Robern Menz goes green with $1.1m upgrade

Confectioner Robern Menz is using what's close to a $500,000 government grant to embrace green technologies at its production facility in Glynde, Adelaide.

The South Australian company will be upgrading its chocolate making department when it rolls out a $1.1m upgrade, part of which is thanks to a $499,770 grant awarded by the AusIndustry – Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment program.

The upgrade will involve replacing four "power hungry" chocolate refiners with two energy efficient machines, which will increase Robern Menz's chocolate-making capacity by 56 percent and reduce carbon emissions by 2,275 tonnes over the next five years.

Robern Menz CEO, Phil Sims, told Food magazine, "It's all about removing inefficient energy and inefficient chocolate-making equipment which we’ve got here … So it's a matter of pulling out that equipment, mothballing it, and replacing it with far more energy efficient, state of the art technology."

A manually-operated fire tube boiler and small electric boiler will also be replaced with an unattended water tube boiler which will increase Robern Menz's steam generation capacity by 50 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 285 tonnes over the next five years.

Overall, it's expected that the new refiners and boilers will see a drop in carbon emmissions of 49 percent, as well as an energy cost saving of $185,000 per year.

These product upgrades will be the second phase in Robern Menz's efforts to go green, with the company last year overhauling its refrigeration plant and warehousing infrastructure.

"We invested a similar amount, so a bit over $1m in totally re-refrigerating our factory. We removed about 80 old refrigeration units and replaced them with a highly energy efficient glycol system which has a number of benefits, not just environmentally but it also assisted productivity because [now] we're able to keep our factory at a more consistent temperature, which is very important when you're a chocolate manufacturer," said Sims.

Robern Menz is expecting the latest upgrade to be completed in approximately 18 months time.


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