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.
A food processor in Western Canada hired an auditor to assess the energy efficiency of its compressed air system. The results revealed surprises about the operation of some important elements of the system, and detected that the air compressors were having control gap problems. Additionally, the audit led to initial energy savings of $20,000 – and identified the potential to achieve overall operational savings of 45%. The following details some of the audit findings and results.
Many food processing plants are already using oil-free compressed air at a low-pressure dewpoint. This has required the use of two-stage oil-free screw air compressors, centrifugal air compressors and other technologies, as well as regenerative dryers of one type or another. The most common oil-free air compressor in industry is the two-stage “dry screw” machine and the most common regenerative dryer type is the heatless type. These are combined in many food processing, pharmaceutical, and high-tech plants.    
Machines for filling milk or juice must often work around the clock. Given the critical importance of uptime, Elopak opted for Aventics food-compliant pneumatics when developing its E-PS120A - the first fully aseptic filling machine for gable top packaging. With an output of up to 12,000 cartons per hour, disruptions and downtime are not welcome with the aseptic filling machine.
Gaseous nitrogen is used in a variety of systems and processes in the food manufacturing and packaging industries. Often regarded as the industry standard for non-chemical preservation, nitrogen is an inexpensive, readily available option. Suited for a variety of uses, Nitrogen needs to be monitored for purity and potential contaminants. Depending on the type of use, the distribution channel, and the required purity levels, different testing plans should be implemented to ensure safety.
As many well know, system measurement is essential to ensuring a compressed air system is running efficiently and effectively, with good air quality and adequate pressure.  This is also well understood by a multi-national food company (name has been withheld to protect the innocent) who started a focused effort to measure and improve their compressed air systems in their many processing plants worldwide. 
A flour based frozen foods manufacturer orders a compressed air efficiency audit. The audit establishes the cost of compressed air at $0.27/1000 cubic feet. The study finds the 116 pulse jet dust collectors represent the greatest opportunity for compressed air demand reduction and energy cost savings. A dust collector optimization study/service is suggested and the customer agrees to proceed. In this facility, pulse jet dust collectors are used to filter dust from raw materials entering the plant, for conveying and mixing of ingredients, and for the final packaged finished products leaving the plant.  
This article will focus on ISO8573-7 normative test methods and analysis for viable microbiological contaminants and how it can be fundamentally utilized in compressed air microbial monitoring plans. The quality of the compressed air must be monitored periodically to fulfill national and international standards. ISO 8573 is an available standard addressing compressed air quality. It consists of nine parts that address purity classes, specifications, and procedures. ISO 8573-7:2003, can be utilized across all industries’ compressed air microbial monitoring plans. It contains both informative and normative procedures but lacks any tested compressed air microbial specifications regarding colony enumeration limits for microbial plate counts.
The Pepsi bottling plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba has upgraded both their main 100 psi compressed air system and their 600 psi PET bottling system in two separate projects. The system improvements have saved the company both maintenance and electrical operating costs, and even reduced some winter heating demand.
Since 2002, Energy Trust of Oregon has saved and generated 728 average megawatts of electricity and 52 million annual therms of natural gas. This is enough energy to power Multnomah and Washington counties while heating Deschutes County homes. ETO has saved enough energy equal to the output of a power plant and reduced reliance on fossil fuels. In total, they have invested $1.5 billion to save customers more than $6.9 billion on their energy bills over time. They have also added $5.7 billion to the local economy, including $1.7 billion in wages, $312 million in small business income and employment equal to 4,700 full-time jobs lasting a decade.
This “nation’s largest regional show” has a 200,000 square foot exhibit floor and also has an interesting educational conference track. The show floor brings together the premier vendors of packaging and machinery with key decision makers in the Northwest’s food and beverage industry.