How to Boost Production Line Efficiency

By Clare Burns

Find out how CHP and other efficiency measures will increase the production line efficiency for food and drink manufacturers.

Food and drink manufacturing is the UK’s fourth largest industrial energy user, with a total annual energy consumption of 60.5 TWh. In total, the industry produces 13 million tonnes of greenhouse gases This has led to an industry target of reducing CO2 emissions by 35% by 2020.

How can manufacturers help?

Food and drink manufacturers can play a role in this by reducing energy consumption and energy waste through improved production line efficiency. 

Which energy is used in food and drink manufacturing?

Natural gas is the most commonly used energy source, making up 62% of energy usage. Electricity follows at 30%, with petroleum, fuel oil and coal coming last at 8%.

How is this energy used?

This energy is used in a variety of ways in food and drink manufacturing. 8% of energy is used by boilers for steam, hot water and heating. Another 8% of energy is used on electric heating. 6% of energy is used on refrigeration equipment (chillers), and 2% on air compressors. The largest users of energy are electrical motors (fans/pumps) at 16%.

What are the big production line energy costs?

Boilers and heating make up around 60% of a typical total energy bill. The next biggest cost comes from refrigeration and chilling, using around 50% of a site’s energy costs. Ventilation is one area of inefficiency driving these costs up. It can account for 25% of heat loss from industrial buildings.

How can you boost your production line efficiency?

1. Audit your site and identify areas of energy waste.

Poorly maintained boilers add 30% to heating costs and ineffective insulation can lose 10% of the heat produced in steam boilers. Badly maintained refrigeration equipment can also increase energy use. For example, overcooling by every 1°C increases energy consumption by 2%.

2. Simple energy saving measures       

There are a number of simple energy saving measures that can be put into place. For example, turn equipment off when not in use.

3. Implement major energy conservation measures (ECMs).

Upgrading or replacing inefficient boilers and chillers will have a significant impact on energy conservation. Another option is to install combined heat and power (CHP). High system efficiencies will help you to achieve energy cost savings of up to 40% and reduce your CO2 emissions by up to 30%.

ECMs also include fitting high efficiency motors and variable speed drives to pumps and fans - this will enable you to save up to 30% on running costs – and installing high efficiency lighting and controls as this will reduce energy costs by 30%.


  1. Implement production line efficiency improvement measures – including CHP.
  2. Reduce energy consumption, energy waste and CO2 emissions.
  3. Go one step further and implement CHP.