Milk is now flowing through Fonterra’s ED4 milk powder dryer at Edendale, with the plant reopening ahead of schedule following the recent collapse of one of the site’s raw milk silos.
Re-commissioning of the plant has gone smoothly, with around five million litres of milk processed through the dryer over the past 48 hours.
Robert Spurway, Chief Operating Officer Global Operations, says a lot of work has gone into getting ED4 – Southland’s biggest dryer – back online following the silo collapse.
“We’ve engaged a strong team of third party experts and engineers to work alongside us throughout the clean-up and investigation. That has allowed us to get the dryer back up and running as quickly as possible while also giving us further assurances that our site is a safe place for our people to work,” says Mr Spurway.
“While it has been a challenging time for those on site and for our local farmers, the spirit and collaboration the team and the community have shown over recent weeks has been encouraging.”
Fonterra continues to work with its contractors and Worksafe New Zealand to fully understand the issues that led to the silo collapse. At the same time, Fonterra has undertaken proactive inspections of silos of a similar age and design across the country to ensure this cannot happen again.
With ED4 resuming normal operation, the project team will have the opportunity to begin gathering new data that will help them understand the particular pressures experienced by silos at Edendale.
“Silos face different pressures depending on a wide range of factors, such as ground vibration, wind and exposure to the elements,” says Mr Spurway.
“As we bring the site back up to full capacity, we will take the opportunity to monitor and gather further information from our silos that will help make all Fonterra sites safer places to work, including taking real-time data from several silos to give us more visibility on loading strains,” he says.
Fonterra is now focused on bringing the second of its two impacted assets – its milk protein concentrate plant – back online and expects to have work finalised in late November.