The coronavirus pandemic is having a ‘deep impact’ on businesses around the globe and has already caused an unprecedented collapse in economic activities over the last few weeks, says an industry survey, which also says that businesses are grappling with ‘tremendous uncertainty’ about their future. The food industry is the most vulnerable, as if the supply chain hampers drastically, then we might end up seeing a war-like scenario on the streets.
Now when there is less liquidity in the market and due to high uncertainty investors are not purchasing stocks, due yo which organizations are losing money which will affect the processing units. Till now there is no order issued by the government over the stimulus required by the industry to start the economy which is a setback for every organization.
All industries are closed and labour has moved to their native places in order of their survival. The big question is if there is no labour, then how will the industry operate processing operations?
Even if the labour is ready to work, another important question still arises on whether we will be able to ensure the safety of both producers and consumers.
At this point where the market statistics show that the consumers are getting the back to staple and processed food. If we are able to integrate the existing technology with the food practices it will not only help the industry to get back in pace but also will generate a hygienic and sustainable processing plan.
Industries like AOV agro-food providing food to the military is still using manpower to continue the processing while taking every single precaution which not even increases the cost but comes out as a responsibility which is certain.
A way, that I think will not only change the food industry but will help to get the economy back on track, would be automation.
Automation plays a major role in such a situation as it reduces the cost and there is less need of labour.
Milk processing plants are the ideal example for a plant with full automation. If we see the current technology the end product requires no human contact and constant supervision (except the line maintenance).
Advantages of automation in the food industry
· product quality
Plant productivity may be defined as the number of end products manufactured per unit of operating parameters – plant size, number of workers, time of operation, raw material count etc. Therefore, productivity finds direct relation to how efficiently the input resources are finding utility in translating them into marketable end products. This is possible because automation allows for efficient scheduling of workflow and labour use. Using a set of microprocessors and sensors certain operational parameters can be noted and can be learned by the machine. this organizes the workflow and the labour required for the work for efficient and faster manufacturing.
Quality assurance is one of the most important goals of any industry. The ability to manufacture and standardization products consistently are the key to success in the highly competitive food industry. High-quality products encourage customer loyalty and result in an expanding market share. Quality assurance methods used in the food industry have traditionally involved human visual inspection.
Such methods are laborious, time-consuming, and inconsistent. As plant productivity increased and quality tolerance tightened, it became necessary for the food industry to employ automatic methods for quality assurance and quality control to match the pace of production. Computer Vision Technology is the current methodology finding use in the automation of processing lines.
Increased profit is perhaps most important from the perspective of management. Improved profitability not only adds to shareholder value but also allows management to invest strategically in expanding plant operations, increasing product lines, further improving product quality, etc. As discussed previously, automation helps to improve productivity and product quality. Both of these contribute directly to improved profitability. There is no indication, until when this situation will continue and how the economy will get on track. Automation of the food sector is where the industry should invest and develop their line to make it sustainable in such situations.
Haroshit Tandon, Site-Admin
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