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Case Study: MIA Products

Wed, 01/17/2007 - 7:57am
When MIA Products, a frozen dessert processor in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was faced with two nagging problems involving the electrical wiring system in one of its production areas, it turned to Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems to offer a solution. MIA, a division of J&J Snack Foods Corporation, manufactures a wide range of products for brands like Minute Maid and Barq’s.

To help keep its plant operations clean and hygienic, the frozen foods manufacturer must regularly hose down the large, stainless steel mixing machinery that blends ingredients for such dessert or food novelty items as frozen juice bars, frozen lemonade and Italian ice. Needless to say, this frequent flow of hot water, combined with ambient temperature variations, creates an extremely wet environment leading to leaks and condensation on the machinery’s wiring system devices. MIA wanted to find a way that would eliminate this water problem and ensure clean, safe working conditions.

A second challenge MIA had to face is a common one in the food processing industry: ever-changing product lines requiring frequent machinery change-outs. As new products are introduced, as seasons change, or as the same product lines have to be shared by different brands, food processors like MIA are forced into downtime to make the necessary equipment accommodations for the new products. MIA wanted to find a way that would makes these change-outs easier and quicker in order to maintain high productivity.

One solution that Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems was able to offer would address both problems in a single stroke: the Linkosity™ Plug-and-Play Wiring Solution, a proprietary alternative to traditional wiring for power applications.

According to Roy Itzler, senior product manager for Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, one of the biggest challenges in a situation like this can be dealing with hard-wired equipment. “These days, manufacturing or processing plants are not set in concrete,” he says. “It’s rare for a piece of equipment to stay in one place or to satisfy every production need all the time. In the ‘old world,’ plant engineers were locked into rigid electrical installations. Sometimes changing these rigid systems meant moving around heavy equipment or unwiring and rewiring connections several times a day. MIA was hoping for a more flexible approach, and when we came to them with our Linkosity solution that didn’t require hard-wiring, they were pleasantly surprised to say the least.”

One benefit to MIA's operation was that Linkosity eliminates the need for pipe-and-wire conduit systems and provides food processors the flexibility to change out machinery faster and easier, significantly reducing downtime. As Henry Anderson, maintenance manager at MIA, noted, “Downtime costs us $2,000 to $3,000 per minute on a particular line. Every minute saved is vitally important. Linkosity has reduced downtime for us by more than 80 percent.” Prior to installing Linkosity, a typical downtime occurrence took MIA about an hour to complete a machinery and wiring change-out. After the new wiring solution? "Downtime was reduced to around ten minutes per occurrence," he says.

For MIA corporate safety director, Paul Kennedy, one of the biggest benefits to Linkosity is the fewer connections: "Replacement wiring can be done outside the production area where motors can be prepared off line in a non-critical situation. This makes everything simpler and safer,” he says. “The ability to perform this work outside of the manufacturing area has the added safety benefit in that there’s no possibility of electrical shorting due to water ingress. The system also features a crush resistant cable jacket – yet another plus for safety.”

Besides its flexibility and safety benefits, Linkosity’s molded-body construction design helped address MIA’s immediate condensation problem. The system's modular components feature water-tight, molded-body connections that are resistant to condensation and corrosion, especially in an environment that is subjected to sudden temperature fluctuations. Because the internal electrical components are completely encapsulated via an injection molding process, there are no air pockets within the device that might lead to condensation or leakage.

For more information on Hubbell's Linkosity solution, contact senior product manager, Roy Itzler, at 203-882-4800 or ritzler@hubbell.com
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