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Aurecon wins award two years running for innovation to optimise manufacturing operations

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Clandeboye Lactose Evaporator Project

11 November 2013 - At the prestigious global IChemE Awards 2013 ceremony, held in Bolton, England, on Thursday 7 November 2013, Aurecon won the Food and Drink Award for its work on the Clandeboye Lactose Evaporator Project in New Zealand.

This is the second year running that Aurecon has won top honours in the Food and Drink category for cost effectively enhancing clients’ production yields through the use of innovative evaporation plant technology solutions. Last year the Aurecon team won for their work on the Dominion Salt Vacuum Plant Upgrade Project.

The Food and Drink Award recognises the best project or process that demonstrates innovation to optimise manufacturing operations, and contributes to safe, nutritious and affordable food to an international market.

Fonterra Co-operative Group (Fonterra), the largest manufacturer of dairy products in New Zealand, required an increased yield of edible grade lactose from their existing lactose plant on the Clandeboye dairy factory site.

The most substantial challenge, given the novelty of the technology, was to achieve the target process performance, an increased plant product yield from a nominal 64 per cent to 76 per cent, without the use of any additional raw material.

Aurecon, engaged to design, engineer, and project manage the installation of a new lactose crystallising evaporator, delivered all project management, process, mechanical, structural, electrical and automation design work for the new evaporator, prepared contracts for the installation works and commissioned the completed plant.

Evaporation plant used in the lactose manufacturing process typically operates at high solids concentrations. These process conditions often result in significant fouling of evaporator heat transfer surfaces which necessitates regular cleaning and results in lost production time and the formation of small crystals in the downstream batch cooling crystallisation process.

Aurecon’s innovative design, which also incorporated features to improve lactose crystal growth, dramatically reduced heat transfer surface fouling. The novel design provides extended product run times, improved product yield, reduced water and chemical requirements for cleaning, lower product losses, and less wastewater generation than existing evaporator options.

The project increased the plant’s lactose manufacturing capacity by more than 25 per cent without using any additional raw material and enabled the recovery of lactose for incorporation in higher value export dairy products that previously Fonterra would have sold as a low value animal feed or spray irrigated on land.

The success of this project has established a new engineering standard and best practice for the production of lactose.

Paul Stephenson, Aurecon’s Project Leader on the Clandeboye Lactose Evaporator project said, “I am honoured to have been part of the team to receive an IChemE award for chemical engineering innovation and excellence. This is a great achievement for all who worked on the project.”

Don Bell, Industry Leader Manufacturing added: “Aurecon is proud to be internationally recognised for leadership in the development of innovative engineering solutions and optimising manufacturing operations.”

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