After the impact of COVID-19 on the food industry, it’s essential for companies to prioritize consistent quality and worker’s safety in the post-pandemic world. In order to remain part of a competitive market, manufacturers need to focus on safety and sanitation as they expand and rearrange production lines. Wondering if you should rearrange your food manufacturing equipment to get ahead of the curve?
Whether you’re planning on expanding production or upgrading your facilities to meet new food safety standards, it’s necessary to understand the dos and don’ts of manufacturing upgrades before you start construction. Remember that “designing a production line is very much an art and a science, and it takes a careful analysis to ensure that you don’t inadvertently turn the production floor into a maze” (douglas-machine.com). Here are our suggestions to improve your facility in a safe and cost-effective way.
Improve Worker Safety When You Rearrange Food Manufacturing Equipment
Although worker safety isn’t entirely dependent on the physical space, you can minimize hazards in your facility by implementing an equipment layout that encourages safe practices.
Space It Out – When rearranging your equipment, make sure workers maintain at least six feet of distance from one another while on the line. The Food Industry Counsel recommends that you “modify the alignment of workstations, including along processing lines, if feasible, so that workers are at least six feet apart in all directions (e.g., side-to-side and when facing one another).”
Ventilate – If you’re upgrading your ventilation system, pay attention to airflow in high-traffic areas and ensure that air is being properly circulated throughout the space.
Install Easily-Accessible Hand Washing Stations – Whether you need to add more handwashing stations or simply rearrange existing stations, make sure workers have easy access to hand washing facilities. This includes paying attention to areas affected by construction and ensuring workers aren’t prevented from accessing sanitizing areas.
Use Food-Safe Construction Materials
When you’re making changes to a manufacturing space, you need to pay attention to more than just the new equipment. Your construction materials need to meet safety standards too. Be aware of what materials are being used to build temporary scaffolding, walls, and partitions.
In particular, avoid using wood to make temporary structures: “while plywood is commonly used in normal construction environments, wood-based materials are a poor choice for food processing plant renovations. Wood is susceptible to chipping, splintering and it also absorbs moisture, making it a breeding ground for bacteria and mold” (zwirnerequipment.com). Consult with your construction team to ensure all materials used are safe and sanitary.
Choose Food Manufacturing Equipment That’s Easy to Clean and Sanitary
When selecting your new upgrades, make sure the equipment is easy to clean. This might sound like a no-brainer, but equipment that’s difficult or awkward to clean can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other hazards down the line.
Additionally, take into consideration sanitary design when purchasing new equipment. Look for machines that feature “rounded edges and smooth welds,” which “help to eliminate areas for food harborage that may lead to bacterial growth, food contamination and consumer illness” (goughecon.com). Choose non-porous materials, like stainless steel, for long-lasting cleanliness.
Anticipate Growth and Manufacturing Needs
Food manufacturing equipment needs to be able to grow with your business. When making equipment upgrade decisions, pay attention to your existing product output and estimate potential production growth in the future. Make sure you choose equipment that will be able to handle greater demand as your business increases and will meet safety standards for years to come.
It’s also a good idea to take into consideration your customer’s culinary needs. With more and more small manufacturers on the market, you might need to adapt to fill a particular demand or specific niche within your customer base: “whether it’s a special dietary preference, trendy ingredient or flavor, appreciation for artisanal creation, sourcing preferences, or even a traditional family recipe, new ideas are coming from startups, which can test a concept more rapidly than a large company” (crbgroup.com). Take advantage of your company’s scale and customizable facilities to install versatile, cutting-edge machinery. This way, you’ll be able to customize your recipes and offer new products in a competitive market down the line.
Choosing Custom Cut Metals for Food Manufacturing Equipment
At Custom Cut Metals, we prioritize meeting the unique requirements of each customer. Our team specializes in finding solutions for all your food manufacturing needs. From incline conveyors, to carts, to COVID safety dividers, our products are high-quality and made to last.
Rearranging your facility post-COVID will be an easy task with the help of our team at Custom Cut Metals. Grow to meet new demands, upgrade your facilities, and ensure the safety of your workers, with our high-quality and custom-built products.