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Case Studies.


Case Study: Arla automated cream cooling tunnels

The Challenge:
Develop an inline palletised cooling system which caters for seasonal demand at the cream production facility at Arla Foods in Leeds.

The Solution:

Arla commissioned us to undertake extensive product trials using a modular section of the Penmann tunnel. We were able to establish accurate cooling times and analyse the retarding effect of fat crystallisation during the cooling process.

Our trials also confirmed that product quality was maintained at a high level.

We established that they could chill 500kg pallets of product from 35°C to less than 5°C, catering for an expansive range of product sizes and packaging arrangements.

Our rapid cooling using cooling tunnels ensures that consistent product quality is achieved. Using this system, Arla is able to dispatch product, safe in the knowledge that it complies with rigorous standards.

The Benefits:

  • Rapid cooling
  • Consistent predictable cooling
  • No product dispatched above 5°C
  • Product available for immediate dispatch
  • Inline cooling means less cold storage space required
  • Ability to cater for peak seasonal demand

Can we help?

Download Arla Case Study


Retail/Bakery Products – Bettys cake rack coolers

The Challenge:
Betty’s, the well-known Yorkshire craft baker, wanted to increase the output of their popular Yorkshire Tealoaf and Ginger Cakes by reducing cooling times without compromising their quality.

The Solution:
We were asked to undertake on-site cooling trials to establish the best cooling regime for each product. We designed a rack-cooling system comprising multiple bays, each capable of accommodating four product racks. Within each bay an adjustable baffle arrangement ensured optimum airflow over the products. Products could be cooled to less than 30°C in under 45 minutes to enable swift packing and dispatch.

The Benefits:

  • Reduced floor space requirements
  • Increased product output
  • Consistent product quality

Can we help?

Download Bettys Case Study


Case study: Mc Vities ( Pladis ) displacement air conditioning

The Challenge:

McVitie’s wanted to increase the rate of production to improve line efficiencies and overall output. The brand’s main problem was that existing cooling systems were unable to cope with the demands of a production environment.

It was agreed that new inline cooling systems should be installed on to the existing process. The only space available to implement the new kit was on a high floor, presenting problems of access that we endeavoured to fix.

The Solution:

The client commissioned us to undertake extensive cooling trials to establish both the cooling properties of the product and the performance of the existing systems. We designed a two-zone system, with each zone served by a dedicated air handling unit.

Conditioned air was distributed onto the product using impingement cooling plenums. These were located beneath insulated conveyor covers, which are light and easily removable. The system was successfully and safely installed, to the satisfaction of the client.

The Benefits:

  • Existing conveyors re-used
  • Minimum downtime to convert
  • 24/7 operation now possible
  • Client able to realise their return on investment
  • Expertly designed to enable easy access for service and maintenance

Can we help?

Download McVities Case Study


Food – Tulip pork pie rack coolers

The Challenge:

Tulip, one of the UK’s leading food manufacturers, needed to replace and upgrade their existing pork pie coolers located within the heart of their fully operational factory in Lincolnshire.

The Solution:

We were asked to undertake a comprehensive survey of the existing plant and produce an outline proposal. The project we devised involved the careful removal of the existing evaporating coils and its associated framework.

New enclosures, coils and associated stainless steel frames were installed, the cooling tower was extended and associated pumps were replaced.

The use of evaporative cooling to pre-cool pies is a very efficient method with a COP (coefficient of performance) being three to four times quicker than that of mechanical cooling.

In its completed form, our client was very happy with the technology we supplied and installed for them.

The Benefits:

  • New hygienic installation with future-proof capacity
  • Foot print of existing plant retained
  • Installed on time and within budget with minimum disruption to the factory
Can we help?


Snacks – KP Snacks displacement air conditioning upgrade

The Challenge: 

KP Foods had an existing plant serving two packing halls with an area in excess of 13500m2 and a cooling load greater than 1MW.

The existing system, which utilised air sock distribution, was unable to meet cooling requirements and also proved difficult to maintain.

The Solution:

We redesigned the system to operate as a displacement system. The air handling plants were reduced by 50%, with any retained units being refurbished.

The sock air distribution system was replaced with floor-mounted displacement terminals. Some terminals were mounted above production equipment due to floor space restrictions.

The refrigeration was replaced with a new plant approximately one-third the size of the original.

The new system only requires a supply air temperature of 17°C to 26°C in the occupied space, enabling the use of free cooling for most of the year. It also has the added benefit of minimising the amount of recirculated room air.

