By working with GaMEP, Roger Wood Foods has:
- Reduced condensation which led to a decrease in downtime of 15 percent.
- Installed numerous recirculation fans, leading to increased productivity, as team members were no longer having to change the plastic condensation sheets.
- Implemented a road map that is applicable for the plant to use in the future.
- Removed three exhaust fans saving energy and removing less conditioned air from the facility.
- Increased their internal score regarding efficiencies with outside regulatory agencies by 38 percent.
Located in Historic Savannah Georgia, Roger Wood Foods is a third-generation family-owned and operated food processing company that produces great-tasting smoked sausage and meats. For 85 years they have prided themselves on making superior products and were awarded the SQF certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute for going above and beyond in quality assurance required by the USDA.
At Roger Wood Foods, they couldn’t escape the humidity and the South that go hand in hand. The plant was experiencing a negative air balance, which created condensation due to the hot, humid air hitting the cold work surfaces. Plastic sheeting was used to shield the food, but this was only a temporary fix. Angela Travis, controller for Roger Wood Foods, reached out to Ben Cheeks, coastal region manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, to find an expert to help them properly solve this problem and remain USDA compliant.
Cheeks brought in Jason Clarke, project manager for the energy and sustainability group at GaMEP, who had just the expertise Roger Wood Foods needed. He conducted a plant air flow study to determine the root cause of the issue. Clarke discovered that since this was an older plant with numerous additions, air was not flowing properly to all areas of the plant. He also witnessed on several occasions that doors to the outside were left open, allowing the humid air in at a faster rate. In a controlled environment, you want a slightly positive air flow. Clarke found that there was not a “directed” air flow in the facility, and more air was going out than coming in, which created a negative air balance throughout the facility. This not only produced condensation problems on the plant floor but also affected the front office area as well.
Clarke created a road map for Roger Wood Foods to get control of the air flow issue and reduce the condensation. The suggestions included:
- Changing employee practices and behaviors to make sure doors and windows remained closed.
- Strategically placing exhaust fans to direct air flow effectively.
- Adding on plenum air ducts instead of using one large air duct to create an even air flow and reduce stagnant areas.
- Installing an air makeup unit and commercial HVLS (High-Volume Low Speed) fans that reduced condensation.
Implementing all of these steps balanced the plant’s air flow, reduced condensation build up, and led to increased productivity because of less downtime. The road map was so successful that Roger Wood Foods has engaged with Clarke on future energy-related projects to ensure the plant remains USDA compliant.