Here is a tip that cut Westaway Sausages overall electricity use by over 20%, and by nearly 50% in one area.
Let me set the scene.
At Westaways we pride ourselves on only using fresh British pork to make our sausages, our suppliers do not have to freeze down the pork or hold it in a cold store prior to delivery. The chain from farm to factory is quick and short. On arrival we do not hold stock, we process immediately without the need to defrost the meat or grind it.
Apart from clear energy savings this process means money is not tied up in stock and it also means our sausages look fresher as the meat has not been oxidised. For our food service customers, we individually quick freeze the sausages, dropping the temperature quickly from plus 2⁰C to minus 22⁰C. By doing this our frozen sausages are still rosy pink and wholesome.
However, this process does use energy and lots of it.
We run our accounts on 13 periods of 4 weeks, and this includes a complete stock take at the end of every period. There is a saying that “Stress is only a lack of information”, well we do not have too much stress as we have oodles of data!
Our stock take includes machine hours, vehicle mileage, water, gas, and electricity readings.
As a result, we have details of units of electricity used each period, for each production unit. We can also compare this use against the tonnage produced. Surprisingly our usage has dropped by around 10% over the last 5 years even though our production has more than doubled. Here are some of the initiatives that have driven this.
Regular servicing of refrigeration
Using more efficient machinery and plant
Changing to LED lighting
A new insulated freezer floor
As we got busier, so the freezers were full and more efficient.
We worked longer hours over 5 days not 6 days.
We made more sausages in less time
Even though the trend was good, the recent rises in energy costs meant we needed to look at other savings in particular the electricity used by our IQF freezing equipment which was proving difficult to manage and costly. Records showed this equipment was using 50% of our total use.
It is rare that a whole team works together across a whole company. Accounts looked at tariffs, Production and the Shop floor brainstormed the issue, and Technical examined the “what if scenarios”. The conclusion reached was that by scheduling the use we might make the difference required.
The plan considered our use in the same way we planned our labour. We only used energy when it was needed, made very good use of the energy and did not use it unless absolutely needed. We also adapted this plan to take advantage of night-time tariffs.
We used time clocks and re-set temperature controls to help.
Our units of electricity used in IQF is down by 47%.
Also, we rehung the door and put new seals on our holding freezer with a further 17% reduction in this usage.
Operating costs reduced and sustainability up, everyone should like that.