8 Tips to Optimise the Food and Beverage Production Process

January 20, 2023

There are several ways to improve the production of your food and beverage process. Knowing the ways to streamline production will reduces costs and increase profets. However, some methods may require an investment of time and money in equipment and staff training, you need to determine whether those upgrades will ensure your required return on investment (ROI). Let's explore some proven methods to improve the food and beverage production process.

  1. Choose the suitable air compressor;
  2. Know the market and its needs;
  3. Use market trend forecasts to optimise your food production process;
  4. Integrated the management software;
  5. Improve inventory management;
  6. Update and maintain equipment regularly;
  7. Implement a supply chain management system;
  8. Consider automation.

1. Choose the suitable air compressor

Air compressors offer many advantages to the production of food and drinks. They can facilitate production processes, such as cutting or dispensing food and placing liquids in product packaging. To choose the one that suits your needs, it is necessary to take into account how you use your equipment for production and the fact that the air flow will surely come into contact with your products.

For example, if compressed air comes into contact with food, an oil-lubricated compressor cannot be used due to the potential for contamination. However, oil-free air compressors can be used.

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As oil-free air compressors are a vital part of the food and beverage industry, market analysts prectict experience rapid growth by the year 2024. In addition to preventing contamination of the oil, these air compressors are the best choice for the environment and are smaller in size than oil compressors. These benefits increase their palatability for the food industry.

Improve the efficiency of the oil-free air compressor by letting it suck air from a refrigerated room. In the compressor the air is already filtered and remains below the dew point, the excess humidity is retained so as not to come into contact with the products.

Monitor the pressure on both sides of any filter used in air compressors. When the pressure drops significantly, it is the signal that indicates the need to replace the filter cartridge.

The oil-free compressors to be used for the treatment of your products are essential, because an oil lubricated device with a carry-over of 2 ppm inject compressed air system in four litres of oil in a year. This oil could deposit on equipment or food, resulting in contamination that hinders productivity.

If your company already has oil compressors, it will be necessary to balance the costs derived from the air compressors you use. One possible solution is to remove oil-powered models from the production line. When using oil-lubricates air compressor, several means can be implemented to prevent oil from contaminating surfaces. For example, adding a filter or moisture harvesting tool will prevent these contaminants from escaping the compressed air system and settling on products.

There may be many uses for oil-free and oil-lubricates compressors in your facility. With enough equipment to meet your manufacturing needs, you can streamline your food and benerage manufacturing process.

How can rotary screw compressors be used in food processing?

A rotary screw air compressor is the most commonly used compressor in the food and beverage industry. These air compressors fit in tight spaces, provide a significant volume of air for their size and have low service costs.

A reciprocating air compressor can be beneficial for a large scale operation, as it can improve the food and beverage production process. These compressors are larger and perform better for continous use and intense operation.

If you choose to operate a oil-lubricated air compressor, ensure the compressor is not too close to the production equipment and the air produced doesn't come into contact with it either. Compresor oil can cause food product contamination. It is recommended to use an oil-free compressor in production lines that are in close contact with food ank drinks as the compressors have been designed specifically for this use.

The food applications that can use the oil lubricated air compressors include:

  • Packing cases
  • Wrapping machines
  • Boxing

Applications that require oil-free compressors in which the air comes into direct contact with food and beverages include:

  • Peeling and cutting with compressed air knives
  • Pumping of fluids into products
  • Mixing of ingredients
  • Addition of quantity to food
  • Cleaning of containers before use
  • Cleaning of excess food waste from machinery
ISO 22000:2018 guidelines must be adhered to for the food safety within your facility. These guidelines will indicated what your company must do to ensure the safety of all food or drink produced. These measures include information on preventing contamination from air compressors and other sources. Using oil-free compressed air helps your business to comply with these regulations by avoiding product contamination in your facility.
Integrating compressed air into operations is one of the many ways to optimise food and beverage production. If you want a reliable performance from your air compressor, we are able to provide you with the solutions you need.

2. Know the Market and its Needs

Before production, it is useful to know what consumers want and what they need

Obviously, a product that people refuse to buy will not profit you. You should keep track of market trend and needs to ensure an offer of products and services that fit the wishes of your target customers.

Understanding trends in the demand for goods and services through market research can lead to a productive approach driven by market demand. Some producers have been able to use these trends to follow the generation of demand from consumers.

This form of production-to-order scheduling is an effective option if you have a communication and feedback system throughout he supply chain to be able to adapt to changing production needs.

If this production method is difficult to implement in the company, an alternative is to schedule based on a realisitic forecast of the products that will become the most requested in the following weeks and months.

3. Use Market Trend Forecasts to Optimise Your Food Production Process

Cookies factory conveyor belt
You can use some software that tracks sales to be able to identify the most popular products and spot trends. Find out if consumers prefer certain flavours at different times of the year? These trends make it easier to predict future product needs. If you find consumers prefer certain tastes at certain times of the year, you can change your product range to reflect this trend and make your business more profitable. Your management software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), offers you the monitoring tools you need to determine seasonal forecasts for your production activity and much more. If you are launching a new product on the market, which has no pat data to generate predictions, the ERP can use the sales information of similar foods or beverages for processing.

When you know what foods will be required before the season starts, you can prepare your plant and production lines in time to produce the necessary products. Forecasting market demands is another way to streamline the food production process by producing products your customers want, when they want them. 

