Industrial Utility Efficiency    


Tate & Lyle’s sustainability actions involve countless initiatives worldwide to minimize its environmental impact by reducing emissions and using water sustainably. Whether it’s the use of a low-pressure blower instead of a high-pressure compressed air system to save energy, or a $75 million natural gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system to replace coal as a power source at its corn wet mill in Lafayette, Indiana, Tate & Lyle is on a mission to protect the planet.
As founding members of a startup company in the compressed air and gas purification and separation industry, nano-purification solutions felt a kinship with the owners, employees and mission of Death Wish Coffee Co. The kinship and nano-purification solutions’ expertise in onsite nitrogen generation led to the installation of a nitrogen generation system that contributes to the overall efficiencies and operational costs savings at the coffee roaster’s production operation in Round Lake, New York.
One of the challenges with compressed air system design is dealing with periodic large flow demands. Food and beverage manufacturers are among those process industries that often face these events. Adding in the compressed air demands of onsite packaging further adds to the task.
Electricity and compressed air play an important role in the thermal and kinetic processes for everything from mixing and extruding the ingredients, deep-freezing to -13°F (-25°C), dipping into various chocolate coatings through to final packaging. Energy efficiency is therefore right at the top of Unilever’s list of priorities. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, this global corporation has succeeded in saving more than $186 million in energy costs from efficiency improvements in production alone since 2008.
By making changes primarily focused on compressed air uses, Winpak, an international plastics products manufacturer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, increased compressed air production capacity and reduced annual energy consumption by 33%. These benefits have been accomplished while the company was making the switch to lubricant-free compressed air to support product quality goals. This article discusses some of these changes and addresses measures that could be implemented in any compressed air system.
There is usually a deep feeling of pride welling up inside the designers and installers after completing the installation of a new compressed air system, especially if it starts up and works perfectly. But what happens after a few years, are things as perfect as at the start? This is a question with an answer that very few people know for their system. This article describes some interesting experiences with a food products company at two plants where compressed air assessments of optimized systems done a few years after the system upgrades showed problems.
“A single ¼-inch leak in a compressed air line can cost a facility from $2,500 to more than $8,000 per year. Locating and fixing leaks will result in significant savings depending on pressure requirements and energy costs.”
Outsourcing maintenance agreements for compressed air systems is commonplace in the food and beverage industry. The maintenance programs are often performed by air compressor distributors, who are experts in the specifics of the air compressors and compressed air systems they sell and service.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 30,000 food and beverage processing plants across the United States employ more than 1.5 million workers.1 Each of those plants applies a wide range of processes to raw agricultural goods to produce consumable food and beverage products.
A food processor was having compressed air problems, so they invited a compressed air auditor into their plant for an assessment and to help them size future permanent air compressors. The plant was experiencing low air pressure and detecting water in the compressed air lines despite having a desiccant air dryer. The auditor thoroughly analyzed the compressed air system production equipment and did end-use assessment and leakage detection. This article discusses the findings leading to a potential cost savings of 52% of the current level.
As a leading North American bakery company Weston Foods ensures its numerous facilities productively and cost-effectively produce high-quality baked goods. But it doesn’t stop there. It goes the extra mile to optimize and manage its utilities to conserve energy and protect the environment.