Beverage Manufacturers are Transitioning to a New “Normal”
The last few years has been extremely challenging for most industries. The beverage industry is no exception as processors and manufacturers have been impacted severely by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beverage manufacturers have been forced to adapt and are now navigating a new “normal”. This includes the negative effects of the pandemic, labour shortages, price inflation, record-high energy costs, disrupted global supply chains plus much more.
All of this has created some severe headaches for manufacturers and consumers alike.
Why Efficiency is So Important
Many beverage manufacturers have been forced to find innovative and agile solutions to survive and keep business operations as normal as possible.
According to the Beverage Industry website, a route taken by many beverage processors and manufacturers has been to expand on existing manufacturing facilities or build brand-new ones to ensure continued efficiency no matter the circumstances.
Ensuring continued efficiency is extremely important. When it comes to beverage processing plants (or any liquid processing plant for that matter), even a minor improvement in efficiency can reap big awards.
After all, the more efficient the plant, the more products produced, more sales, more revenue for less – so less waste, less resources, less labour, less cost. This translates into a higher profit and a competitive advantage.
How Beverage Manufacturers Can Improve Efficiency in Beverage Manufacturing Facilities
To build and create continuous efficiency in beverage manufacturing plants, it’s imperative that manufacturers address the current challenges facing them.
Labour is a key consideration when building for efficiency. The food and beverage industry is battling a serious labour crisis, with many manufacturers struggling to fill vacant positions. In fact, in March 2022, 60% of businesses in the sector reported low levels of applications for the roles they had on offer.
At the same time, worker shortages are also impacting labour costs. In February 2022, 29% of food and beverage companies reported paying higher wages for existing employees and 30% higher wages for new employees.
With labour shortages not going anywhere anytime soon, new and future beverage manufacturing facilities must become more labour efficient. As a result, new plants will need to accommodate more process-driven, modern fulfilment and storage technologies. This could influence everything from power requirements and temperature needs to receiving and loading doors, automation plus much more.
Building Continuous Efficiency With Water, Wastewater and Energy
Another way beverage manufacturers are ensuring continuous efficiency in their new or existing manufacturing facilities is through water, wastewater, and energy.
Many existing and older technologies in beverage processing plants can be time intensive and waste large amounts of energy, water, and chemicals. That’s why many new and future beverage plants are now being built with planning for better water use and are utilizing more efficient processes and modern technologies.
The beverage industry relies heavily on the use of water for many of their operations. So, properly allocating water use and managing its effluent can be extremely beneficial to beverage processing plants.
Not only do beverage processes benefit from conservation and treatment solutions that are energy-efficient and reduce costs, but they will also benefit from reduced carbon footprint and improved environmental sustainability.
With commodity costs becoming more volatile, new and future beverage manufacturing facilities may also look into a multi-fuel facility strategy (oil, gas and biomass) to help create a more stable, reliable energy cost.
Improving Efficiency Through Automation
Beverage processors and manufacturers can also improve efficiency by investing in automation in their production facilities.
Automation can take many forms, ranging from the simple control of a process to the complete automation of an entire manufacturing plant.
As well as improving efficiency, automating every aspect the production process can reap enormous benefits. This includes improved product quality and safety, faster production time, lower costs, and the streamlining of essential processes such as cleaning, packaging, and preparing raw materials.
However, one of the other key reasons why many beverage plants are now automating their processes is due to the lack of labour and increased demand for their products. This has expanded the need for automation in warehouses and cold-storage facilities.
Pigging Systems in New and Existing Beverage Facilities
A technology that is increasingly being adopted in new, as well as existing beverage manufacturing facilities throughout the world is liquid product recovery technology.
Also referred to as “Pigging”, the technology can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively solve many challenges for beverage manufacturers.
Pigging systems recover residual liquid from beverage pipelines. This is liquid that, without pigging technology installed, would usually be flushed to waste.
Pigging systems by HPS increase product yields, reduce waste, improve efficiency, and increase plant capacity enabling beverage processors and manufacturers to produce more product for less.
How Does Pigging Technology Work?
Most pigging systems tend to be either fully automated or semi-automated. They work by propelling a specialist projectile (the ‘pig’) through process pipes by compressed air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, or the next product being pigged.
The pig has a strong interference fit with the pipeline, so as it travels through the pipe, it recovers nearly all the product from the pipe.
The recovered product is then sent to the filler, tank, or packaging or it could also be sent to the rest of the product to continue processing.
HPS custom pigging systems are designed around the precise needs and requirements of each customer and typically recover up to 99.5% of product from the pipe.
Reducing Downtime and Changeover Times
A well as increasing yields, reducing waste, improving efficiency and capacity, pigging delivers other major benefits to beverage producers.
It’s extremely quick. The technology enables beverage companies to achieve the same output in less time and using less resources.
Pigging systems also reduce costs, streamline processing, minimize downtime, reduce labour requirements, and speed up changeover times.
The technology also reduces the chances of contamination and cross-contamination due to the hygienic (sanitary) pipeline pig recovering practically all the residual liquid from the pipe.
Reducing the Use of Water and Cleaning Chemicals with a Pigging System
Another major benefit of pigging is that it reduces the use of cleaning chemicals and helps beverage companies operate more efficiently by optimizing their water usage.
Because pigging recovers the majority of product from the pipe, it reduces the requirement for long, water and energy intensive pipeline flushes. In this way, pigging decreases water consumption at various stages of beverage processing and production. There’s also less need to use sanitation and cleaning chemicals with a pigging system.
In some cases, pigging can eliminate the flushing stage completely. Even if flushing and clean in place (CIP) is still required, the length, intensity and the volume of water and chemicals used is considerably less with a pigging process.
In processes such as distilling, pigging systems for beverages can even improve efficiency by re-using and recycling rinse water. So, pigging saves time, money, energy, product, and valuable resources.
The savings and return on investment (ROI) from pigging are major. As an example, a beverage company is saving roughly $31,500 US dollars a day by using an HPS pigging solution.
In addition, a well-known Australian wine company estimates they are finding water savings of 40 mega-litres per year. This is combined with wine savings of 440,000 litres per year. Here’s a case study on this wine manufacturer’s pigging system.
Likewise, it’s estimated that a juice manufacturer is saving roughly $145,800 US dollars a day by pigging their pipeline.
So, for beverage manufacturers and processors looking to meet their efficiency and sustainability goals, a pigging system makes operational and financial sense.
Find Out More
HPS are the world’s leading hygienic and sanitary product recovery specialists.
If you are interested in increasing yields, reducing waste, boosting efficiency, improving capacity plus more through our pigging and product recovery solutions, please get in touch.