Posted at Wednesday, 11 May, 2022

ERIKS and Festo give the ice cream the icing

Paul Skade
By Karl May
ERIKS Product Manager Fluid Power

I have been very fortunate to have spent the past 23 years within the fluid power arena which I am very passionate about and love to this day! 

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The makers of a well-known chocolate ice cream on a stick wanted to maintain their high-volume production levels, but at the same time reduce their compressed air consumption. However, part of the problem was not knowing just what that consumption was.

ERIKS and Festo give the ice cream the icing

 

Until Festo were involved, the food manufacturer had never known how much compressed air any one of their ice-cream production lines consumed. However, with each of the five lines at the plant extruding one ice-cream core per second, and over 20,000 of the ice creams on a stick being produced every hour, the guess was that consumption would be high.

Electricity and compressed air play an important role in the production process, for everything from mixing and extruding the ingredients (milk, chocolate, sugar and vanilla beans), to deep-freezing to -25°C, dipping in chocolate, and final packaging. But without knowing how much compressed air was being used, it was difficult to know where and how to make savings.

So the ice-cream manufacturer and Festo began working together to produce a prototype energy-efficiency compressed air module that could not only measure but also help reduce consumption.

 

Invisible consumption

Highly aware of the need to cut their energy use, the manufacturer have a Sustainable Living plan in place which – since 2008 – has saved more than 150 million euros in energy costs across the global business, through efficiency improvements in the production process.

Initiatives at the plant have included replacing energy-intensive geared motors with more efficient models (reducing energy use by 60%), and installing frequency converters with variable torque loads for the 18kW ventilators in the cooling tunnels – eliminating continuous operation and cutting energy consumption by around 40%.

However the difference between these areas and compressed air, is that: “Air is not visible, so it is not immediately obvious if consumption is too high”, as their – Automation Engineer pointed out.

So an essential part of the specification for any Festo solution was to make information on compressed air usage fully visible.

 

Coldly calculated

Festo and the ice-cream manufacturer collaborated closely on developing the first prototype of the Festo MSE6-E2M energy efficiency module.

The requirements were for a device which can be incorporated into new systems and retrofitted into existing systems, not only to automatically regulate the compressed air supply but also to measure leaks and provide a continuous stream of process-relevant data.

The first version of the module, field-tested onsite, proved highly effective, but the final production model has been improved to incorporate a Profibus interface for reporting, a pressure and flow sensor, shut-off valve and fieldbus node – and all in the smallest possible footprint (around half the size of the prototype).

 

Energy freeze 

With the help of the MSE6-E2M energy-efficiency module, the ice-cream manufacturer have achieved significant compressed air and energy use reductions.

The module incorporates on-board intelligence – similar to the start-stop system in a car – which, when it detects a standby mode in the equipment it’s supplying, automatically shuts off the compressed air supply. This has the additional benefit of making it possible to see how quickly the system empties when individual consumers are switched off, making it easier to locate leaks.

The MSE6-E2M reports immediately to the system controller if there is an unusually fast drop in pressure. It also reports continually on flow, pressure and consumption – in effect making compressed air visible.

 

The MSE6-E2M reports immediately to the system controller if there is an unusually fast drop in pressure. It also reports continually on flow, pressure and consumption – in effect making compressed air visible.

Although the module offers full automation, the customer opted to operate the MSE6-E2M via the system controller, to enable all information to be merged centrally.

Their Automation Engineer describes the results...

Converted into cold, hard cash, the Festo MSE6-E2M energy-efficiency module saved more than 500€ per annum on one production line alone. Which for the makers of the ice creams, is energy efficiency that can’t be licked.

 

For more information on Fluid Power, Transfer and Control Solutions and to get in touch with one of our ERIKS Specialists, please contact your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

#Festo #ERIKS #LetsMakeIndustryWorkBetter #Filtration #Compression #Air #Solutions #IceCream 

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