Layout Models for the Food Processing Industry

Read this article. The topic focuses on the most efficient and effective layout model for food production. Can you identify one advantage of modifying an existing layout to increase efficiency?

7. Conclusion

Finding solutions to the facility layout problem (FLP) is difficult. This becomes more difficult in the food processing industry due to industry-specific regulatory needs such as food safety, hygiene, and GMP requirements. Thus, the aim was to develop a method to help layout design specific to the food processing industry.

A set of operations unique to the food processing could be identified by considering the food safety risk level. Various operations could be grouped into five different areas: primary manufacturing, secondary manufacturing, utility, warehouse, and administration. These five areas have different ventilation, building finishing, access control, and lighting requirements to mitigate the food safety risks. Considering the unique requirements, a framework was developed that considers specific requirements of the food processing industry and collects data in a systematic manner to support resolving the FLP. Later, a model named the diamond model was developed, which included the five different areas identified.

In a case study, the framework helped to collect vital data relevant to factory operations. It was also helpful in the decision making process to resolve the FLP. The diamond model further simplified the FLP by splitting the plant operation into the five major sections and helped locating each section in the layout. The improved layout resulted in an increase in the overall equipment efficiency (60% to 80%), a decrease in material waste (2.4% per batch to 0.8%), and a reduction of CO2 emissions per metric ton of production (62.5 to 51.6 kg/MT).

The approach was only tested in an existing factory modification. However, it should be further evaluated when developing a completely new facility for food processing.