Holistic Approach to Improving Food and Beverage Process Efficiencies
With more than 500 projects completed with less than one year to payback, Cargill Optimizing Services understands how to decrease costs and increase yields in the food and beverage industry.
Food and Beverage manufacturing plant profit margins are caught between high commodity and energy costs, and consumer pressure to reduce prices. Most plants have capable, but limited en-gineering staffs that need to keep the plant running and food safe. A highly expe-rienced outside team of food process experts utilizing proprietary tools can work with local plant engineering and management to codify process knowledge in a computer simulation. Use of this approach at over 100 food and beverage plants has typically resulted 5% -15% energy savings, 2% - 5% yield improvement, and up to 10% capacity increase.
- Asset Utilization
Food and beverage manufacturing companies continue to face multiple challenges, including increasing costs of commodities and energy as well as downward pressure on price from consumers. The typical food or beverage manufacturing plant has made some progress by picking low hanging fruit such as improving their boiler house, fixing lighting and reviewing refrigeration systems. These plants need game-changing opportunities that directly impact their process loads to meet corporate goals, but are hampered by:
- Plants originally designed and commissioned when energy and commodities were cheap and water and waste disposal was free
- New products and product lines shoehorned into existing plants and rushed to market
- Very large numbers of SKU’s that create complexity in processing, scheduling, inventory and identifying opportunities
- Limited engineering resources who are focused on keeping the plant running and customers happy rather than process optimization
Identifying the true potential operating efficiency of a plant requires significant food process expertise and a chemical engineering perspective.
The first step is to Evaluate the process. Chemical Engineers, highly experienced in food manufacturing, review site operating data offsite, and then spend up to 2 days on site. They report out findings at the end of the site visit as high level opportunities based on best practices in the food industry, and may then supplement with verbal report with detailed written information. Rough estimates of cost and financial benefits as well as next steps should also be in the report. A stage gate at this point enables the plant to decide if the opportunities are priorities immediately, or in the future.
Next, a steady state (continuous) or dynamic (batch) computer model of the process with mass, energy, and financial balances should be developed. This model should capture as much of the facility’s operation as possible in order to capture interactions between production lines, and the handshakes between production, utilities and the environment. A validated model can group the SKU’s into families of products, provide deep insight into process interactions and rapidly estimate the value of changes to operating conditions or equipment.
A roadmap of non-capital and capital operating efficiency and capacity improvements is then created focused on plant and/or corporate priorities. The plant decides how to manage the portfolio of projects identified through another stage gate.
The partner used to identify opportunities and model the process now has the knowledge and tools to assist in the implementation of the changes. While you would expect to use a preferred E&C firm to design and construct any needed equipment, the model and conceptual design team can leverage the knowledge gained to ensure planned efficiency / capacity / yield improvements are captured. They can also understand and mitigate the impact of unforeseen changes – radical shifts in capital, raw material or utility costs, unexpected changes to plant production plans, availability of used equipment, or design changes brought on by physical space limitations.
Finally, in the fast changing food and beverage manufacturing environment, your partner with outside expertise should be leveraged to ensure the gains are sustained and any changes to the manufacturing process are integrated with plant efficiency goals in mind.
The Cargill Optimizing Services (COS) approach is based on over 100 years of application expertise in food / beverage plants with advanced degree Chemical Engineers and application of proprietary software tools.
When to consider
This approach is most appli-cable to plants with energy spends of over $2 million, with valuable raw materials, or where yield and capacity are a concern. Reviewing expansions/new plants be-fore final engineering can also be particularly fruitful.
About the Author
David Ward is CPO's General Manager. He joined Cargill in 2006 to create and grow Cargill Optimizing Services (CPO), a business based on Cargill’s unmatched expertise in applying high-level chemical engineers and proprietary software tools to improve operability and environmental sustainability in agrifood manufacturing. Dave has over 20 years of experience successfully leading organizations in both the US and Brazil to provide extraordinary value to manufacturing companies world-wide.
With more than 500 projects completed that have less than one year to payback, Cargill Optimizing Services understands how to decrease costs and increase yields in the food and beverage industry.