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Investment pays off at Blakeman's

12 July 2012

When James T Blakeman suffered production downtime owing to a lack of consistent temperatures, it decided it needed to invest in a solution. David Strydom reports.

Founded by James Blakeman in 1953, James T Blakeman produces sausage and meat products for the catering and retail industries. The company says a strong focus on quality has made it 'a leading manufacturer in both UK and export markets'. The Blakeman family says it's kept pace with the changing demands of its customer base by developing a range of 'unbeatable products'.

Central to this has been investment in manufacturing, storage and distribution systems which has resulted in an operation that, the company says, is widely regarded as a model to the rest of Europe. James T Blakeman (Services), a specialist cooking and cold storage operation, was formed in 2000. The Blakeman companies hold efsis Higher Level and EEC-approved accreditation.

Christopher Austin, health and safety advisor described the problem the company was having with temperature control was owing to the rapidly changing condition of the thermal oil. This was owing to the temperature required to cook consistently.

James T Blakeman decided that maintaining a consistent temperature would improve its cooking targets and cut downtime. It needed to cut back on the amount of oil changes required to maintain temperatures.

This is where Global Heat Transfer came into the picture; it was founded on 16 October 1978 as "G&G Radiator" in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Today it specialises in the supply of thermal fluids, thermal oils and planned preventative maintenance for heat transfer systems. It works with clients ranging from dairies and food manufacturers to processing plants and factories operating across diverse industry sectors, and has established a thriving relationship with James T Blakeman (with which it has been involved since the opening of its new factory).

The solution, according to Global Heat Transfer, was to supply and fit a LERK (Lite Ends Removal Kit) and a contract to maintain the system including removing the Lite Ends from site and the replacement of oil which has 'reached the end of its life'.

The impact, says Chris, was evident. ''There has been a reduction in downtime,'' he says. ''We've made cost savings by replacing the oil less frequently, and thanks to improved system efficiency.''

James T Blakeman points out that while it had been aware of the Lite Ends Removal Kit for a number of years, 'for one reason or another we resisted the temptation to invest'.

``Installing the LERK equipment has revolutionised the heating aspect of our cooking plant,'' says Chris. ``If you want to improve your system efficiency speak to Global Heat Transfer, they're a very professional company. No problem is too big or too small for them. They provide excellent response services to every enquiry, request or problem".

Meanwhile, Global Heat Transfer also worked with The Abergavenny Fine Food Company after it discovered an oxidation issue in its thermal oil, which was causing considerable carbon fouling of its equipment and a build up of acidity within the fluid.

Based in Gwent, The Abergavenny Fine Food Company is a small to medium sized family business operating from 40,000 sq ft headquarters in Blaenavon and offering products across a variety of categories including snacking, ready meals, dairy and desserts.

"We were having a problem with our thermal oil - it was frequently damaging oil circulation pumps," explains Paul Sanders, site engineering manager at Abergavenny Fine Foods.

"We use thermal oil as a means of indirectly heating fryer oil for our breaded party foods line. I had been in the business for a few months when, about three years ago, we got Global Heat Transfer involved. They carried out and analysis of the oil in the system and found that there was a build up of carbon around the pipework because the oil had not been tested or maintained for a number of years."

After Global Heat Transfer had worked on the project, it significantly improved boiler efficiency and led to heat-up time being reduced by 50%. "It is flowing more efficiently and will show a saving in pump life", says Paul. "At least we can now keep an eye on these things before either a major disaster or further damage occurs. We now change the oil annually but we are continually finding improvements in the system which will allow us to extend this period longer and longer."

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