Conagra Brands Earns Second Place in SEMA's Program Category

Conagra Brands succeeds with compressed air, steam, and vacuum leak reduction project, which ties for a position in ProFood World's Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards.

Conagra Brands’ Menomonie, Wis., team displays the ultrasonic imager that helps it identify air leaks.
Conagra Brands’ Menomonie, Wis., team displays the ultrasonic imager that helps it identify air leaks.

This award-winning initiative involved Conagra Brands’ Menomonie, Wis., facility purchasing an ultra-sonic imager (FLK-119000) from Fluke. The imager detects compressed air and steam leaks in the facility and provides a survey for every leak that is detected, including an ultrasonic picture showing exactly where the leak is, the CFM rate of the leak, and the associated annual energy savings on kWh, depending on the local electricity prices. “We developed a program where maintenance will go out and use the imager to find air and steam leaks,” says Maria Peers, senior manufacturing system engineer.

“The area planner creates the work order for the leak to be fixed,” says Peers. “We have a tracker where we document all leaks, including the summary report from our partner vendor with the potential cost savings and kilowatt hours saved, the work notification, work order number, and date of completion. We review the status of the leaks monthly.”

After five months, the Menomonie facility saved 152,829 kWh of electricity, equal to saving about $17,000, by fixing compressed air leaks. The ultrasonic imager allows the plant to identify leaks while equipment is running. The project eliminated more than 95 metric tons of scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

“The imager was purchased in March 2020, and we started using it shortly after then,” says Peers. “Prior to purchasing the new imager, we were able to see how the unit worked to make sure it was worth the investment.”

The payback was realized in less than six months. “This tool makes it very easy to identify and under-stand how large a leak is and the associated electricity cost,” adds Peers.

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