How Center Fresh Egg Farm is Recovering Product and Turning it into Profits

How center fresh egg farm is recovering product and turning it into profits banner

The Problem: Fifty gallons of product wasted every day

Nestled in a small farming community in northwest Iowa, Center Fresh is an egg-processing plant with a commitment to responsible production practices. Center Fresh continuously produced liquid eggs that were loaded in batches into tankers for delivery. After each load, operators allowed approximately five gallons of product that remained in the lines to run out of the system. They collected the wasted product in buckets and carried it out for disposal, a process they repeated ten times per day. While breaking upwards of five million eggs per day for the liquid egg market, yield losses from their processing system design were adding up.

The company had used a traditional air-blow system for product recovery, but air alone couldn’t recover very much product. Air blow systems typically core through product instead of recovering it.

Jim Madsen, a plant manager at Center Fresh, reached out to CSI engineering for system analysis. CSI Business Development leader, Michael Louck, and Trent Bullock, Manager of the Engineering Services Team, worked with Center Fresh to assess the processing system.

Center Fresh Egg Farm Case Study

The Assessment

Product recovery, also called pigging solutions, can be added to existing pipeline processes as well as in new plants depending on existing configurations. CSI engineers can design custom solutions for precise needs and can often install them with minimal disruption to normal processes, so an assessment of the current system is a valuable step in the integration process. In the Center Fresh case, the CSI team assessed existing lines for potential obstacles to product recovery such as welds and dents, and they determined the potential impact of valves or instrumentation in the line and size transitions that could affect recovery.

CSI determined that a TrueClean® product recovery system could be installed, with minimal disrupting to their current system, by using custom fabrication for systems integration, custom programming, and adjusting air flow as needed.

Also during the assessment CSI learned that, in addition to lost yield, the processing system resulted in spillage that soiled floors and attracted pests. In total, the costs of their existing process were significant. Based on data from the USDA and aqua-calculator, CSI estimated the cost of wasted product on a daily and annual basis was significant.

Product Recovery System

Cost of goods wasted

  • 8.6 (pounds per gallon of liquid eggs*) x 50 gallons per day = 430 pounds of wasted product per day or $176.30
  • 430 pounds x 260 workdays = 111,800 pounds per year X $.41**/pound = $45,838.

* **Egg prices vary on a daily basis. See USDA for current pricing.

A solution for efficient, integrated product recovery

The integrated recovery system increased the amount of product Center Fresh was able to yield from their lines. Recovering product from processing lines also made their CIP cycles more efficient and effective because, instead of coring through product with an air-blow system that left a coating of product in the line, the recovery system cleared the line thoroughly.

"The product recovery system is doing exactly what we wanted, nothing is left in the line. That's what we're achieving.”
- Jim Madsen, Center Fresh Plant Manager
Product Loss Before and After

The solution also eliminated the ten trips per day for carrying gallons of wasted product—and the time for a sanitation crew to clean the area.

“Our operators won’t use anything else. They know this system keeps themselves clean and it keeps our tanker bay area clean. It's a phenomenal system.”
- Jim Madsen, Center Fresh Plant Manager

Thanks to the usability of the system control box, operators were trained and running the system almost immediately. Operators run the projectile-return cycle from the same control box, so there is no time wasted retrieving the projectile from the end of the line each time the system launches.

The product recovery system increased cleanliness and bacteria prevention. According to Jim, after running the system, “It's actually pushing enough product out…that we’re not leaving product in the line that could possibly grow bacteria.” The system improvements resulted in a much more hygienic process and final product.

By creating a safer work environment, a more productive process, better insect control, and faster and more effective cleanup, the egg-breaking plant has prevented product and profits from going down the drain. The plant has seen a return on their investment in six months and has continued to recover thousands of lost dollars each year.

How product recovery systems work

Product recovery systems work by forcing out whatever product remains in processing lines after transfer. A urethane or silicon projectile — commonly called a “pig”— acts like a pipe-cleaning squeegee to push the remaining product either out through the end of the line or, when appropriate, back to the product holding tank.

Product Recovery Systems increase product yields and reduce CIP costs by recovering the residual product left behind in the lines after processing. Removal of leftover product means a reduction in the time required to clean lines. The system also removes more soil from the line prior to cleaning, reducing the pre-rinse time and the amount of chemical needed to break down remaining soil. The time, water, and chemical savings help offset the cost of investment in the recovery system.

Push Button Basic System

The TrueClean® basic control package is a stand-alone system designed for one-way recovery. The system features stainless steel construction and built-in velocity control for the projectile. It also has a NEMA 4X rating.

Basic Product Recovery System

Automated Return System saves time

The automated return package is ideal for hard-to-reach or distant catch locations. The system features stainless steel construction and built-in velocity control for the projectile. It has a NEMA 4X rating, and PLC interlocks are also available.

Automated Return Product Recovery System

Product recovery systems used to require extensive trial and error before new systems were properly tuned, with some customers abandoning recovery projects because of frustration and system failures. In contrast, a TrueClean® Product Recovery Control System comes preconfigured for each application and operates successfully right out of the box. It is an effective solution for a variety of applications:

  • Processed Foods
  • High-Acid Foods
  • Dairy
  • Beverages
  • Brewery
  • Home & Personal Care
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Biotech
  • Chemical

Taking the first steps to product recovery

Food processors understand the importance of establishing a manufacturing system that maximizes effectiveness and profit; however, many overlook one area where they’re wasting thousands of dollars each year: product recovery.

From maximizing efficiency and profit while minimizing product waste, simplifying cleaning, and maintaining a safe work environment, product recovery systems can provide a cost-effective solution by addressing all three issues at once.

Before adding any new system, manufactures have to weigh the costs and benefits of taking any course of action. Thankfully a product recovery system can give manufacturers a return on their initial investment in as little as 6 months.

The TrueClean® Product Recovery Control Systems are a simple, economical, and efficient way to achieve product recovery goals—plus the related benefits of cleaning efficiencies and workplace safety.

Depending on the level of complexity for mechanical and electrical installation, a system can typically be installed in as little as one week or if it's just piping installation, in as little as one day. Consulting CSI processing engineers take a variety of factors into consideration when assessing client needs, including design, installation, and operation.

To learn more about TrueClean® and other CSI systems, contact our sales team at

Product Recovery Recap

  • Problem: Center Fresh was losing the fifty gallons of product left in their lines each day
  • Solution: TrueClean® Product Recovery System with automated return package
  • Installation Time: Two days
  • ROI: 6 months

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Central States Industrial Equipment (CSI) is a leader in distribution of hygienic pipe, valves, fittings, pumps, heat exchangers, and MRO supplies for hygienic industrial processors, with four distribution facilities across the U.S. CSI also provides detail design and execution for hygienic process systems in the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and personal care industries. Specializing in process piping, system start-ups, and cleaning systems, CSI leverages technology, intellectual property, and industry expertise to deliver solutions to processing problems. More information can be found at