Hygiene and automation for the new Woerle building

airinotec provides renowned cheese producer with hygienic air conditioning

Cheese has been produced for the past 130 years by five generations of the Woerle family-run business in the Austrian town of Henndorf. In order to optimise the production process, its production and packaging facilities were expanded in 2019. The new building features a complex hygienic air conditioning system from airinotec. It was important that the system met the varying requirements for each individual production stage.

The Woerle brand has been synonymous with high-quality cheesemaking for the past 130 years. The cheeses produced by the company from the Salzburg region enjoy great popularity both within and beyond Austria’s borders. This international success has led to the increasing need for Woerle to expand its facilities in recent years. As the production and packaging areas were previously housed in two separate locations, the family-run business planned to consolidate its facilities and expand its operations, thus significantly optimising the production process - the amount of lorry journeys would be reduced by around 5000 trips per year. A new high-bay warehouse was also on the agenda.

In the future, the new building, with a total air volume of 410,000 m3/h, will be home to additional production facilities for processed cheese, where portioned sliced cheese will be packaged and picked, and cheeses will be grated and packaged. These processes all require a high level of hygiene. airinotec, a system supplier for air conditioning and process air technology, provided the air conditioning technology for the new building. The installed systems were specially developed to fulfil the varying requirements in the different areas throughout the building.

The key focus in the production and packaging areas was maintaining the air quality, maximal room humidity and temperature. As with all systems in the food industry, ensuring hygiene was crucial: Positive pressure was introduced to achieve optimal hygiene in sensitive production areas with open products; with subatmospheric pressure being introduced in the CIP room and other critical areas. The varying requirements of the individual areas were taken into account throughout the building, with three-stage filtration used for areas with open products, for example. Other extraction systems with special filtration systems were included in the system design. All of the areas were subject to the same stipulation that the systems needed to be easy to clean and maintain.

Another aspect included in the system design was the energy efficiency of the system. A reduced energy footprint will be achieved thanks to the highly efficient heat recovery systems, the regulation of individual areas and the load-dependant volume flow rate control.

With a storage height of 30 m and a room volume of 47,000 m3, the second largest planning area was the fully automated high-bay warehouse. The primary aim here was to keep a constant and uniform room temperature of 4°C throughout the entire warehouse under positive pressure. “Our concept aims to ensure that each pallet location is kept at the same temperature” according to Stefan Schlee, the project manager overseeing the project from airinotec. “We also selected an energy-efficient system concept to reduce the energy costs incurred by Woerle”.

The new system was commissioned at the end of 2019 in Henndorf, Austria.