Food and Dairy Industry
Food safety has never been more tightly scrutinised, and rightly so. Operating conditions in food and beverage production are now lean, clean and frequently inspected. Oasis Engineering is a long-time trusted brand for food, dairy and beverage valves and swivels. Made to be regularly serviced, with ultra-smooth finishes, Oasis equipment is a key part of many innovative food company’s plant. With exceptional on-time delivery, Oasis valves, swivels, tails and service packs are always there when needed.
In Edgecumbe in 1983 droughts, earthquakes and low prices for milk solids were putting pressure on the Bay Milk Cooperative. However it takes a lot to discourage this steely group of farmers who put their faith in innovation, hard work and a great climate to see them through. This attitude was making the region a world leader in dairy technology.
A key issue for Bay Milk was the on-farm storage and handling of newly produced milk, a hot topic of dispute amongst neighbours, tanker companies and farmers. Foam-hosted bacteria bred quickly and froth remnants were difficult to clean from the tanks. The solution? To fill the holding vats from the bottom, but every farmer had a different tank design and each tank driver had to memorise how to leave the valves and reset the milk plant prior to milking. Mistakes ensued, milk got dumped, a whole department was set up to deal solely with complaints.
Bay Milk decided to standardise the holding vat and started a replacement programme on 50 farms. This first design was an improvement but still had vat entry manifold with two butterfly valves. The old problems resurfaced – drivers leaving the valves set wrong, unclean sections in the milk pipe, cleaning solutions being accidentally added to milk. The complaints department got busier. Bay Milk engineers looked at 45 alternative valve options and still had nothing that actually suited.
Oasis Engineering designed a 3-way shutter valve from first principles, and working closely with Q-cons (Bay Milk’s quality assurance arm) built in some unique features. A honed bore, a split wedge tension adjustment, internal CIP injection points, and the ergonomic fool proof handle system all resulted from 18 months of hectic prototypes, trials and design reviews. The resulting product is now a standard feature on almost all New Zealand’s 14,000 milk holding vats. An estimated 15% increase in farm value has resulted from better storage and milk plant cleaning since that time, a massive revenue driver in NZ’s biggest industry. Oasis still makes the valve – but the complaints department – that is no longer required.