A shift by consumers to eat more natural foods such as Western Star butter underpinned Fonterra’s decision to build new $6.2 million cold storage facilities at Cobden, Fonterra Cobden plant manager Bruce Manson says. By Everard Himmelreich
Mr Manson said Fonterra had built the new coolroom, which was expected to be commissioned next month, because the current coolroom could no longer accommodate all the dairy products the Cobden factory needed to store.
He said Fonterra presently exported about between 40-50 per cent of its dairy products, with the remaining production headed to the domestic markets where it went into Fonterra brands sold in the supermarkets, into food service foods and ingredients.
However, the Cobden factory mainly supplied the domestic market, “and with 38 million packs of Western Star sold every year, that’s why we need a bigger coolroom,” Mr Manson said.
He said the $6.2 million investment would take the factory’s current storage capacity of finished goods from 280 single pallet spaces to over 850 single pallet spaces.
Coupled with new freezer space, the new coolroom would have a total of nearly 1500 single pallet spaces, Mr Manson said.
It will use innovative technology, including Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) – which are like robot driven forklifts – to take finished product off the production line and stack them into the coolroom.
The AGVs are already being used in Fonterra’s Cobden milk plant and are the newest technology available in robot driven forklifts.
Apart from Western Star butter and spreads, the new coolroom will also store other products made at the Cobden factory such as milk powders, cream and fresh milk.
Fonterra’s investment in more cold storage facilities at Cobden follows on its $30 million investment in 2014-2015 of a new state-of-the-art fresh milk plant at Cobden that produces fresh milk for Woolworths in Victoria and Anchor milk.
The Cobden factory is Fonterra’s largest Australian operation, employing more than 300 people in its butter, milk and powder plants, and milk collection and supply.
Source: The Standard