The Sara Lee Bakery in Sacramento Can Use Fewer Compressors Now To Meet Its Compressed Air and Production Requirements
July 20, 2005
The compressed air system in Sara Lee's large bakery in Sacramento, California, began performing poorly after the system's pressure/flow controller failed a few years ago. This was a serious problem, because compressed air is needed to support the bread-making machines' stacking, blowing, and cleaning operations. After the controller failed, staff found that they had to operate three compressors at once to meet their production targets.
So the company decided to commission Draw Professional Services, a DOE Allied Partner, to evaluate the system. Frank Moskowitz, a Qualified AIRMaster+ Specialist and instructor at Draw, used the AirMaster+ software tool to evaluate the plant's compressed air requirements and to look for ways to use the available supply more effectively.
The result was a system-level strategy for improvements that involved repairing the controller, fixing leaks, and replacing one 150-horsepower compressor with a 100-horsepower unit fitted with a variable-speed drive. This strategy greatly increased the compressed air system's efficiency and performance while reducing the bakery's annual energy and maintenance costs.
Measurements show that Sara Lee is saving about 471,000 kilowatt-hours annually and $40,000 per year in operating costs, as indicated in the AIRMaster+ estimates. Maintenance costs also declined, saving another $10,000 per year. An $11,000 rebate from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District brought total project costs down to $27,000, for a simple payback of only 6.5 months.
Sara Lee Bakery Group, a division of Sara Lee Corporation, prepares and markets a full line of packaged baked goods in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The 300,000-square-foot Sacramento bakery, built in 1929, has 450 full-time employees and operates seven days per week.