It used to take us up to a day to have some pumps replaced. Now we need no longer than half an hour.
Sweeping changes at a Nutriswiss facility have helped the company to cut the fat off its processes. The company has invested in Grundfos pumps that help it save more than EUR 300,000 a year on its electricity bill.
Fat is a key component in a variety of foods. It helps determine texture, appearance and smell in products such as chocolate, biscuits, ice cream and baby food. This fat does not come naturally.It involves several processes including the melting down and refining of raw materials such as palm oil, fish oil and animal fat.
The fat must remain liquid for it to run smoothly through the pipes. Pumps deal with temperatures ranging between 3 degrees Celsius (37 Fahrenheit) for cooling, and up to 250 degrees Celsius for heating.
International fat processor Nutriswiss takes all of this into consideration. Based in Lyss, Switzerland, Nutriswiss has its own fat production which works round the clock. This demands high costs and huge amounts of energy consumption.
The aging machinery at Nutriswiss made the situation worse. Faulty components regularly broke down, and the company had not exchanged a complex collection of pumps, gauges, valves, pipes and tanks in many years.
“This created a vulnerable system consisting of more than 350 pumps in different shapes and sizes,” says Bernhard Gastl, head of Technology at Nutriswiss. He realised that the infrastructure needed modernising to a standard that would support high production with lower costs, maintenance and efficient energy use.
“One of the conflicts I identified in terms of pump energy efficiency was the non-return valves that they came with,” Gastl says, “I always suspected that they were the source of a considerable waste of energy.”
Apart from energy waste, Nutriswiss was also concerned about market needs.
“My primary concern is the market’s needs,” says CEO, Stefan Böhler, “it is obvious that our production machinery is a key asset to meeting these needs.”
Together with Böhler, Gastl then began contacting various suppliers for a solution that involved the whole package involving energy efficiency, production reliability, support, quality and maintenance.
“We had the idea to replace pumps with electrically controlled butterfly valves that work just fine, while consuming a lot less energy,” Gastl says.
Grundfos then came into the picture, and made a complete overhaul of the machinery at Nutriswiss.
“I knew right away that we would have to dig deeper than merely replacing a pump,” says Grundfos Technical Sales Engineer Beat Senn, who spent most of the time at Nutriswiss in order to get acquainted with the company’s way of working, and design the new installations accordingly.
As a result of this major design, Nutriswiss has saved more than 300,000 Euros in electricity consumption. The whole production process has proved to be less stressful for Nutriswiss workers because of easier processing and enhanced production reliability. Components have also become easier to replace.
For Senn, thoroughly understanding Nutriswiss’s refining process paved the way to major savings for the company. For instance, equipping the pumps with adequate frequency converters led to controlling their use, allowing Nutriswiss to shut them down when they were not needed. This did not only cut down on the use of energy, but it also meant substantial savings in resources like acids and drinking water.
Furthermore, many of the systems at Nutriswiss are now equipped with electrical plugging devices so that replacing them is easy and takes significantly less time.
“It used to take us up to a day to have a pump like that replaced,” says Gastl, gesturing towards an old pump the company used to circulate river water in a two-stage cooling process, “we now need no longer than half an hour to get it done.”
The replacement of machinery has been so successful that Nutriswiss is considering doing the same at other branches of the company.
“This successful makeover convinced us to similarly optimise the processes at other Nutriswiss companies,” says Gastl, “with the help of Grundfos, we could basically copy and paste what we did in Lyss in order to standardise our process.”
Nutriswiss in Lyss, Switzerland, has installed pump types of several sizes and variants with Grundfos MGE motors ranging from 1.5 kW to 22 kW in size.
“My primary concern is the market’s needs. It is obvious that our production machinery is a key asset to meet these needs,” says Nutriswiss CEO Stefan Böhler (left). Next to him is Technical Director Bernhard Gastl, who took the initiative to replace old equipment with new, energy-saving machines, which require less maintenance.
Grundfos’s Beat Senn (right) spent countless hours with Nutriswiss Technical Director Bernhard Gastl to fully understand Nutriswiss’s inner-workings.
Component alignment provides for the preservation of energy, water, and other resources.