ConAgra Bleached Oil Filtration System
As a leader in America’s food production industry, one client has to constantly develop new processes to keep up with the demand for affordable and reliable nourishment. In 2010, this client began to notice inefficiencies with their Bleached Oil Filtration system located at their Memphis, TN plant. The bleaching process is the first of several oil refining steps that cooking oils go through prior to landing on grocery store shelves. After the bleaching process, oils are then deodorized, sterilized, and packaged for shipping.
An analysis of their situation revealed that the bleaching and filtration system had not been updated since 1976 and the low throughput rate was bottlenecking the remaining refinery steps. Even though the system was still operational, it posed several large concerns to operators. For example, the process of bleaching and de-waxing oil results in the accumulation of spent clay and carbon byproducts which are combustible and must be disposed of properly. At that time, the system required manual handling and cleanup of these byproducts which was a risk to both employee safety and the environment.
The scope of work required for this project included the design of a new production building to house the new bleaching, filtration and processing equipment. SSR provided the following engineering services: civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and process piping design. In addition, we also provided control and instrumentation system programming, integration services, and construction management. Due to the location of the project, challenges at the refinery site included significant site demolition and the relocation of two 1.5M lb (28 feet by 42 feet) oil storage tanks.
After plant operations resumed in 2013, the improvement in safety, sanitation, and housekeeping was immediately noticeable. By implementing modern filtration technology the risk of catastrophic failure was mitigated and the refining process has been de-bottlenecked. Due to our 35-year history of providing engineering consulting services to the Memphis plant and our intricate knowledge of the client’s FEL project methodology, the SSR team had no problems working on a fast-track timeline to achieve project success.