New Air Compressor Design Helps Agricultural and Food Processing Industries Stay Competitive

Share Article

Direct-drive air compressors allow high-output and fail safe production so American packers can stave off foreign competition.

We use the air for peeling garlic and discarding the waste; in our optical sorters to keep out unwanted cloves; in the actuators of our package sealer; and for the weight scales in our packing room.

More a matter of survival than patriotism, general managers and operations personnel of American peeling, packaging and other food processing plants must maintain maximum product throughput, without fail, in order to stem the increasing tide of imported agricultural products. As pneumatic actuators and direct-air blasts perform the bulk of processing duties in most plants, packers find themselves turning to a new, direct-drive air compressor design to ensure maximum output and reliability.

No where else is this more the case than in the garlic industry, as garlic from China now accounts for two-thirds of the world's supply and threatens to snatch an even greater market share from American producers.

Sequoia Packing of Coalinga, California—with the second largest fresh-garlic packing capacity in the U.S.—provides an example of one peeling/packing plant that is successfully fighting back by utilizing direct-drive, industrial air compressors throughout their process to maximize output and avoid breakdowns.

"Compressors are used extensively throughout our plant," says Tony Villalobos, operations manager for Sequoia Packing. "We use the air for peeling garlic and discarding the waste; in our optical sorters to keep out unwanted cloves; in the actuators of our package sealer; and for the weight scales in our packing room."

"Up until about four years ago we had older, chain drive air compressors that kept breaking down and couldn't keep up with demand," continues Villalobos. "One broke down within a year's time, and when a compressor goes down I am out of business until the machine gets fixed. Since these models were too expensive to repair, I went out and bought a new Sullivan-Palatek unit. It had a great warranty, which impressed me. Once we used the first one, there was no doubt as to where the second air compressor was coming from. We got the other Sullivan-Palatek in 2003."

Sullivan-PalatekÒ, of Michigan City, Indiana, manufacturers a line of direct-drive rotary-screw, industrial air compressor systems that allow agricultural and food-processing industries to profit from greater reliability and energy savings in their pressurized-air operations. The increased reliability and output of this design stems from the use of larger air-end assemblies, which results in slower turning rotors that yield extended service life and higher pressure using lower horsepower. Extra efficiency results from use of a direct-drive rotary screw that eliminates unnecessary moving parts such as belts, gears and pulleys—thus reducing the parasitic losses attributed to belts (4-8% loss) and gears (3-5%).

"We run these machines pretty hard, and they stand up to it," comments Villalobos.

"There are no breakdowns. That's the important thing. I'd have no problem going out and buying another Sullivan-Palatek. In fact, right now I'm working on getting another one because we're getting so big that I need more. These air compressor systems are helping us to put China in its place."

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Steve Van Loan
Visit website