Direct Air & Pipework has supplied an air compressor and associated equipment to Thatchers cider after seeing construction start on its Jubilee building and cold calling the client.
It is the first time the company, which employs 27 staff, has won a contract with the beverage manufacturer. Its other customers include Greencore Group, McCain and Winstones Ice Cream.
Tim McGill, general manager, Direct Air, told FoodProductionDaily.com it took two days to install the BOGE SLF 51 air compressor and downstream equipment.
'A real coup'
Thatchers wants to double its fermentation process and increase production from 52m litres of cider a year to over 100m litres.
“It was a real coup for us to win this deal. We saw the extension being built and decided to make a cold call. You can’t stand still nowadays given the economic climate and this is proof it does work,” he said.
“We installed one air compressor as well as dryers, filters, a receiver, and an oil and water separator.
“Air compressors such as this are becoming more popular among manufacturers because of its energy efficiency and savings.”
The Jubilee building, named in honour of the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebration, will be used for packaging and kegging and will open in May.
The BOGE SLF 51 air compressor has a specially designed airend, which provides high output volumes at low energy consumption. A reduced system pressure decreases off load running, which reduces start-up peaks, that contributes up to 40% energy savings.
Neil Day, operations director, Thatchers said it wants to rely less on non-renewable energy sources and introduce sustainable measures across all its production process.
The building has natural ventilation for cooling, large windows for natural light and a biomass boiler for heating.
“We have seen a new wave of companies driven by costs and everyone is looking to reduce energy costs,” added McGill.
BRC Global Standards
“BRC Global Standards (safety and quality certification program)dictates what goes on in the industry. We are currently making customers aware of using food grade oil instead of mineral oil in compressors and we are a member of the British Compressed Air Society.”
According to the BRC, due to variations in the design of compressors some need oil in the compression stage and some do not. For food production where the compressed air comes into direct contact the amounts of oil present and type of oil allowed should be strictly controlled.
Some food producers have internal requirements where no oil is allowed to come into contact with food. Maintenance is a key element in ensuring that the compressor(s) and other equipment retain acceptable operating conditions. The controls applied to all types of contaminants may either be a customer requirement or one set by regional or national legislation.
It has launched Food Grade Compressed Air - A code of practice referring to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles for food and beverage production and processing.