Greater energy efficiency demand in growing food, bev industry

15th March 2024 By: Tracy Hancock - Creamer Media Contributing Editor

Greater energy efficiency demand in growing food, bev industry

PRODUCING TARGETS SEW-EURODRIVE has assisted with meeting capacity requirements to achieve production targets at a local fish processing facility through the correct gearbox selection and specification

Demand for drive solutions specialist SEW-EURODRIVE’s energy efficient product offering is currently strong and increasing steadily with end-users in the growing food and beverage industry and the original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that supply them, says SEW-EURODRIVE Cape Town branch manager Dwane Jacobs.

The industry continues to grow with expanding population numbers creating greater demand for continuous production, requiring more energy efficient and reliable production lines to improve operating costs.

“Higher demand is currently being experienced in the wine industry, as most wineries are busy bottling, creating additional pressure on achieving continuous uptime. Producers must run 24/7. There's no stopping. Therefore, if there’s a breakdown, it is vital that winemakers receive a quick turnaround time on replacement units,” highlights Jacobs.

While many food and beverage producers are improving energy efficiency by converting from IE1 and IE2 motors to IE3 motors, they have also become reliant on generators and backup power systems to ensure continuous production amid South Africa’s energy crisis.

Jacobs explains that by installing SEW-EURODRIVE’s energy efficient drive solutions, these systems will benefit from lower demand during unplanned power disruptions and loadshedding.

“The higher frequency of loadshedding is placing excessive operating pressure on generators. Every hour they're running equates to thousands of rands in diesel. Anything that can be done to reduce that load on those generators will benefit producers financially through lower diesel consumption and subsequent reduced operating costs.”

An increased hourly production rate also translates into better financial gains.

To aid the optimisation of production lines, SEW-EURODRIVE consults with industry stakeholders to understand their production challenges.

“We also send out representatives to conduct on-site assessments to gain a better understanding of the existing operation and how it can be adapted to realise improved efficiencies,” advises Jacobs.

Thereby, SEW-EURODRIVE designs tailored solutions specific to its clients’ needs.

“We select the appropriate drive and automation components using our local staff and team, supported by our Business Development Electronics team, at our head office to deliver high-end automation projects.

“In addition, our quality and reliability ensure long runtime. Once a unit is installed, the producer has a long production cycle before they need to conduct maintenance or repairs,” elaborates Jacobs.

To ensure limited downtime of production lines, SEW-EURODRIVE also ensures quick turnaround times and support for its gear units to enable the shortest stoppages, he adds.

Enhancing Production

SEW-EURODRIVE’s gear units specifically improve the performance and efficiency of screw conveyors.

The company has secured an order for its K series helical bevel gear units to upgrade existing pumps and screw conveyers and for a plant expansion at a fish processing facility in the Western Cape.

Working with the OEM from the start of the project, SEW-EURODRIVE has assisted with meeting capacity requirements to achieve production targets through the correct gearbox selection and specification. Half of the units have been delivered and the company is finalising the remainder of the order for the project, which is due to be commissioned at the end of this month.

In addition to being low maintenance and offering high torque capabilities and consequent extended operating times, when paired with IE3 motors using AMS adapters, SEW-EURODRIVE’s K series gear units deliver enhanced energy efficiency, highlights Jacobs.

“Therefore, you are placing less demand on the unit. Previously, many screw conveyors and other less efficient options such as belts and pulleys or worm units were used. Using SEW-EURODRIVE’s helical bevel gear units, end-users can sometimes couple a smaller motor to this gear unit to produce the same torque output as a worm unit and realise an additional energy saving in the process.”

Launched in mid-2022, the AMS adapter allows a “quick change” between IEC motors on site, enabling the use of any IEC motor on hand. The end-user is also able to decouple the motor without having to perform an oil change, eliminating the risk of contamination, which is critical in the food industry.

The development of the AMS adapter was driven by the requirement for a unit that was more compact than SEW-EURODRIVE’s older generation adapter.

“The new unit is 25% smaller and offers an extended bearing life, as well as a drain hole, which addresses the occasional build-up of moisture inside the unit in very cold environments. The drain hole allows for this moisture to be removed without damaging the internal bearings or having to dismantle the unit completely. This advancement created a more efficient and adaptable unit,” states Jacobs.

When older versions of the AM adapter fail or are sent in for repairs, SEW-EURODRIVE gives end-users the option to upgrade to the latest version of the unit. While the older version of the AM adapter is being phased out, SEW-EURODRIVE continues to stock spare parts to support the technology in the interim.

SEWEURODRIVE’s solutions offer efficiency, improved productivity, customisation, quality, durability and compliance with industry standards, making the company the preferred choice for food and beverage producers seeking reliable solutions, Jacobs concludes.