Utility systems are the backbone of each of the food, beverage, winery, brewery, dairy, and alternative foods manufacturing facilities. While process machinery and systems are essential for manufacturing high-quality food and beverage products that the consumers enjoy, the supporting utility is often not getting the attention that it needs. Utility systems such as steam, condensate, hot water, tempered water, process water, city water, hot glycol, cold glycol, compressed air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, etc., can be seen as commodities and often build during the original plant built that has not been upgraded or carefully considered as the plant grows and the production demand changes over the years.
As new systems or new lines are added to the process, the process is tied to the existing utility systems. While the utility system may have additional capacity at the beginning of its life cycle, over the years, the utility system is overtaxed, especially when the demand for various processes to run simultaneously is increasing to meet the increasing production demand.
Why are utility systems crucial in a more stable and reliable process?
Let us take a look at one of the typical processes in food and beverage manufacturing. The kill step or so-called pasteurizer, high-temperature-short-time (HTST) system. This system requires process water for product transition and clean-in-place (CIP), steam or hot water for its heating utility, and tower water and/or glycol to cool its product to the filling temperature. As the pasteurizer starts up its process, there is high demand for hot water, steam, and glycol so the system can operate and maintain its target heating and cooling temperature.
If the utility systems associated with this process are not robust enough, the plant can see the fluctuations of the temperature which affects other critical process systems that also have process demands for heating or cooling across the plant. If the hot water, steam, and glycol utility system is not sized to handle this demand, the plant will start seeing temperature swings and the process may shut down each other leading to the need to juggle the system operational scheduling. This issue leads to the plant not able to operate all of its systems at the same time which causes loss of productivity and the plant not able to produce as much throughput of end product as it would have been if they are operating at its optimal condition.
Placer Process’ Competitive Edge in Utility System Design, Fabrication, and Installation
This utility limitation can affect any processes that they are connected to. Hence, the utility system will need to be evaluated, resized, and upgraded as new systems are being added to the existing plant. Utility systems examples are compressed air, nitrogen, steam, condensate, hot water, glycol, tempered water, process water, or other utilities required for your specific process equipment. Placer Process Systems offers our clients process and utility system design, existing system review, and pipe and system sizing, fabrication, and installation for commercial and industrial mechanical systems. We offer these capabilities as part of a one-stop-shop design-built package, stand-alone project, or limited-scope project. Our team self-performs the process and utility systems design, skid systems fabrication, equipment installation, mechanical piping, process piping, and specialty metals.
Choosing Placer Process for your sanitary and utility process design and installation project means you will benefit from our various expertise in the industry. Our team will review the installation plan and offer our best installation practices as well as expert resources designated for your project. Contact us today and discover the Placer Process advantage!