Manual vs. Automated Batching Systems
Putting together a reliable, efficient batching system plays a key role in taking your raw ingredients and transforming them into a safe, high-quality final product for your clients. Taking the time and effort to put together a good batching system will help you form strong relationships with clients, setting you apart from other competitors in the business, which is something all companies should strive for.
From weighing to conveying, each step of the batching process requires care and consideration. To help you understand the benefits of each system type, we’ve put together this guide to manual vs. automated batching systems.
Manual Batching Systems
Spoiler alert: automated systems tend to be the more reliable and effective method of batching. This will become apparent right away because the only thing manual systems have over automated systems is the initial cost. Putting together a manual batching system will cost lower upfront. However, with that said, automation is still going to help you get a better return on investment (ROI) in the long run. If you can’t make the initial cost jump to purchase an automated batching system, that’s understandable—but it’ll be well worth the investment if you have the money to do so (as we’ll get more into later).
When employees are carrying out the batching process by hand, there are a variety of issues that can strike. First, employees can spill ingredients while they’re placing them inside containers. In other words, manual batching systems can directly lead to you losing ingredients on a regular basis. This also means that when your clients receive the products, they may discover inaccurate batches, or they might be missing ingredients entirely. Suffice it to say, if your clients look at the batch and discover ingredients are missing, they’re going to be a little bit upset. Think about it—if you bought a pack of trail mix and one of the ingredients advertised on the front was nowhere to be found, you probably wouldn’t be too happy about it.
Aside from missing ingredients, human error in manual batching systems can lead to ingredients being incorrectly packed together. This isn’t something that’s simply a frustrating mistake for clients. Incorrect ingredient packing can lead to cross-contamination, which is something all goods manufacturers must avoid each and every day. Just like with inaccurate batches, no client wants to work with a company that’s selling contaminated goods.
Furthermore, manually batching goods in the workplace is much less efficient than going down the automation route. When you see an automated batching system in action, the difference in efficiency and accuracy becomes quite apparent. Automated systems don’t require lunch breaks and are not susceptible to back, neck, or hand injuries. Sure, maintenance is going to be a necessity for pretty much every machine in your facility—but the efficiency at which automated batching systems work day-in and day-out is unparalleled.
Automated Batching Systems
As we touched on above, the most efficient method for batching is, by far, automation. The speed at which they operate and the accuracy at which they carry out these operations will help you deliver correctly packed ingredients for your clients. Actions like that are what form strong bonds between you and your clients, thus encouraging repeat business, and hopefully, good word of mouth in your industry as well.
Another factor that leads to the overall better ROI in relation to automation is that these systems are typically better for handling bulk bags, meaning they are better at handling more ingredients at once than manual systems are.
The big issue with automation is that some business owners fear implementing it into their facility because it may be too difficult or complex to work with. It’s understandable to worry about whether or not you can rely on machines to do their job correctly; everyone who makes the leap to automation has this thought at some point. Luckily, automated batching systems are typically very easy to use, as long as you and your employees take the time to learn and train with them to understand how they work inside and out.
The only major con to the automated batching system is the aforementioned higher upfront cost. This might be intimidating but, once again, that ROI is going to make the initial cost well worth it. Aside from the high cost, an issue with automated batching systems is that inaccurate batches due to ingredient spillage can still occur.
Thankfully, in the case of automated systems, it’s far less likely for that issue to occur. No matter what type of batching system you place in your facility, spillage is going to be a problem, but automation makes that problem much less frequent than manual batching. Similarly, manual batching systems tend to produce more dust, thus leading to a higher chance of cross-contamination.
That being said, the same situation can happen with automated batching systems, but the likelihood of it happening is far rarer than if you were using a manual system. If you regularly inspect your automated batching system for dust or spillage and address those problems swiftly, you can minimize the chances of them hurting your process even further.
As you can see, the debate regarding manual vs. automated batching systems is fairly easy to understand. Now that you have a better grasp of the pros and cons of each system, you can ensure your facility is swiftly outfitted with the best equipment for completing your batching needs on a daily basis. At DoverMEI, we can set you up with an eclectic variety of systems and components, such as a high-pressure filter receiver for dust collection systems that can aid in making your day-to-day operations more efficient and successful.
Setting up facilities with the best equipment for their specific tasks is an easy step that will make a big impact on the efficiency, safety, and reliability of the specific operations within. However, if you don’t do the proper research into the machines you need in your facility, you can wind up with improper equipment that will hinder your day-to-day operations instead of improving them.