Supply chain resiliency, workforce shortages, and increasing/fluctuating demand have been major challenges in a post covid agricultural food processing world. As competition increases in sector, more processing and production facilities are investing in automated process flows to reinforce their competitive strengths. Automation, new equipment and efficiency were top trends in 2021 among a collective 50 percent of respondents to the Food Engineering Magazine Annual Survey.
The diversity of the agricultural food processing industry will require different equipment, materials, and expertise to meet these challenges and projections. These solutions will range from carton erector and sealing solutions to innovative shrink wrap machine technologies.
Carton erectors are a key part of the final packaging processes on a food manufacturing line where speed, quality, and efficiency are vital. Meeting tight shipping schedules in an Agricultural-food sector where just in time still holds sway means equipment downtime and bottlenecks in these processes are enormously costly.
The carton erector, which removes cartons from a flat stack and assembles them into boxes, places each box onto the conveyor for packing. Meeting changing product and packaging needs requires a carton erector that is versatile to accommodate various sizes.
The right shrink wrap machine and carton sealing machine also become foundational in agricultural production lines across various product packaging processes. The latest of these solutions bring additional levels of automation to the food packaging process that positively affects quality, safety inspection, and high throughput needs.
Production line increases or new product line introduction to meet new lines of business or increasing demands are common in the post covid world. This requires production and plant managers to find automated solutions that do not rely heavily on a human workforce in a time where workforce shortages are an ongoing reality. This also becomes a means of simplifying packaging operations such as manual forming, lining, and sealing, which can introduce errors and bottlenecks.
Seasonal peaks shape many parts of the agricultural food processing industry. These needs require high flexibility that the right automation solutions can accommodate without retooling or additional hires. This can also have a major impact on safe handling and hygiene in the post covid production environment.
Tools, machines, and technology should provide the added safety during handling in food production, and only low touch/high performance automation can deliver this. The right shrink wrap machine can deliver the efficiency and capacity while also supporting mandated regulatory hygiene protocols where a human workforce encounter finished and packaged products.
With the support of incremental integrated automation, food manufacturers can increase process efficiency and reduce raw or production-phase product contact to deliver a hygienically superior product to market. This results in higher quality and volume of products through automation that also meet changing food safety and hygiene regulations.
Automation like the carton erector, carton sealing machine and shrink wrap machine are integral to today’s agricultural food processing and production line across all agricultural product types.