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Simplot Australia is a leading Australian food manufacturer and the home of some of Australia’s favourite food brands. The Potato processing facility at Ulverstone, is a state-of-the-art facility employing over 400 people.
Location and Production
The factory is located on the banks of the Leven River and is close to the rich fertile soil where Simplot sources its potatoes from over 165 local growers. Simplot Ulverstone processes over 250,000 tons of potatoes each year, good for about 150,000 tons of frozen french fries.
Simplot has been a valued customer of Teralba for many years now and have already proved the benefits of Dimpleflo® heat exchangers in previous projects. We innovated and used Dimpleflo® heat exchangers, to save energy at this plant. Lots of energy, but that is another story.
Challenge: Plant Upgrades
In 2021, with some critical parts of the plant aging and due for replacement, Simplot turned to Teralba for help. That’s repeat business… enough said! We worked closely with the Ulverstone team to assess the situation from a number of viewpoints. It turns out that the most critical factor for Simplot was the downtime aspect. The plant simply cannot afford to shut down. We needed to work out a way to build replacement equipment and reduce shutdown time to a bare minimum.
Solution: Modern Technology and Design Adjustments
Using high tech 3D scanning equipment, a detailed 3D model of the current unit was built.
How to make this happen? By using high tech 3D scanning equipment we built a highly detailed 3D model of the current unit. All the critical matching faces were captured and documented to very high accuracy. This included the support frame, steam connections and condensate return accumulation vessel.
The Teralba team optimised the new design to offer more performance while keeping the same footprint.
The Teralba team then used this file to hold all these critical faces within the design process. But this wasn’t as simple as copy and paste old for new. Simplot needed more heat exchanger performance out of the new unit. So, the challenge is a bit like getting more horsepower out of the same litres of engine. We had to look at all the operating parameters and assess what could be done to tweak and optimise.
Introduction of Dimpleflo® tubes significantly increased the efficiency of the heat exchanger.
By introducing Dimpleflo® tubes into the old design, we knew we would be significantly increasing the efficiency of the heat exchanger. Nothing matches the array of dimples for introducing turbulence. It is that jostling effect that breaks up the boundary layers and introduces eddies and vortices into the flow patterns. Ideal conditions for efficient heat transfer. So that was a given. Replace the plain tube design with dimpled tubes. There was a WIN!
Optimising Flow and Steam Distribution Patterns
Our team knew there could be more, so they optimised the flow patterns within the oil side and changed the steam distribution patterns.
The end result was 17% better performance, a big win for Simplot. Out with the old, and in with the new, same footprint, but enhanced performance.
The installation team also had a WIN. We studied all the detail, covered the risks, double checked our work, and the removal installation went very smoothly. The new Dimpleflo® fitted back where the old unit was, picking up the mounting points, the steam connections and the Oil connections. The unit arrived pre-insulated and ready to fire up. All part of the package.
Benefits of Local Production
Efficient Time Delivery
Then there was the delivery lead time, another WIN at Simplot Ulverstone. With overseas shipments in chaos in 2021 and so many supply chain setbacks, buying Australian made equipment cut many of these risks out of the equation. Teralba committed to a tight delivery schedule to help Simplot, and then delivered the goods early. A huge WIN in times of uncertainty.
The heat exchange unit plus the associated steam condensate receival vessel and valve gear, designed, detailed, materials procured, manufactured, tested, insulated, delivered ahead of schedule.
But the story does not stop here. Once the Simplot installation team had completed the install, Teralba was right there to assist the go live day. Commissioning went ahead without any setbacks and the Simplot plant is continuing with its real business – making potato chips.
Another happy customer. Another WIN for Dimpleflo®.