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How to Improve Productivity By Decoupling Your Food Manufacturing Line

Published on 02 August 2019

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In the food manufacturing industry, balancing supply with demand and keeping operational costs to a minimum are key factors that can influence your position in the market place and increase your competitiveness.

In this blog we look at how a change in production by decoupling key manufacturing stages, can help food manufacturers manage these factors and achieve a competitive edge.

Is Your Food Production Line Flexible?

If your food production process isn’t flexible enough to meet the needs of today’s market place, you need to make a change. But what change will yield the best results?

Have you considered decoupling your industrial mixer and removing it from the fixed production line? This could be one way to significantly increase your output.

Decoupling of equipment enables food manufacturers to perform each of the processes simultaneously which means that key machinery isn’t sat idle waiting for another to finish. The obvious benefit of this is time, but by decoupling your fixed line process can yield a range of additional benefits.

  • Reduces cleaning time
  • Reduces WIP and Inventory
  • Enables a quick response to short orders
  • Eliminates cross-contamination risks
  • Lessons the amounts of wasted product
  • GMP required hygiene levels
  • Total control of any product at any station at any one time
  • Factory space saving

If you compare this to a traditional fixed mixer system renowned for limiting production flexibility and extending clean down cycles, it’s easy to see why decoupling is the choice of market leading food producers.

In addition to production efficiencies, decoupling has another key benefit and that is better control over allergens. Cross contamination of allergens poses a huge risk to consumers and is often a big problem for manufacturers who produce a wide range of powder recipes. Through decoupling using IBCs, manufacturers have the best of both worlds due to contained processing - the flexibility to handle short production runs and quick recipe changeovers without the risk of cross contamination.

How Does Decoupling Work?

The building blocks of a decoupled production process are Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). These precision-engineered containers ensure ingredients remain contained at each stage of the production process but also enable multiple processes to happen in parallel.

The Matcon System and how it Solves Food Manufacturing Challenges 

The factory layout below uses Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) across the production process, which means that you can run two stations concurrently. By incorporating more containers, you further increase the flexibility of your production line and reduce downtime. As an IBC is utilised for your mixing process, another can be feeding into a powder packing machine. Then a third IBC can be cleaned 'offline' and prepared ready to re-enter your production line as required. This enables all of your stations to be active simultaneously, considerably reducing your downtime.

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The Advantages of an Intermediate Decoupled System for Food Manufacturers:

  • Downtime decreased - your mixer can be loaded (charged) and in operation while your mixed product is being packed.
  • Increased production - as your recipe is being directly formulated into an IBC you can setup for packing.
  • No powder segregation - when using a Matcon IBC (which includes Cone Valve technology) materials will be discharged consistently, preventing segregation.
  • Better containment – IBCs are sealed mobile containers that keep your powder ingredients inside.

Decoupling offers food manufacturers a huge opportunity to improve efficiencies, increase product ranges and ultimately out price and out perform your competitors.

Leading food manufacturer, Rain Nutrience, approached us with a drive to realise these opportunities. Find out how a decoupled IBC led manufacturing process has supported their business growth ambitions. 

RAIN Nutrience Case Study  Discover how this full service contract manufacturer of dietary supplements  doubled production rates and future-proofed their manufacturing facility  Download the case study
Posted by Matt Baumber
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Topics: industrial mixer, flexible powder handling, best mixing equipment, food manufacturing

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