Deep down, no matter how many strides we make in improving our products, our instinct tells us there's more we can do. That's why we're always on the lookout for ways to make our manufacturing processes more efficient and less impactful to the environment.
Recently we saw an opportunity to improve the cooking and cooling process for canned pet foods made at our facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. We focused specifically on water reduction, as the cooling process tends to be fairly water intensive. By implementing an enhanced cooling system, we’ve been able to reduce the water used in our cooling process by approximately 30 to 40 percent.
The improvement was significant on its own, but we soon discovered an unexpected, and even bigger benefit. Because the new cooling process used a gentler pressure cycle, we were also able to reduce the thickness of the cans themselves by 0.0002 inches. That may not seem like a big number, but it adds up to a savings of 265 tons of aluminum every year.
Discoveries like these remind us why it's important to follow your instincts. The result can sometimes be even better than you imagined. Finding ways to conserve both water and packing materials in St. Joseph has made it possible to implement similar changes in other plants, freeing up more of our resources for pursuits such as nutritional research, pet welfare and delivering the best possible food for pets everywhere.