Automation ((Improved Product Quality and Productivity)

The Food industry is continuously trying to match the growth and evolving needs of every consumer. With rapid advancement in technology, people have been able to understand their own needs for diet and nutrition better, which can only be catered to with the development of new technology. With new eating habits and cultural enhancement, eating preferences have changed a lot everywhere in the world. People want to try and experiment with different kinds of food. Hence, automation is of great importance in the food sector.

automation in food industry With government programmes like ‘Start up India’, India has not only opened doors for young entrepreneurs, but has also opened its doors for automation. Machine designing with safety has been taken care of greatly. This is the reason why foods like dosa have been automated by bringing in “dosamactic” machine. It is only because of the automation in food industry that serving such large quantities of meals in various schools is made possible. “Roti” making machine is one such example of automation. This technological upgradation has been a boon to the food industry and mankind.

Human civilization has seen machines taking over man. Not only our work has progressed, instead we have become dependent on machines. The impossibilities and odds have been battled. This has proved that automation, when applied in an effective way magnifies efficiency. Automation has always shown the prospects of a better future which is uplifting for man. With the development of electronics and computing, optical sorting has been developed, based on the visual appearance of the product. The need to automate industrial processes is driven by several key requirements for competitive success and in some industries, viability of the manufacturing plants. They can be listed as those needing to improve productivity and product quality.

Improved Productivity

automation in food industry Plant productivity may be defined as the quantity of end products manufactured per unit of operating parameters – plant size, number of workers, time of operation, etc. Therefore, productivity is directly related to how efficiently the input resources are utilized in translating them into marketable end products. Automation allows managers to monitor and have more control over the process. This is possible because automation allows for efficient scheduling of work flow and labor use. The ability to maintain good records and information about past processes can clearly highlight areas that can be targeted for a more efficient allocation of resources. One plant reported a 30 percent increase in plant productivity by using three discrete microprocessor-based controllers designed to perform all continuous loops involving complex, integrated algorithms, valve interlocking, and some sequencing. Similar controls can also be used to optimize formulations, production scheduling, and process modeling.

Improved Product Quality

automation in food industry Quality assurance is one of the most important goals of any industry. Ability to manufacture high quality products consistently is the basis for success in the highly competitive food industry. High quality products encourage customer loyalty and result in an expanding market share. Quality assurance methods used in the food industry have traditionally involved human visual inspection. Such methods are tedious, laborious, time-consuming and inconsistent. As plant productivity has increased and quality tolerance tightened, it has become necessary for the food industry to employ automatic methods for quality assurance and quality control. In fact, this aspect of food manufacture is one of the areas that has received the most attention in terms of automation. Thanks to advances in computer vision technology, substantial changes have been implemented in food plants to facilitate automatic food quality evaluation.

One of the most stubborn obstacles in the automation of food manufacturing is the biological variation in size, shape and homogeneity of the raw materials. Some materials (e.g., dairy) lend themselves readily to automatic processing because the raw material can be handled in bulk. Hence, automation needs to be actively persued if the food industry does not want to lag behind.

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Food Marketing & Technology is a monthly magazine published by L.B. Associates Pvt Ltd

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