Industrial Utility Efficiency    


The Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds campus in Lost Hills, California is a manufacturing facility that processes and packages pistachios and almonds for the consumer market. Food processing requires extensive use of compressed air to control multiple applications ranging from actuators, valves, optical sorters, packaging equipment and plant maintenance operations. The campus has its peak season during harvest in late August/early September, but processing and packaging operations take place year-round.
For decades, a major meat processor and packaging operation in Northern England did what many growing companies do when more compressed air is needed to meet demand: added another air compressor and then another air compressor and so on. Yet the company decided the strategy of adding equipment had run its course, especially given a positive outlook for continued growth and the need to resolve nagging issues with system downtime and compressed air quality.
This article is for you if your company is purchasing nitrogen gas at 99.999% purity and you’re not sure why.  While there are many applications which do require nitrogen gas concentrated to 99.999%, they are significantly outweighed by the applications that don’t. Rather than relying on a delivery of bulk liquid or pressurized cylinders, many nitrogen users are choosing to produce a custom supply of nitrogen within their facility, and they are doing it at a fraction of the cost. Over the past decade we’ve seen a mass industry shift from delivered nitrogen supply, to nitrogen generation.
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.
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.
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.