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Trane High Performance Building Solutions for Food Manufacturers Deliver Bottom Line Savings and Solutions to Unique Energy Needs

December 13, 2012

The primary concern for food manufacturers is meeting or exceeding customer expectations by ensuring the consistency and quality of their product. This approach helps shape how these manufacturers view their building systems and manufacturing processes as well.

Food manufacturing processes can vary greatly, but often they include significant heating and cooling needs for baking, boiling, refrigerating and freezing ingredients during various stages of production.

In some cases, on-site storage and warehousing of perishable food products may be necessary, requiring industrial refrigeration and freezer units. These refrigeration units can be a significant operating expense that can quickly add up if the units are not properly maintained and monitored for performance. Certain facilities may require large ammonia-based systems which pose an additional safety risk due to the potential of chemical leaks if not regularly inspected and maintained.

In many facilities these manufacturing heating and cooling demands can be at odds with the comfort needs of employees, and can have a significant impact on the overall building energy efficiency as well.

Another key factor for food manufacturers is ensuring that their production facilities are sterile environments free from contaminants. This means that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems must not spread dirt, bacteria or other contaminants around the production facility.

Often this requires that contaminated air is exhausted out of the building and fresh intake air is brought in, conditioned and screened for pollutants to ensure that it does not negatively impact the manufacturing environment.

High Performance Food Manufacturing
Trane, a leading global provider of indoor comfort systems and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, works with food manufacturers around the world to provide solutions to their unique heating and cooling needs.

Trane works with manufacturers to design systems to specifically handle facility loads and unique conditions that exist in the manufacturing environment. They make sure that the building is operated and maintained to continuously meet the needs of the facility and maintain a consistent indoor environment that supports the critical business mission. 

By taking a systems approach, Trane helps manufacturers understand how manufacturing equipment and processes impact building performance, as well as how changes to temperature and indoor air quality may impact the food products being manufactured. By tying all of the building systems together, Trane can help manufacturers not only measure success in Fahrenheit or Celsius, but in dollars and cents.

Example: Trane Reduces Product Loss and Generates Savings for Solae
One great example of a high performance food manufacturing environment is Solae, LLC, a world-leading producer of soy-based ingredients for food manufacturing companies worldwide. Rising energy costs and high humidity levels at its production and packaging plant in Remington, Ind., led Solae to call upon Trane for a solution.

The 40,000 foot main building and five-story packaging tower often saw temperature and humidity levels exceeding ideal production conditions during the spring and summer months. During these times, the plant was forced to discard an estimated 10 to 15 percent of product produced.

Working with stringent installation requirements and zoning classifications, Trane determined the best solutions to maximize comfort, efficiency and savings. A high-efficiency HVAC system was installed to maintain humidity levels at 30 percent and temperatures within a margin of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. Programmable controllers were integrated into the system to keep it running at optimum levels.

Solae is expected to see more than $350,000 per year in energy and operational savings.  Product loss is anticipated to be reduced by 2.5 percent annually, with a reduction in equipment downtime and a reduction in energy use, CO2 emissions and water use.

High performance buildings help owners and occupants achieve their business missions by using design and operating standards that are created, measured and continually validated to obtain desired outcomes within specified tolerances.