October 27, 2008
by Hala El Sheemy
The global consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is faced with an extremely pressing production challenge these days—reducing energy consumption and minimizing the carbon footprint left behind by the manufacturing facilities.
With constant pressure from the public and governments, forward-thinking companies have no choice but to adapt their manufacturing practices to the high eco-friendly ideals they must set for themselves to keep their corporate reputations intact.
This is why, when it comes to designing a material handling system, saving energy today usually tops the wish-list of most CPG companies—as never using more energy than absolutely necessary can enable them to reduce their carbon dioxide ( CO2) emissions.
For many of these companies, using a decentralized vacuum system holds the key to benefiting from a material handling process that makes the most economical use of energy.
In simple terms, vacuum pressure—quickly becoming a method of choice for keeping the majority of goods moving along in the production process—is created by introducing any pressure lower than the atmospheric pressure.
The more distance there is between the vacuum source and the point-of-use, the more energy is consumed, meaning that bridging this distance is key to obtaining greater efficiency.
With a traditional centralized vacuum system, one source usually provides vacuum to multiple points-of-use at varying distances, whereas a decentralized system is based on the principle of locating vacuum pumps closer to the points-of-use.
Switching from a centralized to decentralized system can result in significant savings in terms of energy consumption, which is the premise behind the recent introduction of PIAB AB’s proprietary COAX technology—an improved design based on the multistage concept for creating vacuum with compressed air.
By being easily integrated into the body of manufacturing machinery with multistage cartridges, COAX is designed specifically to make maximum use of energy by eliminating line losses and inefficiencies.
At most CPG production plants, the conveying system is located right at the beginning of the material handling processes, particularly in applications where dry ingredients like sugars, powders or detergent flakes must be transported quickly and efficiently to prevent downtime.
In such environments, the big challenge is to come up with a solution that is capable of transporting a large volume of material at a fast pace without consuming too much energy.