Case Story Jellice & Inventflow:
process optimization is done together

Case Story Jellice & Inventflow:
process optimization is done together

From the Haribo bears, licorice or toffees to cosmetic products and capsules, it all contains the binding agent gelatin. We visited one of the largest gelatin producers in the Netherlands, Jellice in Emmen. The company has been a valued customer of Inventflow for over 10 years. Together with Jacques van de Beld, Maintenance Manager at Jellice, we took a look behind the scenes and looked back at the successful collaboration.

Gelatin: how it's made

Jacques: “We produce gelatin from pork rind here, using a number of chemical and physical steps. Dolavs with 800 liters of pork rind come in continuously. When you fry a bacon in the pan and you have that hard edge? That's what we receive here, in large quantities. At the butchers, the meat is completely stripped from the rind, leaving you with nothing but pork rind.

For example, we make the raw materials for Haribo. There is a very good chance that the wine gums you have in your car contain gelatin that we produce here. Our production is fully focused on serving the food industry. From the first step, extraction, the process is liquid all the way to the end of our product line. That is why we have a lot of pumps, valves and piping in our processes”.

The large quantities of pork rinds go into large tanks, where acid and other agents are added and mixed, after which the whole is brought to temperature. After this, the product undergoes a filtration process, in which water and acid are removed. The product then goes through a number of evaporation steps to thicken it. To sterilize the product, it undergoes a UHT (Ultra High Temperature) treatment. Finally, the product goes through the votator (which resembles a kind of spaghetti mill) where it goes from liquid to solid again, and then it arrives on a 30 meter long drying belt, after which the product is ready within the first plant.

Jacques: “From the first plant, the product goes to the mixing & milling department, where customer-specific orders are made. The orders must meet a certain viscosity, flour values and other properties. A jelly bear is soft, which also contains gelatin, and licorice is hard. So we make different types of gelatin, tailored to what our customer wants.”

Process optimizations over the years

Jacques: “We are constantly trying to make our processes more efficient, that is the ultimate goal. In the meantime, we are working on an expansion project to increase our production capacity by approximately 40%. That's quite a step. Broadly speaking, the process remains the same, but of course we are constantly making steps in the field of smart process technologies, on the way to a SMART factory.

Optimizing the visualization of process data so that we gain more and more insight into every part of the process is an important part of what we do. We want the important data for production to be transparent, with which we also ensure that it becomes easier for the operator to operate. We've come quite a long way in this. The processes are richly equipped with measuring equipment and sensors. Everything is logged and co-written, from which our process technologist can draw a lot of data. In this way we continue to optimize the process.”

The main goal as Maintenance Manager is 100% availability, explains Jacques van de Beld. That is a very challenging goal, in which the last few percent in particular cost a lot of time and money, but are essential for reliable processes. It ultimately determines the output of the factory.

Understanding and monitoring critical process pumps

Jacques: “If a process-critical pump fails and we happen to not have it in stock, then we have a problem. In our process, mechanical seals regularly break. The moment gelatin cools, it hardens. If the pump is switched off and it has been rinsed too short, the seal will stick. If the pump is started afterwards, the seal is in tatters. That is why we have the seals of 80% of our pumps in stock. We can replace these ourselves, but in these cases extra manpower and expertise is very important. Fortunately, we can always contact Inventflow if we need extra hands, a replacement pump or parts quickly”.

Decades of collaboration

Jacques: “I am very satisfied with the collaboration with Inventflow. I think the most important part of the collaboration is that their people think along, I'm super satisfied with that. The contact has always been smooth. For example, Richard always thinks along very well. Required pumps or seals are placed on the shelf at Inventflow to ensure that delivery times are short. Because we never have everything in stock, it sometimes happens that we urgently need a replacement pump. That's where your IndustriePlaza comes in handy, where you can almost always find a suitable pump."

The role of the Inventflow Service Center

There is a strong focus on maintaining and optimizing the maintenance system, says Jacques. On the one hand to gain more and more insight into all parts of the process and associated activities, but also to improve communication between the technical service and production.

Jacques: “The Inventflow Service Center is completely filled with data about our pumps and we benefit a lot from that. This gives us insight into which brands and types of pumps we have, with the aim being to standardize to a limited number of brands. This is to create more unity in the factory, so that we have fewer spare parts in stock. It also offers direct insight into important data. For example, I type in 'IF280' (pump number) and I know exactly the connected load of the motor, the output, how many meters of water column it can press, and more. On the basis of this we can look at a similar application, to see which brand and type of pump we have there. We then request a replacement pump of the same type, according to the required specifications. This way we can standardize step by step.”

Another important advantage for the gelatin producer is the build-up of maintenance history, which provides insight into the entire lifespan of a pump. Does a pump require excessive maintenance and cause malfunctions? Through insight into maintenance history at pump level, so-called 'problem pumps' can be identified. It can then be assessed whether the pump is suitable for the product to be pumped and the relevant process conditions.

Jacques: “We have lobe pumps here, for example, which pump rind and water from a tank. There are rubber lobes in the pump and there may be bits of bone in the pork rind. This destroys the lobes. We have installed an Egger pump here with a retracted impeller and since then we haven't had any significant failures.”

The conditions and performance of all pumps in the factory are measured and analyzed annually. Based on visual inspections, power, vibration and noise measurements, the company is provided with inspection reports and associated advice. Important data is also collected and built up with this, which provides insight into annual developments in the field of pump conditions and performance.

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