Optimizing the end of your line
How to plan for a QC/QA lab that supports efficiency.
BakingBusiness.com, June 5, 2012
by Philip Schramm, senior packaging engineer, POWER Engineers
POWER Engineers

The quality control (QC)/quality assurance (QA) lab function is, by law, a separate entity from production in food plants. Functionally it has a large impact on the unit cost of your products. Inefficiencies in the lab can cause delayed delivery to customers, product loss due to slow response to an out-of-tolerance condition, and higher-than-necessary staffing.

A project to upgrade or replace a lab needs to be done with the same care as replacing a wrapper or vertical form/fill/seal operation. The project steps are the same as other projects, but there are many details that may be unfamiliar to an engineer that has not been exposed to lab challenges.

Look at the overall quality function:

Health, safety and environmental resources should be involved early in the design. Typical considerations are:

Look to the future:

Specialized utilities and services are required by labs:

Once you understand these items and all other considerations, you can complete the user requirements and conceptual design of the lab. This becomes the foundation of a successful project. Remember the goal is to have a cost-effective facility to support the business unit in producing a product that meets consumer and quality requirements. By going through a disciplined process, you will gain a lab that minimizes capital and contributes to profitability by efficiently providing testing.

This story is sponsored by POWER Engineers, which has one of the most comprehensive teams of engineers and specialists serving the baking and snack industry. As an extension of its clients' engineering teams, the company provides program management, integrated solutions and full facility design for the baking and snack industry. Learn more at www.powereng.com/food.