Food and Beverage

Good power quality is essential to maintain uptime and sanitation in the food and beverage industry. Continuous processes in particular are susceptible to disruption by power events. Monitor your power today to protect your process.


Refrigeration is a major energy consumer. Bakeries, restaurants, butchers, supermarkets, and processed food factories all require large refrigerators. The operation and maintenance of refrigeration is a large portion of these facilities' operating cost.

Refrigeration is most commonly powered by induction motors. Inductive loads have a low power factor that utilities penalize through surcharges. Most refrigeration is operated by traditional thermostats and across-the-line starters. The starting surge can cause a sag with effects elsewhere, such as lights dimming and relays opening. Newer refrigeration may use a variable frequency drive. Nonlinear loads like variable frequency drives produce harmonics that may interfere with other equipment and overheat motors and transformers. Harmonics also contribute to low power factor with the aforementioned penalties. Other food and beverage equipment, such as extruders and ovens, are particularly susceptible to disruption by power quality events. Disruption of continuous processes is costly through additional labor, overtime, and product loss. Power quality monitoring is an essential first step to eliminating these issues.

Denison's engineered gateways may be installed to monitor the whole plant's power quality and the power quality of individual lines. Denison's software application can support an unlimited number of these gateways, providing a cost-effective pay as your facility grows. Monitoring is particularly important to disentangle power quality issues caused by refrigeration and other equipment from those that originate outside of the facility.

Correcting any power quality issues will increase the lifetime of motor drives and reduce utility bills through improved efficiency. Even a modest improvement in refrigeration energy efficiency can lead to large cost savings in utility bills. Power factor surcharges will be eliminated. Any impact of refrigeration's dirty power demands on other processes will be minimized. Denison's continuous monitoring tracks real-time energy use and power factor enabling easy troubleshooting of the mechanical side of refrigeration. Most mechanical problems will affect the load profile. Denison's software can be configured to detect short cycling, long cycling, and unexpected current or power factor. Catching refrigeration problems early reduces the maintenance burden. Problems can be repaired during scheduled downtime without product loss.

Power Quality in the Food and Beverage Industry

In 2017, US food and beverage revenue exceeded $16 Billion USD, with an expected growth rate through 2022 of 12.5 percent. (Source: Statista). Industry experts estimate the Total Downtime Cost (TDC) in the food and beverage industry to be quite high – from $100K USD to $1MM USD per hour.

Food and beverage manufacturers report an average of 20 costly disruptions per year. Industry experts estimate 30-70 percent of these disruptions are caused by poor power quality. Many experts estimate downtime can be reduced by 20 percent when companies focus on improving power quality across their enterprise. (Source: Rockwell Automation). Most companies do not measure and monitor power quality in real time, missing an opportunity to improve operations and profit. Disruptions in food and beverage are often caused by complex problems with long recovery times.

Disruptions cause product scrap and safety hazards. Key processes used in the food and beverage industry such as ovens, dry extrusion, aseptic packaging, boiler controls, refrigeration controls, ammonia compressors, and air compressors all require reliable, consistent, and low-cost energy source. Power quality is important to maintain operational stability and product quality.

Poor power quality experienced in any of these applications can have severe operational and financial impact.

Large bakery facilities are impacted by poor power quality. Voltage sags can have a negative impact on the baking process. If the oven controls or material handling are jeopardized, products can be over or under-cooked, leading to reduced quality, food safety risks, and product loss. A stalled conveyor or overheated oven presents a fire risk. Voltage sags impacting a dough machine might create a 20-minute disruption. A main conveyor system stoppage might take 1-2 hours for auto-restart or 2-4 hours to manually restart. Voltage sags impacting the back end of the same bakery process might cause up to two hours of production loss.

Food extruders (cereal plants, pet food plants, extruded fruit producers, and snack food manufacturers) are impacted greatly by power quality. Extruding disruptions from by voltage sags cause 2-10 hours of downtime, costing an estimated $200K USD to 10MM USD per single occurrence. Improving power quality has a substantial benefit for extruders, particularly when solutions are implemented across the enterprise.

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