ENERGY EFFICIENT SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIAL FOOD PROCESSING
Sustainability in industrial operations is about asking the right questions and making the right choices. Which products should we market? How should we organize production? Who should we partner with? How do we meet the applicable environmental regulations? These are just some of the questions which successful entrepreneurs and managers have to answer prior to launching a new industrial venture. Sustainability is also about efficiency in both processes and machinery. Choosing food processing solutions that streamline operations and allow energy savings is then key to meeting the strategic targets identified at project inception. The energy efficiency of food processing equipment cannot be improvised: it should rather be planned “well in advance”, entering at the design stage of any food processing system and be nurtured once such systems are in operation.
This article recaps some of the design choices and service opportunities that the TP Food Group can propose to help customers reach maximum yield and therefore meet sustainability targets.
Spiral systems for low temperature food processing
Designers can lessen the energy requirements of spiral systems in many ways. Airflow optimization, reduction of friction coefficients, lower inertia of moving parts, smaller footprints, and enhanced designs of thermal exchange batteries are some examples of design features that can help better protecting any user from volatile energy prices. TP Food Group’s spiral systems designs include all of these elements.
Our lean spiral system designs minimize the obstacles along the path of air flow. This means that one can reach adequate cooling or freezing performances without needing powerful fans to keep the air moving in the insulated cabinet.
Besides system design, TP Food Group’s R&D department has also developed a new belt called “TP-5”. This belt, which can be retrofitted to any TP Food Group’s spiral in service, features a new sliding profile for lower friction. TP-5 improvements also deal with the belt drive and idle sections, which lead to more efficient motion and smaller infeed and outfeed sections in insulated cabinet.
Industrial bakery ovens
Several design choices affect the energy efficiency of ovens.
Some types of heat transfer, such as “spilling” Watts from diathermal oil instead of burnt gases, are more efficient than others thus leading to more compact and performing ovens. This is the case, for instance, of thermal oil tunnel, multideck and spiral ovens.
“Heat recovery” and “air impingement arrangements are two other ways of improving baking efficiency. Such design choices are extremely useful in “more classic” oven layouts such as cyclothermic tunnel ovens.
Steam generation, which is required with some bread types, can also drive important energy consumptions. Thus, automatic product detection and monitoring systems can help users reap cost benefits and avoid unnecessary waste of energy.
Another area for further energy savings is the thermal insulation of baking chambers, which comes in ways such as new and more performing insulating materials or smaller infeed and outfeed sections.
While fully electrical ovens can be a suitable choice in countries where “green policies” help reaping fiscal benefits, let’s not forget that oven designs can also integrate burners capable of diluting a fraction of hydrogen or LPG in the standard fuel used, thus leading to more efficient and environmentally friendly perations. Properly adapted and combined, the above design elements characterize the whole spectrum of the industrial bakery ovens which the TP Food Group can offer their customers.
TP Food Group’s industrial fryers do offer lots of options for customization: one of them is the means of heat transfer. Specifically, our fryers can deliver heat in the frying pan through a set of pipes fed with diathermic oil: with reference to other more traditional means of heat transfer, the use of diathermic oil improves a great deal the system’s thermal efficiency.
In addition, being the heat transfer section close to the products being fried, temperature differentials between frying oil and heat source can be minimized leading to further energy savings. For some fried products, the TP Food Group can also design fryers in a way to reduce frying time, thus leading to more compact installations and savings in operational costs.
While energy savings are important, preserving the frying oil’s life is also crucial in industrial-scale operations. This is why TP Food Group’s fryers are designed to minimize both the thermal stress and the oxidation of the frying oil. These two goals are achieved thanks to peculiar design choices that include a specific fumes’ extraction section together with a movable frying pan.
The importance of correct operation, cleaning and maintenance
We believe that proper operation, cleaning and maintenance have an impact on sustainability.
Our designers strive to reduce, as much as possible, the operation, cleaning and maintenance burdens for our customers. Some examples? The external drive section of our spiral systems, which is extremely easy to reach and clean/maintain, and the moving frying pan of our fryers, which cleaning personnel can fully extract from the fryer’s structure.
We also believe in training and “customer support services”. This is why we deliver customer’s training on all such aspects before our solutions enter into service and provide a range of plans that go from simple preventive inspections to full system’s overhaul.