Processing Magazine

Nestlé enjoys decade of trouble-free cartridge dust-collector performance

Supplier determination and innovative approach enhances employee health and safety

January 8, 2014

When the Nestlé Prepared Foods Co. came to Jonesboro, Ark., a little more than a decade ago, Lee Morgan, the president of Jonesboro-based Camfil Air Pollution Control (APC), said, “We must have that business.”

Nestlé — at its Jonesboro plant, which was then under development — would need to contain spices or other dry food ingredients being mixed, as well as allergens that could become airborne during production. Issues related to combustible dust would need to be addressed.

Today, a pair of Farr Gold Series industrial dust collectors installed almost a decade ago capture any air particulates in Nestlé Jonesboro’s allergen and dry-ingredient mixing rooms. This on-going success opened the door for additional work for Camfil APC from Nestlé and other food processors as well.

It’s all the result of a conviction on the supplier’s part that if dust collection was being done in Jonesboro it could be done best using its home-grown solution, which, incidentally, “was already used all over the world,” notes Morgan.

Further innovative thinking on the part of Nestlé and Camfil APC was also involved.

Headquartered in Solon, Ohio, Nestlé Prepared Foods makes well-known food brands that include Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine and Hot Pockets. Its baking brands include Nestlé, Toll House and Carnation Milks. The company has more than 7,000 employees in Solon and nine manufacturing facilities, including Jonesboro. It is part of Nestlé USA, which is owned by Nestlé S.A. of Vevey, Switzerland, which, with 2012 sales of $10 billion, is one of the world’s largest food companies.

Further inducements

Morgan’s conviction that Camfil APC would be the right dust-collection solution for the Nestlé Jonesboro plant was only reinforced once he’d introduced himself and his company to the plant’s managers. After some initial objections, he’d quickly gained their confidence in his company’s capabilities. Camfil APC was given an opportunity to bid for the work.

Horizontal-style dust collectors are typical in the food industry for these type dust-collection applications. A unit, placed in a room, collects ambient airborne ingredients otherwise floating in the work area. What surprised Morgan was that examination showed this approach really didn’t work very well in these environments. Lacking the capacity to re-circulate the air expeditiously, most dust will settle in the work area well before ever reaching the collector.

When Morgan met with Nestlé production maintenance team leader Rob Froman and others they discussed dust-collection requirements and application challenges for both the allergens and dried ingredient rooms. “We’re responsible for seeing all our equipment runs to Nestlé’s high standards, including for safety and hygiene,” said Froman at the time.

Dust captured and held

“We could see the airflow, of about 1,000 cfm [cubic feet per minute] was inadequate for what they were trying to do,” says Morgan. “To really address health and safety issues, you needed to move about 15,000 cfm.”

Instead of the typical, Camfil APC proposed a system that captured food dust at the source. Stainless-steel pickup hoods at each mixing station would “pull” airborne particulates away from near-by, hard-at-work employees and into ducting leading to the dust collectors at each room’s rear.

Nestlé chose to invest in a system that effectively tackled dust control challenges. “The mixing room is clean and allergens are held in check because the dust never enters the work space,” says Morgan.

To address combustible dust concerns, it was also important to be NFPA compliant, with the means to vent out of the building. The 16-cartridge and 24-cartridge dust collectors have vertical explosion venting up and out to the rooftop. The module cells at each collector have no filters, allowing an unobstructed area for the inlet and explosion venting and demonstrating the versatility of Camfil APC’s solution.

In addition, the vertical design of the filter cartridges used deliver more efficient pulsing of dust, eliminating uneven dust-loading associated with horizontally mounted cartridges. A high-entry cross-flow inlet eliminates upward can velocities associated with traditional hopper inlets in industrial dust collectors. Channel baffles installed in the inlets protect filters from incoming dust and separate larger particles directly into the hopper, reducing the load on the filters.

Unfolding consequences

The collectors are in service 20 hours a day. Since standard paper filter media would have limited life in this application, Camfil APC recommended filters of a durable, high-efficiency spun bond media that is washable and reusable. Camfil APC says its filter technology is revolutionary to air pollution control because of its efficiency and long life.

“We have now done similar things for other Nestlé plants,” says Morgan, “and for other food processors. It is a solution for cleaner and safer dry-ingredient-handling at food companies.”

At Nestlé, performance has exceeded expectations, with only one filter replacement, in 2006, required in the past decade — causing Froman to conclude, “We have dust-free workstations for employees. The equipment has been so maintenance free that I will have to re-familiarize myself with it at some point. I have recommended the solution to other food processors.” 

A new video case study — "Capturing spices and ingredients at Nestlé Prepared Foods" — can be seen on the Camfil APC website at www.camfilapc.com/videos/Nestlé.

Camfil APC is a leading manufacturer of dust collection equipment and part of Camfil, the largest air filter manufacturer in the world. Contact the company at (800) 479-6801 or (870)933-8048; email filterman@camfil.com; website www.camfilapc.com.