What has coffee to do with compressed air? More than you think. Because also when making a good espresso pressure plays a crucial part. At Ahold Coffee Company in Zaandam they know everything about pressure and coffee! Besides the generic brand Perla, other brands of coffee are also produced under private label for both domestic and foreign buyers. When the outdated compressor installation needed updating, we applied to three suppliers for quotations. That ALUP Compressors came out as the winner, was certainly no coincidence.
Every day, shipping containers full of green coffee beans are delivered by truck, which are roasted, mixed and finally leave the factory of the Ahold Coffee Company in Zaandam as beans or ground coffee. Besides that Ahold Coffee Company also produces coffee pads. When the production lines are running at full speed, thousands of pads are produced every minute! The beans go in “soft packs” to the client, while the pre-ground coffee types in espresso or extra-fine grind (differs per country) are delivered in “soft packs” or vacuum packing.
Because Ahold Coffee Company produces different kinds of coffee, this is clearly batch production. The production lines and other installations are maintained by an in-house Technical Department. “We do not just maintain the machines, we also carry out modifications to the machines," says Project leader Engineering Patrick Zuurendonk about the specialized work of the Technical Department. “We also do most of the engineering by ourselves. We have installed the new compressors by ourselves, while ALUP performed the commissioning. We use pretty much compressed air and also vacuum that we apply, amongst other things, for the internal transport of coffee beans and ground coffee, and in the packaging lines."
We are working on saving energy pretty intensively. With a new compressed air installation the energy consumption would decrease.
"There were two reasons to look for a new compressor installation," Patrick Zuurendonk says about the selection process. "Firstly, the existing compressors were pretty old, and therefore not really profitable, while maintenance costs increased. A new installation would not only mean a saving in energy costs, but also lower maintenance costs. This was however quite a substantial investment, so you have to calculate a lot in order to properly evaluate what is the best solution. We measure our compressed air consumption fairly detailed so that we know exactly what the current and historical consumption is. For this we use a separate monitoring system. We are working on saving energy pretty intensively. With a new compressed air installation the energy consumption would decrease.
Next we asked three compressor suppliers to come up with an offer. All three they performed measurements here and made us an offer. It was striking that the three offers varied pretty much. One of the three came with a proposition for the combination of 1 large and 1 smaller compressor. The second offered four equal compressors and ALUP offered 3 90 kW Largo screw compressors and a frequency controlled 76 kW Allegro compressor. Well, that made us do some math. It stood out that ALUP could present in great detail how the installation would perform under various conditions.
ALUP however could deliver the Allegro 76 directly from stock, so it was on our doorstep the next day. Excellent service.
“Just when we were in the middle of the evaluation and actually already were choosing ALUP, one of our old compressors broke down. So panic broke out and we immediately called ALUP and asked if they might have a solution. Otherwise we had to rent a mobile compressor quickly. ALUP however could deliver the Allegro 76 directly from stock, so it was on our doorstep the next day. Excellent service. Only the heat exchanger still had to be installed, but that could be done at a later point in time. Also the other Largo compressors that we installed later, are equipped with a heat exchanger, so we can recover heat from the compressors. This way the overall energy costs of our factory will decrease even more. The compressed air installation has a capacity of 63 m3/min, while the highest peak usage measured now is 40 m3/min. So this means that the installation is redundant. There is also a rather large 5,000 litre buffer tank, and the dryer installation and the filter system (Class 1 with active carbon filter) are also redundant. With our old installation we had to rent a compressor when one of our compressors needed maintenance. That is no longer necessary. The maintenance on the installation is carried out by ALUP on a contract basis. In that context, oil samples are taken on a regular basis and we measure the power consumption, so we thus monitor the status of the compressors. In short, we are very satisfied with our new compressor installation.”