May 15, 2017
PENETRON Helps Keep Dry Foods Facility Dry
In April 2017, Unilever opened Indonsa, the company’s largest ever food manufacturing facility in Durban, South Africa. The monumental plant features many “green” enhancements to reduce energy consumption – and PENETRON crystalline technology to reduce the permeability of its concrete structures.
Located on the shores of the Umgeni River (or Mgeni River) in the Riverhouse Valley of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the Unilever plant was named Indonsa (“Morning Star” in Zulu). The US$81.8 million project was one of the largest private investments in South Africa since the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which also included a number of PENETRON projects.
Covering over 22,000 m² (236,806 ft²) on a 78,000 m² (839,585 ft²) site, Indonsa is the company’s largest dry foods manufacturing site in the world. With a production capacity of 65,000-100,000 tons (130-200 million pounds) per year, the Indonsa plant produces dry food products for a number of Unilever brands: Knorr, Robertson’s, Knorrox, Aromat and Rajah.
Designed with environmentally compatible features to create a sustainable manufacturing site, the Indonsa plant alone helps Unilever reduce CO2 emissions from manufacturing and logistics by about 5% a year. The company’s target is to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 40% by 2020 (from 1995 levels). For example, the plant captures rainwater from its roofs for storage in concrete tanks (1.5 million-liter capacity) and treats it for use in the plant. All water in the plant is recycled, with about 70% reused.
“The Indonsa plant is located right next to the Umgeni River in Durban, which meant a relatively high groundwater table at the construction site,” says Clive Leader, Managing Director of PENETRON South Africa. “The PENETRON team provided a practical solution that ensures a durable – and dry – structure for the dry foods plant.”
The location adjacent to the Umgeni River and a high water table presented challenges, but the dimensions of the Indonsa manufacturing plant also posed a high contamination risk. PENETRON ADMIX was employed to treat the concrete used in the foundation slab and the overflow water storage tank. Construction joints were permanently sealed with 240 m (263 yards) of PENEBAR SW-55 waterstop.
“In addition to enhanced durability and waterproofing, PENETRON’s crystalline technology also delivers long-term benefits by substantially reducing the resources and energy needed for maintenance – contributing to Indonsa’s sustainable profile,” adds Robert Revera, CEO of PENETRON International.