The company, which is a global food and agri-business, wanted to introduce on-site specific cocoa butter processing at its plant in order to increase efficiency and flexibility to meet customers’ quality demands. Royal HaskoningDHV managed the project from start to finish, assessing and improving the business case and managing construction and engineering through to commissioning.

Fully automated cocoa refinement process

The new treatment process incorporated heat exchangers, mixing and pressure vessels, boiler and filter. It is controlled by software to adjust instruments, pumps and automated valves as necessary. 

A tight timeframe for completion created a challenge because construction needed to start before the 3D piping model had been completed. Furthermore, there was an unavoidable two-month delay in the delivery of some vessels and instruments due to Covid-19 influences. To maintain an efficient construction schedule, we worked with a small, dedicated local contractor with short internal communication lines and flat management structure to ensure quick response and flexible working arrangements.

Flexibility for continual refinement

The project was divided into more than 50 sections, each assigned a unique label, inventory status, bill of materials and basket. On a weekly basis, baskets were prepared for construction which maintained tight control of the process and reduced the chance of error. A 100% right first time score for process routing was achieved, together with a very smooth commissioning process.

The lack of a final piping model was turned from being a challenge into a benefit. It enabled the flexibility for continual refinement. During construction, pipe routing, vessel positions and tie-in points were enhanced to improve the overall look of the factory, its operability and the accessibility of the process.

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