The plant supplies surplus power to the national grid. The waste steam from the cogeneration plant is used to run the milk powder driers. The Edendale plant produces around 303,000t of dairy products a year and employs 550 personnel.

Permission from Southland District Council

In August 2008 Southland District Council gave land use consent for the equipment to be constructed. The resource management committee of Southland District Council also gave Fonterra permission to exceed the permitted heights in the district plan and build a 70m boiler stack, a 31m boiler building and a 56m milk drier building.

The facility is one of the largest milk powder plants in the world, able to produce 28t of milk powder an hour. The council committee has placed 16 conditions on the consent, which include keeping noise levels below 50dBA between 7am and 10pm and 45dBA for the rest of the time.

Fonterra paid the council about NZ$424,000, equivalent to 0.20% of the total development cost.

Contractors involved with Fonterra's Edendale dairy plant

The contract to design and build the drier was awarded to Ebert Construction by Fonterra and Tetra Pak (New Zealand). Construction started in May 2008.

"The plant processes milk and manufactures regular UHT and instant whole milk powders."

The central feature is a drying tower, which has a total floor area of 6,176m² and a building volume of 61,833m³.

The structure is predominately made of precast concrete panels with suspended concrete floors and steel platforms. The works also included a bin room, a packing room, a day store, siteworks and alterations / additions to the existing drier three control room and infrastructure.

The main process contractor for the project was Downer MBL, the engineers were Stiles and Hooker and the architect was Dickson Lonergan. The internal wall and surface flooring works and installation of the evaporators, major drier components and pipe-work were completed by January 2009.

The Edendale site remained fully operational throughout the 17 month-long project. The milk powder produced from the plant expansion is shipped out of Port Chalmers and goes to the general export market.

The drying tower has a total floor area of 6,176m² and a building volume of 61,833m³.
 

The drying tower has a total floor area of 6,176m² and a building volume of 61,833m³.

 

The area is expecting a boom in milk production up to 2013 and extra milk processing capacity will be required.

 

The company operates one of the largest milk powder plants in the world.