Food Engineering

Field Report <br>Single-screw compressors<br> quell Texas-size tremors

March 4, 2004
Brookshire Grocery eliminates compressor noise and vibration.

Ice Plant Refrigeration Supervisor Richard Cogburn (left) selected six Vilter compressors to eliminate noise and vibration-related maintenance issues. Source: Vilter Manufacturing.
Gritting your teeth against the sound of large, loud vibrating compressors may get you successfully through the engine room, but it won't get you successfully through continuous production cycles. Vibration causes more than noise; it often leads to chronic maintenance issues that may leave you grinding your teeth in frustration. Richard Cogburn, ice plant refrigeration supervisor at Brookshire Grocery Company's Tyler, TX plant, knows the feeling only too well. "The vibration we had in our compressors led to extreme noise in the engine room," he says. The plant also faced continuous maintenance issues, resulting in lost time and money.

Brookshire Grocery operates 152 Brookshire and Super 1 Foods stores throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas as well as Ole Foods in Plano, TX. In addition, the company's manufacturing division, SouthWest Foods, recently introduced LeCarb dairy products and YoCarb desserts for diabetics and low-carbohydrate dieters. At the ice and ice cream plant in Tyler, where some of these products are produced, compressors are used for several functions including the production of ice and the refrigeration of the perishable warehouse.

As part of a 491,000-sq. ft. expansion, Cogburn and the management team at Brookshire reviewed various compressors hoping to find a unit that limited noise and vibration. They chose six new Vilter compressors for their quiet operation, proposed energy savings and ease of use. The units feature a single-screw design with one main rotor and either one or two gaterotors.

During ice production, the compressors freeze the ice, and hot gas from the compressors releases the ice from the ice machine tubes for harvest. The compressors are then used to cool the refrigerant to start the freezing process again. The ice bin is maintained at a steady 12