Beerenberg no longer in a jam when it comes to efficient steam production


The Situation

The name Beerenberg is synonymous with delicious jams, sauces and condiments – particularly in Australia, but also further afield, where it is sought out by keen foodies overseas.

The company is based in Hahndorf, a small town approximately 25 kilometres from Adelaide, South Australia, where the Paech family initially settled in 1839. 

From humble beginnings in the 1970s, Beerenberg has grown to a truly well recognised national and international brand, and the company now produces over 75 product lines and employs over 65 people. 

The factory, initially purpose built in the 1980’s, has undergone a number of upgrades over the years. Each investment has aimed to improve systems and processes to meet growing demands, whilst also seeking to increase efficiency, particularly in energy and water use.  In early 2017, work was completed on an expansion of the site, including new offices, a warehouse and a fully functioning distribution centre. 

A second stage of development commenced to create a new production facility, with specialist equipment fit out. To continue to grow and succeed in a high cost environment, Beerenberg knew that any investment would need to be based on production innovation - and that efficiency would be a key factor.

The Solution

Steam is integral to many applications in the jam and condiment production process, including for cooking, sterilising and hot water production. As part of their new production line, Beerenberg invested in a new, state-of-the-art steam kettle process bought in from the United Kingdom. The steam kettle uses steam heat to cook down fruit and other ingredients into jams and condiments.

In conjunction with the team at RCR Energy, who have been working with Beerenberg for many years, they sought a solution that could provide steam with greater control, smooth operation and reduced risk of over boiling. 

RCR Energy have been in the boiler industry field for over 100 years, and have used Grundfos solutions in varied applications across numerous projects. They recommended the CRE Vertical Multistage range of Grundfos pumps, that allowed the water level in the boiler to be controlled directly, by means of a variable speed frequency drive, without the use of a modulating feed control valve. 

Instead, a level sensor monitors the level of the water in the boiler and introduces water accordingly – as the water level changes due to steam consumption.

This system design eliminates the need for a feed valve and the additional low flow bypass pipework that is normally required with this traditional type boiler feed system. The cost savings from this additional infrastructure alone was around $5,000, and this doesn’t take into consideration the ongoing maintenance of the feed valve and associated by-pass valves and pipe work (and the insulation and heat loss costs associated with the pipework).

It was decided to install 2 x CRE5-22 pumps with IE5 efficiency motors with integrated variable frequency drives. Based on the demand, the pump can adjust its speed to most efficiently meet the needs of the system at any point in time. 

“It is anticipated that this change in system, incorporating the variable speed Grundfos pumps, will produce significant energy savings for Beerenberg over the years ahead. Not only are we being energy wise, but with the rising cost of electricity, we’re saving Beerenberg money on their energy bills,” said Michael Dring, State Manager at RCR Boilers. 

The Outcome

The system was commissioned mid 2018 and is now fully operational. The Grundfos solution provided by RCR plays an important role in the overall factory expansion, helping to improve productivity while keeping costs down.

“The variable speed drive helps ensure the pumps are much more efficient in regard toas they are able to how they ramp up and down to meet demand. This guarantees they supply the boiler with the right amount of water, at the right time. 

“We are expecting the upgrade to energy efficient pumps to reduce not only our energy costs, but also our servicing and maintenance costs” says Matt Noske, Beerenberg Operations & Site Manager.

The factory expansion supports the company’s ambitions to compete on the national and international market. The $23-million turnover South Australian business aims to double production volume and sales in the next five years.