Compressors play a vital role in industrial refrigeration systems, serving as indispensable components. As time passes, both compressors and their bearings undergo degradation, posing a potential threat of facility downtime and consequent negative impact on your financial performance. To guarantee the consistent and efficient operation of this equipment, the implementation of a rigorous maintenance program becomes imperative.
Staying on top (or even ahead) of maintenance will prolong the compressor’s life and avoid a shutdown. In fact, 82% of manufacturing companies have experienced unplanned downtime, costing as much as $260,000 an hour, according to one study.
As any industrial engineer will tell you, screw compressors play a vital role in the food and beverage industry, where temperature control is critical to ensure product safety and quality.
They’ll also tell you that these compressors require a lot of oil to work properly. This oil serves several functions, including sealing the rotors, lubricating the bearings and cooling the discharge gas. Because of this, nearly all food processors and beverage manufacturers will be in the market for a refrigeration compressor rebuild or replacement at some point or another.
And while regular maintenance can help, designing a system with the proper oil-cooling technique can also extend a compressor’s lifespan by thousands of operating hours — but how do you determine what method makes the most sense for your system?
When using ammonia refrigeration in a facility of any kind — whether it be meat or poultry processing, frozen food production or cold storage — compliance with ammonia safety standards is a must.
The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) is a membership-based technical society focused on ammonia refrigeration advocacy, education and standards. As an accredited American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Developer, IIAR establishes the minimum requirements for safely inspecting, testing and maintaining closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems.
Unfortunately, the repetitive nature of maintenance work can elevate the risk of complacency. This is extremely dangerous in the context of industrial refrigeration because even a single oversight can quickly become life-threatening.
Have you noticed your technician or contractor mindlessly checking boxes on inspection forms, failing to report daily or weekly anomalies in equipment run data, or generally failing to give your system their undivided professional attention? If so, I have bad news: you may be dealing with a pencil whipper, and you’ll want to address the issue sooner rather than later.
There are certain performance expectations your food processing equipment should meet to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Failing to establish and standardize equipment specifications (specs) during the procurement process can directly impact your plant’s safety, sanitation, efficiency and profitability.
You may be thinking, “But Michael, I already have a specs list written out, and it’s worked perfectly for us so far.” And that may be true! However, in my experience, many small- and mid-sized companies have room to improve in this area.
This past year has been a big one in the food and beverage industry, with new technology rolling out and (some) supply chain constraints waning. While new trends and practices are already appearing for 2023, it’s critical for manufacturers to reflect on 2022’s challenges and successes when planning for the one ahead.
That’s why we’re revisiting the topics our readers found most useful this year. From coffee trends to labor availability to cyberattacks, here are the five most popular Food for Thought posts of 2022.
A clean-in-place (CIP) system is a cost-effective and time-saving tool that rinses and washes the inside surfaces of food processing piping and equipment without mechanical disassembly. When designed well, a CIP system improves sanitation and enhances food safety while both simplifying the cleaning process for plant operators and reducing downtime. It automates what has traditionally been a laborious and time-consuming manual process of disassembling the piping, hand-cleaning each component and reassembling equipment.
In addition to lost revenue from halted production, improperly cleaned equipment can spread foodborne contaminants from batch to batch, which is dangerous to consumers and can lead to recalls that directly impact a company’s bottom line and reputation.
If you’re considering investing in a CIP system for your facility, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a design that is reliable and up-to-date. Your process design team should consider the overall needs of your operation, including changeover efficiency, water conservation and how the design will affect the complexity of the system.
When production in a food processing plant is halted for the installation, servicing or maintenance of machinery and heavy equipment, there must be a LOTO procedure in place to prevent the machine from turning back on and injuring a worker.
The flooring systems in food and beverage processing areas are an essential component of the facility’s daily operation. Whether you’re evaluating flooring in a food production, storage or welfare space, the floor’s cleanability, resilience, durability and surface characteristics are integral to the space’s sanitation and safety.
Selecting the appropriate flooring system for each area is an important and nuanced operational and budgetary decision, especially in a highly regulated industry like food processing. The decision requires careful consideration in the earliest stages of the design and construction process.
“If the workplace is designed to meet peoples’ needs, it demonstrates the employer’s commitment and enables employees to be fully engaged in the workplace,” says Jeff Sanford, an ergonomics expert at VelocityEHS, a provider of environmental health and safety (EHS) solutions.
Sanford recently spoke at a webinar hosted by Food Processing magazine, in which he shared best practices for improving ergonomics and employee safety within the food and beverage industry.
The goal of ergonomics is to prevent soft-tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)caused by sudden or sustained exposure to force, vibration, repetitive motion and bad posture. This is especially important in the U.S. food and beverage industry, which has the highest lost-workday incidence (LWDI) across all industries with a rate of 6.5 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, compared to the standard of 3.3.
These numbers especially matter in today’s competitive labor market. A recent study on ergonomics cited in the webinar found employee turnover dropped anywhere from 23% to 49% within companies that employed an ergonomics strategy. Meanwhile, the same study found absenteeism dropped between 42% and 116%. These statistics could help some processing facilities justify the cost of implementing ergonomic changes.
What can facility owners and plant managers do to improve employee ergonomics? Below are some common issues and solutions shared during the webinar.