To overcome these challenges and help inform your decision, Luxme International takes a look at seven key pointers for protein manufacturers to consider before buying a conveying system.
1. Protect your protein
Product degradation or breakage can have a huge impact on profitability. In the United States, food waste costs manufacturers approximately $2 billion per year. As such, making sure that raw and processed protein is conveyed with negligible or zero degradation must be a main priority.
The physical properties of your product, such as density, moisture content, temperature, etc., could determine what conveying system will be best for you. Keep in mind that some conveying systems will perform well at first, but with a little bit of time, and some wear and tear, they will cause irreparable damage to your product and negatively affect your production rates. Choose a system that guarantees longevity.
2. The devil is in the detail
It can be easy to ignore the small details when trying to complete a large project. When comparing two similar conveying systems, one manufacturer might offer a very low price for what seems to be the same system. But take a closer look, and you will notice that the machines are not quite the same; the difference is in the components and materials used.
Conveying systems that are both USDA-accepted and utilize FDA-approved components – such as the SaniLux Tubular Chain Conveyor – will ensure a better quality product, engineered for your process and product requirements. This will improve the payback performance and durability of the solution. Remember: buying a conveyor made with sub-standard components and materials will cost you more in the long run than higher quality equipment.
3. Consider machinery maintenance
There is nothing wrong with purchasing equipment that meets minimum specifications. However, if your production goals increase as your business expands, it’s a good idea to have some room for growth. A conveying system that can deliver a bit more, when needed, is therefore a good investment.
However, estimating how much processing equipment will cost you after installation is not always simple. Besides machine quality, factors that can increase the cost of maintenance are: improper operation of the system (or any of its components); overloading the conveyor; and ignoring basic servicing guidelines, among others. Therefore, appropriate operator training must be given to ensure that all servicing guidelines and schedules are followed after the installation process is completed.
4. Maintain hygiene with a Clean-in-Place (CIP) system
Although a CIP system can improve efficiency and avoid product contamination, the reality is that not every line needs one. However, in the meat and poultry industry in particular, safety and quality is critical. Low-quality equipment or improper cleaning may lead to compromised safety and brand reputation. Overall, watchdog group U.S. PIRG discovered an 83 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls that could cause serious health problems between 2013-2018.
Because a conveying system handles raw materials, it must comply with the highest hygiene standards to prevent contamination that can result in foodborne illnesses and costly recalls. Optional independent CIP technology that is isolated from the upstream or downstream machinery and interlocked for operation is advisable. As well as ensuring the conveyor is sanitized to industry standards, CIP technology avoids the dismantling and reassembly of equipment and can clean conveying systems from dry to dry in just 60 minutes. Keep in mind that only a couple of manufacturers – including Luxme – offer this technology.
6. Cable, pneumatic, or chain?
The conveying industry offers a variety of products and components that differ in price, efficiency, construction, and productivity. Depending on the unique demands of your protein production line, there are several solutions that can potentially solve your material handling problem.
Cable conveyors are an affordable solution, but require high maintenance, can experience unsanitary cable fraying or breakage, and offer limited strength in the cable. Pneumatic conveyors are also affordable, although expensive to maintain since they suffer from regular plugging or bottle-necking and are not particularly gentle when transporting meat and poultry. While slightly more expensive in upfront costs, Tubular Chain Conveyors are often more durable and gentle. Maintenance is low while being more reliable for batch and continuous product conveying.
7. Short-term investment for long-term goals
While some suppliers will take a look at the overall picture and consider the long-term cost of investing in a particular piece of equipment, others are only concerned about the initial cost. Both approaches are acceptable and understandable; but ignoring the seemingly small details could increase your overall investment considerably. Therefore, as outlined above, it is advisable to look at both the short- and long-term goals to determine which conveying system is best suited for your application.
There are numerous factors to take into consideration, such as the space where the conveyor will be installed, compatibility with upstream and downstream equipment, and the equipment supplier’s history and track record. If possible, talk to previous clients to see if they were, and still are, satisfied with the service and customer support provided after installation.
We are one of the largest manufacturers of Tubular Drag Chain Conveyors, Automatic Bag Openers, and other material handling technologies in North America. We provide conveying systems and components accepted by the USDA, FDA, & CE. Although we are based in Montreal, Canada, we have representatives in over 20 countries around the world. The ...