Oil Skimmers Deliver Efficiencies and Cost Savings in the Food Processing Industry


Remove FOG from water in food processing operations In the food processing industry, companies strive to deliver high-quality products, efficiently, and to ensure their production methods are environmentally friendly as possible.

Keep reading to learn more about:

  • How smart food producers are investing in equipment that lowers costs, while enabling the manufacturing of high-quality products through efficient processes.
  • How oil skimming equipment can effectively remove oil from the surface of other liquids (usually separating used cooking oil from wastewater for food producers).
  • How food manufacturers have used tube-type oil skimmers to reduce costs for energy, waste treatment and waste removal—all while maximizing efficiencies. 

Oil Removal Challenges, Methods and Success Stories in Food Processing

The Challenge

Large quantities of oil are used in the preparation of a wide variety of food products. The majority of the spent oil is drained from the cooking “pots” and recycled, but some remains behind and is flushed out during the cleaning process. This oil becomes part of the wastewater stream and is a challenge for most food producers.

Food producers sometimes use treatment chemicals to break down vegetable oil and/or animal fats in wastewater prior to further processing or filtration. However, removing free-floating oil first by using an oil skimmer would certainly improve the effectiveness of chemical additives, extend the life of filters, reduce maintenance and labor of filtration—and perhaps alleviate the need for chemicals altogether. 

Removal Methods

In an effort to remove used oil from wastewater, food manufacturers traditionally have used a variety of methods, including:

  • Displacement:Operators raise the water level in order to overflow the oil that rests on top. This method is not the most efficient for separating oil and water fully, so oil may remain in the tank, and the displaced oil can contain a lot of water, which lowers or eliminates its resale value.
  • Floating Pump:A time-consuming and labor-intensive oil removal method that requires frequent hands-on maintenance in which a pump is used to suck the oil from the top of the water. This, too, is an inefficient method in terms of clean separation of oil and water, because a large amount of water remains in the removed oil. Alternative methods such as tube-type oil skimmers can safely operate independently and continuously.
  • Absorbent Padding:Pads made from oil-absorbing materials are cast upon the oil and water mixture in an attempt to soak up the oil. This method is often used for oil-spill incidents, but is not very efficient or effective as an ongoing, procedural solution for a business because it is expensive and labor-intensive.
  • Removal Services:Third-party technicians pump out the oil and remove it from the customer’s site. These services come with high, recurring fees and require frequent visits to properly address continuous oil removal needs.
  • Oil Skimmers: Oil skimming equipment removes oil by cyclically introducing an oil-attracting surface into an oil/water solution. Oil adheres to the rotating element, which might be a drum or tube, for example, and is then wiped from the surface of the element and collected. The oil-adhering surface can be made from a variety of materials. Common types of oil skimmers include: floating drums, belts, mops, discs, or tubes.

    Oil skimmers offer continuous oil removal and achieve fast ROI because they can be a low-impact capital investment in terms of cost, space, and time. However, not all oil skimmers are created equal. Tube skimmers can offer significant advantages over other types of oil skimming equipment.

Success Stories

Eastern Foods, Inc.
Eastern Foods, Inc., is a processor of a variety of products for the foodservice industry, including salad dressings, tartar sauce, pancake syrup, coleslaw and waffle batter. The plant uses 50,000 gallons of water a day for their processing and cleanup operations. By installing a tube-type oil skimmer as part of their wastewater treatment system, they are able to sell skimmed oil to a reclamation plant for $6,000 each year.

Brakebush Brothers
At Brakebush Brothers, a manufacturer of frozen, cooked chicken products, tube-based oil skimmers have eliminated the need for additional chemicals used to specifically treat the effects of oil in wastewater and have lowered the volume of solid waste removed from wastewater. Prior to installing the oil skimmers, large slugs of oil would form in the wastewater, reducing efficiency and clogging the belt filter press. Managers had to add alum and lime to treat the slugs. Today, each skimmer removes 1,392 pounds of oil daily from the wastewater stream, and slugs are no longer an issue.

Doskocil Food Service Company
Doskocil Food Service Company, a division of Foodbrands America, produces two million pounds of pizza toppings a week. Doskocil installed a tube-type oil skimmer to separate oil from the water the company uses to defrost freezer coils in the flash freezing process. This process uses 1,600 gallons of water an hour, and after installation of the skimmer, Doskocil was able to remove about 800 pounds of grease per day—enhancing operational efficiency and generating revenue through the sale of the used grease.

Free Guide: Oil Removal Challenges (and Solutions) in the Food Industry

To learn more about how using an oil skimmer in your food processing operation can reduce costs and maximize efficiencies, download our free eBook, The Complete Guide: Oil Removal Challenges (and Solutions) in the Food Industry.

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Topics: fat food industry food processing grease model 1H model 5H model 6v oil removal

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