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Benefits of parallel processing

Published on 11 June 2020

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To succeed in manufacturing, it’s essential that your production process is able to keep up with consumer demand. Unfortunately, traditional coupled systems often fall short of these demands, with restrictions on production line capacity resulting in reduced efficiency.

This is why manufacturers are increasingly turning to systems that employ parallel processing, to provide them with the increased capacity and flexibility to manufacture optimal product. In this article, we explain what parallel processing is and the key benefits.

What is parallel processing?

Unlike traditional coupled systems, parallel processing is achieved by separating (decoupling) a manufacturing process, so that formulation, mixing, packing and cleaning can all take place independently.

The act of separating these manufacturing stages creates the potential for multiple processes to take place simultaneously, allowing manufacturers to produce more than one batch or different recipe batches at any given time.

The separating of the manufacturing processes can be achieved by introducing an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) System, where individual containers are used to transport batches of product from one process to the next. Ingredients remain within their dedicated IBC throughout the full production process, only leaving the container during discharge at the packing stage.

 

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The key features of parallel processing

Implementing this type of flexible and intuitive production system brings with it many key benefits including:

Improved efficiency

The decoupled nature of the IBCs means that you could be formulating a mix in one container, whilst another is being blended, and a third is in the process of being packaged. The ability to move the IBCs independently around each stage of the manufacturing process creates a much more efficient production line, benefitting from increased capacity.

Reduced downtime

The ability for multiple processes to take place simultaneously means that equipment and operator downtime is greatly reduced. This reduction is further improved by the ability to fill and clean IBCs whilst they are offline, which entirely eliminates the need for production lines to be put on hold during these processes. In addition, because the IBC is the blending vessel there is no need for blender downtime between batches for cleaning.

Minimal cross-contamination risk

Mixes remain contained within the sealed IBCs throughout the complete manufacturing process, greatly reducing the risk of cross-contamination. In contrast, traditional coupled systems often rely on manual handling to transfer ingredients from one process to the next, which creates the potential for contamination to occur.

These features provide manufacturers with a system that they can trust to produce consistent product in an efficient and controlled environment, with the added potential to increase capacity to meet consumer demands or manufacture new products.

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The Matcon System

The Matcon IBC System provides manufacturers with full control over their product at all stages of production. Designed to meet the needs of world leading manufacturers, the Matcon System employs its unique Cone Valve technology to resolve even the most challenging of powder handling issues.

Cone Valve technology

Cone Valve technology at the heart of the Matcon system promotes mass product flow by encouraging ingredients at the sides of the IBC to flow, whilst holding back the mix in the centre. This flow of product allows manufacturers to avoid powder handling issues such as ingredient segregation or bridging, as well as providing them with full product control during packing, ensuring that the integrity of a product is always consistent.

Cone Valve IBC

Powder formulation and mixing

As the Matcon system employs parallel processing, powder recipes can be formulated into an IBC whilst another is being blended, eliminating the need for equipment downtime. This formulated IBC can then be loaded onto the Tumble Blender, without ever needing to leave the container, and then simply mixed, unloaded and moved onto the next manufacturing stage, eliminating the need to clean the blender itself between recipe batches. This creates optimal capacity for numerous batches to be in production at the same time.

Cleaning system

The simple design of the Matcon IBC means that cleaning is a quick and easy process - containers can be removed from the production line and cleaned in a controlled environment via wet or dry methods. The air wash option removes the risk of any waterborne bacteria growing within your container, whilst the wet wash option can be employed to clean IBCs that have been used for allergens or sticky materials.

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You can discover more about the Matcon System here.

Implementing a parallel processing system has the potential to greatly increase your manufacturing efficiencies and capabilities. The Matcon System is a proven manufacturing process that not only employs parallel processing, but also provides you with full control over your product at every manufacturing stage, improving consistency and increasing capacity.
Why decouple production? - a guide for manufacturers.  Download the whitepaper   
Posted by Matt Baumber
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