The Global Fruit and Vegetables Processing industry is expected to expand at an annualized rate of 2.7% over the five years to 2019, reaching $217.1 billion. The American fruit spreads market alone was valued at $2.7 billion in 2010, and is expected to reach $3.3 billion by 2015. While these jarred confections are sweet and delicious, mass production presents some potentially sticky situations.
For our continuing series we’re profiling a billion dollar fruit spreads manufacturer who came to us for a rugged industrial computer solution that could withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations in their production environment.
- Avoiding a Mess: The Unique Challenges of Food Manufacturing: Read Now
- Avoiding a Mess Part 2: Snack Foods – Dust of a Different Kind: Read Now
- Avoiding a Mess Part 3: Staying out of a Jam
- Avoiding a Mess Part 4: Cheese and Other Dairy Products: Read Now
“For our food manufacturing clients the hardware challenges are very often about the environments they have to deal with,” says OnLogic Account Manager Amy Nordblom who worked with our fruit spread client on their project. “In this case their existing systems were falling victim to moisture and temperature extremes, two of the most common issues for food production applications. Fortunately, we were able to offer them a more reliable alternative”
Challenge #1: Moisture in the Air
In recent years, the USDA has been enforcing long-standing but rarely observed rules about moisture control in refrigerated facilities. It’s virtually impossible to manage. Processing plants want to get as much uptime as possible from their equipment, pushing it through two, and ideally three, shifts. The plant also needs to be cleaned during this time and when the 60℃ hoses hit equipment operating at -20℃ here comes the humidity.
Solution: Fanless, Ventless, Rugged Enclosure
Standard PCs are not designed to operate in moist environments. There are multiple avenues for moisture and peripheral debris to disrupt system functionality. Many industrial PCs, on the other hand, utilize solid state, fanless and ventless enclosures perfect for such environments, improving productivity through reliability.
Challenge #2: Temperature Fluctuations
Temperatures vary for a number of reasons during food production. In our previous blog about baked snack foods we talked about the concerns of high heat. In the canned, jarred and bottled sector, the solution is often to pull and push air. Pull outside air in, condition it, reheat it, and push it back into the room. Then exhaust the air from the room. There’s also the temperature of the walls to consider. When cold walls are hosed down with hot water, fog and heavy condensation aren’t far behind.
What you can’t see on the inside of an industrial PC are the unique components installed to ensure protection from, in this case, wide temperature ranges. These computers are tested and verified to function within ranges like -20℃ ~ 60℃, for example.
Given our fruit spread customer’s needs, we recommended the ML210G-10. With an excellent performance to size ratio and plenty of thermal overhead at the system’s 55°C operational ceiling, combined with multimedia-capable processing power in a ruggedized, fanless and ventless enclosure that protects the system against the rigors of industrial applications, the ML210G-10 was the ideal solution.
This is just one more example of how modern food manufacturing companies are changing the way they think about industrial computing. Check back next week when we explore the unique challenges in the Cheese and Other Dairy products industry.