The Challenge

WASTE is a major issue for food manufacturing where margins and deadlines are tight. Unilever Foods Knorr provides food solutions for catering which was in turn responsible for producing high value sauces in the industry and to millions of consumers worldwide. They called in HpE Process Ltd to design and install a bespoke product recovery system that would cut the amount of the waste that was being generated and subsequently reduce costs.
The task was a difficult one especially within the time frame set, but one that the HpE team had significant experience for and we worked efficiently right away to ensure the system was the right one for the job and that the brief was delivered on time and up to spec.

The Solution

Our solution had to accommodate a number of factors that were very specific to the product and Unilever. Some of the sauces contained significant amounts of freshly cooked vegetables that needed to be kept whole.
It was also a hot-fill process and needed to be transferred to the filler and packed/sealed without allowing the temperature to drop below 90 deg C.
The filler bowl was too small to take all the product that would be recovered from the line so the system needed to be able to stop & start in line with demands from the filler.
The system also needed to work with Unilever’s strict quality control procedures and hygiene standards. Having worked with Unilever previously installing other product recovery systems, we were seen as the go to company to help with the problem.
As a solution to the problem, HpE Process Ltd supplied and fitted a 3” Premisphere product recovery system, new product pump and new process valves. We worked with Unilevers’ preferred control systems contractor. The installation allowed Unilever to recover product between batches without running a CIP process, then run a recovery sequence with CIP only when needed.

The Outcome

Since the system was fitted it has worked to schedule running efficiently and reducing the levels of waste. Premisphere has helped Unilever to recover 200 litres of every 3000 litres of Knorr product that they manufacture. This was previously sent to drain. Unilever have better production efficiency, reduced the load on their effluent stream to help them meet their environmental targets and reduced the number of line cleans that are required – the project was a successful one and had a tangible payback.
Jon Skinner, Project Manager for Unilever said: “Since HpE installed the Premisphere recovery system, we’ve had no issues whatsoever with regards to waste. They delivered the brief on time and to spec, coming up with a bespoke system that met our needs. We look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Andy Allman, HpE Director; “This was a particularly exciting project for us. There were a number of complex engineering challenges all requiring a fully hygienic solution to meet Unilever’s stringent hygiene demands. This is what we do best and our team rose to the challenge.”