Food technology companies are differentiating themselves through investments in machinery, equipment and software. Where can food tech companies use 3D printing to gain competitive advantage?
Contamination and food safety are important theme’s in the Food Tech industry. Every inch of weld, for example inside a storage or process tank, represents a risk to be managed. Metal additive manufacturing eliminates welds, because complex part compositions are now 3D printed as one piece. Food Tech manufacturers can now 3D print innovative equipment with the highest food safety standards.
Metal Additive Manufacturing lets you in a versatile way develop and manufacture your own tools and machinery parts. By designing and developing your nozzles, extruders or other machine parts, your production lines can be updated to keep abreast of trends. Trends such as pulled pork, Vietnamese food or Gluten-free can sweep over the world with startling rapidity. Metal 3D printing lets you keep ahead of food trends, giving you the ability to update existing lines and production equipment.
Existing picking, packaging and production lines are increasingly being used for more SKU and more varieties of products generally. Our supermarkets held just a few salads a decade ago, but now have an extensive range of fresh salad products. Premium, artisanal and organic trends are growing globally. Meanwhile, food discounters have few products, high volumes and low prices. The food tech competitive landscape is challenging. To keep competitive, companies don’t only invest in unique tools to update lines quickly (as described above) but also invest in tools and tooling to changeover lines more quickly. By enabling quicker switches to new products on the day, factories are more versatile. Many more jigs and fixtures can be made, and lines can be given extensive tooling to enable quicker turnaround.
Highly complex machinery and tasks often have unique or very low volume spare parts. These can in some cases be difficult or impossible to obtain. By 3D printing, unique or low volume spare parts legacy equipment can be kept operating for more time.
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