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Vacuum systems--the green way forward.

Energy and environmental factors have triggered a major shift towards central vacuum systems in the food packaging industry, according to the UK's leading vacuum specialist.

Busch UK says it has trebled the number of centralised vacuum systems it has installed in the last two years and the biggest growth of all has been in the food packaging industry.--and that growth is accelerating.

"Centralised vacuum is fast being seen as a nobrainer among plant and production managers in the food packaging industry who are having to wrestle with spiraling energy costs and tough environmental issues around energy consumption and emissions.

"More and more of them are switching to centralized systems because they know that these systems will produce savings in energy consumption and maintenance, reduce production downtime and noise pollution. Centralised systems pretty much tick every box," said Geoff Jennings, Busch UK's systems manager.

Busch's bulging order book includes many major names in tire red meat, chicken, bacon, cheese and dairy produce sectors.

Central vacuum systems essentially take individual vacuum pumps away from the machines, install them centrally and connect them to a common vacuum (or pressure) header. The pumps are then controlled in response to a pressure transducer and cascade control ensures adequate vacuum and flow rate is available for all connected machines at all times. This produces a number of major benefits for the production facility.

First of all, if one vacuum pump fails, there is redundancy built into the system, which enables the production facility to carry on unaffected. Inboard pump systems cannot do that. If an inboard pump goes down then the machine associated with it will go down too and that suddenly becomes a big headache for the production team.

Secondly, all the heat and emissions are removed from the production hall and contained within an appropriate plant room.

Thirdly, servicing is vastly simplified as access is continuous and pumps can be removed without losing machines and affecting production.

In food processing and packaging plants the cost of refrigeration in production halls is considerable but because centralized vacuum systems remove all the heat producing vacuum pumps from the production hall, these costs are reduced.

The same principle applies to noise. Pumps are noisy and that can literally be a headache for people working inside a production hall. Take away the pumps and install a centralized system in a remote plant room or even an acoustic enclosure and the noise problem goes away.

Contact Busch UK on tel 01952 677432 or visit
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Title Annotation:Packaging
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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