Do you give enough care and consideration to your food processing facility’s electrical equipment? As a senior electrical engineer for Stellar, I joined several of my peers in a discussion in this month’s Food Engineering article, “Electrical systems and components: The lifeblood of your facility,” on electrical safety, systems maintenance and more. In the article, I reviewed factors that impact your plant’s electrical well-being. Below I describe them in greater detail for Food for Thought’s readers: Continue Reading “3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions”
Automation has gained plenty of traction in the food and beverage processing industry thanks to benefits including cost savings, labor reduction and increased food safety. However, a slew of national and international guidelines and requirements has made owning automation equipment more complex than ever before—with risk assessments an especially gray area. The good news? Clearer risk assessment requirements have arrived from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), offering more consistent expectations.
Due to its phaseout, an alphabet soup of replacement refrigerants has been developed to replace R-22 in existing chillers. However, most of these alternatives have drawbacks. Some replacements severely penalize the performance of the chiller, while others have significant glide—and all have higher global warming potential than ammonia. And though these refrigerants may not be on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) phaseout list yet, they have the potential to be. As new chillers rise to replace the old, ammonia is one refrigerant that has become an effective alternative. Continue Reading “Refrigeration for the Future: Low-Charge Refrigerated Packaged Equipment”
The majority of industrial refrigeration systems in the U.S. are central-station ammonia systems—the backbone of the food and beverage industry. For over 100 years, these ammonia systems have dominated the industry because they not only have superior thermos-physical properties, but also because they’re environmentally friendly. Ammonia has a global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero.
Refrigeration screw compressors use axial thrust load bearings—and they have a life expectancy that will begin to fail over time. At one time or another, all food processors and beverage manufacturers will be in the market for a refrigeration compressor rebuild or replacement. Because the compressor and its bearings will deteriorate over time, staying on top of its performance is crucial to avoiding a catastrophic failure. Here are three methods that can help gauge your compressor’s fitness.
When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges. Continue Reading “How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability”
As the second highest energy consuming component of your refrigeration system, condensers are also one of the most critical elements. Knowing how to optimize your condenser can increase operational performance while reducing energy usage and maintenance costs.
Whether you’re designing a new food processing plant or upgrading an existing facility, determining necessary upfront water treatment is a critical step in protecting and maintaining your plant’s systems. Many plants forgo thorough analysis resulting in poorly or untreated water that can lead to scale and bacterial buildup on equipment. Stellar often partners with water treatment professionals such as Southern Waters Company, Inc. to effectively manage clients’ clean water requirements.
I recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.
As product lines become more diverse due to increased demand in specialty ingredients in multiple sized packages with private labeling, manual processes become both costly and time consuming. Many food processing plant managers are recognizing the benefits of automating previously manual processes to increase production and reduce labor costs.