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Like many leading global industries, the food industry has had to rethink its processes over the past few years to ensure food safety is at the heart of its business. Of course, food safety has always been essential, but with the added risk of viruses and pandemics, it is more crucial than ever.
Fortunately, automation has solved many food safety challenges and other issues that have arisen in recent years.
What is Food Industry Automation?
There are four types of automation that can be applied to different industries. But, since we are talking about the food industry, we will give an example of each of these types of automation in this sector:
An example of a fixed automation system in the food industry would be a conveyor belt that helps package food products without human intervention. This is probably a popular type of automation chosen by mass production companies or large food companies.
This type of automation is provided by a software system that has been programmed to perform a task. Usually, manufacturing companies use ERP systems to effectively track their inventory and have more accessible and proactive live inventory management.
This is another type of computer-controlled automation applied by process manufacturing in the food industry. So where workers were able to manually assemble formulas or recipes in the past, this can now be automated through machines to mix ingredients etc.
This form of automation requires minimal human intervention and is managed by computers. This automation could be used in the food industry to process packaging designs or control digital machine tools.
How does automation help the food industry overcome challenges?
Automation has many benefits for the food industry, including optimizing quality control and efficiency and making it easier for individual businesses to scale. Companies that benefit from automation don’t have to be large manufacturers; small food businesses can use automation during their initial recruiting periods. Or, if funds don’t allow for a long roster of employees, companies may choose to use automation instead of hiring more workers.
This has been beneficial during the pandemic when more companies realized the risks of bringing high numbers of workers on site for day-to-day activities. While this may be problematic from the employment side, from a business perspective, food businesses can make more profit by having fewer people on their payroll and using different forms of automation instead. .
Pandemic and safety risks aside, we must highlight the various benefits that automation can have for those in the food industry;
When you think of machines that have been programmed and configured to work precisely, you can imagine that these results are more accurate than those of a human. When applying this to food industry practices, the use of machinery in the manufacturing process helps to ensure that the quality is of the highest standard.
For example, a beverage company uses a machine to measure product recipe ingredients. As a result, the company will have peace of mind that each drink has the exact measurements to keep the final taste consistent. And, if it looked like there was a problem, it would be easier to go through the manufacturing process and find the cause.
Using ERP software for the food industry or programmable automation makes a food company’s manufacturing process much easier to manage and track. As a result, businesses can tap into their analytics and data to track the shelf life of perishable products, maximize profits and reduce waste.
This traceable data can also ensure business reliability, as analytics can detect inconsistencies. For example, if a machine is not operating as efficiently, the data will reflect this and make it easy to spot.
As briefly touched upon above, an essential part of all food industry practice is to track the expiration date of a product to ensure it is sold by that date in order to provide customers a safe product and reduce company waste.
Automation that keeps track of this data is beneficial and more efficient than manually creating a spreadsheet or other logs that may have been used in the past.
Now is the time to dive into automation
It’s clear that automation in the food industry has been a critical part of keeping food safety high while providing more efficient ways to track products, maximize sales, reduce waste and perform quality tests.
Automation is a great tool for any business aiming to work in the food industry. With various accessible ways to get your hands on automation, like ERP systems, there’s no better time than now to dive into the world of automation.