The development of advanced automation controls and technology for industrial refrigeration systems have made critical upgrades possible for owners who want to improve the efficiency, performance, safety and reliability of their systems and overall operations.
However, a refrigeration system running on outdated controls and hardware is like a ticking time bomb and can get quite expensive to repair — not to mention the cost of downtime.
A clean-in-place (CIP) system is a cost-effective and time-saving tool that rinses and washes the inside surfaces of food processing piping and equipment without mechanical disassembly. When designed well, a CIP system improves sanitation and enhances food safety while both simplifying the cleaning process for plant operators and reducing downtime. It automates what has traditionally been a laborious and time-consuming manual process of disassembling the piping, hand-cleaning each component and reassembling equipment.
In addition to lost revenue from halted production, improperly cleaned equipment can spread foodborne contaminants from batch to batch, which is dangerous to consumers and can lead to recalls that directly impact a company’s bottom line and reputation.
If you’re considering investing in a CIP system for your facility, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a design that is reliable and up-to-date. Your process design team should consider the overall needs of your operation, including changeover efficiency, water conservation and how the design will affect the complexity of the system.
Food and beverage companies have seen a major increase in demand for their products in the past few years. The COVID-19 shutdowns changed consumer habits: Instead of dining out or ordering takeout, consumers spent more money having their groceries delivered, making their own meals at home and discovering new food and beverage products.
This increase in demand is driving many food manufacturers to consider automating their packaging processes to improve efficiency. However, choosing the right level of automation takes time and research. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, since the level of implementation will impact your initial costs as well as your return on investment.
The price of corrugated has been steadily increasing for years, but recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a sharp spike in cost since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of corrugated and solid fiber box manufacturing products reached an all-time high in February 2022.
In the face of significant price increases, owners must be strategic and intentional with material purchases and investments. This is the perfect time to reevaluate your facility’s current packaging process, including whether a change in case style could help optimize your process and save money.
You could argue that flexibility in food manufacturing has never been more important: new generations of consumers are craving more variety, the internet is reshaping how food is packaged and purchased and a global pandemic just reminded us all of how crucial (and fragile) the supply chain can be.
In the wake of COVID-19, online grocery delivery has taken off. According to the 2020 Food Packaging & Consumer Behavior Report, 61% of survey respondents said their purchasing habits acquired during the pandemic will influence the way they shop in the future, and 51% reported using third-party grocery delivery apps within the past three months.
In light of this trend, food manufacturers may have to adapt their packaging to meet the requirements of grocery delivery. Instead of packages being stretch-wrapped onto a pallet to be unloaded by grocery store workers, they’ll be boxed and sent directly to consumers’ doorsteps.
That means outgoing packages must be sturdy enough to withstand the increased vibration and movement across a courier’s distribution chain. Some items may be shipped as is or they will have to be sent inside another shipping box padded with extra dunnage (air bags, crinkled paper, bubble wrap). Products packed in glass, cans or other rigid packaging may have to be rethought.
Digital transformation is taking over the food industry. From automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to real-time mobile reporting, companies are looking to invest in digital tools that improve efficiencies and reduce overhead.
But with the wide variety of options available today, it can be difficult to decide which technological investment will keep your manufacturing facility ahead of the pack.
Simulation software is one of the newest technological breakthroughs – one that can save up to millions of dollars for food companies when they are building or expanding their facilities.
While barcode tracking is the standard for supply chain traceability in the food industry, it’s not the only option. As RFID technology has advanced, many have asked if it’s worth the investment for food manufacturing and distribution.
RFID technology has its pros and cons. For example, it offers more functionality, but is typically more expensive, which is why it’s often reserved for products with a greater profit margin such as automobiles. So does it ever make sense for a food or beverage company?
Barcodes have long been the standard for tracking products throughout the food and beverage supply chain. But technological advancements have introduced RFID as another option across a variety of industries. What’s the difference?
What is RFID?
RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification, is the use of radio frequency waves to wirelessly transfer data without contact. Tagging items with RFID tags allows users to automatically and uniquely identify and track inventory and assets.
We still have a few months left in 2019, but if you’re considering building or renovating a facility sometime next year, the time to start planning may be now. Equipment lead times are growing longer — upwards of 18 to 26 weeks in some cases — and it can be even more for equipment shipped from overseas.
So how can you best prepare for your upcoming project so you don’t encounter equipment delays? In my experience, there are two major things to consider before meeting with your builder.