Food Production/Packaging Expansion

Food Production/Packaging Expansion

Client: Confidential food processor

A food processor hired Burns & McDonnell to expand processing capacity on one of its extruded product lines and increase packaging flexibility within its entire extruded department. In addition to installing six new packaging stations, the project relocated much of the existing packaging equipment within 25 operating lines, requiring a precisely coordinated shutdown schedule. Project work included processing and packaging area layout modifications, platform and lighting design, controls implementation, equipment selection and procurement, installation and startup services.

  • Detailed design
  • Equipment procurement
  • Design-build
  • Shutdown coordination
  • Systems integration
  • Startup services

This project added two new extruders to the existing four-extruder operation, which added 50 percent more capacity to the production line. To serve the additional extruders, the project also revamped the existing material handling system, installing new pneumatic conveying, bulk blending and dust collection systems. A new seasoning loop and refurbished flavoring application system accommodated the increased extruded product flow.

The increased extrusion capacity prompted expansion in the packaging area, where the project reorganized and expanded product distribution and added six new packaging lines. The complex packaging distribution system replaced 23 existing conveyors with 52 new and rerouted the drop points for 28 lines. New packaging lines included statistical weighers, foreign matter detectors, baggers, code daters, collators, pack-off stations, case labelers, case tapers and pallet stations. The project also relocated several automatic case erectors and packers and increased the plant’s central vacuum system capacity to accommodate the new equipment.

Burns & McDonnell’s six scheduled shutdown windows were extremely tight and required precise planning to return the lines to full operation within the allotted time. Due to the complexity of this work, the project team created a capacity optimization chart to identify the most efficient way to phase the construction in each shutdown and ensure the plant would not lose production capacity. The construction staff returned each processing and packaging line to complete operation after each shutdown to allow the plant to continue to run at full capacity during construction.

Burns & McDonnell managed all six startup phases of the project, coordinating 10 domestic and international vendors to start up their respective systems. When the plant requested ancillary items during startup, Burns & McDonnell’s purchasing team expedited this equipment, many times overnight.

A typical challenge when executing corporate projects on a plant level is to address plant requests while maintaining corporate standards and controlling project scope. This project met plant needs while protecting corporate interests. Burns & McDonnell engineered and installed this fast-track project on time and under budget, which led to repeated projects within this facility.

  • Executed project modifications on in-service production lines
  • Conducted majority of construction during highly planned shutdowns and performed construction with no loss in plant production
  • Used 3D modeling to integrate existing packaging structure with new additions
  • Prefabricated packaging structures to minimize production shutdown
  • Completed project on time and under budget