Several problems commonly present themselves for manufacturers of sports nutrition products, which detract severely from OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness).
In this blog, we will cover some of the critical problems that sports nutrition manufacturers face today when manufacturing powder based products, and the solutions available.
1. Expanding Portfolios - Reduced Production Time
Expanding product portfolios and quality requirements can result in multiple recipe changeovers within a single shift, leading to production downtime.
Smaller batches and high variety to meet consumer demand means that fixed or coupled production lines would need to be cleaned regularly, if cross contamination is to be avoided. This often means stopping the equipment entirely whilst operators thoroughly clean down parts, preventing cross-contamination of products. This impacts significantly on the process production-time.
Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are designed in such a way that production can continue while one container is being cleaned 'offline'. As the powder recipe is 'self-contained' within each container, cleaning is only required when a discharged container needs to be re-filled or used for another recipe batch.
The de-coupled nature and easy storage of IBCs supports businesses with a large portfolio of recipes, even when smaller batches need to be created, without stopping the production line entirely.
This decoupled system allows the manufacturer to handle varying order sizes with ease and still stay within the stringent industry regulations common in food processing.
2. Whey Powder is Notoriously Sticky
A mainstay of sports nutrition, whey powder, is particularly prone to bridging. The same is true of new 'sticky' plant proteins.
The one common reaction (mistake) to bridging is for operators to stop the line entirely and then literally go and “hammer” on the container to free up the outlet.
Not only does this lead to segregated product and poor use of operator time, but it also damages the containers.
All Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) come fitted with our unique Cone Valve technology which prevents bridging, blocking and blend segregation.
Matcon IBCs are designed specifically for mass-flow with their 60-degree hopper angle and smooth interior surfaces. In addition to its unique design, the Cone Valve vibrates at its highest position, thereby assisting powder to flow and preventing bridging.
3. Tighter Food Regulations Regarding Allergens
If your manufacturing facility does not meet the food standards regulations, it might not be able to sell to other countries. The financial cost and reputational damage of having a product recalled can be difficult to recover from.
If your sports nutrition facility deals with powders that contain allergens, it is vital to use manufacturing equipment that removes the risk of any cross contamination, without losing significant amounts of production time.
The best way to do this is to run a decoupled system using Matcon’s interchangeable IBCs. No time is lost to cleaning between batches as IBCs are cleaned at the end of the processing line.
4. Fixed Mixers can be Inefficient
The traditional style fixed mixer configuration may seem to have a cheaper setup and larger capacity output when compared to other systems but if you handle multiple recipe batches across a shift they can be very inefficient. Any business that wants to mix using a fixed industrial blender will find they can experience lengthy waiting times during filling, emptying and cleaning. Such a configuration also minimizes the ability to produce varying batch sizes.
A Matcon IBC Blending System completely removes these inefficiencies by allowing IBCs to be loaded into the tumble blender as required without any downtime. No time is lost as IBCs are cleaned or re-filled offline, resulting in high OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness).
Our in-house experts will work out the precise configuration of your production line and assess all factors involved, including batch sizes, powder types and throughput requirements. You can even test the equipment at one of our test plants to ensure you get the right match for your requirements.
One Size Does Not Fit All
There can be numerous other problems in sports nutrition manufacturing which we haven’t touched upon as every manufacturer is different and has unique needs.
When preparing for the installation of a Matcon IBC system, you will receive the assistance of our highly experienced engineering team in every aspect of the project.
We work with leading sports nutrition manufacturers around the world and are confident we can deliver the solutions you need to maximize your OEE.