How substantial changes in formulation require us to improve our production process

By Dennis van Lankeren -  Business Development Manager, KSE Process Technology B.V.

Being a specialist in dosing and weighing technology for pet food provides us with a unique view to a dynamic and changing landscape. We firsthand experience with developing solutions to cope with the countless changes in formulation driven by market demands, FDA regulations and marketing gurus. And we get it, it is getting a bit much to handle!

How do you keep your head up in this ever-changing landscape of powders, meat inclusions and spices to feed our beloved four-footed friends? When talking about petfood formulation, we often focus on nutrition and optimization. But what about the factories that manufacture these foods? Are they even up to the task?

Sadly, the answer is no. Whereas the possibilities and needs increased dramatically over the last decade, our factories are lagging behind. Recipes are complicated, and many ingredients must be added by hand resulting in hard labor in dusty areas. To guarantee quality is always up to the highest standard, ensuring everything is track and traceable, knowing exactly where the food is produced, what went into it and when. Our factories have changed from making a simple set of diets in long runs to a high complexity of formulations and processes in shorter runs, resulting in a battle between our needs and production capabilities.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and there are solutions available to cope with these challenges, although it is time to get up to the task now. A handful of pioneering premium suppliers have invested in new technology, building production facilities all over the world with a higher level of sanitation, track and traceability, accuracy and transparency. We like to refer to it as Factory of the Future (FotF). Getting your factory up to this task is not just a need, but mandatory to help your brand survive. The future truly is now.

Future proof designs are here to meet the higher flexibility demands that are expected for a modern-day factory. For example, our innovative dosing slide has large benefits over its well-known competitor: the dosing screw. With a much higher accuracy, higher dosing speed and larger dosing range it can easily outperform traditional systems. Furthermore, the movement of the dosing slide activates the product and reduces bridging and ratholing. The use of gravity reduces power consumption, making it a greener solution and, combined with driving weighers, achieves higher flexibility. Unique weigher-in-weigher solutions provide single gram accuracies, making it possible to dose grams up to hundreds of kilograms using the same systems.

Another major trend are containerized systems to use as a silo or move product around the entire factory. This eliminates contamination during transport or when exchanging ingredients and provides the ability to have multi-types of products for multiple species in the same lines. All this, combined with high-end technology on data analysis and optimization, enables you to process pet food like never before.

Look at your own process and ask yourself this: “Am I able to produce everything nutritionists thinks up in their lab, accurately and traceable without contamination?” If the answer is no, you know you will have to act.


Source: PETS International