Case Study: Alba Oils

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Alba Oils

The Palmer family has been in the edible oil business for more than 40 years and acquired Western Australia based Alba Industries in the late 1990s, changing its name to Alba Edible Oils to better reflect the business. Alba manufactures edible oils, fats and other ingredients for the domestic and international food manufacturing and food service industries.

CEO and company director Ashley Palmer says: “A lot of the canola used in Australia is imported, but we have really good, high-quality, well-priced oils produced here in Australia.”

Having a good supplier willing to grow with us is a great advantage

Ashley Palmer Alba Industries

Working with CHEP is allowing Alba to supply markets in Australia’s eastern states, where many food manufacturers are based, as well as South East Asian export markets.

Alba moved to a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility and in 2009-10 expanded the site to include a new fully-automated refinery and packing plant.

Alba’s new plant runs 24/7 and produces 60,000 litres of canola oil a day. Now the company is pursuing a growth strategy that will result in its oil production increasing by 60 per cent. Additionally, in early 2011 Alba started a specialty industrial non-food division. The division works on new uses for oils, in particular oils that can replace synthetic products, with better environmental outcomes and better returns.

With its expanding capacity, Alba needed a business partner that could meet the growing demand for equipment and services, and CHEP was the partner of choice.

“Having a good supplier willing to grow with us is a great advantage,” - Ashley Palmer, Alba Industries

“We’ve added a million litres a month to our capacity and we intend to grow this. CHEP has the capacity to grow with us and has demonstrated this in WA by being there for us at peak periods to keep up with production.”

Alba ships canola oil and tallow in CHEP’s HACCP certified Unicon Plus units to the eastern states more cost effectively than if it was moving product up and down the eastern seaboard using a one-way system.

But cost-effective shipping was only one part of the equation necessary for Alba to successfully ship tallow across the Nullarbor. Tallow is solid at room temperature and the arrangement was also dependent on CHEP finding a solution to quickly heat tallow to a liquid that could be decanted into Alba’s customers’ onsite vessels.

While CHEP’s standard heat pad is suitable for medium viscosity products (such as liquid sugar, honey, syrups) that require a gentler heat to ensure the product does not burn or cook, tallow required heating to a higher temperature in a specific time frame.

Over a number of months, CHEP worked with Alba to develop a new high temperature heat pad and solved the problem.

CHEP Australia Senior Business Relationship Manager, Peter Gaddes, says: “Added benefits of using our heat pads for Alba are flexibility and cost. The heat pads can be simply slipped into a standard IBC where and when the customer needs it and removed when they don’t.”

Ashley recalls the process of developing the head pad to suit his company’s needs. “We did a lot of work on trials to get our heat pads right, ” he says. “There were some mistakes along the way, but when they happened, our CHEP rep took ownership of the problem and fixed it, and that’s what’s important in my eyes.

We’re developing an innovation partnership and that’s what we’ve enjoyed about the relationship.” - Ashley Palmer, Alba Industries

Peter says: “We’re looking forward to  working with Ashley and the team at Alba Edible Oils over the next year and beyond to come up with innovative solutions that will help them grow their business.”

Alba uses the HACCP certified Unicon Plus with specially designed co-extruded liquid liners and high-temperature heat pads as well as CHEP pallets and CHEPStretch for load containment.

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Case Study: Alba Oils | CHEP Australia