August 19, 2015

First milk through new high-efficiency dryer at Pahiatua

The new high-efficiency milk powder plant at Fonterra's Pahiatua site has kicked into gear, processing its first milk from the Co-op’s lower North Island farmers.

Whole milk powder from the new plant will soon head to customers in more than 20 markets worldwide including South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Whole milk powder from the new plant will soon head to customers in more than 20 markets worldwide including South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says the new dryer at Pahiatua is part of the Co-operative’s strategy to drive greater efficiency and value in its product mix.

“This expansion is about more than just turning milk into powder. The additional capacity it brings will help to relieve pressure on processing and give us more choices in the products we make during the peak of the season.

“This means we can be more agile in meeting product trends and changes in customer demand ¬– turning more milk into products that will bring the greatest returns for our farmers.”

The Co-operative has a strong track record of driving every cent out of the cost of production in these new high-efficiency dryers, says Mr Spurway.

“Dryers like this are already among the most efficient in the world by design. We’ve seen with similar dryers – like the one at our Darfield site – that with our systems, processes and people in place we’re able to reduce our cost of processing and increase our product yields even further.”

The new dryer, the third on-site, has the capacity to process an additional 2.4 million litres of milk each day.

The building that houses the new plant is also unique among New Zealand dairy plants, and is the first to implement base isolation technology which would see it withstand a one in 2,500 year earthquake.

Fonterra Pahiatua Operations Manager Bill Boakes says that the new plant will also deliver on Fonterra’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“The plant is the first in New Zealand to reuse its own condensate, significantly reducing the amount of water needed to process each litre of milk. On top of this, the new gas fired boiler has a number of systems for heat recovery that will drastically improve our energy efficiency.

“To ensure we’re able to meet our commitment to sustainable best practice, we’ve also added a new wastewater treatment plant to handle the additional volumes the site will generate.”

The new dryer is expected to be running at full capacity by early October.

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