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Fonterra Cuts Ribbon on New Milk Powder Plant in NZ

December 7, 2016
Fonterra's new milk powder processing plant in New Zealand. Image courtesy of GEA
Fonterra's new milk powder processing plant in New Zealand. Image courtesy of GEA

Global milk producer Fonterra recently inaugurated a new facility in Litchfield, New Zealand that includes a milk powder processing plant, services, wastewater plant and distribution center, the provider of the site’s processing technology, German international technology group GEA, announced Wednesday.

“The centerpiece of the facility is the largest milk powder spray dryer currently available on the market, which was built by GEA,” a press release by the German company said. “In terms of material usage, energy consumption, and waste, the milk processing plant is now the most efficient facility of its kind in the industry.”

Fonterra’s new plant has a milk powder processing capacity of 30 tons per hour, or about 4.4 million liters of milk per day, GEA said, which would almost fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools. A 200-ton drying chamber with an 18-in diameter was installed by GEA at the facility.

“This new plant will help us to strike a balance in our processing that allows us to switch between products quickly to meet demand changes in global markets, push the pace on production when milk volumes dictate, and ultimately deliver the best product mix to generate returns,” the chairman of Fonterra’s board of directors, John Wilson, said in a statement.

Products produced at the Litchfield plant will be exported to some 20 markets, including the Middle East, China, and southeast Asia, the company said.

GEA said sustainability, energy conservation, and cost reductions were some of Fonterra’s priorities in the project.

As an example, the German company noted that “the plant requires very little process water as the evaporator condensate is filtered in a specific way, and, thanks to GEA technology, can then be re-used during processing. As a result, Fonterra has reduced its demand for ground water for the site.”

GEA said construction of the site in New Zealand lasted two years.