The Food Manufacturing Trifecta: Three Things You Don’t Want to Overlook (#3: HVAC Customization)

Who remembers this jingle: “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.” Beyond being an earworm, the commercial stuck because it conveyed an important message about delivering what the customer wants. In our business, it’s not as much about what the customer wants, but what the company needs.

It has been said that good design is where form and function come together as one.  Ventilation systems are no different when considering their role in the big picture of the complex world of food manufacturing environments. Using a “cookie cutter” approach will not produce the desired outcome in this setting; instead, acquiring real-time data and then incorporating the findings into the HVAC system design is the way to customize a solution that will be effective and efficient.

“Data in equals data out” is a buzz phrase that has been around for as long as people have been tackling engineering projects. Nowhere is that more apparent than with HVAC design and implementation. The importance of good data collection cannot be underestimated, because without this key component, a functional HVAC design is not possible.

By using thermodynamics, mathematics, and physics, we can begin to understand and assemble a system that operates inside a given set of established parameters. Special considerations must be given when addressing process-driven conditions in the facility, including moisture, heat, indoor air quality, and VOCs. How these elements are controlled with respect to airflow needs in the plant will play a significant role in the ultimate design of an integrated HVAC system, which will then support the manufacturing process.

The most important thing to remember is that every environment is unique, and has its own set of considerations that should not be ignored. In this way, every HVAC system is a ‘special order,’ but combining accurate data with sound analysis will ensure that in the end, you will have it your way.

ERP’s Key Concepts Related to Customization

Because each environment is unique, it is imperative to use cross-functional controls that adapt to the facility, the process, and the desired outcome.

Although facilities vary, the goal does not: Elimination of product contamination risk. By using superior quality as our end goal, we are able to design customized solutions that are flexible enough to account for differences while maintaining the highest levels of product integrity.

The Food Manufacturing Trifecta: Three Things You Don’t Want to Overlook is a three-part blog series focused on key areas that should always be considered when addressing quality control within a food manufacturing environment. Be sure to read #1: HVAC Measurement, and #2: HVAC Control Integration for a complete look at creating an ideal airflow system.