Challenges in Food Manufacturing – Computerisation

Food processing is one of the most challenging sectors in manufacturing. Governed by endless laws and guidelines the difficulties in food preparation plants do not end there.

Hygiene understandably plays a large part in food manufacturing with the need to keep surfaces, floors, walls and equipment spotlessly clean. For this reason nearly all equipment has to withstand being hosed down and for this reason need to withstand corrosion.

So you would think this rules out using standard computers in food manufacturing as the average PC cannot withstand small splashes let alone constant wash down – or can they?

Many food manufacturers do opt to control their processes and procedures with standard PC’s they prefer these to specific industrial computers because they offer more flexibility when it comes to upgrade and repair (often in cases where the machine goes down it can be simply replaced with an old office computer), it also means they can choose what programs and software to run and can choose the specification of the machine.

The obvious question then remains – how exactly do they protect their computers from water? The answer is quite simple in that most food manufacturers opt to use waterproof computer enclosures. These are often built from food grade stainless steel and are manufactured to US NEMA 4 guidelines or the European standard IP 66.

These standards and guidelines demonstrate the amount of protection these device offer in washdown or hazardous locations. For protection in most hosedown areas the NEMA 4 or IP65 is a minimum requirement.

Waterproof computer enclosures are a flexible alternative to the waterproof computer and are much preferred by many in the food manufacturing sector.

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