As explained in this previous post, food processing operations require substantial energy. While utility costs are unavoidable, various factors can enhance efficiency and achieve long-term cost savings, including a facility’s water heating system. Considering your production specifications and overall environment, there are specific systems available that can effectively minimize energy consumption in your food or beverage production. Thus, it’s important to explore these systems and understand their differences. So, what are these systems, and how do they vary from one another?Continue Reading “Boilers vs. Direct-Fire vs. Glycol: Water Heating Systems to Consider for Food and Beverage Plants”
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.Continue Reading “5 Common Oversights in Industrial Refrigeration Compressor Maintenance (and How to Combat Them)”
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?Continue Reading “Choosing the Right Oil-Cooling Method for Your Industrial Refrigeration Compressor”
A food processing operation requires more energy than some may realize. Unless you’re the plant owner paying the electricity bill, you might not have considered how much energy is needed to keep things running. Food production (agriculture, transportation, processing and handling) accounts for nearly 20% of all fossil fuel use in the United States, and 16% of that energy is used for food processing alone.
While utility costs are inevitable, there are strategies to make food and beverage plants more efficient and save money in the long run — though they often require an upfront investment. Energy savings are a long-term payback; it’s important to keep that in mind when building a plant or modifying a current one.Continue Reading “5 Energy Conservation Strategies for Food and Beverage Plants”
Building information modeling (BIM) technology is a revolutionary tool used by architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals. It improves overall project collaboration and communication across disciplines by transforming 2D paper-and-pencil concepts into virtual 3D models that decision-makers and end-users can interact with.
When renovating or designing a new food and beverage facility, one of BIM’s most beneficial applications is its ability to define scope in detail.
It’s difficult to determine exact cost estimates early in a project due to supply chain volatility, material costs, labor wage rates, site conditions and other variables. However, BIM software’s granular capabilities can significantly improve the accuracy of those forecasts and track decision impacts throughout the process.Continue Reading “The Advantages of Using BIM for Project Cost Estimating”
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.Continue Reading “How Stocking Up (or Not) on Spare Refrigeration Parts Can Impact IIAR 6 Compliance”
Temperature control is vital in the food and beverage industry, where slight fluctuations can threaten product integrity and put consumer health at risk.
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.Continue Reading “Is Your Refrigeration Contractor Pencil-Whipping Your Preventive Maintenance Program?”
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.Continue Reading “How to Write Better Electrical Specifications for Food Manufacturing Equipment”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is renewing its commitment to strengthen critical supply chains and address long-standing challenges within the food production and processing industries.
“As the pandemic has evolved and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, it has become clear we cannot go back to the food system we had before,” said the USDA in a press release.
The USDA aims to make the industry more competitive, equitable and resilient by investing billions of dollars in the food system. These investments are designed to build on a framework of similar legislation introduced in 2021 and could make the industry even more competitive.Continue Reading “What the USDA’s new Billion-Dollar Plan Means for Food Processors”
Operable refrigerant systems have been in use since the 1830s, with ether as the original refrigerant. Over the years, the use of refrigerants has evolved as technology has advanced and research has revealed more about the impacts these substances have on the environment.
New restrictions continue to be placed on the use of refrigerants, making it more important than ever for manufacturers, as well as commercial and industrial owners, to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and changes.Continue Reading “Industrial Refrigeration Basics: Synthetic vs. Natural Refrigerants”