The food and beverage industry have evolved significantly over the past 10 years. The rules for the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have changed food and beverage manufacturing by having companies focus on preventing their products from being contaminated rather than limiting the scope of contaminations.
“FSMA is the largest overhaul of government regulations since the 1930s,” says Evan D. Reyes, National Account Manager at Goodway Technologies. “The intent is to tighten regulations on food processing, ultimately to provide safer food for consumers.”
The law now requires that companies in the food and beverage industry exert tighter control of operations as well as provide documentation and tracking of every ingredient used throughout the enterprise.
At the same time, organizations are under increasing pressure to keep customers happy and save money but not skimp on quality. Poor quality can have wide-reaching effects on food and beverage companies because just one recall can bring a business to its knees.
“To be successful, food and beverage manufacturers must stress closed-loop quality, traceability across the value chain, and compliance throughout the process,” according to the recent “Impact of FSMA: Taking Stock of the F&B Landscape in 2016” report from Aberdeen Group.
Because of the increased attention on the industry, food and beverage companies cannot risk even one shipment that is not of the highest quality, the report notes.
That means food and beverage companies will most likely have to make changes to their operations to ensure compliance with the law.
To do that, organizations must have compliance and traceability built in from the start. Constructing a program that works and complies with FSMA takes “the right technology tools, proper document management and real-time visibility across the enterprise,” according to the report.
Reyes says for food and beverage manufacturers to achieve the goals of FSMA, they must focus on hazard analysis, preventive controls, and good manufacturing practices.
There are a number of tools and services to help companies comply with the FDA’s regulations, including food safety consulting companies that can help manufacturers transform sanitation programs and meet FSMA compliance, Reyes says.
“Besides consulting, investing in the right tools and technologies can really improve sanitation results, product quality, and food safety and help you prevent cross-contamination and get you up to the FSMA compliance level,” he notes.
Additionally, Reyes says suppliers should also help their food and beverage manufacturing customers meet FSMA compliance. Goodway can help by making certain you have the right sanitation equipment in place.
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Typically, a chiller is the single largest consumer of power and most expensive piece of equipment in a building, so it’s logical to allocate time and budget towards energy efficiency and equipment maintenance.
Without routine chiller maintenance, energy usage can double in just a few years and components can fail early, causing service interruptions. Poor maintenance procedures also lead to declining equipment reliability, the service life of a chiller can be reduced by 25% to 50%, according to an article in Facilitiesnet.com.
“While many managers look to chiller retrofits, system add-ons, or even replacements to improve efficiency, many overlook the single most important factor in determining both chiller efficiency and reliability: maintenance,” according to the article.
Chiller system efficiency is also a worthwhile investment because for every $1 facility managers invest in chiller maintenance, they can “expect a return of $10 dollars in the form of reduced operating costs and fewer breakdown maintenance repairs,” the article notes.
There are several chiller tube cleaning methods. One method is chemical cleaning, where a chemical solution – an acid, in some cases – is circulated through the chiller to clean the tubes.
An alternative method is a mechanical approach. Some manual chiller tube cleaning methods involve pushing a brush through each tube, then flushing afterward. However, the residue left after the brush is pushed through may dry on the surface before flushing, and the subsequent water flush will not remove it.
Another mechanical cleaning system rotates a cleaning brush or buffing tool attached to a motorized flexible shaft through the chiller tube while water-flushing the tube at the same time. The advantages of this system are that the tubes are given a thorough scouring and the simultaneous water flush allows the tubes to be completely cleaned before they dry.
By performing regular maintenance of chiller systems, facilities can decrease energy costs, extend operational efficiency, reduce power loads as well as save money on labor, equipment, and other associated costs.
A maintenance program for chillers also helps a facility with its sustainable goals by extending the life of the HVAC system and reducing energy consumption.
The best time to do regular chiller maintenance is in the winter or early spring when the chiller systems are not in use. To prevent the buildup of scale and sediment you must maintain the chiller tubes according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The Food Service Modernization Act compliance dates have arrived and that likely means significant changes to your current operating procedures. In this podcast, Evan D. Reyes, National Account Manager at Goodway Technologies, discusses key requirements relating to hazard analysis, preventative controls and food sanitation for both big and small facilities. Watch this podcast overview below to get complete access or learn how to take conveyor belt cleaning to a new level.
In this “Just Venting Podcast,” Ray Field, the Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, discusses the physical and financial impact of scale build-up on boilers, chillers and cooling towers. Ray also provides tips on how to avoid expensive repairs, improve energy efficiency and decrease electrical costs by implementing an effective maintenance plan.
Chiller units — open loop or closed loop — naturally experience performance degradations over time. As noted by Facilities Net, chillers and companion condenser units are often the single biggest energy spend in an organization and despite predictive maintenance methods such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography and rotor bar testing, scale and foiling still occurs. Here’s a look at the impact of scale on your condenser system and the steps you can take to maximize efficiency.
Sources and Spending
To limit the impact of condenser fouling you need to identify the source. If you’re running an open loop system, the biggest problem comes from the water source itself — minerals and other particulate matter can quickly cause scale to build up if water isn’t properly treated before being transferred to the chiller. In closed loop systems, the cooling tower itself becomes the key source of contaminants, which in turn make their way into condensers and drive the growth of scale build-up.
As noted by Innovas even small amounts of scale in your system result in big impacts. For example, a 2000 ton chiller running 3000 hours a year with an energy efficiency rating of 0.65 kW/ton gives an energy cost of $0.09 kW/hr. With just 0.006 of scale, energy costs jump $14,000 per year. At 0.036 inches, extra costs skyrocket to $95,000 per year.
Saving the System
So how do you maximize chiller efficiency and ensure you’re not wasting money on fouled condensers? ACHR News and Facilities Net suggest a few straightforward methods, including:
- Increased Chill Water Temperature — Even increasing the chill water temperature a degree offers a 2 to 4 percent energy efficiency increase
- Treat Water Aggressively — ACHR recommends combining an aggressive biocide plan with scale and corrosion protection practices to limit scale production.
- Ensure a Leak-Free Unit — Leaks in condenser and chiller units introduce air into the system which significantly lowers efficiency and can also cause interior rust build-up. In high-pressure units, leaks can release hazardous gasses into the nearby atmosphere.
- Keep Daily Logs — Keeping track of day-to-day condenser performance allows you to conduct regular data comparison and ensure you’re meeting efficiency targets.
Despite best efforts, chances are you will need to deal with scale eventually. Best bet? Leverage a high-quality chemical descaling treatment in early spring or winter months when condensers and chillers aren’t on high-use cycles. Worth noting, however, is that even minor scale build-up always trumps existing descale plans since the energy loss simply isn’t worth waiting for regular maintenance. While this may mean an unexpected shutdown of chillers for several days and a commensurate drop in productivity, this cost is minimal compared with the exponential expense of fouled condenser systems.
Scale is a cooling tower’s worst enemy: Design an effective PM procedure and descale on demand to ensure maximum efficiency.
Subscribe to our Seasonal HVAC System Efficiency Podcast Series. This time of year our focus is on Boilers, Chillers and Cooling Towers.