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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tours NZ’s newest milk powder spray dryer in Waikato

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the Waikato Innovation Park today where she toured the newly-completed $50 million industrial spray dryer situated on the campus.

CEO of Food Waikato and the Waikato Innovation Park, Stuart Gordon, says the dryer will meet the burgeoning demand for sheep milk products, with the industry aiming to double in size year-on-year for the next three years. The new spray dryer is tailored to the unique requirements of sheep milk.

“This development is a real breakthrough for the sheep milk industry; with the existing dryer producing $50 million in exports per year, we’re predicting that the new dryer will produce a further $200 million annually in export products,” says Gordon.

July marked the start of production at the country’s newest milk powder spray dryer, which is a commercial partnership between a Park subsidiary and three other investment partners.

The new spray dryer sits alongside the existing Food Waikato dryer completed in 2012, and has 2.4 times the capacity of the older dryer at 1.2 tonnes of powder per hour.

Construction is also moving forward rapidly on the Innovation Park’s expansion, which will see the Park’s physical infrastructure extend its size by more than 30%, adding more than 2,900sqm to the business and technology hub.

With the roof set to complete on October 2021, Gordon says the new building is already filling up with tenants and is expected to be fully operational by the end of April 2021.

During her visit, Ardern also visited several tenants including biotechnology company Quantec. Specialising in identifying and extracting high-performance bioactives from natural products, Quantec develops and markets proprietary ingredient formulations for human and animal health applications.

Quantec discovered and patented Immune Defense Proteins, or IDP®, a novel milk fraction which has proven antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The last stop of her tour was a stop at Modusense, part of the LayerX group, who provide a reliable, scalable and secure Internet of Things (IoT) device platform that enables industries to quickly and easily deploy data gathering solutions for productivity.

These industries include apiculture and agriculture, creating a way to capture data such as monitoring the weight of a beehive and the visibility of resources and conditions throughout a property.

“Quantec and Modusense are just two of the over 60 small-to-medium businesses based here at the Waikato Innovation Park, intended to be a base for them to interconnect and collaborate,” says Gordon.

“It’s great to have the Prime Minister back here in her home region, to show her the thriving technology hub that is the Waikato, and this Park.”

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