pigging systems improve efficiency

The Landscape of the Food and Beverage Industry is Constantly Evolving and Changing

The food and beverage manufacturing industry is an extremely competitive industry that is constantly evolving and changing.

From dairy, confectionery and bakery products to meat processing, alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages, the food and beverage industry consists of many different sectors.

Combined, the industry is estimated to be worth over $8 trillion US dollars globally, representing more than 10% of the world’s GDP.

Challenges Facing Food and Beverage Manufacturers

Despite the growth, food and beverage manufacturers have a lot to contend with. Challenged by demands for sustainability and an uncertain trade environment to concerns over safety and the need for traceability.

Manufacturers also must innovate and introduce new products in order to stay competitive and keep pace with consumer demands. On top of that, profit margins for food and beverage companies are getting slimmer and raw materials prices are constantly fluctuating.

To meet those challenges and to improve their bottom line, food and beverage manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to cut their costs and optimise their production processes. Efficiency is an obvious area to focus on to boost profitability and the bottom line.

This blog article looks at some of the ways product recovery (“pigging”) systems can help food and beverage manufacturers improve the efficiency of their operations.


Some of the Ways Pigging Systems Can Help Food and Beverage Companies Improve the Efficiency of Their Operations

Helping Food and Beverage Manufacturers Conserve Water

Food and beverage processing plants use large amounts of water throughout the production process and the whole supply chain. As well as being used as an ingredient, water is used as a cleaning agent, for boiling and cooling purposes and for transportation and conditioning of raw materials. The resulting wastewater must also be treated responsibly.

Although food and beverage companies rely heavily on water for their manufacturing processes, there are ways that manufacturers can use water more efficiently.

Pigging systems help manufacturers operate more efficiently and optimise their water usage. By reducing the need for long and continuous pipeline flushes, pigging reduces water usage at various stages of food and beverage production.

Pigging also minimises wastewater discharge, which in turn reduces disposal costs. This can save food and beverage manufacturers significant amounts of money. Here’s more about how pigging systems save water and the areas that pigging saves water.

Reducing Food and Beverage Downtime and Changeover Times

Many companies have found that offering a diverse product portfolio is essential for staying competitive in the food and beverage industry. However, expanding product portfolios and product variations means more production runs which increases the frequency of changeovers. And the more changeovers there are, the more downtime there is which means time not producing the product.

Changeovers can be extremely costly for food and beverage manufacturers. Generally, any product washed through at the start or end of the batch is flushed to waste. On top of that, there’s the cost of water, chemicals, labour, and energy. The changeover process is also extremely time-consuming, often involving clean in place (CIP) and sanitising the entire production line. According to BCG, downtime due to product changeovers can exceed ten hours, even if there is minimal difference between the next product being processed.

Pigging systems are one of the most effective ways to speed up changeovers and minimise production downtime in food and beverage manufacture. Because the HPS pig recovers practically all of the product residue from the pipeline, this reduces the length of the wash and improves production efficiency. In some cases, if there’s a slight change in colour or flavour, it’s often possible to follow on immediately with the next product after pigging. This eliminates the need for flushing altogether.

pigging systems improve efficiency

Improving the Capacity of Food and Beverage Operations

From “plant-based”, “source of protein”, “low sugar” and “free-from”, food and beverage manufacturers process a wide variety of products.

To reduce the number of changeovers and minimise cross-contamination risks, food and beverage manufacturers typically want lines dedicated to run just one product. However, this is not always practical due to capacity constraints. At the same time, having a dedicated line for each of the variants of products can be inefficient.

A more efficient option would be to keep the number of lines to a minimum and have shared lines for different products. However, this can also be problematic as each time a variant is processed, this results in downtime that reduces capacity utilisation and increases changeover expenses significantly.

Because HPS pigging systems recover up to 99.5% of product from full process pipelines, this enables the same line to be used for multiple products and keeps the number of dedicated lines to a minimum. Not only does this increase plant capacity and boost efficiency, but it also enhances manufacturing flexibility.

Reducing Waste in Food and Beverage Processing Plants

Due to the proliferation of products, manufacturers must contend with shorter production runs and more frequent changeovers.

However, when switching the production line from one product to another, manufacturers often discard any product remaining in the line before carrying out the cleaning process. Therefore, this wastes large amounts of product. Please note, there’s nothing wrong with this product, it’s perfectly useable. So, manufacturers are essentially flushing valuable product away. Not only does wasting product mean inefficiency, but it also means higher overheads and reduced profits, which can seriously hurt an organisation’s bottom line.

As well as product wastage, there’s also the large amounts of water and cleaning agents used to clear the pipeline for the next product. This can be extremely costly with the cleaning and changeover process using large amounts of water, cleaning agents, energy, and resources.

One of the most effective ways to reduce product wastage in food and beverage processing is by implementing pigging technology. Because HPS pigging systems significantly increase product yields, this means there’s less product to send to waste. In addition, because pigging cleans the inside of pipes and tubing, the cleaning and changeover processes use less cleaning fluids. In this way, pigging directly reduces waste processing costs.

hps pig recovering liquid

Reducing Contamination Risks

Not only do product recalls have a negative impact on productivity and efficiency, but they can significantly affect a company’s bottom line and reputation. Although manufacturers have measures in place to prevent contamination incidents from happening, not all incidents can be avoided.

That’s why it’s important for food and beverage manufacturers to have traceability in their supply chains. Having traceability enables manufacturers to react more swiftly and execute targeted and proactive product recalls with less risk to their brand and reputation. It can also help manage inventory and minimise unnecessary waste.

Product recovery systems can help food and beverage manufacturers by creating precise, reliable liquid, wet product or ingredient separation in their production process. This improves operational efficiency and enhances traceability. In addition, pigging helps manufacturers improve traceability by segmenting batches and creating clear barriers between them.

So, if a contamination incident arises, companies will be able to find the precise location and cause of the problem quickly and therefore keep the damage to a minimum.

Find Out More

From improving production efficiency and increasing yields, to reducing waste and speeding up changeover times, pigging systems have many benefits.  So, if you would like to bring these benefits to your organisation, then please contact HPS

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