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Food Processing General Mills Plant

Holophane luminaires boost visibility
at General Mills plant

Sanitation is a primary concern at all General Mills processing facilities. Plant facilities must be clean and sanitary, and they must be free of any contaminants that could mix with the product.

General Mills processes Gold Medal flour and Bisquick baking mix at its 80-year-old flour milling plant in Kansas City. When the re-enforced concrete facility was constructed, it was illuminated with an incandescent lighting system with glass globes. These fixtures were removed for sanitary reasons and replaced with luminaires with plastic reflectors. Over the years, the plant experienced problems with the plastic melting, which led to retrofitting the units with Bantam 2000® luminaires from Holophane.

“We considered a number of lighting systems from other manufacturers and decided against them because many were constructed with flat surfaces and nooks and crannies where the flour could potentially accumulate,” said Robert McClellan, electrical team leader for the General Mills plant. “The Bantam luminaires are enclosed and have curving surfaces that prevent the flour from adhering to them.”

Bantam luminaires with an Enduralume® acrylic lens and 175-watt metal halide lamps were installed in the processing areas on all eight floors within the plant and in the stairwells. The fixtures were mounted on hooks installed from 10 to 15 feet above the concrete floor—depending upon the ceiling height—and spaced 15 feet on center.

When the incandescent system was installed, light levels were only 5 footcandles. Presently, illumination levels are 45 to 55 footcandles in the processing rooms and 50 to 80 footcandles in the stairwells.

“At the start of this project, our goal was to double the light levels,” said McClellan. “By installing the Bantam luminaires, we gained significantly higher footcandle levels using less than half the number of fixtures we had originally planned to install. Employees love the new lighting system because they can see so much better to do their jobs.”

McClellan indicated the metal halide lamps were specified because of the quality illumination they provide and their color rendering capabilities. Employees inspect the milled product to assure that it is white. Any tinge to the light—such as the yellowish color provided by high-pressure sodium lamps—could detract from their ability to determine the flour’s color.

Vantage® Food Grade Luminaires from Holophane were installed above the packaging operations, which are located on raised platforms. Ductwork and piping crisscross the ceiling in these areas and are used to transport product. Flour tends to collect on the outside of the piping and must be removed by maintenance personnel who inspect the lines.

The Vantage luminaires supply 15 percent uplight, which not only illuminates the ductwork and piping for cleaning and inspection, but promotes visibility throughout the area. Like the Bantam 2000 units, the Vantage units have no nooks, crannies, ledges, latches or fins that attract the flour.

Vantage fixtures with 400-watt pulse start metal halide lamps were also installed in the boiler room, mounted at 30 feet. Because of the location of the boilers and the piping on the ceiling, several of the fixtures were installed down the middle of the room with the others mounted on steel support brackets along the walls.

“The Holophane luminaires have provided us with high levels of visibility and the flexibility we needed throughout the plant,” said McClellan. “Even though the fixtures have been installed for a short period of time, we expect them to require very little maintenance.”

The Bantam 2000 and Vantage fixtures are illuminated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The plant is developing a preventive maintenance schedule that includes changing the lamps and cleaning the reflectors on a regular basis.


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