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The Goldrush project, named so after the yellow cheese produced in the slice on slice (SOS) and Individually wrapped slice (IWS) product lines. The total Eltham SOS/IWS expansion project was valued at $32 million.

The two new cheese production lines have doubled the site’s previous annual sliced cheese production to almost 3.5 billion slices, or enough cheese each year to fill three and a half billion burgers, with the multinational burger chains being major customers.

Excel’s work involved installation of ventilation systems capable of controlling temperature and humidity to within tight tolerances to meet the requirements of the new Hochland – Natec cheese production line machines.

The ventilation systems also had to achieve MPI and Food Safety Standards requirements in relation to air filtration, air changes and air movement. Plant location and serviceability had to take into account redline access requirements.

Each line (SOS & IWS) has separate supply systems delivering 100% fresh air at volumes of 10m3/sec and 6m3/sec respectively.

This volume of air needs to be temperature and humidity controlled 24/7/365. The cooling is provided via a piped minus 7deg/C glycol system to a number of coils, heating via piped hot water with steam injection to a number of coils.

Very little space existed for a new plant room. The end result was a need for Excel to install large plant items as the structure was being built, this involved stripping and reassembling some indent plant items and building of site pump skids, etc to allow the installation to work. In an innovative move driven by the lack of space, the plant room structure was constructed from a PIR panel in a complex array of chambers to not only house the plant but create delivery ducts. This was achieved through layed ceiling levels and hidden walls.

Safety was a major concern on the project, not just due to the fact we were working in an operational factory but the plantroom was constructed within 2 metres of an operational main trunk rail line. Meaning for several aspects of the installation work Excel had to work with Fonterra and Kiwirail to shut the rail line down.

This requirement also meant meticulous time & resource planning to work within rail shut windows.


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