Dealing with high CO2 levels at a soft drink canning line

Upgrading the extraction system and ductwork to reduce the levels of CO2 and deliver a safer working environment for a multinational beverage company

 

Assessment of the levels of CO2 in the plant

A large multinational beverage company had a manufacturing plant in the UK with up to 220 employees. This particular plant had 9 manufacturing lines and was producing around 60 million cans of soft drink per year, averaging 2000 cans per minute. In the high-speed canning line, there were concerns that the CO2 levels were quite high and so they commissioned a survey of the canning facility with recommendations on any corrective action that should be taken to reduce the gas levels in the working environment.

 

Upgrading the extraction system and ductwork to reduce levels of CO2

The customer engaged Malone Group to undertake a CO2 survey on the canning facility. The canning process at the plant involved the head space above the beverage being injected with CO2 and a nitrogen blanket before the can seamer sealed the lids while CO2 is being passed across the face of the can. CO2 being a heavy gas tends to fall. As a result of this canning process, the manufacturing line area was typically flooded with CO2.

 

After conducting a full survey of the manufacturing lines and analysing the levels of gases in the area and points of accumulation we provided our recommendations. These included the development of an improved fresh air supply and gas extraction system with ductwork to divert gases to the extraction ducts. The implementation of this system was planned around production to avoid any production shutdown on the high volume canning process. Malone Group provided design input and managed the contractors onsite through the installation and commissioning of the new extraction system safely. In parallel, our recommendation of continuous monitoring of gas levels and installation of alarms was also implemented to provide warnings when levels of gas in the air were escalating. The monitoring system was integrated into the fire alarm panels, with the aim to reduce CO2 in the area and mitigate health risks for employees.

 

Reduced risk and safer work environment on production lines

As a result of the implementation of our recommendations, the levels of CO2 in the canning facility dropped significantly. Operators in the area were protected by an alarm system continuously monitoring gas levels, thereby reducing any health and safety risks in the working environment. All of this was achieved without impacting on the production process.

Food & Beverage