How to Speed up Food Production Time by 50%
June 26, 2019
Controlling the quality of your product in the food production process is a matter of handling the entirety of the environment in which it is produced. This helps to maintain consistency across your production line and avoid any unnecessary waste of materials. The necessity to uphold this type of quality and consistency is at its most important within the sweet manufacturing industry, where high levels of starch and gelatin are used in the process and need to be kept in specific conditions in order to be produced to the quality required. With different types of confectionary requiring different relative humidities in order to form properly, it is key that you control the atmosphere around the product.
Quality and consistency are at the heart of any sweet manufacturing enterprise. Without carefully controlled heat and humidity conditions, you run the risk of allowing too much moisture to remain in the candies, resulting in a loss of quality, stability, flavour and shelf life whilst also causing them to stick to the insides of the wrappers. Dehumidifying the stove during the production process stops the sweets from sticking to the top of the pan and preserves the uniform quality of the product, this is due to the highly hygroscopic nature of the ingredients at play within this process. This can slow your process and cause hygiene issues.
This also comes in to play earlier on in the process, with dry ingredients such as sugar being a key component in the recipes of many candies, it is highly important to control the level of humidity around ingredients like this, as an excess of moisture in the air can result in the sugars breaking down at a much higher rate than expected and taking away your control over the final product.
The drying rate of sweets is another way in which food production time can be accelerated. If temperatures are increased, the air wants to take in more moisture and will extract this from the food product. This is the ideal condition for drying sweets, but once the atmosphere fills with moisture then its capability to extract more is limited and condensation becomes a factor. This slows the rate of production but also adds an unnecessary risk to the machinery at your disposal. By dehumidifying the air around the product, you can control the relative humidity in the drying chamber while maintaining an adequate level of heat that is requisite for sweet drying.
This process also controls the velocity of air moving over the product: in the same way that you blow steam off of a cup of tea to allow it to cool, the same principle applies in drying confectionary. By keeping the air circulating while it is dehumidified, it allows the product to constantly dry and not be contained inside a microclimate that will reduce the rate of evaporation.
With different products requiring different requirements in the drying process, it is imperative that warm, dry air is circulated at the correct temperature within the drying oven. This usually ranges between 38° and 60° for foam and more solid sweets like wine gums respectively. By having the ability to finely tune the conditions within your drying oven to specific requirements, you can maximise the efficiency of this process and maintain a uniform quality in your production. With both of these in place, you will be able to see an effect on your bottom line as less time will need to be spent monitoring efficiency and quality.
The drying time of the confectionary itself is not the only way that production time can be drastically improved. Typically after the sweets themselves have been dried, the starch trays that they are moulded in are at a 10-13% moisture content, this is too high of a number for them to be immediately reused and so have to be placed into a separate oven to get their moisture content down to 6-7%. This is where bottlenecks in the process typically occur- if the trays are unable to be reused immediately then the rate of production is dictated by the number of usable trays available.
This is where humidity control within the cooking ovens come back into play- by controlling the moisture content within this environment, you can eliminate the requirement for a starch drying oven in the process completely. If there is no longer a need to wait for the starch to dry, the efficiency of the process increases drastically whilst simultaneously eliminating the costs of running another oven.
With heat and humidity affecting almost every facet of the sweet manufacturing process, it becomes clear just how paramount it is to control and maintain the relative humidity and moisture levels within your own food production business. By controlling these elements of the atmosphere, you can preserve the quality of ingredients and your product while simultaneously increasing production capacity by removing elements of the process that slow you down.
To conclude, to speed up food production time by 50% the challenges are multifaceted but by using one application and solution, you can achieve a new level of productivity.
For more information on how Dehum can help increase your speed of production, please visit https://www.dehum.com/applications/food-drink/ or call us on 01926 882 624.
For over twenty-one years, Dehum (formerly Sorption Wheel Services) are now a major supplier of humidity control systems. We are a true engineering company, designing, supplying and co-ordinating installations of equipment alongside complementary services. Our global client list spans across all industries, including food & drink, pharmaceutical, nuclear, automotive, aviation, chemical processing, ice prevention/cold storage, car storage and archives