PIPE-FLO® System Design Saves Save $40K Per Year in Energy Costs


Monsanto is a leading provider of agricultural products and solutions. They use unparalleled innovation in plant biotechnology, genomics, and breeding to improve productivity and to reduce the costs of farming. They produce leading seed brands, including DEKALB and Asgrow, and they develop biotechnology traits that integrate insect control and weed control into the seed itself.

Bill Kane, Manufacturing Technologist at Monsanto has used the PIPE-FLO® product line for seven years to analyze plant distribution systems. Kane relied on both PIPE-FLO® Professional and Compressible when analyzing steam, compressed air, and water systems in the Monsanto Plant in Luling, LA.



800 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63167

Industry Overview

The Challenge

Today, the Monsanto plant in Luling, LA produces the family of Roundup herbicides. However, the plant was first built in 1954 and has undergone many changes since it originally opened. Most of the utility systems have been rebuilt, expanded, and modified to meet the company’s changing needs. The Monsanto Utilities Group needed to make certain they were using their resources in the best possible manner when modifying their systems, so they turned to PIPE-FLO® to conduct the necessary hydraulic analysis.

The Solution

Kane has used PIPE-FLO® on numerous projects throughout the plant, including one large project where the company needed to optimize the plant's compressed air system.

The compressed air system had been expanded in a step-wise fashion in order to meet increased demand for instrument air. The Utilities Group realized that the overall efficiency of the combined system had not been studied. A comprehensive analysis was needed to make sure optimal performance was realized. After modeling the system in PIPE-FLO®, Kane was able to optimize the system to save the company money.

Our team was able to optimize pressure settings for individual compressors to maximize compressor loading. This allowed for two large compressors to be base loaded and a third compressor to throttle between load and unload based on total air demand. The reduction in horsepower saved about $30,000 per year in energy savings, Kane said.

Once the system was optimized, the Monsanto team was able to conduct even more energy saving calculations.

The PIPE-FLO® model showed that overall pressure drop in the system was very modest once a number of cross-connecting distribution lines were opened. This was confirmed with pressure readings in the field and allowed overall system pressure to be reduced by about 4 psig. The lower operating pressure resulted in an additional $10,000 per year in energy savings, Kane said.

Overall, Kane has been impressed with the abilities of the PIPE-FLO® product line.

We wouldn’t have the time or expertise to do this type of analysis without PIPE-FLO®. We would have had to put engineers on this full time, with PIPE-FLO® it was only a small piece of the job. These type of projects get more complicated as you get more people involved, so using the working model in PIPE-FLO® made communication easier, Kane said.

Because PIPE-FLO® is so easy to use, it is a way to empower people who wouldn’t normally do these types of calculations, Kane added.