The Benefits: 

  • The conversion was estimated to reduce electricity costs by more than £70,000 per annum alone
  • Service and maintenance costs have also been significantly reduced as there is no requirement to remove and launder socks
  • Filter life has been extended and the refrigeration plant is only required to operate for 30% of the year
  • Staff also benefit from the improved working environment. This project had a payback time of just two and a half years
Can we help?


Food – Muller Dairy chiller and air handling unit upgrade

The Challenge:
Müller Dairies, with whom we have worked since 1995, were looking to add cooling to their existing ventilated production area to improve working conditions for their staff. They asked us to evaluate the existing air handling units to see whether we could install cooling coils, a new air handling unit and a chilled water plant.

The Solution:
The successful installation involved working around the live production environment to ensure no downtime and minimal effect on production output. The project was delivered on time and on budget.

The Benefits: 

  • Energy efficient chiller plant installed
  • Maximised utilisation of existing air handling plant
  • Improved working conditions for staff

Can we help?

Download Muller Case Study


Dairy Products – Dairy Crest high care Hepa filtration and sock distribution

The Challenge:

Dairy Crest needed to maintain a positive pressure environment in butter-packing areas utilising high-efficiency filtration to prevent contamination from yeasts and moulds.

The Solution:

We designed an air conditioning system utilizing three-stage filtration up to H10 grade.

As the use of air ductwork was restricted, we came up with the solution of air distribution via air socks. It was installed around the existing system, so there was no production downtime.

As a result of our improvements, there was increased control over potential contamination and an upturn in working conditions for personnel.

The client has subsequently committed to further contracts involving the removal of the existing plant and a replacement to ventilate the butter-processing area.


  • HEPA filtration to prevent yeast and mould contamination
  • Online installation with no production downtime
  • Installation in a difficult confined space

Can we help?

Download Dairy Crest Case Study


Food Ingredients – Kerry Ingredients displacement ventilation


When food ingredient manufacturer Kerry Foods were undertaking a factory refurbishment, they chose us to design and install their new ventilation system.

The system was to be value engineered to a challenging budget but also needed to meet the client’s exacting standards.


Penmann’s in-house design team developed an energy efficient solution, working on the principle of displacement air distribution.

The system was also designed to maintain a pressure cascade through the factory. Differential air pressure was monitored across production boundaries and controlled via inverter drives on fan motors.


  • Quick return on investment for our client
  • Cost effective value engineering
  • An energy efficient solution
  • Surpassed client’s high standards
  • Delivered on time and budget

Can we help?

Download Kerry Case Study

Case study: Global Confectionary product conditioning tunnels


The existing conditioning rooms did not meet the global manufacturing standard. A hygienic cooling system was required in a dusty environment, to be designed and built in a limited space.

The Solution

We were initially employed in a design capacity to assess the preferred solution design and come up with a modern equivalent.

To solve the company’s problem, we installed a multilane system with full PLC control, which was tailored to fit a very tight footprint with all plant mounted above the conditioning chamber.

This system was integrated with the existing site services and complied with stringent client specifications and standards. FAT (factory acceptance testing) was provided on all major plant.


  • Original target performance specification achieved
  • Hygienic construction achieved
  • Energy efficient solution provided
Can we help?

Desserts – Bakkavor Desserts high care air conditioning

The Challenge

The client had an old system in the powder mixing room, which was in poor condition and unable to maintain the required 10°C production temperature.

There was severe corrosion due to wash-down chemicals and the area never dried after being washed down, resulting in high microbiological growth.

We had limited space in which to design and build a solution which focused on reducing the humidity levels on the premises.

The Solution

Our solution was designed and built within a short timescale. It was installed with 24/7 production in progress and tailored to fit a very tight footprint with special wash-down functionality built-in.

The new system meets HEPA filtration levels, while the existing external refrigeration plant has been re-used. Our online defrosting has not caused any loss of performance.

The Benefits

    • A fully-automated system
    • Area completely dry after wash-down
    • Target production temperature now maintained
    • Microbiological targets achieved, reducing the risk of a germ breakout

Can we help?

Download Bakkavor Case Study

Biscuit manufacture – Burtons Biscuits multihead weighers conditioning


The chocolate chips in our client’s biscuits were melting in their packing platform area, resulting in staining of the area itself and an overall poor product quality.

