Higher throughput, efficient and cost-effective waste water systems and improved quality control measures are some of the factors driving the meat and poultry packaging industry.
Meat and poultry packers will be able to explore the solutions to the key factors in the industry, including pumping and conveying to packaging and labeling, at PACK EXPO International, 28-31 October in Chicago.
Companies such as Fristam Pumps USA, Lyco Manufacturing, ThermoFisher and Videojet Technologies all provide different solutions to case-ready products in the meat and poultry market.
“Processors are being challenged to get more product out of existing equipment,” said Sam Raimond, applications engineering supervisor, Fristam Pumps USA.
“When throughput is increased, system pressure increases. As a result, process pumps need to have higher pressure capabilities.”
With the steady increase in meat and poultry processing volumes, there has been a corresponding increase in concentrations of wastewater pollutants.
Processing one five pound, average-size broiler chicken requires five to 10 gallons of water — and turkey processors use considerably more.
Steve Hughes, CEO of Lyco Manufacturing, said: “Poultry processors are required to remove the majority of the soluble and particulate organic material in their wastewater prior to discharge from the plant in order to achieve compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations.”
Hughes added that with the double-screen technology, processors have a more efficient and cost-effective system for their wastewater treatment.
“Primary screening takes place when the wastewater enters the inner drum from the inside and screens out solids longer than 0.08 inches.
“Secondary screening follows as the wastewater passes through the outer drum, screening particles as small as 0.02 inches. The net result is that more solids are screened out of the wastewater.”
Meat and poultry processing creates many byproducts, particularly bone fragments, which have the potential to remain with the product during further processing and packing.
“Heavy curtains frequently prevent lightweight meat products from being conveyed through the X-ray chamber, resulting in production line jams and downtime,” explained Bob Ries, Thermo Fisher’s lead product manager, metal detection and X-ray inspection.
Packing and labeling technologies should function at the same rate as the previous processes, said John Fini, vertical marketing manager of food, Videojet Technologies Inc., or the packer might be forced to dispose of unpackaged meat.
“The challenge for the packer is that once the packaging process has started, the production line has to continue. Any extended downtime could risk product safety,” he said.
“Wait too long, and the financial impact could be significant, due to disposing of unpackaged meat.”
It is critical that packers have the most efficient and reliable coding system in place, the one that functions best on specific packaging materials.
The movement to flexible packaging is continuing, because it allows for highly convenient, eye-catching packaging options, while providing great shelf stability.
“Flexible packaging growth provides great opportunities for improvements in coding technologies to meet new food safety requirements while providing easier-to-read solutions for busy consumers,” added Fini.