2012 – fall Issue

Planning Aids Expansion

Council Bluffs, IA is home to a 141,500 square foot facility where Tyson Foods, Inc. operates one of the largest pepperoni processing plants in the world. Tyson expects to produce over 50,000,000 pounds of pepperoni annually in this facility. There are many ready-to-eat pepperoni plants throughout the country. However, this location is unique because of the automated production equipment used in the facility. In fact, the Council Bluffs plant can operate with a team of just 40 production staff because of the automated robotics utilized throughout the facility to move the pepperoni between multiple phases of production until it is fully processed and packaged.

The pepperoni processing facility houses the entire pepperoni production process from the receipt of raw materials to finished packaging for distribution. Originally, the facility covered 71,600 square feet. This expansion project added an additional 69,900 square feet to the facility. The expansion and remodel included an engine room addition, two new freezers, a large grinding/mixing/stuffing room, slicing room containing seven slicers and packers, and 13 pepperoni drying rooms (each 3,000 square feet).

Interstates' role in the project was to provide electrical engineering and electrical construction for the remodel and expansion of the facility. The electrical project scope included power distribution engineering; lighting; MCCs; wiring and installation of line controls and robotic equipment; and the addition of a 2000 amp switch to accommodate a new 52-section MCC. Interstates also replaced three PLC cabinets and assisted Tyson with updating their network system. Interstates began work on the design-build engineering in September 2011 and mobilized to site in October 2011. The project was completed in early June 2012.

One of the unique aspects of this project was the large amount of cable tray installed in the area between the ceiling and the roof that spans the entire production area. In this area, many rods penetrate the ceiling from the production floor. Our construction planning and prefabrication teams were challenged to determine exactly where each rod would penetrate the ceiling in order to prefabricate the cable tray that would accommodate the entire facility. In addition, the teams prefabricated all conduit drops, lighting raceways, cable tray stands, receptacle drops, and conduit support stands.

The Interstates team also implemented many agile procurement and material delivery methods on this project. Interstates utilized an up-man/expeditor who would deliver and stage each work area with materials and supplies so that electricians would have access to necessary materials in their immediate work areas in a just-in-time manner. Project materials were ordered and organized by task to eliminate the need to manage excess material at the job site. Our teams also used strategic tool placement methods at the site. Tools were stored in several areas of the project site to reduce time spent locating and moving tools. Interstates utilized 6 to 8 tool areas, including one on the roof.

This plant is the first of its kind for Tyson in terms of robotics and automation and Interstates is proud to have had an integral part in building it!