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”
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”
Facilities, including food and beverage manufacturers, that use certain flammable and toxic substances in amounts that exceed threshold quantities must have a documented Risk Management Plan (RMP) per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. Companies must update and resubmit their RMP at least every five years.
The EPA requires each facility to review all sections of their RMP, update where appropriate, and certify that the entire RMP is accurate and complete.
According to the EPA’s checklist, here are the key elements that should be reviewed for resubmission:Continue Reading “Your Checklist for Updating Your Facility’s Risk Management Program”
Proper air balance in a food plant is required to maintain the environmental parameters that keep the space food-safe, including temperature, humidity and the frequency of air replacement. Additionally, the direction of airflow is important, especially when dealing with raw animal products.
Now, in the post-pandemic world, clean, fresh air is more valuable than ever. As the world gets back to work, it’s important to examine your facility’s air system to ensure it’s up to par to keep workers and consumers safe.
Big data comprises the large volume of data that businesses collect on a day-to-day basis. The question is: Are you taking advantage of it?
Data and analytics tools can be customized to meet your facility’s unique needs and goals — whether you simply want to gain insights to resolve certain pain points or install system-wide automation technology that takes your efficiency to the next level.
Let’s take a look at three applications for big data in a food processing facility:
Biofilm can form just about anywhere in a food processing plant — even the cleanest looking surfaces can be a threat to food safety if an invisible layer of bacteria is present. Why does biofilm form and how can it be prevented? Knowing how to detect and eliminate biofilm is crucial to ensuring your food plant’s processing equipment is contaminant-free.
Today’s big data tools and technology can create significant cost savings in modern food and beverage plants — and the return on investment (ROI) can come in the form of reducing losses or improving production.
Every company has a different outlook when it comes to capital spending, though, with some focused on short-term investing and others taking a long-term approach. Let’s look at some short-term and long-term options when it comes to big data and analytics tools.
Arc flashes are a potential safety risk when it comes to your manufacturing facility’s electrical equipment. But how can you ensure your employees are protected?
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) 70E, “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,” provides safety procedures for using electricity on the job. One of its guidelines includes “arc flash” assessment and protection.
NFPA 70E is voluntary on the part of companies — that is, it is not enforced by any government agency — yet, we’re seeing more companies interested in conducting an “arc flash hazard analysis” of their electrical equipment.
Here are four frequently asked questions I’ve received about arc flashes and assessments to reduce them: