Besides innovation, maintenance and product quality monitoring, the main concerns for production sites are troubleshooting and process inefficiencies. When dealing with existing plants and processes, on-site observations play a critical role in issue solving and optimization. The reason for this is that practicalities are not captured in process schemes, plant data and product samples. To this end, NIZO offers its process scan, where an on-site visit by NIZO experts is an integral part of the research trajectory. This allows for any analysis results and plant data to be viewed in the right context, discuss with operations, and to take note of practical aspects that are missed in initial data transfer. Over the years NIZO has performed process scans for a wide variety of optimization and troubleshooting trajectories. The success of these scans can be attributed to the combined use of NIZO expert experience, analysis tools and applied models.

Energy efficiency  

One of the main optimization topics is energy efficiency, which is generally also a secondary outcome of other optimization trajectories (e.g. throughput, CIP and heat treatment optimization). It is generally also the main CAPEX expenditure besides raw ingredients and there are many routes and possibilities in optimizing energy use.   

Spray dryer optimization  

Spray drying is one of the main drying units applied in powdered food production. It is inherently energy inefficient but produces powder with excellent solubility properties and using a relatively low heat load. Optimizing the spray drying process in terms of throughput and final moisture content is a large potential source of savings with a ROI generally in the range of months instead of years.   

Microbial risks  

The management of microbial risk is a key factor in food production environments. Problems with specific organism may results in rejected batches or even require large product call-backs. Root cause analyses are key in solving these microbial issues and preventing future instances.  

Cleaning In Place (CIP)  

A significant part of energy use and time is spent on cleaning process lines. Cleaning is a combined effort of temperature, cleaning agents, shear rates and time. An efficient combination of these factors can have a large impact on your cleaning time and costs. In addition, CIP can suffer from overkill scenarios, where cleaning times are hours longer than needed if the cleaning process is not monitored and evaluated well.   

Any questions?

Ben van der Deen is happy to answer all your questions.

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