Faced with a surge in production levels, Victorian cheese producer Ferraro Dairy Foods turned to BOC for assistance with its gas requirements.

Based in Tullamarine, Ferraro is a tight-knit family-run business that supplies more than 25 varieties to some of Australia’s leading food manufacturers including Arnotts, Paddy’s Pies and Goodman Fielder. As production of shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan and grated parmesan increased, Ferraro needed larger volumes of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas, which resulted in a new solution to support its modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) process.

“Since moving to BOC, we’ve had no gas supply issues and can confidently increase our cheese production knowing that we have the right gas solution,” says John Ferraro, the company’s owner. “We don’t change for the sake of change – but BOC’s offer was competitive and they have really looked after us.”

The challenge

Ferraro had outgrown its existing gas system from a previous supplier, and now required more nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas flows and larger vessels to support increasing quantities of cheese packs being produced using a MAP process.

“We have a single chamber and double chamber machines that need gas all day long,” says Ferraro. “The high-pressure mixed-gas cylinder packs we had were connected directly to each individual machine which meant a higher risk of pipe freezing and interruption of gas flow.

“After hearing about what BOC did from one of our contacts, we were impressed and got in touch to tell them what we needed. They were able to offer us a perfect solution for our consumption that was competitive and different to what we had heard or seen elsewhere.”

The solution

BOC’s experts assessed the factory set-up and processing area and provided recommendations to Ferraro. BOC’s solution involved installing gas storage vessels, incorporating a mix-onsite unit and liquefied gas delivery by BOC’s CryoSpeed operators.

“We took the BOC expert into the factory and processing area, showed him the machines we had and the gas line that was coming in,” explains Ferraro. “It wasn’t left up to us – we’re not the experts on that. BOC nutted it all out.”

BOC installed a gas system comprising a two-ton cryotank vessel for liquid nitrogen, two 350kg Gasmatic vessels for the food-grade liquid carbon dioxide, and a mix-onsite unit to create the 30%/70% carbon dioxide/nitrogen mixture required for the packaging process. Pipework was also designed and installed to ensure the flow rate requirement for each machine was met. This provided Ferraro with a convenient, efficient and cost-effective gas supply solution that met its growing needs.

With high volumes of carbon dioxide being used indoors, BOC ensured Ferraro was compliant with Australian Standard 5034, installing a CellaGuard carbon dioxide monitor with four CellaGuard repeater displays at each entrance to the factory. The vessels and equipment have a small footprint and take up minimal storage space. All vessels can be refilled directly from BOC’s specialised CryoSpeed trucks, instantly removing the need for manual handling and switchover of cylinder packs.

The benefits

Since installing the pipeline and vessels, Ferraro has been able to increase its productivity with a consistent flow rate of gas achieved to all its packaging machines. The stationary vessels located outside the factory are replenished automatically by BOC with a telemetry system installed on the cryotank vessel to indicate when a refill is required. This has reduced the need for Ferraro and his team to manually handle cylinder packs and placing orders for new supplies thus creating a convenient and safe work environment.

“We found that the gas was very competitively priced and have already seen some savings since the solution was installed,” adds Ferraro. “There is no longer a need to spend 20 minutes each time we have to changeover a cylinder pack.

“We don’t need to think about our gas deliveries – every second Monday they top it up. BOC can track the usage levels and will refill it when it gets low. They have also installed a cylinder backup system to cater for any issues from the vessels but we have never needed to use them.

“BOC is always making sure any problem is addressed straight away and we are really looked after. We feel really comfortable with the setup. Every six months they come to the door to service our vessels. Most importantly, this solution has given us the confidence needed to expand our business while maintaining the strict food safety requirements of our industry.”