Pigging (also referred to a ‘liquid product recovery’) is an extremely popular and effective method of recovering residual liquid product from pipelines. There are significant benefits of pigging systems for food companies.
Food pigging systems are used during the manufacture, processing and packaging of a wide range of food products. These include ingredients, desserts, nut butters and ready meals. It’s also used with sauces, flavourings, soups, dairy, supplements, plant-based food and so 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. 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
Hygienic (sanitary) pigging works by using a specialist projectile (the ‘pig’), which has a diameter slightly larger than the pipeline it is pigging.
The compact fit enables the pig to maintain full body contact with the pipe and push the majority of product to its destination. The destination being either the filler or tank, bottling or packaging. The liquid could also be sent to continue processing along with the rest of the product.
The unique, finless one-piece design of the HPS pig means it can achieve exceptionally high recovery rates (up to 99.5%). It is also bi-directional, which means the operational efficiency of the pig is extremely high (pigs which can only travel in one direction are inefficient, unreliable and problematic when used in food processing and are not recommended). Similarly, the HPS pig has a flexible magnetic core for detection and does not contain any solid magnets. Pigs that use solid magnets carry high risks when used in food manufacture because the magnets can shatter, damage equipment, and contaminate the product batch.
Increased Product Yields
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.
And by increasing yields by pigging, this means reduced waste, minimal product loss, better efficiency, more saleable product, improved productivity, and importantly increased profits. Ultimately, pigging enables you to produce more for less, and faster.
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.
During changeovers, large quantities of cleaning chemicals and water are often used to prepare the pipeline for the next product. This results in valuable product being wasted and a large amount of effluent to treat. And the more waste there is, the higher the cost of 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, 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
From plant-based meals, milk alternatives and clean label to low-sugar, fat-free and gluten free, food manufacturers are constantly introducing new products that meet ever-changing customer requirements.
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, the more changeovers there are, the more downtime there is. Changeovers can also be extremely wasteful, resource-intensive, and time-consuming. And not to mention a hindrance to efficiency and productivity.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that food manufacturers are adopting flexible equipment such as pigging that make changeovers and cleaning as fast and easy as possible. Pigging speeds up changeover times, as it reduces the length of flushing and the clean in place (CIP) process.
Because the HPS pig is so effective at cleaning the pipes, it’s sometimes possible to follow on immediately with the next product after pigging. In this way, pigging delivers the benefits of reduced production downtime and increased plant uptime.
It also makes cleaning easier and faster. By reducing cleaning times, manufacturers can instead focus their efforts on producing product that contributes to profit.
Another key benefit of pigging systems for the food industry is reduced water consumption. Food manufacturers and processors largely rely on water, as it’s used as an ingredient and for cleaning and sanitising.
Since water is a precious resource, concerns over water usage in food processing is a very real one.
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. In addition, pigging increases water efficiency by reusing and recycling rinse water.
Not only is reducing water usage good for the environment, but it can lead to significant savings in money and energy for food manufacturers.
Improved Production Capacity and Flexibility
With the explosion of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in the food industry, manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to increase their production capacity.
One of the key benefits of pigging is that it increases the capacity and flexibility of operations. 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.
Because HPS pigging systems achieve recovery rates that are unmatched in the process pigging industry, the chances of contamination and cross-contamination are greatly reduced. In turn, this means more consistent product output and less chance of product rework.
As well as being an effective way for food manufacturers to reduce contamination risks, pigging also minimises mixing and dilution, which greatly improves product quality and saves time.
Improved Environmental Sustainability
Being environmental responsible is a key priority for most (if not all) food companies.
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.
An effective way to help the environment and lower these costs is by incorporating a pigging system.
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.
Bring the Benefits of Pigging to Your Organisation
Pigging offers a wide range of benefits to food, beverage and many other companies. Importantly, food pigging systems delivers a high ROI with fast payback. Payback can be often achieved in just a few months.
If you process food, or just about any other liquid or wet product, and are interested in bringing the benefits of pigging and liquid product solutions to your organisation, 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.