When Cranswick Foods need to replace an ageing, unreliable and inadequate compressed air system, it chose a centralised system from BOGE. The result is boosted efficiency and reduced downtime


ranswick Foods, a meat processing company based in Hull, produces

sliced, cooked meats for customers including food retailers and food service companies. However, when it recently found its compressed air system at one of its plants had reached the limit of its capabilities, leading to inefficiencies and downtime, it turned to BOGE with help installing a new one. Cranswick uses compressed air

everywhere from control valves on cooking equipment, through to thermoforming machinery and end-of- line equipment. The company’s problem

“The tipping point came when we

bought two new thermoforming lines, which took us over the limit of our air availability,” said Milner. At the same time, there were problems

with air quality: water was being carried over into the distribution system, which caused frequent control valve failure and production line shutdowns on an almost weekly basis. These shutdowns, combined with the general unreliability of the compressed air supply, led the

‘There are just three compressors at the heart of the new system. These sit in the plant room and replace the 10 compressors that were dotted around the plant’

was that, while its business had grown steadily, the expansion of its compressed air system had not been as smooth. “We have a high demand for

compressed air on the site,” said John Milner, engineering manager at the company. “Every time we needed more

compressed air, we bought a new compressor,” he continued. “It got to the point where we had 10 individual compressors across the site. The system ‘evolved’, rather than being ‘designed’.”

THE COMPRESSED AIR CHALLENGE This situation eventually became impossible for two main reasons. Firstly, the plant struggled to cope during times of peak demand and the need for compressed air outstripped system capability. Many of the compressors were old and in a poor state of repair. Secondly, the air distribution system was unreliable. This meant that some areas of the plant received a good air supply while others did not. If one compressor failed, it could create problems for a whole area of the site.


company to investigate the installation of a new compressed air system. The first step the company took was to

analyse its air usage. During this process, it found that if it ran both thermoforming lines together it had a problem as the machines were sensitive to minimum air pressure. As a short- term fix, it fitted an extra temporary compressor. However, armed with an accurate

The new distribution system was installed alongside the original one, then air supply was switched over during a single weekend

The centralised system offers high energy efficiency and plenty of stand-by capacity

picture of its air demand, Cranswick approached a number of suppliers to commission a new system. One of Cranswick’s sister companies had recently fitted a BOGE air compressor and was very positive about its performance and reliability. “We wanted a centralised system with

high energy efficiency and plenty of standby capacity,” said Milner. “BOGE’s solution gave us the extra capacity we needed. It also included a dryer to ensure high quality air and a better distribution system.” There are just three compressors at the

heart of the new system. These sit in the plant room and replace the 10 compressors that were dotted around the plant. All three new compressors have a 55kW rating: two are fixed speed, while the third, which acts as the duty compressor, is variable speed. There is now enough capacity to run

the plant on the two fixed-speed compressors with around 25% to spare. This extra capacity gives Cranswick the opportunity to expand by up to 40% in future. Milner sees this as a medium- term priority. “We could easily add extra compressors

and dryers,” he said. “At the same time, we’re using more efficient machines, which helps us to manage our footprint.”

EASIFIT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM In addition to the compressors, BOGE fitted a new distribution system for Cranswick using its EasiFit distribution pipework system. The 63mm diameter pipe, made from lightweight aluminium, was easy to install as it uses push-fit connections and requires no welding. The ability to join, break in and adapt the design makes the configuration options variable. The simple design means that extra drops can quickly be added without the need for specialist thread cutting equipment. “This was ideal because the distribution

system is in the roof void, which can be hard to access,” said Milner. “With traditional galvanised steel pipe, it would have been more expensive and difficult.” The new distribution system was

installed alongside the original one, then air supply was switched over during a single weekend. Milner says that the new system, which was installed in early 2018, has solved all the company’s air- related problems. “We have no downtime caused by low

air pressure, air quality is much better, and it all fits in the plant room,” he said. “The system just runs, and we don’t think about it, which says it all.”

BOGE Compressors


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