Environment industries archive
Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.
Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.
Ardmona Foods Limited is a leading Australian food processing and marketing company located some 180 kilometres north of Melbourne in the heart of the Goulburn Valley. It manufactures a range of retail and industrial fruit-based products from pears, peaches, apples, plums and tomatoes. It processes some 100,000 tonnes of fruit annually. The plant has more than 10 hectares under roof including production, warehouse, workshop and cool room storage areas.
Analysis of the results of the benchmarking program undertaken by the company identified production of excess steam as one of the areas offering the best initial opportunities to improve its environmental performance and its economic efficiency.
The production of heat and steam that is not used for the processing of product results in gas costs being higher than necessary. The excess steam resulting from some inefficiency in producing, transporting and utilising steam, then increases the consumption of natural, personnel, financial and equipment resources; and also increases the site's levels of stack emissions, water treatment chemicals, effluent and associated products.
The approach taken was to work towards improved plant reliability and operator confidence. The boiler attendants were encouraged to take an active role in improving work and maintenance practices and thus steam plant reliability. A strong focus on steam plant and equipment outside the boiler house was also encouraged.
Simple changes to some work practices and operating processes were introduced and maintenance responsibilities were expanded. Renewed focus was placed on monitoring the water treatment and condition of the boilers.
Employees were kept informed of the trends of costs and plant performance. The company also actively promoted frequent communication between the operators and the steam users. These measures enabled the operators to take advantage of the improved plant reliability, operate the plant for optimum efficiency while also meeting load variations, and maintain an adequate reserve of steam.
The company managed to reduce its:
The change in focus and positive response to issues was then promoted through other areas of the plant. A program to clad and insulate factory lines and equipment was expanded, and prompt repair of steam leaks became a priority.
In the first fruit season of the program, raw product tonnage increased by 4 per cent over the previous year and fuel costs were reduced by 18 per cent. The number of staff hours required for cleaning the boiler was reduced by 70 per cent.
This case study was prepared by the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, Victoria. Environment Australia would like to thank them for allowing us to display their case study on our web site.