Monday, October 15, 2018
 The World’s Largest Dairy Spray Dryer Completes Its First Season  

With the end of the milking season in New Zealand the world’s largest dairy spray dryer has successfully completed its first season. Fonterra’s 30 ton/hour milk powder plant at Darfield, New Zealand, has been in full operation since being started up in August 2013.


From the time it was announced that Fonterra had awarded GEA Process Engineering the contract to build this milestone dairy spray dryer it has attracted great interest in the industry. The dryer, Darfield D2, is the second of two at Fonterra’s Darfield milk processing site in New Zealand and has the capacity to convert around four and a half million liters of fresh liquid milk into milk powder each day. 


Clint Brown, Managing Director for GEA Process Engineering in New Zealand, explains what makes the plant so special: “It is truly a modern plant designed to be the most efficient in the industry - in terms of Overall Equipment Efficiency, waste minimization and energy consumption - and to meet Fonterra’s need for processing capacity”. 


Prior to Darfield D2 this capacity could not be achieved on a single dryer. To accomplish the challenge a huge effort was made during the design phase to examine and optimize all components for the complete process line using the latest knowledge in milk powder and process technology. Advanced CFD modelling techniques were then used to further optimize and confirm the design for all critical parts. 


Darfield D2 was commissioned in August 2013 for the start of the New Zealand milking season, has been in almost continuous production over the last nine month, and has now concluded its first year of operation. At the peak of the season the dryer produced more than 700 tons of milk powder each day. According to Richard Gray, Fonterra’s Operations Manager for the Canterbury region, the first season has been a success: ‘The drier commissioning was very successful, and we saw continued plant performance through the first operational season. The collaborative relationship between GEA and Fonterra set the foundation for a great project and great plant. Drier 2 at Darfield plays an important role in Fonterra’s strategy to meet the strong demand for dairy nutrition around the world.’ 

Fonterra’s Darfield site is located 45 km from Christchurch, New Zealand. The site includes two milk powder spray drying plants both built by GEA. The first was put into operation in 2012 with a capacity of 15 tons/hour and the second, Darfield D2, was completed a year later with a capacity of 30 tons/hour. 

Source: Food and Drink Technology


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