World first earthquake proof commercial plant for Fonterra starts production

GEA has built a unique whole milk drying plant for Fonterra in Pahiatua, New Zealand on an earthquake fault line that has been designed to withstand an event without damage.

In an effort to speed the process and keep costs down, a new facility was designed to withstand tremors with a base isolation that would allow the building to move should a quake hit.

The milk drying plant is one of only a handful of buildings in New Zealand that is protected from earthquakes –the first commercial plant of its kind.

Processing equipment that includes milk reception, storage, wet processing, evaporation, drying, powder handling, packing and water delivery will be supplied by Fonterra which operates the world’s largest milk powder dryer.

According to GEA’s Project Manager Gary Reynolds, “The RO plant will also produce boiler feed water of very high quality using less chemicals to protect the steam system from corrosion, increasing the life expectancy of the plant and reducing operating costs.”

“We have used a seismic loop on all the supply lines that gives them enough slack while being supported adequately as well,” said Reynolds.

The plant is now commissioned and was on product on 18th August less than two years since GEA received the order. Teams from GEA and Fonterra worked side-by-side in completing the construction in New Zealand.