One of Engineered Sales’ (ESI) customers is a major multinational corporation that has been producing chicken and other food products since the 1930s. As one of the largest processors of chicken, beef and pork, they have locations all over the United States.
The company partnered with ESI to provide equipment to increase their harvesting output at a major processing plant. The existing facility was producing 330 units per hour and the project goal was to take them to the government-set industry maximum of 390 units per hour. To achieve this, the facility needed to install a series of custom hydraulic units that would meet long term operation standards and perform smoothly for decades to come.
Key Business Challenge
A key consideration for the customer was the serviceability of the components involved, so creating a design with serviceability in mind was crucial to the overall solution. A custom hydraulic design and installation is challenging to begin with, which is compounded by the fact that the equipment in question can be quite large, which makes accessibility for repair and service challenging.
Hydraulic Unit Design and Implementation
With the customer’s only requirements being a specific output, the ESI team had creative freedom when it came to designing this hydraulic unit solution.
In order to achieve the desired output of 390 units per hour, the customer had determined that they would require five separate hydraulic units. ESI collaborated with the customer and together they developed a design for all five units. While each unit’s flow and pressure requirements were unique, the layout and build standards were consistent. Standardized parts, including pumps, valves and fluid conditioning equipment greatly simplifies the process of stocking replacement parts.
Power unit sizes range from 8’ wide x 17’3” long to 13’ wide x 30’8” long with reservoir capacities ranging from 1400 gallons to 3400 gallons. In order to more easily move the units into place, they were built in a skid-type design. By breaking those large units into skid-sized pieces, they are much easier to maneuver within the plant.
The team followed established best practices in this custom hydraulic unit project, including ensuring that the connections were leak-resistant. Any type of fluid leak is disastrous for a food processing facility, so the team used SAE threaded connections to make sure everything was secure.
The customer doesn’t know what their requirements or limitations will be in the future, so the team built this solution to last for decades. The customers’ original requirements incorporated spaces in the units so that more pumps and motors can be installed in the future to increase capacity. Additionally, the consistent design means any output increases can be achieved quickly and easily, with a new pump/motor being installed in approximately an hour. Additionally, add-ons can be made without shutting down the unit, saving the customer money by eliminating downtime.
Filtration functionality was designed for maximum output capability for when the customer uses all available pump and motor power. Each new motor added to the existing units will require additional oil flow or filtration, so the units were designed to fully handle those needs in the future. The cooling requirements were defined by unit sizes and the plate and frame of the oil to NH4 coolers were externally sourced.
Why Work with ESI?
As mentioned above, the customer had specific requirements and metrics they needed to hit, but otherwise there was space to create a unique solution. While ESI did have the lowest cost among competitor quotes they were also the most inexpensive relative to the features offered. That, along with ESI’s industry experience, led the customer to choosing ESI to complete this custom hydraulic installation.
Custom Hydraulic Unit Results
With their newly installed custom hydraulic system, the customer is now able to produce the industry maximum of 390 units per hour at their harvesting facility. While the government sets that limit, the new hydraulic units can perform beyond it, were the maximum to change in the future. This position for growth means the customer won’t have to revisit these units for years.
ESI was able to install the customers’ custom hydraulic units on the target timeline and within budget, and is happy to report that there has not been a single failure since installation.