When State Highway 1 bypassed Pokeno just south of the Bombay Hills, many believed that would be the end of the little town.
INSTEAD, A JOINT VENTURE between Dines Group and Fulton Hogan is developing 200 hectares in a mixed use residential and employment complex, anchored by the $220 million Yashili Dairy Plant (Yashili is one of the big three infant milk formula producers for the Chinese market).
The dairy plant within Pokeno’s Gateway Business Park alone, producing 52,000 tonnes of infant formula a year, will provide for around 150 people. The site includes a range of process buildings, offices, warehouses, services and a 41 metre-tall drier, covering a total of 30,000 square metres of their 67,100 square metre site. The DFH Business Park is made up of a further 272,000 square metres of industrial zoned land.
Situated roughly halfway between Hamilton and Auckland’s CBD, the village complex will eventually service 2000 homes and create about 1500 permanent jobs across a range of industries. Some 500 residential lots had already been sold by the beginning of last month, with seven kilometres of pipework, 3.5 kilometres of roading and 700,000 cubic metres of earthworks completed, just this season. It’s expected to be another 10 years before the development is completed.
Dines’ contracts stretch from Millwater at Silverdale in the north to Pokeno in the south – up to 100 kilometres away, and Jason Ware and his survey team are responsible for all surveying and quality control work. The company has a reputation for thinking outside the square to deliver slick, well-coordinated and high quality developments across a wide range of topography.
“Every design is checked and/or adjusted for accuracy before the first sod is turned,” says Jason.
Modern developments rely heavily on and Dines’ projects are no exception. modern surveying equipment, of course,
While the company operates one brand of equipment (Leica) across all operations, they have a mix of old and new equipment that interfaces seamlessly. This covers surveying equipment, drainage lasers, rotating lasers and machine control systems. “Everything from old 1200 rovers and bases through to the latest Viva and iCon, GPS and total stations.”
Dines has purchased its own dedicated GPS radio frequency that allows it to increase the radio output from two watts to four.
“This has not only eliminated any interference, but gives us coverage over the entire Pokeno project, even in the deepest gullies,” Jason explains. It’s already been shown to be very cost effective, with no down time while others share the frequency, he adds.
There is a permanent solar base station there operating 24/7, developed from an old 1200 back-pack rover system, with three solar panels providing energy that’s stored in deep cell batteries. This provides a run time of up to two weeks if no sunlight is available, according to Jason. It also means all survey crews and machines are working off the same plane without a surveyor or base station needing to be on site. This of course frees up their equipment for other projects.
Dines currently has two Leica 3D excavator machine control systems in use, with a third on its way. Among their obvious use these are used as set-out tools when surveyors are busy elsewhere, delivering immediate productivity gains to the equipment they’re fitted to and helping keep other machines that work with them more productive as well.
“One key to the success of our new systems is having the right operators,” says Jason. “By having our top guys on the machine controlled equipment, we have another level of QA in the field. Nine times out of 10 when they call me up to query a design, it’s the design that’s wrong not the machine.”
Dines is constantly finding unexpected new applications for the machines, says Jason. “The machines have allowed us to speed up multiple operations, as well as doing away with labourers measuring road cut outs etc. In addition, we’re able to complete tasks more accurately than ever before. Accuracy and efficiency are core values of the company.”
As survey manager, he finds the telematics module invaluable. “This allows me to access machines anywhere at any time, to upload or download data to them. I can take over the screen and show operators what to do, or change settings, without having to be there.”
A case in point recently was when an operator at Pokeno called him while Jason was driving through Mt Albert in central Auckland. “I pulled over, set up my laptop in the wagon, accessed his machine and got him sorted in 10 minutes, then I was back on the road and he was back working. In the past, this might have cost me a couple of hours’ travelling time for a round trip to Pokeno and back for a 10 minute fix, before I could resume travelling to the other site.”
- Customer supplied copy.