Location: Western US
A leading grocery retailer and manufacturer hired POWER Engineers to redesign a production area that included a tank-based batching system for blending and cooking maple syrup. The existing process filled a tank with water, sugar, and flavoring, heated the mixture to 250 degrees F, and then rapidly cooled the syrup back to 125 degrees. This process offered a compelling opportunity for recovering the heat in the finished product by using it to preheat the incoming water for the next batch, but due to existing manufacturing methods, it was nearly impossible to coordinate the system to capture the waste heat and turn it into usable energy.
POWER Engineers was hired to provide a mechanical overhaul and controls systems upgrade managing the production system in such a way that the beginning of a batch in one tank coincided with the completion of the batch in another tank. Coordinating the timing of batches provided the system with the ability to exchange heat between the two product streams. Given that the upgrades were conducted as part of a capacity expansion, the installed cost of the advanced batching system was only nominally more to implement and would saved the facility approximately $40,000 per year in heating and $42,000 per year in cooling costs. The return on investment for this project was in the 9 to 11 month range.