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FoodTech Report

Volume 7 Issue 1

Automation brings facility alive with efficiency, energy savings

By Bill Bayliss, aftermarket manager for JBT FoodTech

Rotary Pressure Sterilizer 

Process automation is a large part of many people’s everyday lives. This pursuit of improvement is what drives us to continue to push boundaries and develop higher standards. In the food processing industry, new equipment can provide favorable returns based on efficiency gains, utility savings and improved product quality over older manual operating systems. Such is the case for a canning facility that recently experienced the advantages of a new automated system for the first time.

A large multi-national food and beverage processing company based in North America recently purchased a privately held canning company. One of the canning company’s facilities produced a high number of products, but had never used a fully automated process. The new owner came to JBT FoodTech in 2008 for help in transforming the facility into an operation that is efficient and reliable, from both a cost and an energy standpoint.

JBT FoodTech provided the company with a multipart solution, including a three-shell Rotary Pressure Sterilizer with LOG-TEC® Momentum software that provides electronic documentation of the sterilizer’s operation; a customized heat recovery system; and Ceramic Cover insulation. Ceramic Cover is an alternative to traditional insulation made from fiberglass wool or calcium silicate. The integrated solution, plus the sterilizer’s throughput capacity of 600 cans per minute made the process improvements nearly instantaneous.

Reduce, reuse, recoup

Energy savings was a top priority for the food and beverage processor. This goal was easily achieved with a custom-built heat recovery system on the sterilization equipment. The system takes hot water from the pressure cooler and directs it to a holding tank, where it is eventually reintroduced into the pre-heater sterilizer shell. Reusing the hot water saves the processor energy, money and time by not having to start the process anew with room temperature water.

Applying Ceramic Cover insulation to the sterilizer shell and heat recovery system proved to be another energy/money/time and space-saver for the processor. JBT FoodTech’s Ceramic Cover product was first featured in Vol. 6 Issue 2 of FoodTech Report.

Ceramic Cover is a spray-coated alternative to the traditional fiberglass wool insulation. The latex-based coating is less than a quarter of an inch thick compared with the normal 2 ½ inch thick fiberglass wool, which saves space between equipment parts and piping. Ceramic Cover contains heat within the equipment by acting as a reflective barrier against ultraviolet rays, visible light and infrared rays.

Canned food
Compared with wrapped insulation, Ceramic Cover immediately localizes and reveals leaks by forming a visible pocket in the insulation. The coating can easily be removed, the hole repaired, and the coating reapplied — all without disrupting production. With traditional insulation, a leak spreads within the insulation and drips to the ground from the lowest elevation point of the equipment. Repairing the leak in this case requires halting production and removing the fiberglass wool.

The savings and efficiency provided by the multi-part heat recovery solution has made the canning line a shining example of a facility that successfully increased production and energy efficiency.

Down the line

To continue optimum performance from the Rotary Pressure Sterilizer solution, the processor entered a three-year maintenance service agreement with JBT FoodTech to have technicians available for service, but also to help the facility establish its own in-house preventive maintenance program.

JBT FoodTech’s formal maintenance and operational training will supply the processor with the tools it needs to keep its facility running continuously with minimum downtime. The entire integrated package will ensure a long, efficient life for the sterilization line, and increased profit for the processor.

To learn more about rotary sterilizers, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site.

LOG-TEC® is a registered trademark of JBT Corporation.

©2009 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved.

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