When your food processing equipment works at optimal speed and efficiency, every part of your plant runs better. Choosing the right food processing equipment manufacturer is the first step to implementing the best possible equipment. Consider the following when choosing your supplier and you can reduce repairs, maintenance, and hazards.
How to Choose a Food Processing Equipment Manufacturer: 6 Considerations
1. Experience With Your Products
All food products are unique, and each one presents unique challenges when it comes to processing. When choosing a food processing equipment manufacturer, look for experience with your products.
For example, powder or oil coatings can cause challenges in the mixing process if the equipment is not properly designed. Or, products that contain mixed nuts can experience segregation problems during batching, and require special considerations for allergies. Working with milk or other perishable liquids requires adherence to 3-A sanitary standards. A food processing equipment manufacturer who has designed equipment for your products and ingredients will be aware of these unique challenges and requirements.
2. Offers Product Testing
With product testing, you can be sure that your equipment will operate according to plan. Sometimes, unexpected problems can arise with your equipment and processes. Product testing with your food processing equipment manufacturer allows you to address these problems before they become problems at your facility.
With product testing, your equipment supplier will conduct a demonstration using your ingredients and a version of your equipment. This test will allow you to see how the process actually works, and how this compares to how it’s supposed to work.
Product testing can reveal issues that arise at any point in the process, such as inadequate mixing, inconsistent coating, cycle times that are too long or too short, inaccurate weighing, or other challenges. Then, these can be addressed before your equipment is finished and shipped.
3. Provides References
One of the best ways to choose a food processing equipment manufacturer is to take a closer look at the equipment they’ve built in the past. Your equipment manufacturer should provide a list of references, including a contact person you can ask about the equipment.
Consider the following when examining the list of references:
- Are your ingredients, products and processes comparable?
- Are your environments and volumes comparable? Keep in mind that changes in temperatures, humidity, and facility size can impact the equipment design.
- Did the customer have any unexpected problems? How did the supplier respond?
- Did the machines require repairs or maintenance? Are the parts difficult to obtain?
- How long has the equipment been running, including both time and volume?
4. Will Customize
Food processing is not one-size-fits-all. While some standard fittings may work for your process, you should be able to customize some aspects without much trouble. You may wish to add or remove some features, add coatings or finishes, or alter the dimensions of the machine to fit your facility.
5. Complete Process Engineering
Now more than ever before, each step in the food processing chain affects the next. For the system to perform at its highest level, each step in the process should work together. This means your food processing equipment manufacturer should have experience with every part of the process, including mixing, coating, weighing, batching, controls and more. When you choose a food processing equipment manufacturer with a range of experience, you can optimize each machine to get the most efficient mixing time, and minimal waste and maintenance.
6. Offers Plant Visits
To choose the right food processing equipment manufacturer, you may wish to inspect the manufacturer’s facility. This will give you a closer look at how the manufacturer does business, including the manufacturing equipment and technology they use, the condition of the facility, its capacity, and adherence to safety requirements. Though these details by themselves may not tell you much, all together they can show you the manufacturer’s attention to detail, level of organization, and use of technology.
When you choose the right food processing equipment manufacturer, you will not only have exceptional equipment to support a highly efficient process, but you will also have a problem-solving partner to support your equipment into the future. To learn more about food processing equipment design, manufacturing and product testing, contact us.