ABB’s technology saving Fonterra time and money by minimizing production downtime

2014-10-20 - Cutting outages at a Fonterra milk production facility has the potential for $500,000 in annual savings.

When leading multinational dairy manufacturer Fonterra needed a power protection solution for its processing and packaging lines at its facility in Takanini, Auckland, ABB was able to provide a solution that would eliminate voltage sags and cut out over four power quality events annually, potentially saving an estimated $200,000 per year.


Fonterra’s Takanini facility and some of its most important assets.

Fonterra’s Takanini facility
Globally, Fonterra produces over 22 billion liters of milk each year, of which the Takanini facility packages 750,000 litres of fresh milk each day at a rate of 6.4 bottles per second. To meet growing demand in the global UHT market the facility expanded and upgraded its UHT processing and packing equipment. With an expansion in production comes increased power usage; the facility now draws between 30 to 40 megawatts of power. This is mainly drawn by the large AC drives and motors used in the facility’s production lines.

Eliminating costly outages
The production lines are sensitive to voltage sags and short term outages. These short term outages usually range between one to sixty seconds and the value of uncertain energy caused by machinery can result in serious financial loss. When this happens there is no guarantee the milk is sterilized for consumer use, so disposal or re-processing of the milk is required.

Peter Williams, New Zealand’s Fonterra’s Brand Group Automation and Control Manager, outlines the effect Fonterra’s power quality events were causing. “When a glitch occurs in our facility, we need to go through a sterilization process which takes around four hours. An event like this across seven production lines, costs us 28 hours of downtime and around $50,000 in costs to our business. This would typically happen to us two, three or four times a year.”

The PCS100 Active Voltage Conditioner, which is part of ABB’s power protection portfolio, is able to eliminate these voltage disturbances at Fonterra’s facility, eliminating unwanted downtime and wasted milk product that would ultimately cause an on flow effect to the food and beverage industry. “We would be looking to see total savings in the amount of $500,000 a year,” says Williams.

Fonterra decided to implement ABB’s PCS100 AVC because of the global relationship with ABB and reliability of its products. “We have experience and a great deal of faith in their products… after some due diligence, we decided to implement it at our facility,” adds Williams.

Further benefits of the PCS100 AVC are the lowest total cost of ownership by requiring no energy storage and maintaining an operating efficiency of 99 percent. With a small footprint in design, the PCS100 AVC was able to fit into the small confined area of Fonterra’s equipment room, making this an ideal solution for facilities that don’t have large amounts of space for their power protection requirements.

Williams indicates in the future, Fonterra plan to utilize ABB’s products to improve the power quality in other locations. “Over some time we are looking at using this solution at other UHT sites, just to guarantee that supply stability we need. Our mission is to become the world’s most trusted source of nutrition and ABB’s product is a crucial part of that process.” Learn more about how ABB power protection technologies are helping Fonterra keep the milk fresh with this video.

Story update:
Fonterra has suffered five power quality events since the installation of the PCS100 AVC. According to Fonterra, the cost savings of these five events has already paid back their investment in a period of three to four months. Production lines in other parts of the plant that were not protected by the system experienced a shut down during the power quality events.


About Fonterra
Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, is a global, co-operatively-owned company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand and can be found in over 100 countries. Learn more about Fonterra’s Takanini facility.

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    ABB's PCS100 AVC was designed to protect sensitive industrial and commercial loads from the sags in voltage that can be expected on an AC power supply network.
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