Food Engineering

Time to give the old boilers a rest

November 1, 2010
On-demand steam generators quench energy-efficiency needs for Nestlé beverage manufacturer.

Vitality Foods Production Manager Ryan Jennings (left) and Vitality Foods General Manager Bruce Burlington (right) start up their new Clayton SigmaFire Steam Generator SFG-125M to produce 99.5 percent dry steam for their beverage manufacturing processes. Source: Clayton Industries.


Vitality Foodservice, Inc. supplies beverage products and dispensing equipment worldwide with companies in the US, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada. Nestlé Corporation recently purchased Vitality’s North American arm, Vitality Foods, which designs its own line of beverages, including juices, teas, coffees, smoothies and specialty drinks, as well as the dispensing and packaging systems that contain them. The company also processes product bases from six liters to 220 liters for a number of copack customers.

To stay competitive in a demanding industry, Vitality Foods must look for ways to increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness and product quality. That is what plant management hoped to accomplish when it came time to upgrade the company’s system for pasteurization and clean-in-place (CIP) operations.

Since its earliest days, Vitality relied on two conventional gas-fired boilers. Long periods of non-operating boilers, however, were leading to a serious loss of productivity.

“We were experiencing too much downtime, and in our business, every minute of productivity counts. Reliability and continuous operations are extremely important in staying ahead of our competition,” says Vitality Canada’s General Manager Bruce Burlington.

In 2007, Vitality turned to its boiler supplier and servicer, Pacific Boiler Ltd., for some advice. According to Neville Smith, sales representative for Pacific Boiler, the best solution for Vitality was to upgrade to a Clayton Industries high-efficiency SigmaFire steam generator.

“After many years of exceptional service, we eagerly accepted the recommendation and made our move away from a traditional boiler. After two-and-a-half years, I can confidently say we have absolutely no regrets,” Burlington says.

Burlington says the switch from a traditional boiler to the versatile Clayton steam generator has yielded wonderful results. The steam generator guarantees high fuel-to-steam efficiency and, because of its compact size, meets the minimal space requirements of the company’s boiler room.

These units heat up faster, provide rapid response to load changes and can be turned on and off when needed without the risk of damage to the system. The explosion-proof generator’s design creates less heat loss and chemical loss than standard boilers.

After the first year in service, Vitality plant personnel noted a significant drop in natural gas costs relating to running this unit. “We also have enough steam power to run anticipated future needs for some time. We have idled our back-up boiler, rarely using it,” Burlington says.

The makeover also means Vitality Foods can grow the part of its business that requires heat treatments. In addition, the steam generator has increased the capacity of the plant’s CIP system.

“The downtime we were experiencing with the old-fashioned boilers has been eliminated. We are enjoying an adequate supply and reduced energy costs,” Burlington says. “We’ve also seen a 50 percent reduction in the chemicals we use to treat the facilities. Add to that, the cooler, quieter operation and increased space in the boiler room, and we’ve found a complete success story that will take us into the future.”


For more information:
Glenn A. Adgey, 905-791-3322, glenn.adgey@claytoncanada.ca