Economic and Efficient Production in Pasta Industry

10 July 20135 min reading
“Safe equipment selection and creation of rational process constitute the basis of economic production where waste and product loss is minimized. Methods enabling saving and automatized processes assist in change of the process rapidly by the producers and making the production efficient.”    Foodtech is an Italian company specialized in the design and construction of machines and plants for producing and treating pasta and other foodstuffs. Stating “Thanks to our technicians’ experience in the pasta sector (fresh, precooked pastas and ready meals), Foodtech can develop and realise new ideas as well as update existing plants”, the Director General Stefano MADRONE responded questions of our magazine related with economic and efficient pasta production. Mr. Madrone, what are your comments about economic and efficient production in pasta industry? It is important to produce the same format/product for the longest time possible: the rationalization of the productive process to increase production while reducing the scraps, the selection of modern equipment to save energy and control the process in real time are the factors that make pasta production economical and efficient. Which steps are necessary to be paid attention to achieve economical production in the process of pasta production? Foodtech has been working more than 15 years with pasta manufacturers in Italy and abroad, both with big-size companies and small companies. From this knowhow, and from the even longer experience in the pasta sector of our technicians, we suggest that the first step to obtain the best technological performance for the whole product range is the collaboration between the pasta manufacturer and the equipment supplier. It was the exchange of data and expertise with the customers that led Foodtech to develop customized flexible technical solutions, so that on the same line different products can be treated. This is exemplified by the polyvalent lines created for the American market and in operation for some years now: the lines can be used for pasteurizing, cooking in immersion or pre-cooking with steam and spray water. Reducing space and energy consumption results in rationalized investments. Does economical production need to make a concession from the quality? How can a production be both economical and high quality? Instead of lowering the product quality it is possible to reduce the production costs by using labour-saving and energy-saving technologies. For what design is concerned, Foodtech tries to foresee and adapt to the customer’s needs: in our cooking lines (including linear and rotary cookers, cooling and draining zones), water recycling is now a standard feature, the heating coils - usually fed by steam - can also be fed by thermo oil if it is available at a lower price, as happened upon request of a Russian customer. Efficiency on production, to which factors depends on? What is the difference between economical production and efficient production? On one hand, the selection of reliable equipment and the institution of a rationalized process are at the basis of an economical production, where wastes and losses of products are very low. On the other hand, the possibility of saving recipes and working with automated processes enables the manufacturers to change the process quickly to satisfy the customer’s demands, thus making production efficient. Besides, the constant monitoring of all phases of the production guarantee products of consistent quality, with standardized chemical-physical and organoleptic characteristics. This is valid for both manufacturers of premium pasta and producers of more economical products. For a simplifying example, once you have saved the recipe per type of products (process data are quantity of flours, additives, eggs, water, mixing time, final humidity), with Foodtech automatic continuous mixers you will obtain homogeneous and well hydrated pasta whether you feed high-quality or cheap ingredients, and the problem of different batches of dough with variable moisture is solved. What do today’s technologies promise to manufacturers in terms of efficient production and efficiency? The equipment versatility, reduced downtime and easy cleaning are more than a promise. These characteristics are essential requirements, if we think to the treatment lines for fresh pasta that Foodtech has supplied a long-term French customer and that are in operation 24h in 3 shifts of 8 hours, for 6/7 days a week and 52 weeks per year. Planning and scheduling are very important for efficient production, that is why all phases (from mounting and commissioning to cleaning and maintenance) have to be efficiently organized, minimizing the time and work necessary in the manufacturer’s factory: this is possible thanks to easy design and implementation. Is it enough to have only high technology for efficiency? The initial training and the constant support to the manufacturer’s personnel are fundamental in order to use the equipment at its best. This is especially true for with companies in a growing phase - and therefore in need of a change in the production processes. At the beginning of 2012 we’ve supplied a small manufacturer of fresh filled pasta in southern Italy the first continuous PLC-controlled equipment (a special solution developed by Foodtech for the treatment of fresh pasta, aimed at workshops that want to improve production performance and control technological data. This machine is designed to process a wide range of products, from pasta sheet and nests to short extruded and filled pastas and dumplings, with 60 to 110 kg/h capacity depending on the type of product, and is made of two independent machines - pasteurizer and pre-dryer - mounted one on the other to reduce the required space). The business has been growing steadily and now the machinery will be traded in for a bigger line: the year of apprenticeship with the PLC controls has proved very useful for the manufacturer’s staff.
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