Thanks in part to this staining, the product handling system also had to be cleaned frequently, a problem exacerbated by its location in a very warm area of the factory.

The Solution

To speed up the installation and reduce plant downtime, we enclosed the three metre production platform (where the conveyor belt system was situated) using a dry wall insulated panel system.

The area was congested with existing services, so the enclosure was carefully made to measure and installed around live production, causing minimal disruption for the client.

Low velocity air distribution was used to avoid impacting the weigh heads and a custom-cooling module was built into the fabric of the enclosure.


  • Area held at 18°C all year
  • Frequency of wash down reduced with resulting cost savings and improvements in line efficiency
  • Product quality improved
  • Chocolate products no longer melted, reducing waste from the facility
Can we help?

Dairy – Muller Dairy multihead weigher air conditioning and dehumidification


Food product handling issues were rife for our client. Their sugar-based products in the bulk bag discharge and multi-head weighing room were hygroscopic and kept sticking together, while the conveyor system, which was located on two different floors, also required frequent cleaning.

The Solution

We enclosed both the areas using a dry wall insulated panel system to speed up the installation and reduce plant downtime.

A full stainless construction was installed around live production in a high hygiene area, which was very congested with existing services. Both areas were individually conditioned to maintain low temperatures and moisture levels, while desiccant dehumidification was employed to achieve a low moisture level.

The Benefits

  • Areas held at design temperature and moisture level 24/7
  • Product clumping issues resolved
  • Frequency of wash-down reduced
  • Line efficiency improved
  • Product quality improved
  • Complaints reduced
Can we help?

Dairy – Dale Farm displacement air conditioning and heat recovery

The Challenge

The client’s old system in their filling hall was in poor condition, requiring a 100% fresh air system to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.

The 10°C room temperature required for such an operation made this system potentially very expensive to purchase and operate, so part of our job was to make this as cost effective a project as we could.

The Solution

We investigated a range of solutions for our client. Displacement air distribution was employed which reduced the total circulated air volume by 55%.

Heat recovery, or rather cold recovery, was employed between the exhaust and supply air streams, recovering 75% of the cooling effect from the exhaust air stream.

We also used an enthalpy wheel to maximise the efficiency of the heat recovery, and a molecular sieve wheel with a purge section and negative pressure design were employed to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.

A stainless steel construction was installed within the production area with supply air units. Together, all these improvements created a more efficient cooling environment.

The Benefits

  • Displacement ventilation ensured room temperature was maintained in the areas that really mattered
  • Displacement ventilation and heat recovery reduced the total energy consumption by 70%
  • Displacement ventilation reduced the air handling plant size sufficiently to allow the existing local plant room to be used, making the project viable
Can we help?

Bakery – Lantmännen factory ventilation and pressurisation

The Challenge

Our client’s bakery production area suffered from very high summer ambient temperatures and local over-cooling in winter.

Variable room pressures were having a detrimental effect on a number of the key production stages and affecting product quality, leaving the facility vulnerable to numerous hygiene issues.

The Solution

First, we assessed the existing ventilation and, where possible, retained as much as we could.

We then added a combination of new central plant and local ventilation systems to improve the overall temperature, and used air sock distribution in specific areas to provide local cooling for personnel and to minimise the loading on the roof structure.

The old and the new system were integrated on to a common building management system, and heat recovery from production was utilised to temper the air supply in winter.

The Benefits

  • Summer temperatures were significantly improved
  • Room pressure automatically controlled and maintained at a constant level
  • Product quality issues were eliminated
  • Winter over-cooling was eliminated
  • Existing plant reused, reducing cost for our client

Can we help?

Download Lantmännen Case Study

Frozen Potato Products – Lamb Weston displacement upgrade to ventilation system

The Challenge

The client’s existing poorly-designed system couldn’t maintain constant positive pressure within the production area to comply with BRC guidelines and low-level temperatures were high in summer months.

We discovered the existing fans had been applied incorrectly and, as the filters became soiled, the system pressure caused the fans to stall, resulting in an almost complete loss of air flow.

All of the supply air was delivered at a high level (7m), resulting in poor air distribution.

All supply grille boxes also suffered with very bad condensation, while the paint finish on these boxes was flaking off. The production area suffered from a bad combination of oil fumes (stemming from the frying process) as well as steam evident in the atmosphere.

The Solution

The air distribution was changed from high-level, high-velocity grilles to low-level displacement, while all the grille boxes were upgraded to stainless displacement terminals.

