Food safety in the commercial and industrial baking sectors has always been a hot button. However, in recent years, regulators have placed more emphasis on quality control than ever. For this reason, food and beverage producers are turning to industrial automation solutions in increasing numbers as means of enhancing food safety at their manufacturing facilities.
Implementing the latest industrial automation solutions for the food industry remains among the best approaches for reducing the incidence of food contamination in your bakery. The general idea behind automating is that the less human interaction you have with your baked goods, the less exposed you are to food contamination.
As a sort of bonus, automating your bakery production lines enhances production efficiency and product consistency in addition to boosting product safety and quality control. Now, let’s take a look at a few specific ways automation can help suppress the food safety issues at your production facility.
Automating reduces both human intervention and contamination
Aside from dangerous bacteria that lead to foodborne illness, preventing hair contamination is a singular priority for most food manufacturers. If a customer discovers a hair baked into one of your products, it’s not simply about only losing that one customer to a process error.
Once word starts getting around, especially if these process errors are redundant, a seemingly minor contamination incident could have a lasting impact and your brand’s reputation that could take years to mitigate.
Automating your stacking process, for instance, eliminates human operator intervention in the process while reducing your overall product handling requirements that increase the likelihood of hair contamination. Introducing an automatic tray that washes and cycles in clean trays to your packaging lines will, likewise, help ensure product integrity until the time comes to ship the products.
Industrial automation software ensures more consistent outcomes
If there’s one thing humans are known for, it’s their lack of predictability. When you reduce human intervention requirements by automating your bakery lines, you’ll ultimately find less movement throughout your plant. In turn, your manufacturing facility remains cleaner while you considerably reduce the chances of product contamination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that individual cases of foodborne illnesses to around 48 million each year. Researchers have identified over 250 diseases traceable to poor and unsanitary practices in executing various foood production processes.
Most illnesses start with viruses, bacteria, and parasites sourced to human operators handling food products inside manufacturing plants. As way of prioritizing safety and protecting their bottom lines from costly regulator fines and potential litigation costs, many food manufacturers have started automating their lines to reduce recalls and ensure product consistency.
Both the financial and reputational costs associated with distributing spoiled food products that pose risks to customers are often financially devastating. This is especially true for the many businesses in the food and beverage sector that operate on thin margins.
Since new and most cost-effective industrial automation solutions have recently, more organizations can now feel confident that the ROI after automating will ultimately come back to them in the form of improved food safety and quality control.
Automating similarly helps bakeries save time and money while leveraging the technology to their output and preserving a positive brand perception through better product consistency and fewer human errors.
Automating fosters a safer, more sterile manufacturing plant
Harmful bacteria, like Salmonella, a common cause of foodborne illness, can reach harmful levels in your plant after a matter of hours. To prevent contamination like this from getting out of hand, you need to prevent the bacteria from multiplying and spreading.
To ensure toxic microorganisms don’t attach to your food, can deploy automation solutions like high-pressure processing or HPP. HPP prepares your foods for distribution under high pressure, effectively eliminating any residual bacteria that could continue to grow as you ship your products.
Foods also last longer when you use an HPP method. You’ll find that, after high-pressure processing, you won’t have to rely on adding preservatives or other ingredients that compromise the consistency and taste of your baked goods.
Automated bakeries enjoy increased uptime
Downtime is a major disruptor for any businesses, but it is especially troubling for companies operating in the food and beverage sector because they handle so many perishable goods. One faulty component could lead to a chain of events that may cause you to halt your operations after little notice, potentially leaving ingredients you’d planned on preparing that day to spoil.
Expired ingredients always become an issue when they can’t be introduced to the product on schedule. If you’re not keeping adequate records through your manufacturing execution software, you’ll discover that foods that aren’t added when scheduled are unsellable because you’re unable to document their expiry dates.
Mishaps such as these often display an immediate impact on your company’s profitability and almost always have a negative impact on the relationship you have with valued customers and vendors when can’t deliver your goods on time.
Simplified equipment maintenance and performance monitoring
Increasing your uptime wherever you can is, of course, vital, and the best way to go about this is by preventing the spread of contaminants in your plant. While this is usually easier said than done, adhering to a proactive and predictive cleaning maintenance and schedule is the best way to ensure an optimally sanitized bakery.
The latest bakery automation equipment provides you with all the requisite tools you’ll need to reduce the risk of both contamination and unplanned downtime by automatically monitoring equipment performance along your production lines and using AI tools to predictably instigate future cleaning intervals.
Where do I find leading automation companies near me?
With nearly 50 million people falling ill to foodborne illnesses each you’re, plant contamination is hardly a subject to tread lightly as a bakery owner. You never want to put your business at risk over preventable mistakes, and AI software helps you accomplish this.
EZSoft is a top full-service systems integrator of process control systems, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), and IT reporting services in Malvern, PA. To learn more about how our custom apps and reporting solutions can elevate your food manufacturing plant to the next level, complete our request for contact form online or dial us now at (484) 568-5040.