Altex Coatings unveils dangerous goods facility
Altex Coatings unveils state-of-the-art dangerous goods facility – a first of its kind for New Zealand
Altex Coatings Limited, one of Australasia’s largest privately-owned manufacturers of high-performance coatings, has unveiled its new 1805 square metre dangerous goods facility (approved to hold 1.6 million litres of dangerous goods) on Whakakake Street, Tauriko.
The Tauranga stalwart, which is a Resene Group company, celebrated the facility’s grand opening with a private event for staff who were given a tour of the grounds after a non-traditional ‘cutting of the chain’ ceremony.
During his welcome speech, Altex Coatings Managing Director Mike O’Sullivan said the new facility was testament to the company’s astronomical growth since its inception in 1954 – including 20 percent growth in the past 12 months.
“For 64 years we’ve served the local market, creating jobs, pushing the boundaries of innovation and delivering a wide range of coating types for almost every major industry sector,” says Mike.
“We’re thrilled to finally open the doors to our new facility as it represents a major turning point for our business - this building is one of the most advanced and secure in New Zealand, and will play an instrumental role in our continued growth as we add new talent to our team, explore new markets and develop new products that protect assets and enable our customers to thrive.”
The facility, with a land area of 11,133 square meters, was four years in the making and is a first in New Zealand for this type of chemical containment.
“To cover a catastrophic event such as an earthquake, a facility like this must be able to contain half its total product - which means 800,000 litres of liquid,” says Paul O’Sullivan, Mike’s son and the company’s Operations Manager.
“Instead of building a 500mm high bund, we came up with a solution to install three auto bund systems at each entry point. These systems sit at floor level when not activated, but have the ability to flip up during an incident where liquid flows into the sumps, setting off a trigger. The gate is then locked and sits against a chemical resistant seal to contain product safely.
“The beauty of this system is that it’s safe to drive over with heavy forklifts, activates without any power and is working for us 24/7.”
Other unique elements of the facility include a four-hour fire rated concrete structure specially designed to hold class four goods (flammable solids) with a heavy steel door that closes automatically in the event of a fire, a suite of flameproof forklifts and a highly specialised tint room.
“The tint room is the only place on site where we can remove lids,” Paul explains. “To prevent fume exposure and a potentially explosive atmosphere, we must do so in a ventilated room. The power supply doesn’t switch on until the ventilation system has been running for five minutes, and we’ve also installed an independently powered infrared camera which displays CCTV on a monitor. If a staff member gets into trouble, they’ll be seen on the screen and we can take action immediately.”
“Health and safety is our top priority,” adds Mike. “We’ve worked extremely hard – and at times against all odds - to deliver a facility that’s cutting edge in terms of its strength and ability to store large quantities of dangerous goods, as well as provide an environment where our staff and community feel safe.”