Dairy Industry: High-Value from Start to Finish

Monday morning; The alarm goes off and pulls you out of bed. Instinctively, you walk your way to the coffee machine and pour yourself a cup, with a dab of milk and sugar. The kids wake up and come tumbling down the stairs, ready for their breakfast cereal. Lunch boxes are packed with yogurt and cheese for the morning break. This everyday situation reflects the omnipresence of dairy in our lives. Dairy is everywhere, from morning to night, and will always be.

Should the Dairy Industry worry about running out of business? No.

Does it have to adapt? Of course.

The thing about adjusting your business to your industry’s new reality is understanding what you are adapting into. Consumers packaged goods are meant to be sold quickly at a relatively low cost. They must be convenient, replaceable, and attractive to the customer. The popularity of those types of products has increased over the years as consumers are now seeking for ease and speed. The dairy industry is no exception. Shelf placement and brand recognition are now essential to ensure your product is seen and bought. How will your product be presented once it gets shipped to your client? Does it need to be shelf-ready upon arrival? These elements will greatly impact what you will decide to adjust to your plant and therefore equipment you choose to invest in.

Make more money. Literally.

The thing with Dairy is that profit margins are low. To increase profitability, internal efficiency must be maximized. If you are dealing with powders such as infant formula, that means losing as less product as possible throughout the entire packaging process. Dust emissions are nothing more than products that haven’t been bagged. By reducing them to a minimal level, you make more money; end of story. There isn’t only dust to worry about, but the aerated product itself. Because whole milk powder contains a type of fat that can react upon contact with oxygen in the bagging room, the flavor and consistency of the product can be affected. Inappropriate control of the aerated product may cause dust clouds, overfilled bags, and unstable pallet loads. A constant flow rate and proper shutoff system can help you control the aerated product.

For consumable goods such as butter, milk, yoghurt and so on, it means having reliable equipment that will bring more uptime to everyday operations. In other words, you need an efficient return on investment on your assets such as equipment line. The entire pick-pack-pal process must be perfectly suited to your product to deploy its full potential. What type or container are you packing? Do you need to palletize trays, cases, pouches or single-serve containers? These options and your product’s applications all influence the technology used to fulfill each step of your production line. By making sure you installed the most efficient packaging line, with shorter production runs and easy changeovers, you will get more products out your door.

Whistle while you work

Nowadays, finding qualified labor is also quite an issue. The workforce available is often not sufficient enough to fill all the vacant positions. Automation is becoming more and more essential to ensure uninterrupted operations in the dairy industry. Robotic allow you to execute repetitive tasks while improving overall efficiency. This enables the industry to provide more challenging jobs, better wages and working conditions. Automation is not only more reliable, it is constant. It becomes easier to plan production rates and ensure the end-product will be the same every time.

Sanitary, please!

Working in Dairy, or in any other food industry for that matter, means working in a sanitary environment. Equipment must be hygienically designed to be easily cleaned without being dismantled. Handling food products includes many specific challenges, including the need for sanitary design of every piece of equipment that has contact with a consumer product. The dairy industry has even more to consider since a packaging line for its products is generally installed in an environment that is wet, cold or subject to similarly demanding conditions. Consequently, companies must select their equipment wisely to attain the highest sanitary standards without compromising equipment performance and reliability. The time-consuming task of cleaning equipment manually by disassembling machines and cleaning them piece by piece is now a thing of the past. Choosing packaging machinery equipped with clean-in-place (CIP) systems can help dairy companies optimize their line tremendously. Another important consideration in selecting the best-suited equipment for packaging dairy products is the material used to build the packaging machinery. Carefully choose the right frame, such as rugged stainless steel, so you don’t have to deal with corrosion in wet environments. Some dairy manufacturing also involves corrosive chemicals—the salt added to butter, for example—which can affect the frame or mechanical elements of equipment. Every day, you put hard labor and add high-value to your product. You must surround yourself with the same quality you aim for, whether it’s for your packaging or your plant equipment, to convey the best product possible to the customer and adapt to the strict reality of the industry.

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

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