In the mid-1990s, Johnvince Foods (JVF) purchased the comprehensive packaging rights to Planters Nuts’ Canadian division. Fast-forward 20+ years and nearly every major grocery retailer is purchasing its nut food products from JVF.
Operating out of its 350,000 square-foot facility in Toronto, JVF exports its packaged consumables to clients spread across three different continents, with ports of call in Japan, Italy, France, England, Singapore, and Brazil.
A firm believer in pushing the envelope on innovation, JVF was an early adopter of the process of packaging its products in a nitrogen blanket - known as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).
When using nitrogen, MAP removes oxygen and moisture from the packaging. A lack of oxygen keeps the nuts natural fats from going rancid, and the products stay fresh longer because they aren't exposed to moisture that’s present in ambient air.
Although MAP greatly enhanced product shelf life for JVF, it also added a significant cost to the packaging process as JVF was having to buy bulk liquid nitrogen from industrial gas suppliers on a continual, ongoing basis.
Things changed for JVF in 2006 when one of its senior managers became aware of the emerging process of onsite nitrogen generating technology supplied by Advanced Gas Technologies Inc. (AGT) and contacted AGT that January.
For a company that was having to buy nitrogen at whatever price the industrial gas suppliers dictated, the ability to generate nitrogen on their own terms at its own facility was nothing less than a game changer for JVF.
The Advanced Gas Technologies team met with JVF operations personnel and conducted a comprehensive survey of their current operations, current requirements, and how those two variables would change as time went on and business needs expanded. These surveys included the company's established nitrogen flow, purity, and pressure requirements and projected future requirements.
Advanced Gas Technologies returned to JVF with a detailed proposal that would meet JVF's current and future nitrogen requirements through the supply of a turnkey nitrogen generating system. Included in the system would be a feed air compressor, a PSA-type nitrogen generator, complete installation services, and after-sales service support.
The system Advanced Gas Technologies proposed had the capacity to produce 8,000 standard cubic feet (SCFH) at a minimum nitrogen purity of 99.5%. The capacity was more than twice what JVF required at the time, allowing the company to grow into it without having to worry about installing a new system.
Because the system was being operated on an as-needed basis only, it was very energy-efficient, and JVF attained a return on the initial capital investment in just 18 months.
Fast-forward nearly a decade later, and the same system is still in place through nine years of growth and prosperity for JVF and continues to exceed the originally specified flow and purity specifications. The switch from a bulk liquid nitrogen supplier to their own onsite system designed and installed by Advanced Gas Technologies has also saved JVF millions of dollars in operating costs since the onsite nitrogen system was installed.
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