beverage processing pigging systems

Challenges and Pressures Facing Food and Beverage Manufacturers

From sauces, dips and ready meals, to soft drinks, spirits and beer, food and beverage manufacturers must contend with the demanding task of manufacturing products faster than ever before.

Trends such as “free-from”, “premium” and “low sugar”, the shift towards more plant-based dietary patterns as well as the increasing emphasis on sustainability, continue to pose challenges for food and beverage manufacturers.

At the same time, customer demands for quality and safety combined with stringent regulations, are also putting pressure on manufacturers.

Food and Beverage Trends Fuelling Demand for Processing Technologies

In order to remain competitive, manufacturers are continuously looking at ways to streamline business processes, improve operations and reduce downtime.

This has fuelled the demand for high-quality processing technologies and equipment worldwide that improve productivity, efficiency and safety while increasing production capacity.

As a result, the global market for food and beverage processing equipment was worth a staggering US$ 55.9 Billion in 2018, according to a report added to It’s predicted that this figure will rise to $ 82.5 Billion by 2024.

Food and Beverage Companies Leveraging Technologies that Can Handle Multiple Products

soft drink production and piggingThe food and beverage processing equipment market, as the name implies, produces technologies and machinery for the food and beverage sector. Key products include liquid processing equipment, cutting machinery, cooking and drying machinery plus much more.

More so than ever, food and beverage manufacturers are reliant on processing equipment and machinery that offers flexibility, agility, and utilities advanced technologies that increase yields, reduce waste, improve productivity and minimise energy usage.

At the same time, they are leveraging technologies that can handle multiple products on a single production line. They are also vastly increasing the use of automation and robotics into their operations to ensure quick and reliable processing, reduce operating costs and improve product quality.

Product recovery (‘Pigging’) is one of the technologies that is becoming widely adopted in food and beverage processing plants throughout the world. That’s because the benefits that pigging offers to food and beverage processing and production are substantial.

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How Pigging Can Help Food and Beverage Processors Improve Their Operations

Pigging recovers product from process system pipelines that would otherwise go to waste. The technology uses a highly specialised projectile (the ‘pig’), which fits compactly to the pipeline. The tight fit allows the pig to push nearly all the product out of the pipeline to its destination.

Implementing a pigging system can improve the processing operations of food and beverage manufacturers in many ways:

By Increasing Product Yields and Reducing Waste

In food and beverage pipelines, as well as other liquid processing pipelines, there’s nearly always product residue remaining in the pipeline whenever a process transfers liquid along a pipe. Before food and beverage manufacturers can run another product through the same line, it’s fundamental that the previous product is removed.

In most cases, manufacturers achieve this by running water or cleaning chemicals through the line. However, this is extremely time-consuming, labour-intensive, and uses massive amounts of resources. At the same time, this process involves manufacturers flushing good, perfectly useable product down the drain.

Because the HPS pipeline pig recovers nearly every last drop of product remaining in the pipelines in a fully controlled operation, it increases product yields and saves water and CIP chemicals. Furthermore, instead of being discarded as waste, the residual liquid is saved by pigging and pushed to its destination (tank, packaging, storage, wherever). Here’s even more about how pigging technology increases yields.

By Improving Production Capacity and Improving Flexibility 

Ever-changing consumer tastes and preferences mean food and beverage manufacturers must now contend with many different formulations and configurations of product. However, it’s inefficient to have a dedicated line for each of these products.

At the same time, using a single line for different products can also be problematic. That’s because the changeover between different products reduces available production time and can be time-consuming, labour-intensive, inefficient and wasteful. Although necessary, the changeover process is time spent not producing the product. And this downtime can cost food and beverage manufacturers dearly in lost production.

Because HPS pigging systems recover nearly all residual product from the pipeline, the same line can be used for different formulations of product. As an example, a confectionery manufacturer can use a single line for white, dark, milk and ruby chocolate with very little downtime between the batches. In this way, pigging increases the capacity, flexibility and efficiency of operations, speeds up changeovers and reduces the number of dedicated lines there are.

By Reducing Water, Cleaning Chemicals and Energy Usage 

Food and beverage processing facilities are large consumers of water, using approximately 190 million m³ of water per year. Water is used as an ingredient in their products and in the CIP cleaning process.hps pigging system food beverage plant

Improving water efficiency is key for food and beverage manufacturers due to water being a scarce resource. Therefore, it’s imperative that manufacturers reuse and reduce the amount of water they require to keep costs to a minimum and meet the increasing global demand.

Pigging is an effective way to reduce water consumption as it eliminates the requirement of a lengthy flush out during CIP. The CIP process uses significant amounts of water, energy and cleaning chemicals, which are essential to ensure stringent hygiene standards are met.

Because there’s barely any product remaining in the pipeline after pigging, there’s much less cleaning and rinsing required. As a result, pigging reduces water usage, CIP chemicals, energy usage and waste disposal costs. In this way, pigging improves the bottom line for food and beverage manufacturers.

Reducing Contamination Risks

Contamination incidents in the food and beverage industry are a serious issue. Not only do product recalls waste time, but they also harm a business’s productivity, reputation, and can cost billions of dollars.

There are many ways that food and beverage manufacturers can reduce product contamination risks in their production facilities. Doing so requires them to assess their production, material handling and overall operations.

In regard to production, pigging is an effective way to minimise contamination in process pipelines during changeovers. Because pigging systems have exceptional recovery rates, there’s hardly any product remaining in the line to contaminate the next batch.

Automated Pigging Solutions Improve Operations Even Further

As labour costs increase and food safety regulations become more stringent, food and beverage manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce manual labour and increase the use of automation.

Automation enhances productivity and efficiency by reducing errors, minimising manual intervention and increasing uptime. However, not only are an increasing number of food and beverage manufacturers using automation for many processes, but many are integrating their processing equipment and technology to boost productivity.

Automated pigging solutions are advantageous to food and beverage manufacturers as they’re more efficient, reliable and safer than manual systems. Automatic pigging systems also help manufacturers increase their process speed, productivity, and efficiency.

Find Out More

HPS pigging systems offer many benefits to food and beverage manufacturers. We’ve only mentioned a few of them here! Pigging systems also deliver a high return on investment with rapid payback periods.

So, if you process food, beverages or any other liquids and want to find out more about how pigging can help you increase yields, reduce waste, minimise contamination risks, improve efficiency and productivity and boost your bottom line, contact HPS.

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