Block House, a producer of portioned fresh meat products and burgers has achieved considerable energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions by 36.1 tons per year by centralizing the vacuum supply for five vacuum lines. Thanks to Busch's design and intelligent control system, it consumes significantly less energy than the vacuum pumps previously installed directly in the packaging machines.
The energy consumption of the 2013 vacuum supply of the packaging machines was analyzed and savings potential was discovered. At that time five packaging lines, each with one thermo-forming machine, were each equipped with a rotary vane vacuum pump as a backing pump and an additional vacuum booster.
These vacuum pumps were installed close to the packaging machines and thus in close proximity to the workplaces. The result was that the vacuum pumps emitted their waste heat directly into the production areas. It was only possible to maintain the low room temperature required for hygienic reasons by increasing the output of the air conditioning system. The noise pollution in the workplace was a further disadvantage.
In addition to saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, the Block House butchery had an additional goal for the replacement of the vacuum supply: they also wanted to guarantee high availability of the vacuum supply and remove the vacuum pumps from the production areas to avoid waste heat and noise pollution in the workplace. Furthermore, maintenance personnel should not enter these areas if possible.
Ageing, cutting and portioning beef products is performed at the in-house butchery at Block House in Hamburg. Source: Block House Hamburg
Together with the vacuum specialists from Busch, a concept was developed to find an energy-efficient solution that would also ideally eliminate all the other disadvantages. The team quickly agreed that central vacuum supply of the packaging machines would be the ideal solution. The basis for designing the centralized vacuum system was the five existing thermo-forming packaging machines, which only require vacuum for the actual packaging process because the base foils are not sucked into the forms with a vacuum, but are rather blown into the forms with compressed air.
The new centralized vacuum system has been in operation since September 2015. Its main components are four R5 rotary vane vacuum pumps with four Panda vacuum boosters. One vacuum module consisting of one rotary vane vacuum pump and one vacuum booster has a purely stand-by function and is only used if maintenance must be performed during operation. The centralized vacuum system is one floor down, located underneath the production areas in a room completely separated from production.
New Centralized vacuum system from Busch
The packaging chamber is evacuated in two steps with two vacuum supply lines. There is a constant so-called rough vacuum of 30 millibars in the one line. This enables fast evacuation to this "rough vacuum level". Once this has been achieved, the system switches to the second line with a vacuum level of 4 millibars. This two-stage pressure equalization method facilitates short cycle times. There are buffer tanks between the centralized vacuum system and the packaging machines to ensure that the required vacuum level is constantly available in the lines.
The system is operated according to demand. The individual vacuum modules are switched on or off depending on the pressure using pressure transmitters. Thanks to this control and 9.9 kilowatts less energy consumption than the previous decentralized supply, the Block House butchery has 4,356 euros in energy cost savings each year. The energy saved is equivalent to 22.8 tons of CO2 emissions.
Energy savings thanks to the Busch centralized vacuum system
The modular design makes it virtually impossible for the vacuum supply to fail. The stand-by vacuum module also offers an additional element of security.
The installation of the vacuum system in a separate room on a lower level enables savings of 23.1 kilowatts of cooling output for the cooling unit in the production areas. This corresponds to annual cost savings of 2,541 euros or reduces the CO2 emissions by 13.3 tons. If the energy cost savings of the centralized vacuum supply and the cooling output are added together, it comes to annual total savings of 6,897 euros. The total reduction of CO2 emissions comes to 36.1 tons. The centralized vacuum system currently supplies five packaging machines but is designed in such a way that two further packaging machines can be connected. In addition, this has enabled shorter cycle times.
The use of an innovative and energy-efficient vacuum supply was subsidized by the city of Hamburg through the "Companies for Resource Conservation" program, which confirmed to Block House butchery that it had found the best possible solution for vacuum supply with the centralized vacuum system from Busch.
Maintenance of the centralized vacuum system is performed once a year by a Busch service technician who coordinates his visit beforehand with production engineering. By linking the centralized vacuum system to the operational process control system, it can be constantly monitored and possible irregularities can be immediately recognized. The power consumption is also automatically displayed and documented as a result.
Contact Rogers Machinery for assistance with selecting vacuum systems for packaging applications.