What’s the optimal measure of efficiency in a slaughter packaging operation? In an industry with processors of all shapes and sizes, ideal efficiency can be difficult to assess. But in today’s highly scrutinized and competitive processing environment, understanding processing efficiency over time, and looking for ways to maximize it, should be a key consideration for slaughterhouse packaging operations aiming to improve profitability.
Efficiency becomes especially critical in an industry where the age of primal cut packaging equipment ranges dramatically from a few years to double-digits, and sometimes contributes to inefficient operations. In this environment, even gradual or measured equipment innovations can have profound effects on a facility’s efficiency and long-term processing costs.
Some of the more common efficiency concerns we’ve witnessed:
- Faulty vacuum chambers churning out high numbers of unacceptable products
- Steam build-up on ceilings that drips down onto lines or requires constant attention
- Heat sealers that occasionally burn through packaging when sealing, or that scald primal cuts
- Inconsistent shrink tunnel temperatures that produce unacceptable results.
Just as there are challenges, there are also packaging equipment innovations large and small to overcome them:
- New rotary chamber vacuum machines that automatically monitor each cycle of the process, notifying processors of any faulty chambers and selectively stopping those processes;
- Flueless shrink tunnels, such as the Flexopack™ ST Shrink Tunnel, which can circulate steam and prevent condensation and unsanitary ceiling leaks;
- Advanced chill tunnels that cool product surfaces rapidly to extend shelf life; and
- Innovative drying tunnels to quickly prepare chilled packages for boxing and shipping, reducing cardboard waste and rejected products.
Meanwhile, packaging equipment isn’t the only opportunity for innovation: updated or customized packaging plans also can deliver processing advances. For example, can the packaging material achieve shrink rates consistently? Do different film products require different sealing temperatures? Is the supplier able to stock and replenish the various products regularly?
These are the types of packaging equipment and material solutions that Flavorseal’s team of technical specialists are on the frontlines to address. Located strategically throughout the country, these experts help slaughter facility operators see how packaging equipment upgrades and enhancements can increase line efficiencies and product yields while lowering costs. At the same time, they’re also trained to analyze slaughterhouse shrink packaging needs and customize solutions that contribute to processing efficiency. In this way, Flavorseal’s technical specialists can help slaughter facilities weigh the cost-benefit advantages of adding new equipment vs. making system repairs vs. making no changes to equipment at all.
For example, technical specialists can help slaughter facility operators reassess how they’re absorbing the costs of high numbers of “low-vac” and leaking packages, which ultimately must be reprocessed. Adding additional labor to unpackage and rerun primal cuts or poultry can seem like a lower-cost alternative than updating faulty equipment or switching out packaging. However, the labor-focused approach also adds processing time and costs, which impacts the organization’s processing efficiency and product yields. Technical specialists may be able to identify to what extent strategic upgrades to equipment and packaging may allow slaughter facilities to reduce these failure rates and improve efficiency, and when they might expect to earn a return on their investment.
In this way, Flavorseal’s technical team works to help slaughterhouse industry processors compare the costs and benefits of innovating their processes versus implementing other approaches.
For details on slaughterhouse packaging innovations and Flavorseal’s custom approach, contact us.