A major beef processor needed a better way to apply a proprietary shelf life extender to sliced products in a tray pack prior to film wrapping. In-house engineering staff had developed a spray system equipped with photooptic sensors to determine the presence of a tray pack. A pneumatic solenoid was used to turn the spray nozzles on to apply the ingredient.
Timing adjustments had to made by maintenance staff rather than line operators and resulted in unproductive downtime. Inaccurate sensors and slow solenoid activation of nozzles caused inconsistent application of the shelflife extender and significant overspray, which negatively affected tray pack handling. Nozzles also plugged frequently, causing another maintenance headache. Finally, the rinsing system added to wash excess coating from conveyors operated 24/7 and hindered an important corporate sustainability initiative.