Talking Innovation in Conveying Systems with tna
I had a conversation with Anurag Mitra, Product Marketing manager (Packaging), tna, about the latest innovation in conveyors and the overall state of this particular segment of potato processing, which we are featuring in this exclusive interview.
What would you say are the most interesting changes to conveyor systems and conveyor belts in the past years?
Manufacturers have been looking to optimize production line efficiencies and throughput as much as possible – through design and technology updates. In recent months, this has stepped up a gear due to the uncertain economic climate, where every penny counts. Design changes that make conveyor systems easier to maintain and clean help toward efficiencies too, by minimizing downtime. We’ve also noticed that more manufacturers have been making a conscious effort to make conveyor systems more sustainable, by working on noise reduction and superior control, as well as decreasing power consumption. With sustainability a key priority, conveyors that consume minimal power can contribute significantly to a business’ sustainability goals.
How does recent innovation in conveyors help potato processors?
Updating conveyor systems or investing in new conveying technology is a game-changer for ensuring products move as quickly and efficiently from one part of the production line to the next. By improving production line efficiencies, potato processors can benefit from higher productivity levels and increased profitability – leading to an improved ROI. Plus, a smoother product transfer results in less or no product breakage, which upholds the product’s consumer appeal and keeps them coming back for more. It’s a win-win situation!
What are the main benefits of state-of-the-art conveyor systems for the potato industry?
These days, manufacturers look for more than just speed from their conveyors. While rapid product transfer is important to optimize production line efficiencies, the latest conveyor systems must provide gentle product handling to ensure product breakage is kept to an absolute minimum. For more fragile products, like extruded snacks for example, horizontal motion conveyors can help preserve high levels of quality on the line. Plus, with minimal product damage, seasoning loss and waste, brands can benefit from increased profits. Beyond product benefits, state-of-the-art transport systems with low noise levels can go a long way to promoting a healthy work environment – a continued priority for plant managers. Investing in the latest equipment also means that energy consumption is minimized, contributing to a greener, more environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in this particular market segment and what is your strategy to overcome them?
Flexible design is of growing importance to manufacturers – especially as consumer demand for greater product variety continues to increase, from different pack sizes and types to vast arrays of flavors – all of which need to be processed in a single plant and / or line. Another key challenge is the renewed emphasis on plant and equipment hygiene due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While it has always been a priority for site managers, sanitation guidelines have now become even more stringent. And the systems that have easy to clean and quick clean design are more sought after. Our strategy continues to be focused on improving customer engagement, to help us understand their concerns and advise on subsequent areas of improvement on the line.