For food & beverage producers, managing the quality of each batch can be challenging when there are manual processes involved. For instance, if the raw materials are manually added, variations can cause batches to fall outside of the recipe’s specification.
In a Processing magazine article, Monitoring recipe and batch quality in real-time with flowmeters, Emerson’s Tom Belling highlights these and more challenges and how technology is helping to overcome them.
Tom opens describing the manual filling challenge as a reason why batches don’t match their recipes.
The main, overarching reason for this is that adding dry ingredients at certain points in the process is — in most instances — still a manual process and therefore subject to human error.
The financial impact is that these batches:
…drive up ingredient costs and can damage a brand’s reputation if poor batches of product make it to store shelves and consumers are impacted.
Tom shares an example of a beverage producer who estimated:
…that manual batch errors happen, on average, one to two times a month. A quick calculation, assuming a batch cost of $5,000 to $6,000 dollars in materials alone, would mean a loss of between $60,000 and $144,000 per year in lost batches.
Another challenge is finding skilled workers as the baby boom generation retires. In an RSM US LLP survey:
…68% of food and beverage producers indicated they will increase their technology investments to counter the worker shortage, with product quality improvement as the top reason for doing so.
To address these challenges, continuous measurement technology can play a large role. Tom shares an example of an orange juice producer struggling with inaccurate sugar measurements and transport truck loading operations.
By installing Coriolis mass flowmeters on the truck loading lines, the producer saw an improvement in product consistency going out to consumers and process availability.
Also, these Micro Motion Coriolis meters:
…which can measure density, flow and temperature, is ideally suited for custody transfer, ensuring that trucks are loaded with the correct amount of orange juice at all times.
Cost reductions and improved production throughput were possible since:
…the producer was able to eliminate the need and cost for scales, and was able to increase throughput at the loading bay.
Read the article for other examples including improved quality and staff productivity for a carbonated beverage producer.
Visit the Coriolis Flow Meters for Mass, Volume, & Density section on Emerson.com for more on how these measurement technologies can improve quality, production costs, and throughput. You can also connect and interact with other flow measurement and food & beverage industry experts in the Measurement Instrumentation and Food and Beverage groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.