Huge tanks destined for Blenheim winery

Crown Sheet Metals welder Nick Herdman works on one of the 500,000 litre wine blending tanks for Drylands Winery in Blenheim.

Crown Sheet Metals welder Nick Herdman works on one of the 500,000 litre wine blending tanks for Drylands Winery in Blenheim.

Four large wine blending tanks are being built in Blenheim and transported to a winery in three sections because they are too big to be trucked as a finished product.

Crown Sheet Metals is building the 500,000 litre tanks for Drylands Winery, in Blenheim, over the next two months.

Crown Sheet Metals site manager Crichton Purdie said the 11-metre high by 9-metre wide stainless steel tanks were too big to fit on a truck in one piece so were being trucked in three sections before being assembled on site at Drylands.

Once on site the three sections, ranging in thickness from 2.5 millimetres to 8mm, were welded together, he said. 

Up to 25 staff were involved in the project which was one of the biggest undertaken by the company for the wine industry.

"It has been an interesting project in terms of logistics, and co-ordinating with other contractors," Purdie said.

"We have never previously undertaken building tanks of this size and a lot of thought by staff was put into the project before we started.

"We have avoided double handling of the sections by transporting each section at a time."

The 14.5-tonne tanks were built on a four-day cycle, involving a total of 10 stages, including the final stage - welding the three sections together.

The tank sections were transported by truck in the early hours of the morning to avoid traffic disruption, he said.

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The 16-kilometre journey took 90 minutes from Cloudy Bay Business Park, in Riverlands, to Drylands Winery on Hammerichs Road.

Most of Crown Sheet Metals' business included contracting to the wine industry, with a small percentage manufacturing for the dairy industry, Purdie said.

Constellation Brands NZ managing director Sam Glaetzer said demand for the company's Marlborough wines was continuing to grow internationally, particularly with Kim Crawford and Nobilo brands in Canada and the United States.

"We need tanks with the capacity to meet our increasing demand as well as tanks that are carefully designed," Glaetzer said.

"The tanks have been designed and installed to blend into our existing winery, and the overall landscape of the Wairau Plains region."

Glaetzer said having Marlborough companies supplying the materials, and Marlborough people carrying out the work, was great for the company and the region.

"It will ensure we can continue to supply Marlborough wine to the world."


 - The Marlborough Express


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