Projects – 11 March 2020
Four new milk tanks for Royal Bel Leerdammer
Gpi has designed and produced four new milk tanks for Royal Bel Leerdammer in Dalfsen. Royal Bel Leerdammer is the name of the production company which makes the famous Leerdammer® cheese. In order to produce cheese from GMO-free milk, as well as from its other milks, extra capacity is required. As a result new milk tanks were needed.
The plant in Dalfsen is supplied every day by more than 30 milk tanks, delivering a combined total of 1.1 million litres of GMO-free milk and meadow milk. GMO-free milk is milk from cows which have not been fed with genetically modified organisms. In Germany in particular, there is increasing demand for non-GMO products. Wilfred Mulder, project manager at Royal Bel Leerdammer, explains exactly why these new tanks were required:
“All Leerdammer cheese is made from meadow milk, the lion’s share of which is sold on the German market. In addition to meadow milk-based cheese, consumers are increasingly demanding cheese products made from GMO-free milk: this is milk from pasture-grazed cows which are fed exclusively on organisms free of any genetic modification. We made a simulation of our processes in order to identify how we could produce cheese from this GMO-free milk. It turned out we needed separate new tanks for untreated milk and cheese milk. Whereas in the first instance there had been a single process for the treatment of meadow milk, with GMO-free milk two different processes were required so that the two milks had to be kept strictly separate. The new tanks allow us greater flexibility because we are able to store more.”
The first phase
Gpi has delivered tanks to Royal Bel Leerdammer on previous occasions, so as a trusted supplier it was no surprise that the company came back to Gpi. “We looked at a number of potential suppliers,” Wilfred explains about the first phase of the project, “but Gpi came out as the best option. So together we got the project under way. This first phase went smoothly due to the effective communication.”
After the first phase, the project – for the delivery of two 300 m3 tanks for untreated milk and two 200 m3 tanks for cheese milk – was put in the hands of the design engineers. “This phase was free of any hitches,” Wilfred adds. “Because of limited space on site, we had to position the two cheese milk tanks in such a way that trucks could pass underneath to load up with whey. A maximum construction height of 14 metres meant that an efficient design was needed to make optimum use of the space. At that stage we hadn’t yet worked out all the details, such as installation of the nozzles and the type of tank bottom. Gpi had a lot of expertise and their engineers lent us a listening ear.”
Transport and installation
The tanks were transferred by water from Gpi’s production site in Groot-Ammers and for the final leg of the journey transported by truck to Royal Bel Leerdammer’s site in Dalfsen. The two 300 m3 tanks for untreated milk were installed first: “Due to rain and fallen branches along the route there was some damage to the insulation sheath. But Gpi sorted this out and you can no longer tell the difference,” says Wilfred. Because of the restricted space, the installation of the two cheese milk tanks required meticulous coordination and required precise positioning on the part of cranes and trucks. “Nevertheless, installation proceeded without any snags.”
Images transport and installation: Johan Bokma
Wilfred can look back on a successfully completed project: “Our colleagues at Gpi know their stuff and have a thorough understanding of what customers need. We get good after-sales service too.” The arrival of the new tanks means that Royal Bel Leerdammer has greater flexibility in the storage of its different types of milk. The expectation is that the first GMO-free Leerdammer cheese will be in the shops by May or June of this year.