4. Integrate the Management Software

Project management team updating Gantt chart schedule or planning on computer, two business people in office
Another way to optimise the food or beverage production processed that achieve the most significant benefits for the facility is management software, which can be used for forecasting and employee planning. Software programming makes it easier to get trained workers to work in the production line they have experience with. This ability to properly plan worker operations will make your facility even more efficient. With scheduling software, you don't have to worry about employees making mistakes due to lack of information. You can also track production scheduling to see who was up and running when producing specific batches. This management software feature allows you to see how errors occurred that led to product recalls by the customer. Management software planning information facilities regulatory compliance maintenance and makes tracking problems faster and easier.

With this software, you can identify any gaps in the number and type of skilled workers you have. You can make plans to train existing staff to increase the number of jobs they can do or to assess the need for more workers.

This software can help with planning air compressor maintenance and cleaning. If any of your products are allergen-free, you will need to throughly clean the equipment before manufacturing it. The management software can help determine how much time it will take to clean and maintain your machinery, so you can better plan the transition to the production of new products.

5. Improve Inventory Management

Just as managing your staff is useful, so is proper inventory management. Inventory software can help you manage the commodities you have in your facility. You can reorder from suppliers as needed or schedule regular orders based on production levels. By regulating the ordering process, you never have to buy more than necessary.

Inventory control becomes especially critical if you are using fresh products with tight deadlines. 

When using management software to track or predict consumer requests, you can use the software to communicate any upcoming changes to those responsible for ordering consumables.

In addition, changes to advertising or sales material incorporated in the ERP forecast can affect supply needs. First, look at how those changes could affect your forecasts, then once you've implemented those changes in your marketing methodsm you can also adjust your supply order amounts to reflect the expected changes in your sales.

6. Update and Maintain Equipment Regularly

Original service Ceccato
Unexpected failures can delay operations. One of the simplest ways to improve the food production process is to conduct regular inspections and maintenance of all mechanical equipment. No equipment works with maximum efficiency forever. All machinery will have downtime integrated into its design. You can plan the downtime period by calculating the total downtime of your plant for all machines. Typically, new equipment has an efficiency of between 97.5 and 99%, which means it should only stop between 1 and 2.5% of the time. To verify the reading, run tests on each piece of equipment you have on different days to find the exact efficiency value. Once you know all of these numbers, multiply them together to find your facility's total efficiency. Subtract that number from 100 percent to calculate downtime.

A drop in value indicates poor maintenance or ineffective repairs. To improve this value, we recommend scheduling regular maintenance as suggested by the manufacturer for each of the components. 

Prevent downtime by looking after your compressor regularly and not just when it clearly needs repair. Be proactive in taking care of your equipment in advance. For example, regular lubrication of moving parts keeps them running smoothly and reduces system wear.

Ensure everyone looks out for wear on the equipment they use. Ask workers for daily assessments to determine if equipment repairs or preventative maintenance should be scheduled. Frequent checks will help to prevent problems from arising before they get worse and lead to more serious machine failures.

When making repairs, it is best to keep track of the spare parts needed to replace the equipment. Over time, it will be possible to identify similarities or see if a particular piece of machinery needs more frequent repairs. This data can indicate whether a machine has become more of a burden than an asset, and needs to be replaced. 

You will need to identify the efficiency threshold below which you cannot tolerate having equipment that costs you a large amount of money for downtime. Use the repair frequency information you have gathered to quickly find which equipment needs replacing. The sooner you tack down malfunctioning machines and replace them with more efficient models, the more productive your plant will be.

7. Implement a Supply Chain Management System

While management software helps you to regulate the systems within your facility, you also need to make sure you have excellent communication throughout the supply chain. The supplu chain management software can help your company become and essential link in the sequence of supply from farmers to customers.

One of the benefits of communicationg throughout the supply chain is the ability to trace goods from their manufacturers. This information can help farmers make corrections in their operations to prevent future problems. If your complained products did not have a common origin, your facility may have contributed to the problem and you will be able to make the necessary implementations to resolve the problem.

Tracking the origins of raw materials gives you the ability to evaluate the suppliers you work with. For example, if you feel a supplier is failing to send goofs on time or the quality level is not as promised, you can rank them below your standard. In the future, when you look for new suppliers, you will know the level below which they cannot fall. 

Communication throughout the supply chain should also include tracking orders for real-time raw materials arriving at your facility, as well as transporting goods from your facility to customers. When you know exactly where your order is, you don't need to stock large numbers of raw materials. In this mod or warehouse space will be freed up, which you can convert into new workspaces with other equipment to speed up operations.

8. Consider Automation

Automation is a commonly adopted solution to solve the problems of efficiency. The food industry is perfectly suited to automation, as the repetitive movements people make when packing and preparing food are movements easily replicated by machines. 

Automation doesn't mean inflexibility. WIth the computerised control of multiple systems and production lines, you can achieve greater flexibility. The flexibility of automation is another of the many ways to simplify the food production process. Thos type of plant automation control will allow for the growth and flexibility of your business. Supervised by a computer, you can easily make changes, such as moving production to different machines or creating custom orders to accomodate seasonal sales or a customer's whims.

This flexibility through centralised control also simplifies intervention operations. When it becomes necessary to perform maintenance or repair on an appliance.  

The appropriate use of robotic machinery makes it possible to create mass or specific customisations for particular customers. This is an aspect that improves your structure and optimises it in case you want to convert a paart of the food and beverage production to sell it directly to final consumers, as many companies that market through e-commerce do. The essential key to being able to perform this task is constant communication between your devices and how they automate processes.

It will then be possible to adapt the equipment to perform small customised production batches, increasing the ability to sell to a particular customer to create limited edition batches of certain products that can be sold at a premium price.

Do you want more information on the use of oil-free air compressors on the food and beverage industry?

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