Energy-efficient enclosure climate control is not usually the first thing that springs to mind when evaluating the top-tier concerns for food and beverage producers; in fact, the conversation usually centers on solutions designed to enhance the hygienic conditions and sanitation processes of the facility. However, the need for energy-efficient enclosure cooling units in traditional food and beverage facilities and pet food manufacturing is quickly rising up the ranks of importance, particularly as the pet food market continues to grow. The total pet food market revenue in the United States this year is expected to reach more than $57 billion, and projections show the market will continue to grow by nearly 10% annually through 2027.
The combination of increased output and the continued emphasis on increasing sustainability in the manufacturing space means energy-efficient enclosure climate control systems are now key in helping pet food producers achieve their operational goals. Here, we’ll look at what makes pet food manufacturing unique from a climate control standpoint, and how Rittal can help pet food manufacturers design an energy-efficient enclosure climate control framework.
What's unique about the enclosure climate control needs of a pet food factory?
Even with a wide variety of pet food options on the market, dry pet food still accounts for more than 60% of the pet food sold in the U.S. The production processes required to manufacture dry pet food involve mixing dry and wet ingredients into a dough, compressing this dough, and pulverizing it into bite-sized pieces suitable for dogs, cats, and other household pets.
This intense production process not only makes manufacturing conditions extremely hot, but it also results in high levels of ambient particles and dust that can hamper your industrial cooling units — for example, dust as a byproduct of production can clog cooling units, which in turn reduces their ability to control the temperature within enclosures, which can be harmful to the control panels inside.
Just like with traditional food and beverage facilities, pet food manufacturing plants need cooling units designed to enhance plant hygiene and help combat the potential for contamination and bacterial buildup. The 24/7 nature of pet food production also means producers need enclosure cooling units that are durable, reliable, and offer simplified maintenance to reduce the likelihood of downtime.
However, satisfying both of these requirements often means deploying a large number of enclosure cooling units, which can be difficult to monitor or maintain. Achieving adequate levels of targeted cooling can also mean relying on cooling units that are large in size, which can reduce the flexibility of your automation infrastructure and significantly increase your energy usage given the amount of electricity required to facilitate high cooling outputs.
What further complicates enclosure climate control in pet food manufacturing is the variable nature of the design and layout of production facilities. Some pet food producers are expanding existing facilities to meet demand, and others are retrofitting older production sites for automation — and while this helps to expedite the process of getting production lines up and running, it does pose some hurdles in integrating cooling units into tight or challenging spaces.
How can pet food manufactures increase the energy efficiency of their enclosure cooling units?
The first step for pet food manufacturers in increasing the energy efficiency of their cooling systems is understanding the positives and negatives of your existing cooling units. While a comprehensive climate overview can help operations and maintenance teams discover and address redundancies in their cooling infrastructure, the trouble with such an approach is that pet food producers don’t know where to stand in terms of such an evaluation.
This is where a Rittal climate control efficiency analysis can help pet food manufacturers increase the energy efficiency of their cooling systems by consolidating the number of cooling units — without sacrificing performance or cooling output. Not only will this help you decrease your energy usage and costs, but it will also help you reduce your carbon footprint and lessen your impact on the environment.
The continued development of smart enclosure cooling units is providing manufacturers with a greater ability to understand where and when targeted cooling is needed, and the ability to use detailed performance data to ensure enclosure cooling systems are operating at peak levels. These smart systems also use innovative cooling technology to maintain required cooling outputs while also lowering energy consumption.
Rittal’s new Blue e+ S enclosure cooling unit provides cooling outputs of .3 kW, .5 kW, and 1 kW without sacrificing adequate cooling necessary to keep enclosures at optimal operating temperatures. The Blue e+ S uses heat pipe and inverter technology to create robust cooling without the need for a compressor, expansion valve, or other regulating elements — which can help reduce your energy consumption by 75%.
Plus, the Blue e+ S operates on a fully-integrated IIoT interface that allows for digital monitoring and condition reporting to help manufacturers better understand the state of their cooling units on a 24/7 basis.
What’s more, our air-to-water heat exchangers and chillers can be easily deployed into new or retrofitted factories where managing your automation footprint is a top priority. Plus, our heat exchangers and chillers are designed to prevent the ingress of dust and other airborne particles that are common in pet food production, which helps increase the hygienic standards of your factory and reduce the likelihood of equipment malfunction.
Are you ready to unlock a whole new world of efficiency with your enclosure climate control solutions? Rittal can help pet food producers and manufacturers of all stripes optimize their climate control systems.