A customer in the food industry encountered problems with the quality of several finished products. The assumption was that this was caused by the incorrect/insufficient cooling of these products throughout the production process. The assignment was to determine the temperature development in these different stages.
To start with, we have tried to control the cooling process through thermography. This presented an incomplete picture, as we can only determine temperatures when the products come out of the cooling channels and are thus visible. We had no idea how the temperature distribution developed in the small channels. Therefore, we designed a measurement device in our lab that is small enough to, via the conveyor belts, register the temperature wireless at different locations in the cooling channels.
To check the capacity of the coolers, it is necessary for them to be empty. This way, our measurement devise is not subject to the damaging effects of the warm product. The difference in these measurements show the capacity of the cooler. The measurements were repeated on all of the production lines.
On several areas, the coolers were adapted to improve the process. This was accomplished by adjusting the cooling capacity and the speed of the conveyor belts. Through product contamination, we determined that, in some areas, the contact between the conveyor belt and the cooler was not optimal. Cleaning provided a noticeable improvement.
- The temperature flow of the product was charted.
This information is important for quality guarantees.
- The operation and capacity of the coolers were charted.
Through small adjustments, the performance of the coolers was optimized..
- A final proposal for improvement was created; with a result that waste product cannot accumulate between the cooling conveyor belt and the cooler. This not only results in an efficient cooling process, but also avoids the stretching of the cooling conveyor belts.
Longer operation life. .