No matter how far the food and beverage industry has progressed in terms of technology, there are still several unique challenges that present themselves throughout the operational process, from manufacturing to packaging and more. These challenges, when left unchecked, can pose a risk of operation delays, or worse, contaminated products that can lead to recalls and lawsuits.
In this article, we will talk about some of the most common problems that food and beverage machinery encounter, as well as how to avoid or solve them.
Replacing parts machine parts with lower quality steel
Steel is the most common material used for food and beverage equipment because of its affordability, reliability, and ease of maintenance. However, not all steel is the same.
High-quality steel possesses the advantages stated above. Low-quality steel, on the other hand, is more susceptible to corrosion, does not last as long as higher quality steel, and is difficult to clean, all of which affects the flow of operations and the quality of the products themselves. For this reason, it is necessary to replace machine parts with at least the same quality of steel as the original ones. For example, when replacing parts of high-quality equipment such as a Servo volumetric filler or depositor, the steel of the replacement parts must be of equal quality as the rest of the machine.
Maintenance of complex machinery
Food and beverage equipment is rarely non-complex. A lot of equipment used in the food and beverage industry today is often complicated and highly sensitive, which means that constant and careful maintenance is necessary to keep operations running smoothly.
With that being said, the best way that food managers can ensure equipment remains fully operational is to stay on top of maintenance. Their maintenance plans must be updated regularly with the most optimal techniques and strategies, not only to keep equipment in good shape but to also make maintenance more efficient.
The quality of welding is an integral part of any piece of machinery. For food and beverage equipment, low-quality welding can mean the difference between maintaining production standards and experiencing corrosion, contamination, or worse, complete product failure. Hence, production and maintenance managers must ensure that all welds made on equipment are of the highest quality possible. This will ensure that all pieces of equipment will stay together as they should, minimizing the risk of failure.
Using parts that don’t fit together
From a management perspective, it is more cost-effective to make do with parts that the plant can get on short notice and with what budget they have. In fact, this is a common practice among companies that have been operating for so long and use mismatched parts for their equipment, even if they are not up to standards. This may work for some time, but not only is this a temporary fix, but it is also potentially dangerous.
Firstly, mixing and matching parts for any piece of equipment will void the warranty. Secondly, the liability for any product failure or employee injury resulting from the mismatched equipment will befall on the company alone. And lastly, different types of metal can produce toxic byproducts when fused together, which can lead to product contamination and failure.
Of course, the best and only way to avoid this problem is to never use parts that are not compatible with each other. The potential savings from using improper parts can be easily offset by expenses resulting from lawsuits, workers’ compensation, and product recalls.
Difficulty in cleaning
Complex food-grade equipment is often difficult to clean, but no matter how many resources it takes, food and beverage companies cannot be lax with cleaning. To make this crucial maintenance task easier, food managers should research the best ways to clean their equipment. Moreover, cleaning must be done frequently to avoid the buildup of residue inside the machinery, which can make them harder to clean.
Every food and beverage company must be aware of these challenges and how to resolve them in order to minimize consequences on operations, products, and the company as a whole.