Shearer’s completes Phase Two at Millennium plant

by Shane Whitaker
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Shearer’s Foods, Brewster, OH, recently completed phase two of its Millennium facility in Massillon, OH. An additional 50,000 sq ft for processing and warehouse operations were added to the 63,000-sq-ft facility, which was completed last year.

The company added three new production systems, including kettle-cooked, reduced-fat kettle-cooked and continuous potato chip lines, according to Steve Surmay, senior vice-president of co-pack operations. It also installed 13 new packaging cells all equipped with on-machine seasoning capabilities. “We still have room for two more kettles and an additional traditional potato chip line in phase two,” he noted, adding that it also has room for a tortilla chip line and an extruded line in the plant’s first phase.

In phase two, Shearer’s continued many of the sustainability initiatives it had implemented during the first phase of construction, according to Scott Weyandt, the company’s director of sustainability. In fact, Shearer’s received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for the initial phase of the project, becoming the first snack manufacturing plant to receive this designation under stricter guidelines issued in 2009 by the US Green Building Council.

In addition to carrying through energy saving ideas such as waterless urinals, low-flow fixtures, skylights and computerized management of heating and cooling systems, the company also installed an advanced heat-recovery system on the fryer hood exhaust of the continuous potato chip line. It recovers more than 11 million Btus each hour from steam released from potatoes as they enter the fryer. This energy heats all of the building constructed as part of phase two as well as preheat water for the line’s potato wash box.

In addition, the heat-recovery system provides heat to the process water discharged to the plant’s new anaerobic wastewater treatment plant, which Mr. Weyandt called the most sustainable method of process water pretreatment. The treatment plant uses no chemicals and wasting is done once every three years as compared with daily on aerobic treatment, he added. The company also has better optimized staffing since installing the new wastewater system, which requires only 40 hours of work per week as opposed to more than 200-plus labor-hours per week for other systems.

Shearer’s also is investigating opportunities to burn methane from its wastewater treatment system to generate electricity for use at the plant, he added.
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