How Technology is Being Used to Provide Protection in the Food Industry
As our world changes and technology advances, it’s important to acknowledge the technological changes that occur in our industry, and how it benefits and improves production. As our population continues to grow, food production is a thriving and large industry. With the change to a more streamlined production to mainstream outlets in this modern age, technology plays an important role to protect both those who consume and produce food goods.
The event of a recall of food products from the retail trade presents a threat to the public consumers and the manufacturer’s reputation, as well as posing the risk of significantly damaging economic effects.
A variety of new technology has been introduced into the production environment, and each serves an important purpose. Amongst these include metal detectors, food automation and IoT.
Metal detectors are one of the most effective ways to protect consumers from eating produce and food products that have been contaminated with foreign particles. Metal is the most common food containment in the industry, coming from items such as metal tags, staples, screen wire and blades.
Metal detectors serve an important purpose in preventing contaminated products from being dispersed. Detectors determine the presence of metal contaminants that are ferrous, non-ferrous or stainless steel and reject the food before it leaves the processing plant, preventing it from reaching the mainstream consumers.
Metal detectors can also serve another purpose, which is protecting machinery. In detecting even the tiniest fragments of metal, they prevent machinery failure and, consequently, costly repairs and production downtimes.
The introduction of food automation has created a significant difference in the food industry and has many benefitting factors resulting in its implementation. These include improved efficiency, better quality control, safer conditions for workers and end-to-end traceability.
Automation is a game-changer for quality control and monitoring end-to-end traceability. With the appropriate systems in place, defects and issues can be noticed much earlier in the supply chain. By detecting problems during packaging and/or processing, the number of faulty goods that enter the market is significantly reduced. Additionally, it also allows businesses to understand what went wrong and where the issue occurred, enabling an improvement in systems and future performance.
Automation systems can also perform tasks that are often repetitive, controlled and occasionally dangerous, meaning that workers aren’t subjected to the risks associated with performing them. Workers are protected, and it can also alleviate operation or maintenance costs in the long run. Additionally, these systems often work faster and better than human labourers, meaning that efficiency is improved overall.
As an example, here at NWI Group we offer a range of food safety products, such as Hioki Fungal dataloggers for dry food storage and Hioki temperature loggers for cold chain. We also provide the Hioki Logger and wireless capability for automation. Specific products include:
- Hioki LR5011 Temperature Logger
- Hioki LR5001 Temperature and humidity Logger.
- Hioki LR8520 Wireless Fungal Logger
- Hioki LR8450-01 Memory HiLogger (wireless)
- TASI 8621 Food Thermometer
- Tasi TA601C Infrared Thermometer
- Testo 103 Mini Folding thermometer
- Testo 104-IR-Infrared & Probe Thermometer
- Testo 108-1 Food Thermometer
IoT, or ‘Internet of Things’, is the network of devices that gather and convey data via the internet. A more recent addition to the food industry, IoT is proving to be a worthy and useful tool throughout the food production process.
Through a broad series of networked sensors, monitors and other Internet-connected devices, IoT technology can oversee an entire food manufacturing and distribution process from warehouse to the point of sale, ensuring greater food safety. Utilising transparent technology, such as cameras and intelligent sensors, completely transforms food production into a highly visible, data-backed operation, allowing for clearer and better decision making, and improved real-time knowledge.
If you are looking to utilise new technology to improve your company’s production or have any questions, please contact our friendly team to assist.