Waste. It’s something that chocolate and bar manufacturers are driven to avoid. Recent research estimated that globally, food manufacturing collectively face billions in costs when it comes to waste. Not only does reducing waste boost profits, but it’s an environmentally sustainable approach as well.
One of the biggest root causes of waste is human error, usually the result of a lack of standardised procedures and training. Failing to stick to the formula is one of the main reasons food manufacturers produce more waste than they should, and it comes down to a simple concept: there’s no such thing as taking shortcuts when producing something like granola bars. For example, if the product going into the bar line isn’t of the correct consistency – because the formula hasn’t been stuck to – then the outcome will be one of total waste. Not only will the product not be able to be sold, but the failure means wasted raw materials and energy.
Equipment cleanliness is another risk factor for waste. Food manufacturers can’t take shortcuts here either, because what gets wasted is time. With particularly sticky ingredients, production may need to be halted regularly to allow for cleaning, meaning it’s important to be using equipment that’s designed to handle these sticky products, and at the same time be easy and fast to clean.
Waste is maximised in chocolate and bar manufacturing when people bend the rules and try to take shortcuts. This is basic human nature, but when it comes to minimising waste in food production, deviating from formulation or not following cleanliness procedures to the letter are the two main contributors. And in the end, it’s not a shortcut after all, because the time it takes to correct mistakes is another form of waste.
Every food manufacturer needs to have comprehensive guidelines for their employees to follow during the bar manufacturing process. These guidelines are the key factor in reducing waste: if they don’t get it right, there’ll be an increase in waste. There are specifications for every recipe and if they’re not stuck to, what’s being produced can’t be sold. The ingredients have been wasted, energy has been wasted, and time has been wasted. There are no profits to show for it, and if a manufacturer produces excessive waste, it could become common knowledge in the industry and their reputation will be damaged.
Having the right equipment in place is another essential for minimising waste. The design should be such that it takes waste into account, and functions to produce as little of it as possible.
PTL’s bar line machinery includes features that reduce and even eliminate waste that is often typical in the bar manufacturing process, such as eliminating the side trim from bars, if they don’t need it. It’s true that most manufacturers do need to trim the bars so they are all of a standard size and have straight edges, but what’s cut from the bars can be significantly reduced so waste is minimised, and on PTL equipment, this design feature is known as slab-tracking.
If a slab is running with no side trim (a protein bar for example) slab tracking ensures that the outside bars are the correct width/weight, eliminating waste.
If a slab is running with side trim (nut, granola bar for example) accurate slab tracking allows the side trim to be kept to a minimum, reducing waste. The guillotines on our bar line machinery also ensures that each bar is of a standard length and weight
When the bar needs to be enrobed in chocolate or some other coating, the changeover from one type or colour – say from dark chocolate to white – can be done very quickly. And the enrobing product can be conserved and used again, if the recipe allows for it.
A main feature of PTL’s bar line equipment is the hygienic design. They’re easier to clean due to their flexibility, wash-down capability and removable components. Because the cleaning process is so fast, this reduces downtime and increases productivity.
The more a manufacturer can reduce waste the better their margins. There are also important environmental considerations that drive waste reduction, and PTL’s equipment takes this into account. We focus on waste reduction capabilities and on gaining efficiencies, and we work with our customers individually to tailor our equipment design for their specific production and waste reduction needs.
If you’d like to find out more about how our equipment can reduce or even eliminate waste in your operation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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