Consistently high-quality cheese through automation
Traditional cheesemaking revolves tightly around the production shifts. When a cheese dairy work shift changes, the employees also change. And during holiday seasons, the production is run by substitute workers and the quality variation of the cheese due to the employee changes is most evident. At many cheese dairies, the biggest challenge is producing consistently high-quality cheese under any circumstances, regardless of who is making the cheese and what kind of a raw material batch is being used.
Automation provides an answer to this problem. When cheesemaking is automated, the process will always remain the same, controlled by the automation. An automatic cheese vat will manage the entire production process from filling the vat to thoroughly washing it, without any additional control.
How does an automatic cheese vat work?
The continuous monitoring of the production process with various sensors and indicators is part of the automated cheesemaking. The results are updated into the system, which guarantees that all the cheesemaking phases take place at precisely the right time, and that all the adjustments and values have been correctly set to match the raw material batch being used. Automation helps the cheesemaking process run constantly at its maximum performance level, which guarantees the production of high-quality cheese and that the full potential of the production equipment is being utilised.
Automated cheesemaking also means that the cheese vat can stay closed during the entire production. This affects both the quality of the cheese as well as workplace health and safety. When the vat is not being opened between every production phase, the risk of foreign substances ending up in the vat and ruining the whole batch is avoided. On the other hand, when an employee does not need to open the vat during the process, there is no danger of a hand or a shirt getting caught somewhere – such as the cutter blades, in the worst case scenario.
How does automation affect the operation at a cheese dairy?
When the new automatic cheese vats are first introduced to a cheese dairy, the recipes for the cheeses in production must be entered into the automation system. After this, the automation will take care of nearly everything else. For a cheese dairy, the practical outcome is that a single employee can manage several vats simultaneously. The information from all the vats can be summarised to fit a single computer screen all at once.
At its maximum extent, automation functions without any employees present in the production facilities. Instead, the information on the production progress can be sent to the phone of a designated person in charge. The automation will request this person’s presence, if needed, and notify them already in advance if a part of the equipment or the process require repairs, an adjustment or a replacement. This way, breakdowns and unnecessary production downtimes can be minimised.
The system must be reliable
When purchasing a cheese vat, you should pay particular attention to how reliable its automation is. Reliability can be judged based on the quality of the equipment parts and the system, as well as on the availability of spare parts. In addition, you should ensure that the system also produces backup copies of the recipes, so that if something goes wrong, all the hard-earned information does not disappear.
If you want to learn more about automation in cheesemaking and utilising automation in your own facility, contact us.