“Flexibility” means having the opportunity to produce various pasta shapes without worrying about establishing in advance which production line to use for production, since, with a flexible plant, a product from any production line can be silaged and conveyed to any packaging line available at the production plant. On the contrary, a lack of flexibility will force the producer to use dedicated equipment in order to produce and package a specific product, with considerable restrictions and production losses in case of failure or unavailability of a production line or packaging line.”
Cusinato Giovanni S.r.l., is one of the leader companies producing transport and storage plants for pasta and other granular products, for the food industry and for other fields. Today, the major pasta and pet-food producers in the world use Cusinato’s machinery or plants. Manager Director of the Company Fabrizio Cusinato states that Cusinato plays a key role in the field of technology applied to the transport and storage of pasta and he adds: “In fact, currently, 27% of the world’s pasta production is conveyed using plants and machinery produced by us. Our goal is to replace all obsolete plants over the next 10 years, thus managing at least 40% of plants or customers in the pasta sector, bearing in mind that there are about 300 industrial pasta producers in the world.”
Taking advantage of the company’s knowledge and experiments, we have interviewed Fabrizio Cusinato about storing. Cusinato states the main points about pasta storage process.
Pasta production has many processes. Could you give us some information about production processes of pasta, especially the ones prior to storing and packaging?
As a matter of fact, many different processes are involved in the pasta production chain and, immediately after the production process; our plants are used for storing and conveying pasta to packaging machines.
As far as we know, pasta is kept in silos after drying process. How long the products are kept in silos in general or what is the ideal duration for that?
Pasta is generally stored in silos in order to check not only the quality and accuracy of the drying process but also to optimize performance for packaging operations, allowing us to pack the entire daily production (24 hours) in just 8 or 16 hours. Therefore, we can say that a given amount of pasta produced can be stored in silos for about 8-16 hours.
What kind of silos is suitable to store dried pasta both for food security and product quality? What are the general features of silos used for storing pasta?
The most suitable silo for storing pasta has a supporting structure consisting of sturdy steel profiles and paneling to contain the product made of multi-layer poplar wood coated with Formica laminate or a stainless steel sheet. Using these materials does not alter the product; instead, it contributes to complete the stabilization process of the product in the hours after it is produced.
The essential features of a pasta silos are the following: hygiene (absence of product stagnation points), robustness and the quality of the materials used for paneling. The transport machines upstream and downstream of the silos should also have the same requirements in terms of hygiene, also ensuring no leakage or contamination.
What should the producers consider basically in order to ensure safety and hygiene of the product during the storing process in silos? Is there risky factor for food safety in storing technologies? For instance, the material of surfaces contacting food or blind point causing pasta accumulation in machines…
Producers should almost entirely eliminate product handling operations in order to favor automatic silos loading and unloading operations, which can be automatically traced by the monitoring and control system of the plant (PLC and SCADA/HMI). Storing each production batch before packing it, reduces the risk of packing a product, for which its drying process has been altered. In fact, if a product passes through a storage silos, there is enough time to check and monitor quality, which would not be possible if a product is packaged directly without being first placed in a silos. All materials that come into contact with the finished product that compose the silos and transport machinery are always, and in all cases, materials certified for contact with food.
Is it possible to bring storing technologies together with the technologies in other production processes and also to provide a total automation from purchasing raw material to final product packaging? How is it possible?
The pasta storage process is a transitional process. It can be not only traced and documented but also interfaced with upper hierarchy computer systems, such as MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) in order to allow full monitoring of the production chain from the receipt of raw materials to final packaging. In fact, the pasta silage section receives information of the product produced from the production department and is responsible for conveying the product to the primary packaging plants. Hence, for a specific product package, its date of packaging can be traced, as well as the upstream process line and the downstream packaging line involved in the production of a specific product or production batch.
What should a pasta producer take into consideration while choosing storing solutions? What features of a pasta silo provides advantage and variety to the producer in today’s conditions?
The main feature of a pasta storage plant, which must be taken into account when choosing a specific type of plant instead of another, is the “flexibility” it offers in terms of interaction with the various production and packaging lines. In the case of production plants with several production and packaging lines, the choice of a flexible plant ensures easy scalability over time, whereas, a less flexible plant, will become obsolete in a few years’ time.
“Flexibility” means having the opportunity to produce various pasta shapes without worrying about establishing in advance which production line to use for production, since, with a flexible plant, a product from any production line can be silaged and conveyed to any packaging line available at the production plant. On the contrary, a lack of flexibility will force the producer to use dedicated equipment in order to produce and package a specific product, with considerable restrictions and production losses in case of failure or unavailability of a production line or packaging line.
What would you like to add?
To conclude, we would like to point out that each plant should be customized according to customer requirements by analyzing in depth with the customer the needs, characteristics, composition and optional features of the machines that are part of the plant. The most common mistakes that can be made when purchasing this type of plant are that these plants are often purchased jointly with upstream and downstream plants, and the supplier and customer do not tackle the specific technical aspects of this part of the plant. These plants, instead, must be discussed together with specific, qualified suppliers who must highlight, in each case, all the options and variants available to the customer, carefully paying attention to the customer’s needs and expectations.
This type of plant, if purchased in a superficial manner by relying on the wrong partner-supplier, is likely to cause serious efficiency issues in the production process, as well as bottlenecks and production losses.