Any grilles which were over the product were relocated to aisles. Fans were also modified to prevent stalling.

The Benefits

  • Successfully maintained a positive pressure within the area
  • Energy consumption was reduced by 30%
  • 50% increase in the heat removal capacity of the system
  • Significant improvement in low-level temperature

Can we help?

Download Lamb Weston Case Study

Brewing – Coors brewing CO2 extract system


Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were intermittently exceeding legal limits and tripping our client’s gas detection system in the process area, regularly disrupting the production process and endangering the health of staff members.

The Solution

The source of the problem was traced to a number of specific tank vents. The discharge points of these vents were rerouted to a common point, where possible, without affecting their function.

A local capture system was designed to retain the CO2 but allow the product to escape, and a low air volume exhaust was installed.


  • CO2 levels maintained within acceptable limits
  • Low energy solution
  • Low noise solution to comply with very low boundary noise limitations
  • Original process operation unaffected
Can we help?

Cereals – Weetabix steam extract system


Steam was being generated during the extrusion process, leading to condensation on the building structure and process equipment and high humidity conditions for operators.

There was also the risk of product contamination from condensation droplets.

The Solution

We worked with the plant operators to come up with a design that would efficiently capture steam, whilst retaining the necessary access required and complying with hygienic construction standards.

We provided a full stainless steel trial unit for approval, but kept the existing system operational for as long as possible.


  • Our solution was approved by the operators
  • Moisture levels in the extrusion area were reduced to acceptable levels
  • Condensation on the building structure was eliminated
  • Cross-contamination risk was eliminated

Can we help?

Download Weetabix Case Study

Cereals – Cereal Partners process area cooling

The existing plant in the product forming area was old-fashioned with inefficient fans and high steam usage, operating on full fresh air.

The Solution
We stripped out the old systems and installed new ones, using high temperature production area air to eliminate the need for steam heating. The new systems were installed, one at a time, so as not to disrupt production.

We used existing apertures to minimise down time and complied with our client’s hygienic construction standards. Our full stainless steel construction featured energy efficient fans, utilised with inverter speed control.


  • Heating costs reduced to zero
  • Electrical consumption significantly reduced
  • System effect improved
  • Production efficiency improved as a consequence
  • Maintenance cost reduced
Can we help?


Case Study: Village Dairy high care ventilation and product cooling

The Challenge:
Identifying the need for a new purpose-built yoghurt production facility to expand their business, they approached Penmann for a solution.

We designed the production area’s high care pressurised ventilation and the product cooling blast chill.

The Solution:

Following detailed discussions with our client’s project team, we developed the following excellent value engineered solutions for both areas:

  • A dedicated air handling unit which has a three-stage filtration to HEPA filter standards, supplying high care.
  • The system is ducted to supply terminals in the production area and tank rooms — this ventilates and positively pressurises these areas to prevent ingress of yeasts and moulds.
  • A refrigeration plant capable of cooling all the production from 25 degrees to less than four degrees is installed in the chill store, enabling swift dispatch.

The Benefits:

  • Positive HEPA filtered air prevents yeasts and mould ingress.
  • Rapid cooling of production enables swift dispatch.
  • Controlled working environment for employees.
  • Project delivered on time and to budget, enabling rapid return on investment.

Can we help?

Download Village Dairy Case Study

Lantmannen Unibake

Case Study: Penmann delivers improved line efficiency with great pay back for Lantmännen Unibake

The Challenge:
The challenges of these projects included detailed product cooling trials to establish the cooling curve and the complex enclosure of the spiral. Working in a live 24/7 environment is not without difficulty and this was also accomplished through planning and co-operation between the two companies taking into account budgets and timescales that had to be achieved.

The Solution:

Penman completed the work between February and June 2018.

The first project was to ventilate the production area in their highly efficient manufacturing unit in Milton Keynes, to provide personnel cooling but also to remove some product load.

The second project involved the enclosure and cooling of an ambient spiral cooler to enable Lantmännen to increase throughput on their biggest burger bun line by 18%.

The Benefits:
“I have nothing but praise for the Penmann team, how they approached and managed these projects and the results they delivered. In terms of customer service, Andy Hinch, Design and Project Engineer, is one of the best I’ve worked with, constantly communicating and paying site visits more than we had anticipated and always available on the phone.

These improvements in automation and increase in throughput on our lines have the potential to save us in the region of £90K per annum. Would I recommend Penmann to other UK food producers? Absolutely”.

Can we help?

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