Automation has long been a priority in food processing, but never more so than now. Even before Covid-19 and its significant impact on workplace social alienation, increasing productivity and, thus, profitability through process automation was a key concern Automation.
Food safety has traditionally benefited from removing human error and human contact with food from the manufacturing process. Aside from significant worker turnover, the effects of Brexit on workforce shortages provide another incentive to automate. Given these challenges, it’s not surprising that finding new ways to let robots do more is getting more attention.
End-of-line packing has traditionally been a labor-intensive procedure. The actual operations involved in manufacturing the end-product – cutting, mixing, tumbling, frying, slicing, etc. – were all made feasible by technical innovation. This is changing as end-of-line packing becomes one of the most automated areas.
The end-of-line procedures include checking for foreign bodies (metal, bone, glass, or any other type of contamination). However, X-ray devices are increasingly being use to detect anomalies and route impacted products to reject bins for additional inspection. Aside from X-raying, more machines are combining X-raying, checkweighing, and label verification. Compared to several computers, this reduces the footprint, which is important in settings like offices where space is restrict. Other key benefits include risk minimization and brand security. These machines can incorporate databases, date-coders, and other features to build a fail-safe system for the maker.
Checkweighing contributes to profitability, efficiency, security, and compliance, with automated systems’ accuracy potentially determining profit or loss Automation. When moving meat products via a single weigh-conveyor, module grading systems can accurately weigh a variety of sizes and weights. Process automation, for example, automating salting and curing in bacon applications, can be combine with a depositing system to create a more complete solution.
Labels are double checked
Label inspection and pack verification are crucial in the production of many products, especially those headed for the ready-meal market. Systems that can check at up to 200ppm with pinpoint precision are now available. These methods ensure the use of accurate top and bottom labels, as well as the correct and legible date code characters. The system validates everything from label placement to best-before dates and batch numbers, and it supports 2D and 1D bar codes. The production process can proceed while defective items are automatically rejected. This prevents product recalls, which are still a nightmare for food producers.
Databases can be use to continually calculate overall equipment efficiency (OEE) on the line, allowing for instant monitoring and performance control, as well as secure storing of all quality assurance (QA) and production reports, allowing for auditability and traceability, among other things.
Packing cases and boxes
After inspection, most products must be collate and packed into cases. Fully or semi-automatic packaging systems can stack, collate, load, converge, erect, and close items. Adaptability is necessary due to the large variety of packs and cases used in this sector. Systems that accommodate a range of packs in either a stand-up or lay-flat format are also available for purchase. When picking a machine, consider how quickly and easily it can change pack sizes and formats, as reducing downtime is crucial to avoiding a bottleneck at the end of the line.
The label verification techniques employed in inspecting packs can be adapt to inspecting cases, with labels on cases being check for placement, information accuracy, and correctness. This creates a failsafe closed loop system that is very efficient and can tailored to a production line’s demands.
It’s a new industry
There has been much speculation about the ‘new normal’ that will develop after Covid’s death. Despite the uncertainty, automation will play a far larger role in the food processing business. Choosing the best tools for the work will become increasingly important for business owners. While much progress has made in end-of-line operations, much more may done to automate these procedures.
There has been a great deal of speculation about the ‘new normal’ that will emerge following Covid’s passing. Despite the uncertainty, automation will play a significantly more significant part in the food processing industry than it currently does. Choosing the most appropriate equipment for the job will become increasingly vital for business owners in the future. While significant progress has been achieved in end-of-line operations, there is still much more that can be done to automate these processes.
This field, like many others in food processing, is highly variable. It’s never been more necessary to talk to equipment providers. Who understand packing solutions, including after-sales assistance. It is also vital to consider the training of the operators. Automated packaging systems can increase accuracy. Brand security, reliability, and profit margins by customising to each line’s needs. This allows companies to boost output while decreasing labour costs.
Interfood Technology has been developing revolutionary automated solutions. For end-of-line processes for over 30 years. The company’s Packing Solutions Division delivers complete, semi-automated. And fully automated packing systems, all backed by guaranteed training, maintenance, and service.