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Sustainability sets the standard for new milk factory


Sustainability sets the standard for new milk factory

To realise the expansion of the production capacity, a completely new factory for drying goat’s milk will be built opposite Emmi’s existing factory in Etten-Leur. Iv-Industrie was awarded the entire EPCM contract for this new milk factory. Food safety and sustainability are of paramount importance in this project. 

From goat’s milk to powder

Swiss parent company Emmi focuses on supplying leading brands and niche markets in the dairy sector. Emmi sought expansion outside Switzerland and acquired goat’s cheese producer Bettinehoeve in the Netherlands several years ago. “Goat’s milk is more of a seasonal product than cow’s milk,” explains Martin van Putten, Project Manager at Emmi Javelin. “Especially in the spring and summer, there is a surplus of milk. For this reason, it was decided to convert the surplus milk during these periods into goat’s milk powder. This proved so successful that goat’s milk powder is now produced all year round. Emmi saw a growth opportunity within the market. Demand in Asia, where there is a high level of cow’s milk allergy, is particularly high. The goat’s milk powder is subsequently processed elsewhere into infant nutrition. Why do we produce this in the Netherlands? Partly because the original base of Bettinehoeve is here but also because we have a lot of goats here. It’s also important to produce and process the product locally.”

From the beginning of the master plan design to the delivery of the factory, Iv-Industrie, on behalf of Emmi, will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction management. Iv-Industrie has also drawn up the technical documents required for the permits. From the master plan design to the final design, the development demanded close coordination with the client and the supplier of the process installations, selected and involved early on in the project. Iv-Industrie is responsible for the multidisciplinary coordination and the design of the building, the building-related installations, and the utilities. 

A location with synergy

“The location opposite the existing factory was not the first intended site for this factory,” says Ruud Verheul, Senior Project Manager at Iv-Industrie. “But when the opportunity arose to acquire the plot across the street, it was immediately seized to utilise the synergy between the two locations.” The synergy can be observed in the operational benefits, possibilities for energy recovery and the optimisation of utility installations, including compressed air and wastewater disposal. 

Structuring a layout

One of the challenges in the project is integrating the buildings with the process installation. It must form an integral design in which the arrangement of the process equipment and the routing for people, materials, product and residual streams are optimally provided. The hygienic zoning of the factory is a crucial variable in this regard. Thus, the layout design is structured using block flow diagrams, using a method related to Value Stream Mapping (VSM). The essence lies in devising a well-thought-out layout, which is where the exceptional collaboration came to the forefront. Where Iv-Industrie approached the project from an interdisciplinary technical design perspective, Emmi approached it from the user’s point of view. “We examined how to proceed through the factory, with both products and people in mind,” says Martin. “The layout must be as efficient as possible, meaning that the factory should be staffed with as few people as possible. The combination of Iv-Industrie developing the layout worked well; it was easy to attain the appropriate expertise within Iv’s divisions, as the most competent people from the group could take part in discussing the various issues and optimising the design. The fact that Iv has done this more often also helps. Since this is not standard in-house knowledge for Emmi, a separate project team has been set up for the construction.” 

A hygienic factory

Iv-Industrie applied Emmi’s hygiene standards as a basis to facilitate arriving at an integral design. In consultation with the client, the risk, level of finish, costs and practical usage were evaluated for various elements. Iv-Industrie’s extensive knowledge of hygiene guidelines for all relevant disciplines has proved a valuable asset in this process. Through active participation in platforms such as EHEDG, HDN and SFF, Iv-Industrie is involved in and aware of the latest developments in hygienic design and can apply this awareness and knowledge in practical situations. 

Prepared for the future

Sustainability is one of the most crucial principles for a factory that uses a relatively large amount of energy. “There are two reasons we attach high importance to sustainability,” explains Martin. “The first is that Emmi aspires to be fully energy neutral by 2050, and this factory will still be operational then. The other is that Emmi has sustainability goals: every new factory must be more efficient than the standard that is set. Of course, we too have to comply with the regulations.” An integral heat pump system provides the heating and cooling. The heat pump pulls residual heat from the process, the building and the wastewater and provides the entire process and the hot and cold-water utilities with water of 90 and 5 degrees Celsius, respectively. Gas is used only to support the high temperatures required by the spray dryer. Heating the spray dryer electrically was also considered, but this idea has been set aside for the time being. Martin continues: “We use green gas to heat to this high temperature. Using electricity could be possible but is not yet economically interesting. The factory has been prepared for the future and will support the use of electricity later.” Electricity consumption has also been minimised by using frequency-controlled motors in the highest energy efficiency class, LED lighting, and night-time lighting. 

CAPEX and procurement

At the beginning of the master plan, Iv-Industrie developed the CAPEX budget. The budget will be adjusted to the available information for each phase, starting with estimates, key figures, and percentages. During the project, the scope will become more concrete and the budget more accurately determined. 

Iv-Industrie played a leading role in determining the procurement strategy for all non-process-related activities, including guiding the selection process, drafting technical quotation requests, questions and answers, technical quotation evaluation and meetings to discuss quotations. Emmi’s team was responsible for the commercial contracts.

An accident-free workplace

During the construction and installation, the functional supervision will be provided by Emmi’s lead engineers, and the qualifications will be conducted under the supervision of the Emmi project team. During this phase, Iv-Industrie will assume the role of engineering back office, design coordinator and construction management. Safety is crucial in this phase and has been addressed right from the beginning of the project in the master plan developed by Iv-Industrie. 
The goal is to ensure an accident-free, safe workplace for all employees of all parties present on site from the first day onwards. An independent third party contracted directly by Emmi will carry out site security and access control. 

Optimal project

The strength of this project lies in the excellent collaboration between skilled and experienced professionals seeking synergy and the best solutions. The collaboration in the project has been fantastic from the beginning. “The collaboration was pleasant,” says Martin. “Iv did what they promised, and the team were pleasant to work with. They were positive and contributed input. Just professional and proactive, that’s great. We don’t often do these kinds of large projects, so it’s great when a party thinks along the same lines and provides practical input. It also makes a difference that Iv has already delivered a similar project at Vreugdenhil.” Despite the project execution taking place during the corona pandemic, the project is running on schedule. The construction of the factory will begin in June 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2022. “Emmi is a very professional client that understands what is needed to design such a factory,” says Ruud. “This also enables us to do our job effectively. The tender for this project suits us very well; this project is completely within our comfort zone!”