How Pigging Improves Lot Traceability During Liquid and Wet Product Processing.
Accurate batch and lot traceability in food, beverage and many other liquid production processes is essential. It helps ensure processing operations run smoothly, reliably and efficiently. If contamination or cross-contamination occurs, it’s crucial to be able to find the precise location and cause of the problem.
As well as being used to recover product, if it’s properly set up alongside an effective ERP solution, pigging can significantly improve the accuracy, reliability and efficiency of liquid product lot or batch traceability.
Importance of Lot Traceability
Effective lot traceability can make the difference between having to discard just the problem batch (or even just part of it), or multiple batches of product. And if a product recall is required, having accurate lot traceability information will lower your recall costs, reduce the overall impact of the recall on your customers and end users, and limit damage to your brand image. The more precise and accurate your information, the less the impact. And if something does go wrong, you’ll need that information on-hand rapidly.
While lot traceability in liquid and wet product transfer during food and beverage production delivers many benefits, it also applies to a wide range of other processes. These include pet food, homecare liquids, cosmetics, paint, lubricants, gel manufacture and so on.
Lot Traceability when Processing Liquids
Lot traceability when processing liquids is not always straight forward. Unlike solid products, it’s more difficult to separate and monitor liquids during production runs. Even the very best lot traceability software is only as good as a company’s ability to create accurate separation between runs, shifts and batches. A best practice traceability system will help to assign ingredients to batches and batches to runs and shifts. But, without clear separation between these operations, even the best system will fail.
And that’s where pigging can help.
Product Separation Using Pigging
Many companies that process liquids already use pigging. This is to recover product, improve operational efficiency, increase yields, reduce waste and help towards environmental sustainability. However, pigging is also a key enabler to lot traceability – helping to segment and differentiate batches by creating clear barriers between them.
Here’s how pigging is used to improve lot traceability:
Supply and Delivery of Materials
When your company buys and takes delivery of its raw materials, the vendor lot number is usually sent to your ERP system. This is via manual or automatic input, for example using bar codes, QR codes, shipping or delivery notices, or packing slips.
At this stage, pigging helps create distinct separation between ingredients, or even containers. The process is as easy as adding a pigging cycle to clear the line of container XX1. Using the correct type of hygienic pigs, this will remove over 99.5% of product of the contents of the production transfer line.
CIP and pigging make a great partnership. So, you then use a CIP regimen to obtain your required level of cleanliness before moving on. Then, associate the next container XX2 with the next batch. You then have assurance and separation best practice traceability.
During production, the system assigns a unique part, batch or lot number to the products you’re manufacturing. This is usually in real time, by batch. You can use a variety of different devices to transfer the information in to your ERP system. These depend on your system and often personal preference, but can be, for example, manual input screens, automatic scanners, touch screens and so on. This creates a complete inventory overview and history. The original lot numbers are linked to the finished goods lot numbers creating the traceability.
By creating reliable, tangible separation, a suitable pigging regimen helps achieve clean and accurate traceability. Adding a recovery cycle reduces product merge or contamination at the beginning of a run. A product recovery cycle at the end of the run improves efficiency and creates lot separation. In this way, pigging significantly improving traceability accuracy.
Separation Improves Traceability
Using pigging to create accurate, reliable liquid, wet product or ingredient separation greatly improves traceability, and hence efficiency. Pigging can also create the same separation between batches maintaining best practice traceability throughout the manufacturing production process.
In this way, pigging will significantly reduce costs, especially if contamination or other problems occur. This is in addition to the wide range of other benefits of pigging and product recovery.
Pigging and product recovery is simple, cost effective and efficient. It dovetails nicely with a well thought out production process and an efficient ERP system.
To find out more about lot traceability, loss prevention and product recovery, contact HPS or talk to your local HPS representative.