As the cost of flour hits a nine-year high, major bakeries and suppliers to the baked goods industry will have to examine every aspect of their operations in efforts to save money. Many of these companies rely on compressed air and, as such, investing in a reliable and energy-efficient compressor will continue to pay dividends long after flour prices have stabilised.
The production of bread and morning goods is a £3.8-billion industry in the UK, with nearly 12 million loaves sold in the nation each day. It is, however, an industry under significant pressure. The 2020 domestic wheat harvest was the smallest since 1981, owing to poor planting and growing conditions. This means that bakeries have become increasingly reliant on imports and, as such, global grain prices are having a more direct impact on the UK wheat price, which now stands at its highest level since 2012. It is therefore incumbent on bakeries to reduce their costs in other areas of their operations if they are to remain profitable.
Major bakeries and suppliers to the baked goods industry depend on high-quality compressed air to convey flour from silos to other locations within their facilities. Conventional compressed-air systems can struggle in these challenging environments, however, adding significantly to production costs.
During its journey around the facility, some of the flour may escape and can be dispersed into the atmosphere, before settling on machinery. This can be a significant issue for many compressors. Flour dust can interfere with the workings of such as their drives and, to discharge the waste heat, their cooling systems suck-in ambient air and any dust it contains, which clogs them up over time. This means that they must be cleaned frequently—increasing maintenance costs. Compressed-air systems can also be incredibly noisy, limiting the locations in a facility in which they can be deployed.
By contrast, the design of BOGE’s S-4 screw compressor makes it highly suitable for use in these conditions. The gear for the compression stage, the IntegrateDrive, is hermetically sealed, meaning that flour-dust cannot enter it—reducing the need for maintenance and granting it a service life of over 42,000 operating hours. It is fitted with a very large cooler—increasing the duration of intervals between cleans. The functional areas of the compressed-air system, meanwhile, are designed to be separate and easy to maintain, and the oil- and air-coolers are easy to reach.
The BOGE S-4 can be fitted with a VSD drive to ensure that it supplies compressed air appropriate to the volume of orders and type of baked goods being processed in an energy-efficient manner. The focus control 2.0 control system is designed to optomise the compressor’s operating conditions, and can be set to adjust the running of the compressor to the customers requirements. Further, the system enables the operating parameters and running conditions of up to four compressors to be controlled simultaneously. As such, S-4 screw compressors are suitable, for example, for three-shift operation.
The BOGE S-4 is also very quiet. The oil separator has been de-coupled from the base frame and sound insulation hood so that no vibrations are transmitted. As such, it can be deployed in a wide number of spaces; right next to a workstation, for instance.
Finally, the large-scale design of the compressor ensures that it can deliver large volumes of compressed air in an energy-efficient manner
In the face of high prices for flour, bakeries will have to make marginal gains in efficiency to stay profitable. Investing in a reliable and efficient compressor is one measure they can take to ensure that they can still earn a crust.