Automation

Redesign Reduces Costs, Increases Uptime

EP Editorial Staff | October 1, 2021

Ocean Spray’s Lehigh Valley facility operates 24/7 and produces 100,000 cases of cranberry beverages daily.

Remote-alarm notification helps beverage facility meet production.

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., Lakeville-Middleboro, MA (oceanspray.com), was founded in 1930 as an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the United States, Canada, and Chile. The cooperative’s cranberries are used in more than 1,000 products in more than 100 countries.

To meet demand, the company operates several state-of-the-art food-and-beverage-manufacturing facilities, including its 300,000-sq.-ft. plant in Lehigh Valley, PA, a location that began producing product in 2014. The plant replaced the company’s
Bordentown, NJ, facility that had been in operation for 71 years.

The Lehigh Valley plant employs about 200 full-time team members who operate four production lines that produce 24,000 bottles an hour, 24/7. The facility delivers 100,000 cases of product every day so any disruption in production time can have a major impact.

Energy Conservation

One of the design tenets of the plant, prior to construction, was to save $1.5 million in energy costs when producing 31 million cases. This goal couldn’t have been accomplished with the originally specified three, 800-hp boilers. Company engineers thought they’d need larger boilers for steam to pasteurize juice concentrate, a complex and costly system that the industry relied on for years. After collaborating with an energy consulting firm and conducting an audit at the previous Bordentown plant to determine exactly how much energy would be required to manufacture 100-million gal. of juice annually, a mid-design change incorporated energy-efficient equipment and building design.

GE iFIX SCADA system coupled with WIN-911 Advanced remote-alarm notification software ensure continuous plant operation is maintained.

Dramatic Savings

Savings were achieved through equipment that cost millions less up front, cut the plant’s carbon emissions, and slashed its gas bill. Switching from steam to a more efficient heat-recovery system reduced the plant’s energy consumption by 37%.

Lehigh Valley uses a hydronic-loop system to deliver and recover process heat that is fed to the plant HVAC system and eliminates the need for steam to process juice. The heat-recovery system is so efficient that the facility does not need to purchase fuel for heating during winter months.

The savings are the result of several technical factors that primarily involve positive pressurization of the plant, meaning the facilities are pressurized in a way that prevents outside air from entering the building. This has a big impact on heating and cooling costs. At the time of construction, the facility was the only juice plant in North America that used hot water instead of steam for the pasteurization process.

Ensuring safe and efficient operations is critical to the company. To help reduce maintenance expenses and ensure minimal unplanned equipment downtime, Ocean Spray implemented an iFIX SCADA system from GE Digital, San Ramon, CA (ge.com), coupled with WIN-911 Advanced remote- alarm notification software from WIN-911 Software, Austin, TX (win911.com), to continuously monitor and provide data on the various alarms throughout the Lehigh Valley facility.

Used primarily by the maintenance team and overseen by Joe Faller, Controls Automation Engineer at the Lehigh plant, WIN-911 and the iFIX SCADA monitor flows, pressures, and temperatures in the facility’s loops, process loops, and wastewater system, ensuring proper levels so that the juice production is safe and meets the company’s standards for quality and safety. At 10,000 gal. of juice produced per hour and 100,000 cases every day, this is no small task. When Faller and his team receive notification of an alarm through text messages, they can quickly assess and resolve issues to minimize potential impact.

“The software’s alarm-escalation-hierarchy feature helps our team know if there’s a possible issue, so we can respond and quickly resolve the problem,” Faller explained.

Faller sets up alarms in the programmable logic controller and sends them to iFIX, which is integrated with the remote-alarm notification software. WIN-911 monitors a vast array of critical process loops that include three steam boilers, a 44 F cooling loop, a 28 F cooling loop, and a heating loop.

“Monitoring and providing notification when there are problems with equipment that is not watched 24/7 is a huge benefit for our team. WIN-911 allows us time to rectify these issues before they become problems,” Faller said. Remote-alarm notification software helps ensure the beverage facility remains operational 24/7. EP

For information, visit ge.com and win-911.com.

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