Sanitation concerns in food manufacturing plants are at high levels; every step in the process from farm to table must have the best cleanliness standards for our protection. Production lines are meant to uphold speed and cleanliness standards, and so naturally, the operating level of a food manufacturing plant needs a careful eye to ensure all of its systems are performing in top shape. Since the use of computers to automate processes and increase production speeds became the new standard, there have been newer challenges to overcome to protect the process, the food worker, and, well, all of us. Here are some ways that the proper computers in the food manufacturing industry can improve sanitation methods.
Battling Bacteria Growth
In any food manufacturing environment, whether it be meat packing to beverage bottling, there is an abundance of scrap materials and waste. This bio-waste is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other types of harmful microorganisms. Food manufacturers who don’t meet required sanitation standards run the very real risk of distributing contaminated food, which could result in costly recalls. To avoid this, sanitation protocols must be enforced for all equipment involved in the manufacturing process. Equipment must be sprayed down, disinfected and wiped dry to ensure food safety. This includes any computers on the shop floor.
It’s best to use an industrial touch screen PC with an IP65 rating for higher cleanliness standards. Industrial-strength disinfectants and cleaners can be sprayed liberally on the surface of these computers to reduce the spread of germs and ensure top cleanliness standards. The IP65 rating protects against ingress of moisture, condensation, and direct sprays, so even with constant use this kind of computer can be cleaned thoroughly and constantly. Plus, touch screen PCs are pretty low-profile and typically operate with minimal heat output. So not only do you protect from food illness breakouts from superior cleaning methods, you save on power and space, and extend the life of the computer.
Climate Change is Real
Slow down. We’re not talking about politics here. When it comes to food manufacturing, extreme cold or extreme heat are simply part of the process. Cold storage facilities are a necessity for seafood and meat processors. Vegetable packaging companies might steam cook their product before flash freezing it, going from extreme heat and humidity in one part of the plant to extreme cold in another. Commercial ovens for baked goods are another source of extreme heat that food manufacturers face. Extreme temperatures and humid conditions are a reality in this industry and are an absolute nightmare for consumer grade computers. Parts will fail, components with warp, and IT departments will be spending all of their budget on repairs and replacement units.
Industrial grade computers are built with higher quality components that are rated for operation in greater temperature variances. They are IP65 rated, meaning they protect against water and dust from getting inside the unit and damaging internal components. To put it bluntly, industrial computers are designed to withstand the most harsh of environments. They hold up against extreme cold, heat, condensation, and an environment where there’s a temperature change. Refrigerators, ovens, and other heat-based equipment won’t affect these computers in the long run.
Must Clean Combustible Dust
Online surveys show that about 20 percent of food manufacturing plants admit dust is an issue but aren’t properly equipped to address the problem. Believe it or not, dust within a food plant has the capability of exploding—combine sugar, flour, and spices together, and somewhere in the mix, a possible explosion can occur if a dust cloud is ignited. Now imagine a device that is crucial to running your manufacturing plant that has uses a lot of electrical power, has multiple components capable of sparking if the fail, and nasty habit of sucking in all of the dust in the air around them. Of course we’re talking about computers again. While the fan on a computer is vital for cooling components that can get extremely hot, they also suck in dust. In fact, the fan is one of the most common failure points for computers. When you combine potentially dangerous dust with heat and electrical components that could short circuit, there is an expensive problem there just waiting to happen.
Along with implementing dust inspections, proper collection systems, worker hygiene, and common sense, a fanless industrial PC is a prime piece of equipment to use when controlling machinery within a food manufacturing plant. Plus, with a fanless design, the computer generally lasts longer since there aren’t any fans or ingress to get caked with dust. We promise any computer with fans over time will gather a thick layer of dust that can spell an immediate computer shutdown and a production halt.
Every day the hard work you put into ensuring the highest standards and best decisions is cherished because we can go about our daily lives, well-fed and free from food-borne illnesses. It starts with fine-tuning your automated processes and having sharper sanitation standards. Take advantage of the best industrial grade computer models for your purposes. Contact us to learn more.