Mercer Stainless completes massive milk silo

The biggest silo ever made in a New Zealand workshop and transported in one piece is about to roll out of the Mercer Stainless manufacturing plant in Christchurch. The 500,000-litre silo, which weighs 28 tonnes empty, will be transported 48km to Fonterra’s new dryer factory at Darfield, west of Christchurch. The road trip is expected to take nearly four hours. Ross Coppard, Branch Manager of the Mercer Christchurch operation, said that this giant silo is one of 22 of varying sizes being built for Fonterra’s site, an order worth several million dollars to the company. “We started work on the first of the silos back in September 2010 and are now getting to the end of the order, which has been a substantial one for the company. South Island dairy is very buoyant at present and as the largest stainless steel fabricator in the region we are optimistic about the future in this sector,” he said.
The silo, which stands 22 metres tall with a diameter of 5.8 metres, is too large to load on to a truck in the factory. It has to be taken out by crane for loading on to the truck out in the yard. “Only one transporter in the South Island can carry this load. It has a special trailer that extends in length and also extends in width, allowing the silo to get very close to the road while also being able to pass under power lines.”
It will take about four hours to load the silo on to the truck, then several more hours to secure the tank and put a skid pipe on top. Once at the site, it will take Mercer Stainless a day to erect the silo and three more days to complete assembly. The silo will be used to collect the raw milk from tankers before it goes into the factory for processing.