The first 37 containers filled with 940 metric tonnes of high quality whole milk powder have left Fonterra’s new manufacturing site at Darfield, headed for a customer in China.
Canterbury operations manager Richard Gray says the site has progressed from bare paddock to producing high-quality milk powder in just over 18 months.
“Our first milk powder is off to China for use in dairy beverages. It’s a proud moment for the whole team,” says Mr Gray.
“To date we’ve produced over 6000 metric tonnes, and our quality tests have come back 100 per cent first time.
“The first month of operation is all about testing the plant under a range of operating conditions and ensuring a smooth transition between our contractors and the operations team. We’re happy with the progress,” he says.
“At peak, our milk tankers deliver 2.2 million litres of milk to Darfield Drier 1 every day. This is turned into whole milk powder at a rate of 15MT per hour.
“Once the milk is processed into powder, it is packed into 25-kilogram bags, placed on pallets by a robot arm and then in containers and onto Lyttleton port.”
From the outset, the Darfield team has maintained an exceptional standard of health and safety and product quality, says Mr Gray.
“About 1500 people have been involved in construction. By working together with a proactive approach to health and safety, we’ve achieved a big step up on our safety performance,” he says.
The site’s operation team continues to work with key contractors to ensure all design requirements are met as the season heads towards its peak in October.