A family-owned, multi-generation company for more than 100 years, Catania Oils has experienced a surge in growth over the last seven years.  In fact, growth has been so strong that two years ago, the provider of edible Non-GMO Project verified and organic vegetable oils, olive oils and blended oils needed to relieve mounting pressure on its main manufacturing and warehouse facility in Ayer, Massachusetts.

Catania Oils, which markets its products to the ingredients, foodservice and retail markets, decided to expand distribution operations into a vacant 24-year-old food warehouse located directly across the street.  The company now has 100,000 additional square feet of distribution center space for finished product with 20 dock bays to help manage its product shipments.

The new distribution center is very active, with at least ten dock bays in use 16 hours per day handling 15 daily transfers from Catania Oils’ manufacturing facility.  At least (25) 53-foot trailers leave the distribution center daily with either mixed or full product loads.  Some finished product is also shuttled as needed between the distribution center and the manufacturing facility’s warehouse.

Serious safety risk removed

When Catania Oils acquired the late 1980s-era facility, it needed serious improvements.  The dock bays were in poor shape with heavily used and damaged doors, hard to maintain and faulty manual dock levelers, as well as inappropriate trailer restraints.  In addition, a gas heater located inside and directly above the loading dock area presented a critical safety risk.

“We immediately faced a problem with a low-clearance gas heater located directly below a mezzanine office area above,” said Dan Brackett, Director of Manufacturing and Engineering, Catania Oils.  He further explained that a lift truck carrying a high stack of pallets, for example, ran the risk of hitting and/or damaging the heater, or worse yet, rupturing a gas line and starting a fire.

Catania Oils decided to remove the heater to eliminate that risk.  Although, that decision presented another problem: keeping the dock area comfortable and warm.  “During the first winter without the heater, we knew we had to find a way to resolve the cold areas near the dock bays, eliminate the heat loss issue and better circulate heat throughout the building,” Brackett added.

The solution?  Two 24-foot diameter EPIC Colossus™ industrial HVLS fans positioned about 75 feet apart and 20 feet above the floor.  While the distribution center’s primary gas heater (located far from any lift truck traffic) pumps warm air into the distribution center, the HVLS fans then circulate the warm air that collects near the ceiling and pushes it down and across the dock positions (known as destratification) to mix with the colder air below.

Anticipated energy savings

“We expect to use the fans more during the colder months because in the summer the facility stays surprisingly cool in the 70-degree (F) range due to the cement slab it’s built on,” Brackett pointed out.  “When humidity levels rise, or in the event of extreme temperatures during the summer, I’m sure we’ll rely on the fans to provide the air movement we need.”

To mount the large HVLS fans, Brackett relied on Dock & Door Handling Systems (Saco, Maine) and the company’s installation team.  Brackett said Catania Oils opted to handle the electrical work and further revealed that “the company is anticipating the fans will help lower heating energy costs in the distribution center, with a projected decrease of 400 therms per year.”  That’s equivalent to an annual savings of 400,000 cubic feet of natural gas or 40 million Btu’s.

Brackett added that because his distribution center’s upgraded dock doors have such a high R-value and are so energy efficient, Catania Oils’ energy provider, National Grid, provided beneficial energy savings incentives.  “Because the doors close directly on the cement floor instead of on a dock leveler, that means no light penetration.  That, in turn, really complements the benefits from our new industrial HVLS fans for even better overall energy efficiency in our facility,” Brackett concluded.

For more information about EPIC’s Colossus industrial HVLS fan products and features, visit www.entrematicfans.com/industrial, or contact us at 866-696-2464.

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