This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Temperature control for greater production efficiency

28 May 2018

Temperature control has a critical impact on food product quality, so routinely overlooking its importance can lead to unnecessary product loss and reduced productivity, says John Cast

Precise temperature control is a vital element of the food production process – not just for achieving the correct ambient air temperature of the factory and storage areas, but as a part of the production process itself. Even the slightest temperature change can have a knock-on effect on batch production, and ignoring it can be a very expensive mistake.

A Temperature Control Unit (TCU) is an essential piece of equipment when the production process is heavily reliant on jacketed vessels.

In a typical scenario, the temperature of the heat transfer fluid that flows through the vessel jacket would be controlled by a TCU. Although this set-up appears simple, in reality it is not quite so straightforward.

TCUs are often overlooked during the original production equipment specification and this means there’s little money left at the end of the purchasing process for temperature control equipment, as the bulk of the budget has been spent. So, many manufacturers tend to either re-use pre-existing TCU equipment, or find that they are limited to low spec entry-level models. The trouble with this strategy is that older or cheaper TCUs have more scope for error in delivering precise temperature control, so costs can spiral rapidly as a result.

Dealing with downtime
The issue of inadequate TCU usage is widespread in the food processing industry. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that companies are not aware of the benefits of including a new TCU as part of a wider investment in new equipment, despite the fact that the extra cost is minimal. With the right equipment and TCUs, there is no longer any need to accept downtime of up to 20% or more as a necessary evil.

The latest TCUs offer greater levels of transparency into the specific temperature detail of each jacketed vessel. Some also offer a two-way communication between the operator and the equipment by being connected to computer networks, monitored remotely and if required, viewed on mobile devices.

Today’s TCUs offer the ability to deliver the precise level of temperature control to consistently heat or cool the jacketed vessel (and therefore the product) to the optimum working temperature.

The application and recipe data can be stored, saved and set to control and deliver the same consistencies for all future batches. Ensure you choose a solution with intelligence built-in so it can make adjustments for changes in the ambient air and central factory cooling water temperatures. This means that a batch made in August will be of exactly the same quality as one made in January, despite the wide variances in ambient air temperature.

As with all elements of the manufacturing world, there will always be new and more efficient ways of undertaking processes, and temperature control is no different. However, breaking away from the traditional mindset of viewing a TCU as an ‘add on’ could be the missing piece in the puzzle to achieving the production efficiencies and improvements food and beverage manufacturers are aiming to achieve from any investment in new production equipment.

A relatively small investment in the latest TCU technology at the front end has the potential to transform production performance, save on material wastage and downtime, and ultimately make a positive impact to the bottom line.

John Cast is group technical manager at ICS Cool Energy.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


Article image Anheuser-Busch InBev’s distribution strategy model

Over the past 10 years Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) has grown its global distribution network using a strategy which goes against the grain for traditional brewery specifications. In place of cost and time intensive permanent structures, it has adopted a design-driven approach in partnership with Herchenbach, a manufacturer of temporary buildings and semi-permanent warehouses. Full Story...

Article image And the 2018 Food Processing Award winners are…

There were nine Food Processing Awards up for grabs this year. The judging panel whittled it down to three finalists in each category and we left it to the readers of Food Processing to decide the winners, which were announced at an awards ceremony in Coventry on 18th October.Full Story...

What role does refrigeration play in the supply chain?

A recipe for continuous improvement success

Adapt and change to stay competitive