March 30, 2020
Preliminary work has begun on a $7.5 million expansion by local food producer Proteco Oils on a greenfield site at the Taabinga Industrial Estate in Kingaroy.
The property is located at 7 Cornish Street, opposite the South Burnett Enterprise Centre.
Fences are in the process of being erected on the site, which will eventually house an ultra-modern food processing facility.
“The construction this year is the first of several planned expansion stages to the greenfield site, with a total full project cost of $24 million,” Proteco Oils managing director Josh Gadischke said.
Construction work will begin in April with the first stage due to be completed in November.
Proteco manufactures cold-pressed specialty and refined oils – and nut spreads – which are sold into Australian supermarkets as well as the export market.
Josh said the new facility would make use of high-level automation that would reduce energy usage and create efficiency gains without compromising quality.
“Electronic computer monitoring of each processing function will allow rapid computer responses far greater than traditional manual control systems,” he said.
Design improvements would also reduce processing waste by as much as 85 per cent.
“This is critical in maintaining competitiveness in a global marketplace,” he said.
Josh said the new facility would allow Proteco to eventually increase sales by 150 per cent.
“Most of this will come from overseas markets, including China,” he said.
“Even though COVID-19 is creating short-term disruptions, we are building this facility with a long-term growth view.
“The current turbulence does not impact our forward business strategies.”
Josh said the project was an investment in capacity and was designed to meet the very latest industrial and international food safety standards.
“Wherever possible, all trades and services for the construction will be awarded to local South Burnett businesses,” he said.
“This project will provide upskilling of 10 employees in ‘Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0’ standards and create eight new positions as it unlocks capacity constraints elsewhere in the company.
“The intention of this new build is to relocate as many operators as possible from the factory floor into control room environments.
“This provides greater control of operator safety and ability to optimise real-time data during production.”
Josh said Proteco has several new consumer products under development which the company intends to introduce to the market in the next few years.
“The master planned facility allows this growth to be sustainably produced,” he said.
Josh said the South Burnett Regional Council had provided strong support and assistance during the planning and feasibility stages of the project.
“This project has flagged support from our local state member Deb Frecklington and Federal member David Littleproud who have both acknowledged the growth success of Proteco Oils during the past few years,” he said.
“We believe this will be a showcase facility with the very latest innovations in the food-processing sector.”