Sustainable ingredient handling
How automatic ingredient handling systems can save energy and money.
BakingBusiness.com, Aug. 9, 2011
by Dan Malovany
lime energy To reduce operating costs, bakers might look at lowering their energy requirements and ramping down the horsepower that they use to automate ingredient handling, according to Mark Ungashick, executive vice-president, Shick USA, Kansas City, MO.

“Through the years, there was a tendency to increase conveying velocities beyond what was required,” Mr. Ungashick said. “By being more attentive to actual horsepower requirements and reviewing test lab and installed data, we can be more judicial about motor selections and help reduce operational energy.”

Many companies are turning to new engineering designs to help bakers and snack producers when ingredient costs are so volatile. Mac Process has been testing a new turbo blower design that can be up to 40% more efficient than traditional positive displacement blowers, noted Stuart Carrico, food process manager for Kansas City, MO-based company. Mac has installed several systems with the new blowers and expects customers will receive long-term effective results in regard to the systems’ performance and efficiency in the near future. The company also offers dust-collection systems that use low-pressure air for cleaning the filter media through pulse-jet technology instead of compressed air.

To design energy-efficient systems, engineers need to find ways to optimize conveying line routing, line capacities, line sizes and blower horsepower, noted Brian Ivkovich, senior vice-president, Zeppelin Systems USA, Odessa, FL. Compressed air can be minimized through pressure regulators or other alternative equipment such as using low-voltage electric vibrators instead of compressed air-driven impactors or turbine vibrators.

Some indoor bins can use passive bin venting that doesn’t require compressed air, according to James Toole, sales application manager, KB Systems, Bangor, PA. Air is only required for the valve components. Additionally, indoor storage can protect flour from extreme temperatures, and KB’s indoor systems do not require special permits or the cost of special pads.

To control the process and reduce energy, an automatic water temperature blender can mix city water with either hot or chilled water to reach a desired temperature and meter it to a mixer or other use point, said Bill Kearns, vice-president of engineering, Fred D. Pfening Co., Columbus, OH. Its EBM Enviro-Blender Meter, which comes in sizes to feed one to three mixers, has quick response times and avoids dumping off-tolerance water by calculating — on the fly — the amount of too-cold water required to offset the too-warm water already delivered.

Read more about Sustainability