The $25 million expansion of Almondco Australia’s plant in South Australia has seen HMPS deliver the integrated turnkey processing and packaging system that has increased the almond processor's value-add production output by 400 per cent.
The plant-based product boom has boosted demand for almond-based products, with positive spin-offs for Almondco, whose brand is globally recognised and whose integrated supply chain handles more than 85 per cent of Australia’s almond growers.
The company is one of Australia's most successful horticulture operatives. From almond harvesting through to finished product, Almondco's supply chain is highly labour and waste efficient.
Almondco processes almost 100 per cent of the almonds from local growers through its various sorting and value adding systems, yielding a broad almond product range for key health food ingredients and traditional market segments.
The surge in demand necessitated the expansion of its main regional plant in South Australia so that it could scale up its value-add production.
Following a competitive tender process, South-Australian packaging machinery OEM HMPS was selected to supply the turnkey intergrated processing and packaging lines.
Glen Foreman, sales manager for HMPS, says: “Almondco needed to make provisions to meet current and future demand. HMPS was selected to help significantly scale and automate their value-add production volumes to cater for the forecasted production growth over the next five years.”
No stranger to complex packaging equations, HMPS handled the sourcing, project management and integration of the entire system.
“Almondco wanted a single, local point-of-contact for the project which included full integration of all new equipment such as carton erectors, poly bag inserters, check weighers, in-line metal detection and robotic palletising and conveying systems,” Foreman says.
Almondco managing director Brenton Woolston says he was delighted when a SA based business was awarded the major integrated equipment and process work. He says the Almondco project team and the HMPS team had worked closely to deliver the key project outcomes and he expressed appreciation for HMPS' commitment to complete the project within budget and tight timelines, particularly due to Covid disruptions.
Project challenges and highlights
Foreman notes there were several key learnings such as connection, integration, and communication across dozens of individual pieces of equipment.
“This project was also subject to Covid delays, but the value of this project lies in joint flexibility, ongoing communication and HMPS commissioning every single piece of equipment on the line. This includes the installation and commissioning of European components as suppliers weren’t able to get into Australia.”
The completed system can produce 400 per cent more value-add almond products per hour across multiple dedicated lines integrated with the latest operating and food safety quality systems.
“The packaging system will process three variants simultaneously. Individual components have the ability to manage multiple SKUs, while ensuring stringent verification, which is incorporated into the internal operational and reporting system.”
In addition, HMPS installed HMPS Connect – the company’s real-time remote operating system for instant reporting, troubleshooting, maintenance, and off-site control.
“Following the project’s success, HMPS was granted a maintenance contract, so we now handle maintenance on the new and original line.”
Foreman says that winning a project of this size was undoubtedly the greatest highlight.
“As a local business, working with a local SA customer on a project that supports the local economy is a major win. It’s the opportunity to inspire a sense of community, collaboration and to showcase what we do.”