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2 May 2011

Proving NHP’s ability to provide high quality and reliable project solutions across a variety of industry applications in differing environments, NHP has recently teamed up with leading global dairy supplier Fonterra in a project at their Cobden facility in Western Victoria. Fonterra, a key aspect of the Australian and New Zealand strategic global unit of Fonterra, offer a complete suite of dairy products and tailored solutions designed to meet the needs of foodservice professionals.

With a dedication to quality that extends throughout all stages of the production process, they recently employed the help of NHP and their Katko stainless steel enclosure offering for an upgrade to their Cobden butter factory.

In response to an ongoing problem where staff were constantly having to repair and in a lot of cases, replace their existing 3-phase isolators that were enclosed in a polycarbonate material, NHP were able to provide their high quality range of Katko stainless steel enclosures to rectify the situation. NHP’s Hugh Trewhella, Key Accounts - Automation, was instrumental in ensuring this product was applied to resolve Fonterra’s problem and, through his prior experience, was sure the NHP products and service package was a natural fit and further, the optimum solution.

“We were given the opportunity to supply a large number of units during a scheduled shutdown earlier this year and thankfully Katko were able to urgently air freight out the required units for immediate installation”, said Trewhella.

“The units have been in service since May this year without any of the problems associated with the previous orange polycarbonate enclosed isolators which is a great result for Fonterra”, he continued.

The problems arose from a combination of wash down materials and heat causing the polycarbonate to deteriorate and crack, which in turn caused dangerous situations and extended downtime to machinery in the important butter processing plant.

Fonterra were also experiencing problems with the polycarbonate enclosure’s inability to withstand various forms of impact from 6 kg packed boxes of butter falling from the line, as well as other contact from pallet trucks and other modes of traffic.

The key features and benefits of NHP’s Katko stainless steel enclosed isolators include a high quality motor rated load break switch enclosed in 316 stainless steel, as well as a genuine IP66 rating. Given the circumstances at the processing plant, the rugged stainless steel enclosure was perfectly suited to withstand impact, heat and many types of wash down chemicals, and the team at

Fonterra have been very pleased with the results and improvements they are already experiencing from the Katko product.

“We met with various Fonterra maintenance staff to discuss the stainless units and get some feedback on how they were going,” said Gary Lee, NHP Product Manager - Control & Switching. “All of the feedback was extremely positive and the electricians were very happy with the large size of the enclosure itself, and the actual terminals on the isolator allowing easy access for wiring”.

Despite the initial hesitation in replacing the existing orange polycarbonate isolators due to the extra cost of the stainless steel, once the full capabilities and advantages became apparent, there was no doubting the Katko suitability.

“We employed the Katko stainless steel enclosure units as an alternative to the polycarbonate units in an effort to reduce the maintenance cost and downtime at our Cobden facility - they have definitely proven that the additional cost is well worth it”, said Gary Henrikson, Fonterra plant maintenance electrician.

“Since these Katko units went in earlier this year we have not been called out to repair one unit which has been a great saving of both time and money”, he continued.

Overall, Randall Ferguson, the Fonterra Engineering and Maintenance Manager, along with his staff, were very impressed with the Katko stainless steel isolators and the NHP service, believing that the small additional outlay it was certainly money well spent in the long-term.

“They are still being evaluated for a little while longer and if at the end of this period we are still satisfied with the performance of the Katko isolators we will definitely advise other Fonterra sites of how this maintenance issue was resolved through the introduction of this high quality product”, he said.

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