Improving Evaporator & Dryer Efficiency


The challenge

A large food evaporator & dryer operation wanted to  better understand the performance of their spray dryer and the cost impact of operating at different settings, plus identify the sources and scale of opportunities to improve its energy and process losses.

The primary goals were to understand the relationships between input levers and output results to; improve product consistency, reduce steam consumption, reduce electricity consumption, improve condensate recovery.

We applied our ‘Process Insight Methodology’ to identify and map the key control relationships and significantly reduce the energy use of the operation.

What we did – Process insight approach

The key was for us to understand the underlying process; identify controllables, disturbances and process capability. Then propose changes to the process controllables to reduce the energy impact and variability in the outputs. Whilst output KPI’s are valuable from a high level monitoring point of view, our work enabled the site to understand the causes of variance and improve energy consumption, which, eliminated knee jerk reactions, and replaced it with informed decision making and standard control.

How we did it

We completed a pre study which identified large variation in inlet and outlet temperatures plus large variations and low levels in solids.  We applied our world class Talk4i software solutions backed up by professional engineering support, to provide a data driven approach for process optimisation and energy reduction.

With a set of interactive tools, Talk4i provided a detailed analysis to define key influencing factors causing variation.  This insight enabled us to implement simple actionable steps that allowed improvements in process capability and energy performance.

Outcome

The project delivered improved control loop performance, improved process consistency operating nearer to ideal conditions with increased feed solids – this has saved in excess of  13% in fuel costs and 10% in electricity.

The site’s Process Manager said

Improving visibility of process performance and increasing consistency are important for product quality, the energy improvements delivered give us the ability to remain competitive with ever increasing input costs. Carbon Architecture’s approach has given us a much needed tool to isolate route cause and deliver cost savings.

 

 Statistics

  • Customer – Dairy Processing
  • Plant – >200 mL/ Annum
  • Cost Saving/Year –  12.5% per annum
  • Return on Investment – less than 12 months
  • Improved throughputs/yields: 8%
  • Improving quality (e.g. density) … reduced standard deviation by 40%