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When Innovation Meets Expertise

When you’re trying to marry complex leading-edge technologies, keep to tight commercial deadlines and produce a high-performing food processing facility, it’s not a job for the inexperienced or generalists!

This was the challenge when Innovation Waikato (IWL) wanted a new, technologically advanced spray dryer facility designed, built, fitted out and running to exacting standards and very tight deadlines and budgets. So they engaged the experts, Kiwi firm Apollo Projects.

Operating in the field of Engineering Procurement Construction Management (EPCM), Apollo Projects specialises in the design and construction of world-class food and beverage processing and storage facilities.

It’s an epic story, where specialist expertise, local knowledge, New Zealand and international technology, and sheer Kiwi inventiveness were married to produce something quite extraordinary.

Innovation Waikato is at the forefront of new dairy technologies and systems. Representing the Waikato component of the NZ Food Innovation Network, the dryer was to contribute to the development of added-value food technologies for domestic and export markets.

Such a revolutionary project needed a team with specialist food industry knowledge on top of an impeccable background of engineering excellence. Innovation Waikato turned to Apollo.

With a highly focused and specialised skill set, Apollo has played a key role in the development of New Zealand’s world-renowned wine industry.  The company also has a strong history of success in the food processing, bulk storage and cold storage sectors. This includes dairy spray drier facilities, large-scale cold storage, meat processing plants, food and nutraceutical manufacturing facilities, and large wineries.

Apollo’s client engagement, concept development and construction management procedures have been recognised offshore, allowing them to successfully penetrate international markets that include Africa and North America while continuing to developing markets closer to home such as Australia and South East Asia.

Extensive specialised food and beverage experience gave Innovation Waikato the confidence to engage Apollo for the technologically demanding spray dryer project.

Apollo’s brief involved the design and construction of surrounding earthworks; the complete design, supply, installation and commissioning of the dryer hall/evaporator building; plus the packaging store, load-out and service canopies, milk receival area, raw milk silo bundling, HVAC, control room, amenities, roading and storm water systems, including the latest technology for waste treatment.

The dryer componentry was supplied and installed by global food tech company Tetra Pak and construction of the building required a high degree of coordination between them and Apollo. This was the first time these two well established companies had worked together, pooling their considerable technological experience to produce a first class result in a challenging site.

Apollo Projects Senior Project Manager Aidan Knox says that although it was not a large dryer, the design and construction process had to be completely streamlined, particularly given the same componentry required for larger plants was going into a building with a much smaller footprint.

“This required great precision, not only from a design perspective, but also from a logistical construction perspective, with various trades all climbing over one another to get the job done!”

Initially, the construction phase was delayed for eight weeks. In order for Apollo to meet the deadline the delay meant every facet of the construction phase had to be reviewed and streamlined. This, in turn, put particular pressure on the timetable for installing the top floor of the drying tower before the Christmas break, to allow for sufficient curing time over the holidays so that the floor could take the main dryer body in the New Year.

Aidan Knox says Apollo is proud to have been able to successfully deliver the design and construction of the spray dryer facility for Innovation Waikato.

“Completed in early May, the project is viewed as a great success.  Apollo is thrilled to have played a key role in the delivery of this technology hub”.

Click here to see the photographic project profile