Technology making food production more energy efficient

Christopher Niesche

This content material is produced by The Australian Financial Review in business partnership with Schneider Electric.

Graham Bryant, nationwide energy and setting supervisor at food producer Simplot Australia, says setting an influence discount goal is significant in making an attempt to make energy financial savings.

“If you don’t have a target, how do you know where you’re heading and when you get there? Businesses have targets. Energy efficiency deserves its own target. Otherwise, what are you working towards? What are you trying to achieve?” he asks.

Simplot has been operating a worldwide energy effectivity program referred to as “25 in 10” which goals to scale back energy depth – gigajoules of energy per tonne of product produced – by 25 per cent in a decade.

The venture is in its ultimate yr and the goal has been achieved, and the corporate is within the means of setting a brand new goal.


Bryant says the venture has modified the best way the corporate approaches energy utilization.

“Every project is an energy efficiency project because it’s the common raw material across the planet in anything we do or make,” he says.

“We make sure that, when we’re doing capital projects, there’s a critique of the energy use of that project. What’s it going to do in terms of improving our energy intensity or not improving it? Sometimes, projects may be more energy intense. If they are, let’s make sure that it’s the minimal effect that we can get in putting in a new technology.”

Simplot’s energy saving technique covers capital tasks, reliability, sustaining previous belongings, and making positive they’re as energy efficient as attainable.

Bryant says energy financial savings could be gained just by making positive that gear is operating to the producers’ specs and retrofitting previous gear with more trendy elements. “As better technology comes onboard, you can sometimes retrofit that into existing equipment to enhance the performance,” he says.

Company tradition of energy saving

As a maker of meals and frozen meals – manufacturers embrace Birds Eye, John West, Leggo’s and Edgell – Simplot incurs giant refrigeration prices and Bryant says the corporate has put in more efficient compressors and higher controllers into its refrigeration to take it from a hard and fast approach of operating to an efficient variable approach of operating.

“It’s newer, smarter technology that includes variable speed motors and head pressure control that’s sensing real-time where your pressures are and adjusting for that,” says Bryant.

Simplot additionally measures utilization at 15-minute intervals to raised monitor how utilization goes. “We’ve put a lot of metering into our factories so that we’re measuring and managing real-time. We report at each of our production meetings each day how much energy we’ve used across the sites,” says Bryant.

“If you can’t measure, you can’t manage. It’s a health check. You’re having a look at your profiles over the week. If you can observe anything that doesn’t look right, you can react to it and you can do that on a daily basis almost.”

Simplot additionally periodically undertakes full assessments of its crops as a part of the Federal Government’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities program and actually tries to know the “DNA” of its crops from an energy effectivity perspective.

The firm can also be making an attempt to drive an organisation-wide culture of energy saving. In Australia, month-to-month newsletters maintain employees knowledgeable of progress and there are awards – Site of the Year and an Energy Employee of the Year. Each of its six native manufacturing amenities – two every in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW – additionally has an “energy champion” who works with the energy committee on the website to measure and work on the technique of how are we going to enhance energy effectivity on the website.

Bryant says all staff must be energy effectivity stewards. “If you’ve got people engaged and thinking about things, they’ll bring ideas when they see things. People will come and say, ‘Why is that conveyor always running when nothing’s running down them? Why can’t we automate? Why do you have a motor spinning around moving a chain along a conveyor that’s not adding any value because there’s no product going along it?'”

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