Food manufacturing is arguably one of the most difficult types of manufacturing. Consistency is key, which requires well-designed and controlled operations and processes. Add to that the extra cleanliness and safety required to maintain food safety, and you’ve got a complex production environment.

It’s important to optimize your line for maximum efficiency in order to maintain a high yield. There are many factors to consider on your journey to total optimization, which may include improvements in operations, processes, equipment, productivity, automation, technology, safety, training and more.

Each food manufacturing line is unique. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can optimize your food manufacturing line so you can produce required volumes of your product in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

The Food Manufacturing Optimization Secret

Optimizing your production line is directly correlated to your company’s profitability. Want to increase your profitability? Increase the efficiency of your line.

If you can create a high quality product for less than your competitors can, you’ve created a competitive advantage. Small food manufacturers can get ahead of the larger companies and remain competitive by optimizing their lines, or implementing a new idea or technology.

When you operate as efficiently and safely as possible, you can find your own successful niche in the highly competitive food manufacturing industry.

You Aren’t Alone

The first thing I want to say is you aren’t alone. InterTech has been helping food manufacturers optimize their packaging/production lines for 35+ years. If you want to bring in the experts, we are here to help you every step of the way.

We design lines and create processes that save our clients millions of dollars each year. Whether you’re adding a new line to your existing facility, upgrading the processes on your current line, or even incorporating a new technology, we can help.

Our talented engineers bring decades of experience to your specific challenge and open your mind to new ways of thinking about your processes.

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Streamline Operations and Complex Processes

It’s important to gain an in-depth understanding about where your line needs to be improved. Improving and streamlining operations and processes is an important factor in achieving maximum efficiency.

Here at InterTech, we have comprehensive knowledge regarding all aspects of food and beverage manufacturing processes. Most of our engineers have more than 25 years of experience. The depth and diversity of our team gives us unique strengths. When it comes to upgrading your existing line, risk analysis and risk avoidance planning should be high on your priority list.

Our unique Operational and Financial Feasibility Analyses, and our experience capturing hidden costs, will provide you with the detailed data you need before deciding on any modifications. We have a long history of producing efficient production facilities, incorporating future growth plans and providing substantial cost reductions.

Once you have the data you need to make these important decisions, you can begin the process of streamlining your operations. This will extend the life of your equipment, incorporate redundancies to minimize downtime and utilize automation where it is effective to fill in the labor shortage gaps — all to ensure maximum and consistent output.

The Best Equipment for Your Specific Food Manufacturing Line

A fully optimized production line starts with equipment that has been chosen specifically for that line. Sadly, many food manufacturers allow OEMs to design their line. The true savings, ROI and optimization on any line starts when all the components on the line are integrated into a well-designed system.

When you build a house, you don’t hire the person who sells the wood to design it. You hire an architect. Why would you have an equipment manufacturer design your production line?

We are loyal to you, our client (not a specific equipment supplier). 

InterTech’s Mike Curin explained:

That’s one of the big differences we bring to the table. Since we aren’t an equipment supplier, we might deal with four different equipment suppliers to find the ultimate solution for you.

We develop Requests for Proposals for major equipment so our clients can be assured they are getting the correct equipment at the best value. It’s all about bringing value to you. We understand all major equipment options. This is truly where our team shines.

Increase Productivity and Quality Consistency Through Automation

By using the latest technologies to automate certain processes in your plant, you will be able to fill in the gaps caused by an increasing labor shortage. We can maximize your line design and training to optimize the talents of all your employees and provide more opportunities to strengthen their skills, all of which assures a more successful operation.

Automation also allows you to achieve a higher rate of consistency in the quality of your product. In addition, it helps you to address any equipment problems quickly and fix them just as fast. 

We dig deep into our client’s goals. We take the time to thoroughly understand what you want to do, and then we create a process to get you there. We evaluate all the different options to determine the best method for you. We handle it all from beginning to end. It’s a complete turnkey solution.

InterTech’s Suhas Sathe explained:

I was recently involved with a project we did for a vitamin company. They use a food grade plastic bottle. They had a manual process which began as the bottles came off the molding machines. They had people who actually put together the box, and then put a little plastic liner inside the box.

They wanted to automate as much of this process as possible. After our assessment, we found that we could automate the portion of the process that would normally take three people, thus filling in the gaps where they were experiencing a labor shortage. In order to reach this conclusion, we looked at various technologies and various ways to automate.

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In Addition to Automation, Technology Can Help in Other Areas

Emerging technologies continue to enhance manufacturing processes. It’s possible that by utilizing a new technology, you can reach your manufacturing goals faster or create a market advantage.

For example, making the switch from HDPE containers to PET offers many advantages. Also, new resin technology and preform design allows for longer shelf life coupled with enhanced rib design. This creates a more robust and stable plastic container for products filled up to 195 degrees F.

InterTech’s Holly Fisher explained:

A well known salsa manufacturer came to us last year and asked us to innovate a PET bottle or jar that would give them a lighter weight container to reduce their shipping costs. They are currently packaging their salsa in glass.

We worked on this project with leaders in the industry, and we’ve done a lot of testing. We believe we can help them reduce the weight of their container, which is a significant improvement. This one change from glass to plastic packaging will help them update their entire process.

The Importance of Safety Protocols on Your Line

For any food manufacturer, safety should be at the forefront of every decision. When manufacturing food, there are unique safety protocols that should be followed. Unlike many types of manufacturing, food safety affects every aspect of your operation. An efficient line is optimized for “safety first.”

It’s important to develop a culture of food safety. By focusing on safety every step of the way, you can avoid unexpected and potentially dangerous mishaps and costly recalls. 

InterTech’s John Bailey explained:

We are very careful with how we design our conveyance with glass because glass clinks as it’s going down the line. When that happens, micro-cracks can develop. In glass, the crack finds the grain boundary and walks it. That’s the weakest point. That’s where all the stress is. 

That’s why the gentlest touch will cause glass to explode. Then all of a sudden you’re all the way down to the case-packer and a bottle shatters. That’s only one kind of safety. Another example is protecting or sterilizing food product through temperature and time control.

We would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation with you. Please contact our office at any time. Let us evaluate your line, processes and infrastructure to optimize its strengths and correct its weaknesses.

For over 35 years, InterTech has helped hundreds of food and beverage plants implement a variety of manufacturing projects. Whether it be a single line or multi-plant roll out, we have helped reduce their operating costs by $2–10 million per year.

Let us model your operations and show you the feasibility of your project ideas. The earlier we get involved, the more money we can help you save.

For multi-plant clients, we have helped develop long-term plans to capitalize on the savings of initial projects in order to support future projects whose returns are lower.

We also develop Requests for Information (RFIs) or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for major equipment so our clients can be assured they are getting the correct equipment at the best value. By assembling all of the information we receive into a Total Cost of Ownership, we can forecast operational costs for the long-term and establish budgets for plants that have not previously been self-manufacturing their bottles.

Our clients include Cargill, AAK, Constellation, Ghirardelli, and both Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola (and their respective bottlers) and many others. We invite you to view a more complete list of our esteemed past and current clients.

Working with InterTech’s experienced engineering staff will help you make informed decisions and avoid costly changes.

InterTech
120 Interstate North Parkway SE
Suite 102
Atlanta, GA 30339
770–431–5959

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