Dr Jonas Greutert, general manager at Mettler Toledo and head of the checkweighing strategic business unit at the Swiss company, talks regulation, globalisation and productivity in a Q&A with GlobalMeatNews.
Q: What trends are there in the meat-manufacturing sector – and what impact do they have?
A: “In the food sector, a growing middle class has led to increased demand for higher-quality food products, while an increase in single households is driving demand for more convenience food in various packaging forms and sizes.
“The safety of these products is an absolute priority, and removing sub-standard items from production lines before they can reach the retail supply chain is paramount. To this end, product inspection systems, such as advanced checkweighers or combination systems of checkweighing with metal detection, vision or X-ray technology, have an important role to play in the manufacturing environment.”
Q: Are there any other trends that will influence food producers?
A: “Globalisation is also a key trend to consider. Global brands are increasingly looking to streamline their production processes, at the same time as complying with all of the standards applicable to the countries they supply.
“In most cases, the brand will have a factory within each country they are supplying to, therefore they have to comply with local safety and quality standards as well as internal standards. Retailers will often look to global equipment suppliers to provide validation information in order to make life easier. We pick up the trends first and develop our systems accordingly.”
Q: What about checkweighing-specific trends?
A: “There is increased demand for higher measuring accuracy as smaller packaging sizes become more commonplace – so we must focus on faster measuring linked to higher throughput. Integration with other systems or combinations of systems, such as printers and labellers for example, also plays a key role in increasing efficiency.
“Hygienically designed equipment is another key area to take into consideration. [This helps] to significantly reduce operational costs, increase overall equipment effectiveness and ensure product and process safety at all times.”
Q: How about market challenges?
A: “High throughput, reliability and accuracy are certainly high priority areas across all industries, and this is not a new focus by any means. Manufacturers are rightly looking to produce the highest-quality products at the fastest possible speeds, and our systems are there to help them achieve this in a way which allows them to remain compliant, optimise efficiency and to achieve a good return on investment.
“Transparency in the filling and packaging process is an important element to consider, as only by having a complete picture of how lines are operating will manufacturers be in a position to identify areas in which they could improve and act accordingly to make processes more efficient.
“To increase productivity it is also necessary to deploy systems that are capable of delivering the performance manufacturers require. Speed is of the essence for production and packaging lines on tight production schedules; therefore Mettler Toledo has focused on increasing efficiency in its checkweighing systems. The portfolio on both checkweighers can increase lines’ performance levels by up to 30%.”