Independent spray dryer an “amazing opportunity” for NZ manufacturers

Tetra Pak New Zealand Ltd
Wednesday, 21 November, 2012

New Zealand’s only independent spray dryer has been established at Hamilton’s Waikato Innovation Park. New Zealand Food Innovation (Waikato) Ltd and the New Zealand Government commissioned Tetra Pak to build the dryer, which can produce half a tonne of whole milk powder per hour.

The first commercial product was produced on 25 May 2012, with the customer signing the acceptance certificate in October.

The spray dryer

The spray dryer. Image: Stu Jackson.

“We believe this dryer facility is a key mechanism for moving the dairy industry from a focus on commodities to value-added production,” Derek Fairweather, then CEO of New Zealand Food Innovation (Waikato), said at commissioning.

“This should keep New Zealand powder manufacturing at the top of the technology game, with the spray dryer suitable for nutritional formula, specialty dairy powders and a range of non-dairy products.”

The ground floor of the facility

The ground floor of the facility. Image: Stu Jackson.

Tetra Pak was awarded the contract in April 2011, with installation commencing in December 2011. Tetra Pak attributes the speed of installation to the use of Waikato-based suppliers and its own proximity to the facility - the Tetra Pak office is located just 200 metres from the spray dryer.

“The commissioning process was one of the smoothest on record, which is a credit to the whole project team,” said Dave Shute, plant manager.

The exterior of the spray drying facility.

Exterior of the spray drying facility. Image: Stu Jackson.

The facility includes an unload tanker bay, Tetra Magna TVR 2-effect Evaporator, Tetra Magner Dryer, CIP-able baghouse, powder transport and a fully integrated third-party powder packing line. The plant’s flexibility allows processing of products containing heat-sensitive proteins.

Operation of the dryer requires two people. It can operate for up to 21 hours a day, plus three hours for a nominal cleaning-in-place cycle.

“Spray drying offers an amazing opportunity for manufacturers to export high-quality, value-added products to Asian markets,” said Phil Steeghs, key account manager with Tetra Pak.

“This dryer is one of the world’s smallest, but with the functionality of a commercially sized powder drying plant. It is suitable for testing runs and for modelling drying parameters for future upscale for commercial production.”

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