what are the benefits of pigging for the food industry
Pigging (also referred to a ‘liquid product recovery’) is an extremely popular and effective method of recovering residual liquid product from pipelines. The benefits of pigging systems for food companies are substantial.
These systems play a crucial role in the production, processing, and packaging of diverse food products such as ingredients, desserts, nut butters, ready meals, sauces, flavourings, soups, dairy, supplements, plant-based foods, and much more.
As well as delivering many operational and efficiency gains, pigging and product recovery systems also deliver and high return on investment and rapid payback for food manufacturers (here’s more on product recovery system payback and ROI). This blog article outlines some of the key benefits of pigging systems for food companies (and similar type applications) and how these benefits are achieved.
How Hygienic (Sanitary) Pigging Systems Work
Pigging systems work by using a specialist projectile (the ‘pig’), which has a diameter slightly larger than the pipeline it is pigging.
The compact design ensures the pig maintains continuous contact with the pipe, effectively pushing the majority of product to its destination—whether it’s the filler, tank, bottling, or packaging area. The liquid could also be sent to continue processing along with the rest of the product.
The HPS pipeline pig features a unique, finless one-piece design, enabling it to achieve exceptionally high recovery rates, reaching up to 99.5%. This pig is also bi-directional, ensuring optimal operational efficiency (pigs limited to one direction are prone to inefficiency, unreliability, and can pose problems in food processing, making them less recommended).
Optimising Yields and Efficiency in Food Manufacturing with Pigging System
One of the most common reasons food manufacturers implement pigging systems is to reclaim residual product from the inside of process pipelines. Of all the benefits of pigging for food companies, increased yields and reduced waste are the most commonly cited to HPS. No food manufacturer wants to waste perfectly saleable product. Especially when margins are getting slimmer, competition is increasing, energy costs are rising, and raw material prices are constantly fluctuating.
Instead of sending product to waste as would be expected of a conventional procedure, pigging saves it. The recovered product can then continue to be processed, bottled, canned, or stored. In this way, pigging increases product yields significantly.
By increasing yields through pigging, food manufacturers enjoy a host of advantages: reduced waste, minimal product loss, heightened efficiency, a greater volume of saleable product, enhanced productivity, and, most importantly, increased profits. In essence, pigging enables you to produce more with less, and at a faster pace.
Reduced Flush Waste and Disposal Costs
Many food manufacturers are committed to reducing waste and cutting their carbon emissions. An effective way to reduce waste is by utilising liquid product recovery solutions.
Traditional changeovers typically involve substantial use of cleaning chemicals and water to prepare pipelines for the next product, resulting in both product wastage and significant effluent generation. As waste increases, so do costs related to water and wastewater disposal.
Because pigging recovers nearly all the residual product from the pipeline, there’s less product to send to waste. This means less water and cleaning chemicals are required for the cleaning and changeover processes. In this way, hygienic and sanitary pigging systems directly reduce waste handling and disposal costs, a further major benefit of HPS pigging solutions to food companies.
Faster Changeover Times and Increased Uptime
In response to the evolving demands of consumers, food manufacturers are continually introducing new products, ranging from plant-based alternatives to low-sugar and gluten-free options.
Processors can’t dedicate a complete line for each format. So, this proliferation of customer choice has resulted in shorter production runs and more frequent changeovers.
However, increased changeovers inevitably lead to more downtime, presenting challenges in terms of efficiency, resource utilisation, and productivity.
This underscores the importance of flexible equipment like pigging in the food industry. Pigging improves changeovers by reducing flushing and clean in place (CIP) process times. In some cases, the effectiveness of the HPS pig in cleaning pipelines allows for immediate processing of the next product.
As a result, pigging delivers the added advantage of reduced production downtime and increased plant uptime. Additionally, it streamlines the cleaning process, saving valuable time. By minimising cleaning efforts, manufacturers can channel their resources towards producing profit-generating products.
Reduced Water Consumption: A Key Advantage of Pigging Systems in Food Processing
Another key benefit of pigging systems for the food industry is reduced water consumption.
Water plays a vital role in food manufacturing and processing, serving as an essential ingredient and crucial component in cleaning and sanitising operations. Given the growing concerns about water scarcity, efficient water usage in food processing has become a pressing issue.
Pigging systems can help food manufacturers lower their water consumption and meet their conservation targets. This is through decreasing long, continuous flushes between product transfers and batch changeovers and improving control and efficiency of the CIP process. Furthermore, pigging promotes water efficiency through the reuse and recycling of rinse water.
Beyond its positive environmental impact, the reduction in water usage translates to substantial cost and energy savings for food manufacturers.
Enhancing Production Capacity and Versatility in the Food Industry with Pigging Systems
With the explosion of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in the food industry, manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to increase their production capacity.
Pigging systems in the food industry stand out for their ability to increase both capacity and operational flexibility. Due to the high recovery rates of the process pig, the same line can be used to process a wide range of products. This reduces the number of dedicated lines. It also enables food manufacturers to meet market demand for greater product variety.
Maximum Product Quality and Reduced Contamination Risks
Many food manufacturing facilities are designed to ensure products are manufactured to the highest quality and safety standards. This is to lower the chances of a contamination incident and subsequent product recall.
Through its unmatched recovery rates, HPS pigging systems in the food industry significantly reduce the likelihood of contamination and cross-contamination. This translates to a more consistent product output and a reduced need for rework.
As well as being an effective way for food manufacturers to reduce contamination risks, pigging also minimises mixing and dilution, leading to a marked improvement in product quality and substantial time savings for food companies.
Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Pigging Systems for Food
Maintaining environmental responsibility is a paramount concern for virtually all food companies today.
The cost of waste disposal and treatment is getting more expensive for food manufacturers. In addition, changes in environmental legislation can lead to companies incurring additional costs.
Incorporating a pigging system offers an effective way to both support the environment and mitigate these escalating expenses.
By minimising product loss, using less water, cutting waste, and saving energy, the environmental benefits of pigging are significant. Pigging also uses less cleaning chemicals, reduces wastewater and means fewer trucks on the road. In this way, pigging improves environmental sustainability and directly benefits food companies by boosting their green credentials.
Unlock the Advantages of Pigging Systems for Your Food Processing
Pigging offers a wide range of benefits to food, beverage and many other companies. Importantly, HPS pigging technology for food delivers a high ROI with fast payback. Payback can be often achieved in just a few months.
If your operations involve food processing or handling any liquid or wet products, and you’re keen on harnessing the benefits of pigging and liquid product recovery solutions, then please get in touch.
HPS has a wealth of experience and expertise in the food industry and will provide you with a high-quality, cutting-edge solution that delivers transformational results.