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Food Processing Design: Solutions and Innovations

AdobeStock 837106967 Scaled, HS Innovations

Food processing design is at the core of an industry where processing companies must comply with stringent regulations, fulfill growing sustainability expectations, and succeed in a highly competitive market. HS Innovations (HSI) evolves with the food processing and manufacturing industry to provide innovative food processing solutions. 

Our capabilities range from changeout and installation of a single piece of equipment to the design and build of a full production line. We discuss in this article the power of food manufacturing automation, share solutions for food processing challenges, and how our ORCA system contributes to client sustainability efforts.

Solutions for Food Processing Challenges   

The food processing and manufacturing industry is continuously facing challenges. International, national, and environmental factors can impact the supply chain or bring regulatory changes. Amid these challenges, the industry must meet financial expectations, produce food products for consumers demanding immediate gratification, and maintain the highest food safety and quality control standards. Food safety is one of the greatest industry risks and, according to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), a largely preventable one.        

Maintaining quality control and food safety levels requires balancing strict guidelines with allowing employees to highlight concerns or offer suggestions for improvements. The market continues to automate industrial food processing and manufacturing systems, but human beings will always be part of the process. The HSI team has, through our more than 90 years of combined poultry processing experience, learned there are often difficulties with identifying and operating valves for mechanical and sanitation applications in production floor environments. 

HSI’s Prevent Shut-Off Valves is a solution, and designed to avert these errors in poultry and other food processing plants. The unique design allows for quick and easy verification of valve status, and clients can choose multiple cam colors to identify flow fluid within their system. An integral tamper-resistant Red locking device allows the valve to be Safely Locked Out in the “Off/Closed” position to improve safety.

It is the ideal product for food processing plants using caustic chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing. The valve fittings and hardware are manufactured with stainless steel, ensuring they last at least five times longer than the standard valves available on the market. 

 

AdobeStock 833600262 Scaled, HS Innovations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Prevent Shut-Off Valves series includes:

  • Prevent Shut-Off Valves
  • Air Prevent Shut-Off Valves
  • Regulated Air Prevent Shut-Off Valves
  • Hydraulic Prevent Shut-Off Valves
  • Prevent Sanitation Foaming Station.

Innovations in Food Packaging Technology  

Food packaging is vital to maintain the quality, shelf life, and safety of food manufactured or processed for human consumption. Consumers are increasingly searching for products with sustainable packaging, but they also want the food to be nutritious, tasteful and high-quality. It has led to technological innovations such as smart and active food packaging. 

Active food packaging enhances the food manufacturing process as it removes unwanted odors, improves food quality, and ensures products stay fresher for longer. The food and beverage industry is the largest end-user of this packaging type, which includes ethylene, moisture and odor scavengers, oxygen absorbers, carbon dioxide emitters, and antimicrobial agents. It works by emitting or absorbing compounds within a packaged product to extend its shelf life and improve its quality, contributing to improved food safety.       

Smart packaging offers functional and interactive solutions by enhancing traditional food packaging with advanced technologies. The different types of intelligent packaging technologies include sensor-based and time-temperature indicator (TTI) packaging that monitors environmental factors, as well as tracking and identifying radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) technologies. 

Smart labels and tags using QR codes or NFC technology offer consumers additional information such as product origin, ingredients and nutritional information. It can even be used to provide cooking instructions, product reviews, and promotions.     

We might not specialize in packaging technology, but HSI is proud of the Top Food Processing Solutions Provider 2023 Award we received from the global enterprise technology magazine Food & Beverage Technology Review. HS Innovations is, as our name states, continuously innovating, designing, and manufacturing components and systems to new standards of precision and simplicity. We aim to contribute to food processing design that makes the industry more cost-effective, safe, and sustainable.  

 

AdobeStock 838853656 Scaled, HS Innovations

 

Enhancing Performance in Food Production Facilities  

Several factors contribute to enhancing performance in food production facilities, including quality control, employee training, inventory tracking, and preventative maintenance. The importance of quality control cannot be underestimated. It ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, minimizes brand reputation risks by preventing consumers from falling ill due to food contamination, and maximizes brand loyalty by providing food items of consistent quality. 

Human negligence is often a contributing factor to food contamination and a preventable risk with regular food safety and handling protocols training. Employees also feel more invested and empowered when process changes are communicated in a timely and accurate manner. Inventory tracking is the third performance-enhancing factor discussed here. It is an efficient way to minimize supply chain challenges and requires focused management to balance cash flow and inventory. Effective inventory management software and automation streamline the process. 

A preventative maintenance strategy protects food processing and manufacturing companies by limiting costly downtime. Follow a regular maintenance program, stock key parts, and utilize innovative yet practical components to ensure systems function optimally with reduced Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).

Downtime affects performance in a food production facility and often occurs when employees such as production staff, mechanics, and sanitation workers remove standard ball valve nut handles to prevent colleagues from making unauthorized adjustments to the valves. Vibration can also cause the stem nut to back off, separating the handle from the stem. HS Innovations designed and patented Kurnut™ ball valves with non-removable handles to address these recurring problems. 

