NHP and CUBIC - A clear choice for FIJI Water

Natural Waters of Viti Limited (NWVL), the Fijian home of the international brand FIJI Water, is located in the picturesque Yaqara Valley in Fiji and produces what many believe to be the purest bottled water in the world. Deriving its water from an artesian aquifer on-site at their bottling plant, the water is never touched by human hands and is so pure because it is bottled straight from the source. So when FIJI Water was looking to undertake a major upgrade and expansion to their facilities, Protech Power, in conjunction with NHP, was a clear choice.

The FIJI Water plant facility, which consists of a preform, closure and bottle manufacturing section, as well as three bottling lines, packaging, dispatch and containerising facilities, can produce over 85,000 bottles of water an hour - the majority of which is exported to the USA with smaller markets in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Korea, Middle East and the Caribbean.

The water bottling plant is expecting significant future growth and to meet these requirements, called upon Protech Power to assist in upgrading the existing 415 V distribution infrastructure. Protech Power also helped prepare the plant for future expansion whilst ensuring a greener footprint which included options for potential solar power and wind generation. The Main Switchboard was designed by Ian Grey of Protech Power, and his brief was a Plant wide overview, with future increases in production capacity. This included a heat rise study, fault calculations, relay co-ordination study, flexibility of operational power access, and an upgrade to the earthing systems.

Protech Power selected NHP as the equipment supplier for the major upgrade to FIJI Water, with the project involving one of the largest CUBIC Switchboards ever supplied in Australia. The 25 metre long back to back switchboard, which offers 1250 mm rear access and contains 14 tonnes of copper bar, was built, tested and commissioned by Protech Power. There are plans for future additional high voltage power generation, using the existing generators, renewable energy sources and a possible connection to the national grid of Fiji. This all adds up to a large fault level caused by parallel generators and so a switchboard capable of a withstanding capacity of 100 KA is required.

The CUBIC board was built using five 5000 A three 4000 A and three 2500 A Terasaki AR breakers, and contained various changeover and emergency supplies as well as Carlo Gavazzi and Sprecher + Schuh product. The board was assembled by Protech Power Switchboards, whose staff are experienced CUBIC board builders of many years in New Zealand and Australia.

The requirement was that it had to be completed to AS/NZS standards at the insistence of the resident NWVL Managing Director, Paul Davies, and delivered nd installed in a tight schedule so as to not upset production at the plant. After completion of the Protech factory testing, it was then split into sections, containerised, and exported to Fiji where it was reassembled by Protech Power.

Project Supervisor David Cannon and staff member Matthew Stebbing, with help from local qualified Fijian contractors, installed the switchboard in a new custom built substation, along with extensive additional cabling and associated tray works. It was then comprehensively tested, commissioned, and put into service.

NWVL is one of the largest private employers in Fiji with about 360 employees. As the plant is located in a rural part of the island, it has created huge economic opportunities for the local community. NWVL pays royalties on extraction / sales and has set up trusts in the local community to support Education, Health and Infrastructure projects. In addition to this, FIJI Water has set up the FIJI Water Foundation, which serves as a vehicle for the renovation of schools, flood mitigation, water infrastructure development and health care throughout the country.