Full Nitrogen Usage Audits
Duane Gleason has been conducting audits over the last 20 years and has had significant success in reducing monthly nitrogen bills for companies that use nitrogen to freeze food. His preferred method is to arrive at the customer location the night before my visit and stay at a local hotel. The first step then is to come in to the facility first thing in the morning and look at the freezer while it is still open to observe radial fans, type of belt, spray header configuration, etc. This would take place after the inspection, but before the freezer is closed for cool down. After that he then spends most of the day observing the cool down process, nitrogen lines, tank pressure, proportional valve position during full production, standards for QC, tunnel operation, etc. When this part of the process is complete, a full documentation and review of the days operation takes place to establish a baseline of parameters. From this a recommendation is prepared to present to management. The second day then consists of starting at the plant to conduct operator and safety training.
It is encouraged that everyone that is involved with the freezing process, at any level, to attend the training which usually takes approximately one hour. This time can vary depending on the level of engagement from the employees as well as the number of questions they have. A solid understanding gained by the material presented during the training session, lends itself well during the recommendations period of the audit.
Waste normally comes from two sources, the equipment, and the process. This doesn’t mean that I would come in and recommend a new freezer, (which it could, but not necessarily). Keeping the carcass but upgrading components is more the norm. Again, I won’t go into a lot of detail here only wanted to let you know of waste sources.
One other source of waste is tank pressure. Incorrect tank pressure has numerous ill effects on the operation of the tunnel which I will cover during the training period.
Over the years I have seen an average of 5-15% in nitrogen cost reduction if my recommendations are followed. I will not promise anyone a number without looking at the operation, but I can promise that if there is waste, I WILL FIND IT. The results of my audits have resulted in over 90% success rate of achieving the one-year payback that most companies are looking for. Some cases, less than 6 months!
“It is very gratifying for me to see folks that have been throwing switches and buttons at start up, sort of like turning on a utility switch; not really understanding why they do it, only because that is what is done in the mornings. Throughout the training I have seen countless light bulbs come on as people realize the significance of each step of the cool down process and how it relates to an efficient start up.”