It’s true what they say: the safe way is always the best way. But how can manufacturers know that they are operating to a safe level while still keeping one eye firmly on the bottom line? In the food and beverage industry, this is a challenge that looms large. Relentless inflation and the cost of living increase cast a daunting shadow over food manufacturers across Europe. But it need not be all doom and gloom. In this article, Rob Rogers, senior advisor of food safety & regulation at Mettler-Toledo, explores the solutions that help improve food safety and provide cost savings.
As inflation rates dance to their unpredictable tune, the supply chain finds itself in a tango with uncertainty. The procurement of raw materials, once a breeze, has now become a daunting task. Conflicts between countries impact ingredient prices, wages and transportation costs, causing a ripple effect on food manufacturers. The result? Increasing expenses, mounting production costs and an industry yearning for solutions.
Advice for the bold and conscientious manufacturers
To combat rising input costs, food manufacturers need to focus on improving efficiency, productivity and waste reduction throughout their production processes. One valuable tool in achieving this is product inspection technology. While many manufacturers associate product inspection systems with meeting compliance and safety demands, these technologies can also play a pivotal role in boosting productivity and controlling costs.
Accurate checkweighing is one such technology that can help achieve tighter production tolerances and reduce waste, allowing manufacturers to maximise yield from expensive ingredients and raw materials. Investing in the latest product inspection machinery, such as metal detection systems, can also reduce downtime, as well as x-ray systems which can additionally provide significant energy savings.
Metal detection and checkweighing cheese
Innovations and technologies for cost reduction
Modern product inspection technologies offer numerous features that help reduce manufacturing costs. For instance, x-ray inspection systems detect foreign body contaminants, help to reduce waste, plus save energy costs.
By employing high-resolution imaging and sophisticated algorithms, x-ray inspection systems detect foreign contaminants as well as product defects, helping to keep consumers safe and protect brand reputation. By integrating exceptional sensitivity and precision, these systems minimise false rejects, optimising production efficiency and reducing the potential for product recalls, thereby delivering valuable cost savings and supporting food safety.
Improving food safety and quality while minimising costs
Product inspection technologies serve a dual purpose, delivering both cost savings and heightened food safety and quality. By identifying and rejecting physical contaminants throughout the supply chain, they mitigate the risk of food recalls, curbing waste and aiding in consistent product quality. Embracing cutting-edge inspection systems not only boosts manufacturers’ credibility and consumer confidence but also translates into substantial cost reductions stemming from minimised recalls and rejected products.
Furthermore, the strategic implementation of these technologies at the early stages of the production process offers huge advantages, including streamlined reworking processes, reduced time and material investments and preservation of packaging integrity.
Advancements driving efficiency and quality in food safety
The latest advancements in product inspection technology focus on enhancing accuracy, speed and adaptability. Advanced checkweighers equipped with electromagnetic force restoration (EMFR) load cells and feedback control software offer precision weighing at high speeds, allowing manufacturers the ability to set precise fill levels for packages. This, in turn, ultimately keeps costs down by reducing product waste, thereby avoiding additional giveaway and reworking costs.
Furthermore, automated data collection and storage using product inspection systems streamline compliance processes, offer valuable insights for improvement, and reduce the risk of errors compared to manual paper-based systems.
Role of automation, software integration, machine learning and AI
Automation, software integration, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have immense potential in helping manufacturers save money and enhance food safety. Automation streamlines processes, reduces human error and boosts efficiency across the supply chain. Software integration enables seamless communication between different systems, enhancing data collection, analysis and decision-making.
Machine Learning and AI can optimise production processes, predict maintenance needs, and identify potential safety issues early on, preventing costly disruptions. The combination of these technologies can lead to substantial cost savings while aiding in better food safety and quality.
Successfully implementing advanced technologies
Successful implementation of advanced product inspection technologies requires a well-planned strategy that includes thorough training of personnel, close collaboration with technology providers and a clear roadmap for integration. Manufacturers should invest in training their staff to operate and maintain the advanced systems effectively.
Building strong partnerships with reliable technology providers ensures ongoing support and access to the latest updates, ultimately leading to cost savings in areas such as training, support and spare parts.
What’s next for the food & beverage industry?
The future of the industry is likely to see even greater adoption of automation, digitalisation and smart technologies. Companies will embrace Industry 4.0 principles, combining automation, data exchange, IoT and AI to create efficient and interconnected manufacturing processes. This digital maturity will enhance food safety, quality and cost savings.
When savings and safety collide
Food manufacturers can enhance the safety of their food and production lines, while simultaneously combatting rising costs by leveraging product inspection technologies. These innovations not only reduce expenses but also enhance overall efficiency, productivity and food quality, helping manufacturers secure a prosperous and sustainable future in an ever-evolving industry.
Because the old adage is true: the safe way is always the best way.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023