Our range includes a 2-piece standard stainless steel Kurnut™ ball valve (full port), 2-piece brass Kurnut™ ball valve (full port), and 3-piece stainless steel Kurnut™ ball valve (full port). The Kurnut™ was designed to provide years of uninterrupted service in any industrial environment. 

 

AdobeStock 828143835 Scaled, HS Innovations

The Power of Food Manufacturing Automation   

Food manufacturing and processing companies are progressively automating their systems to reduce labor costs and improve efficiency and productivity. Automation offers high levels of consistency and precision, which is crucial for quality control. Manual inspection leads to inconsistency, but automated systems sort products based on set criteria, whether size, color, texture, consistency or type. Automation is also instrumental in maintaining food quality and safety standards at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) levels. 

Manufacturers can use automation in all stages of the production process, including raw material management, preparation, processing, packaging, and storage. Control systems and sensors track factors in real time based on processing parameters, including ingredient levels, humidity, temperature and pressure. 

Extensive amounts of data are generated by automated manufacturing systems, which can be used to streamline regulatory reporting and provide the company with performance feedback for improved food production efficiency. Systems can also be configured to send alerts when machinery requires cleaning and sanitizing to adhere to compliance requirements. 

Automated systems offer many food processing design advantages. They can be designed to use raw materials, water, and energy optimally to reduce waste and enhance sustainable practices. Machines can also be programmed to manage different packaging types and sizes, including filling, sealing and labeling, while operating at high speed. It provides a comprehensive supply chain view that enhances traceability in the unlikely instance of food contamination, limiting potential damage. 

Although automation requires fewer employees, there are benefits to staff as well. They are freed from repetitive activities, can focus on tasks requiring human intervention, and improve their expertise to optimize efficiency. Consumers want a positive eating experience. Automation provides product consistency and ensures food items are always available. It promotes loyalty and enhances brand reputation.   

 

AdobeStock 823872124 Scaled, HS Innovations

The World of Food Processing Equipment   

Technology is changing the world of food processing equipment. Food processing production lines are automated using digital technology that facilitates communication between sensors, machines, and control systems. It enhances systems to utilize equipment more efficiently and speeds up production. Equipment is monitored in real-time through embedded sensors collecting data around operational speed, temperature, and humidity levels. It allows for predictive maintenance through data analytics that highlight operational anomalies and possible equipment defects.

Equipment customization is vital to maintain production efficiency. Modular design allows equipment to be upgraded or configured, offering the flexibility to create a new production line without significant additional investment. Equipment designs are adapted to provide easy-to-clean surfaces and components that can withstand industry sanitation processes. Advanced technologies such as antimicrobial coatings, ozone treatment, and ultraviolet (UV) light sanitization are also being integrated into equipment for innovative food processing. Sustainability is a growing industry focus. Companies are searching for cost-effective ways to adapt equipment to enhance energy efficiency and improve water conservation.  

Chemicals have various uses in the food processing and management industry, including cleaning and sanitizing equipment. Accidental chemical mixing is a risk on multiple levels. HS Innovations designed the Chemical Cam Coupling system to solve this problem and keep personnel managing the transport and movement of chemicals to larger storage tanks safely. 

The system consists of a male and corresponding female cam securely stored in a lock box. Each part is exclusively designed for specific chemicals, preventing the possibility of mixing. A touch-screen panel provides a direct line of sight for operators to monitor the chemical transfer and custom software ensures only the correct information unlocks the corresponding lock box, allowing accurate cam coupling and chemical transfer.

 

AdobeStock 740362475 Scaled, HS Innovations

Eco-Friendly Production With Sustainable Food Processing  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that in 2019, the food and beverage manufacturing and processing sectors generated 40 million tons of wasted food, of which 42.6% was managed by anaerobic digestion. Eco-friendly food production requires more effective management of industry-generated food waste. Manufacturers and processors also need to use less water, install renewable energy sources at plants, and choose sustainable food processing innovations such as HSI’s ORCA system that benefit companies and the environment.

The HSI Oil Reclaim & Cooling Assist (ORCA) system offers several economic and environmental benefits. It extends oil life, enhances safety, provides cost reduction, improves sediment/crumb removal, and a simplified cleaning process. ORCA offers a sustainable solution by eliminating the need for water to cool the oil and sediment/crumb.   

Which other eco-friendly production choices can support sustainable food processing? Automate processing systems to utilize raw materials and water effectively, and increase the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar at processing plants. Investigate eco-friendly packaging’s impact on your systems and brand. Perform a waste audit to determine how the company can contribute to minimizing the 57.4% food waste gap existing beyond anaerobic digestion and use data to identify areas of improvement. Invest in employee training programs focused on sustainable practices and issues. 

Sustainable food production is possible if the food processing and manufacturing industry commits to utilizing eco-friendly practices and innovations throughout its value chain. The United Nations (UN) states that the global food system, which includes processing, packaging, and transportation, is not sustainable in its current form as it accounts for a third of greenhouse gas emissions and uses 70 percent of the world’s freshwater.  

HS Innovations believes in making our client’s systems and workplaces safer by designing, innovating, and manufacturing components and systems to a high standard of precision and simplicity. Contact HSI today to discuss how our innovative solutions can improve your company’s food processing design.

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Fayetteville AR 72703
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