PET Food Processing - June 2018 - 62


"The net-weight bag size is consistently getting smaller.
We're seeing a larger percentage of a production run
going into bag sizes of less than 10 lbs. and a smaller
percentage going into bag sizes of more than 20 lbs."
John Krehbiel, C.J. Foods

The packaging
suite at C.J. Foods
features state-ofthe-art, computer
controlled packaging systems that
help the company
keep pace with
extruder output.

ficient over time," he notes. "Highly automated packaging
lines require set-up time for a given bag size and type while
manual lines do not. When many changeovers are required
within a day, even though manual lines run slower, they
will actually produce more bags per hour when changeover
time is taken into account."
For C.J. Foods, it's true that sometimes slower is better
and less is more. When it comes to translating more than
500 different formulations into 2,000 different finished
SKUs with an average net weight of less than 10 lbs. per
package, less automation truly can translate to more output
and efficiency. Krehbiel explains that the degree of complexity required for some pet diets the company produces
can reduce the overall capacity of the plant, but it doesn't
necessarily mean less money. After being evaluated and
priced properly, less output can mean more money if it's
the right product to help the customer grow its brand. "We
don't evaluate adding a new SKU or even taking on a new
account based on the complexity of producing and packaging that product so much as the strength of the relationship
with that customer and the potential opportunity collectively that the new product offers for both of us."

C.J. Foods



Improve the change
Now that variety seems to be the name of the game in pet
food and treats, improving the product changeover processes could offer potential for improving efficiency. For
large volume processors that are pumping liquids and wet
products such as meat emulsions, it's inefficient to have a
dedicated line or lines for each product, and changeovers
between different products using the same line reduces
available production time. Pet food formulas can be thick,
difficult to pump and challenging to remove from the inside of pipelines.
Traditionally, flushes, washouts and clean-in-place (CIP)
processes are used to remove residual product from the
pipeline. Changeovers often use a lot of water and chemicals but can also be time consuming, labor intensive and
wasteful. Usable product is often wasted in the changeover
process. Product recovery systems, commonly known as
"pigging," can improve efficiency in these applications.
"Pet food processors that pump liquids or wet product
have a lot to gain from pigging," says Peter Elgar, group
marketing manager for HPS Product Recovery Solutions,
Nottingham, UK. "The wider variety of different formulations they have, the greater volume of product they pump
and the further they pump it, the greater the gains can be."
According to the company, HPS pigging systems typically recover up to 99.5% of product which would otherwise
go to waste. Exactly how much depends on a number of
factors such as the diameter and length of the pipe and the
frequency of changeovers. "Pigging systems work by sending a special projectile called a pig through the line at the
very start of a product changeover," Elgar explains. "Instead
of going to waste, the residual product in the line is saved
- sent on through processing just as the main bulk of the
product would be."
Pigging systems are straightforward to implement and
can be retrofitted to existing equipment as well as new
equipment. When implementing a product recovery system, one of the most important considerations is the pig,
which may look like a simple object but is actually a highly
specialized device. "We recommend using a magnetic pig
with a flexible magnetic core, which enables detection and
automation," Elgar says. "Pigs should be bidirectional, made
of US-Food-and-Drug-Administration-approved materials

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - June 2018