The creation of efficient and safe food production
A common attribute in all manufacturing, from vehicle production to pharmaceuticals and homecare products, is that they require an efficient production line – with food production, however, there is an additional aspect that must be taken into account: hygiene.
Patrick Djerf, Senior Application Manager within FoodTech at FlexLink considers the needs and requirements within food production.
- Hygiene and cleanliness of the production line is extremely important in the food industry and crucial for safe food production, says Patrick.
FlexLink has almost 40 years of experience in automation solutions for production lines in different types of industries, often with a significant increase in production efficiency as a result. In the food industry, they work with the production of everything from bread to ready meals and dairy products.
- Creating safe food production is about quality assurance - that what you produce is safe to eat. For us, this means that our conveyor systems are designed so that they are easy to clean in order to reduce the risk of chemical, bacterial or mechanical contamination of food, explains Patrick.
- But it is just as much about the system design. What should the line layout look like? We make use of the space over the production equipment as we can save up to 40 percent in floor space, and therefore it is important to secure the risk of contamination of, for example, unpacked wheat bread that goes under unpacked rye bread.
Patrick’s role as Senior Application Manager is to help identify the customer's needs and create solutions that meet them. With FlexLink's experience, they can give customers perspective that they otherwise would not come up with - and develop solutions together. “Customers are often relatively general in their requirements specification. One requirement may be that "it should be easy to clean" but there are many aspects of it. In the end, it is about securing the cleaning result, with less water and chemicals, and up to 25 percent shorter washing time.”
One example is the project with Lantmännen's pancake factory. Before switching to FlexLink they often had to clean the conveyors several times since there were bacteria left. After installing the system from FlexLink, the need to wash the chain has decreased significantly.
- It is good to see and proof of the positive effect our design has continues Patrick.
FlexLink works in accordance with the guidelines for hygienic design in food production, set by both European EHEDG and US 3-A.
- It is possible to design equipment that is extremely easy to clean but it often compromises operator safety. With the conveyor we call WLX, we have succeeded with a unique combination of easy-to-clean and open design together with personal safety, concludes Patrick.