Lifting in the Food and beverage Industry: Custom solutions

The manufacture of the food and beverages we eat entails a wide range of manual operations, from lifting and moving raw ingredients to sealing or shipping finished products. The heavy lifting can pose substantial risks to worker safety, process efficiency, product quality, and sanitation. Erik Wingholm, Area Sales Manager at TAWI in Sweden, has deep experience in the many ways TAWI lifting trolleys attack even the most fundamental of these challenges, bringing enhanced safety and hygiene to every stage of the production process.

Lifting challenges in the Food and Beverage industry

The heavy lifting needed in the food and beverage industry can pose substantial risks to worker safety, process efficiency, product quality, and sanitation. This article is an interview with Erik Wingholm, Area Sales Manager in TAWI Sweden. He has deep experience in the many ways TAWI lifting trolleys attack these challenges by enhancing safety at every stage of the production process.

Firstly, Erik’s background is in engineering and design. During his first years at TAWI, he worked in various related functions, eventually becoming a product owner for customised lifting trolleys. When he moved into sales in 2020, his experience designing custom products continued to serve him well.

“Over the years, I have seen thousands of cases where customers wanted to use our products in the wide range of areas where lifting trolleys can be integrated into processes to move heavy or bulky items instead. I know in-depth the product and application areas. Therefore, it helps me assess which TAWI products best meet a customer’s specific challenges.”

SIMPLE AND YET, VERY HARD

A lifting trolley is a portable lifting table with a lowering function that allows the individual employee to work with heavy products in almost any surroundings. TAWI takes a solution-oriented approach, tailoring products to meet anything from specific aspects of a production facility to changing environmental challenges.

“A lifting trolley looks very simple, yet has many variables that can be adjusted or modified to meet specific needs.”

  • Stainless steel lifting trolleys can meet the most demanding environments in the food and beverage industry.
  • We considered everything from ceiling height to doorway size and position must.
  • Customers can adjust the legs, and mast height or lift height may need to be customised to suit a specific workplace.

We always try to base customised solutions on standard products. But we also have a team of application engineers that work to develop unique products that solve the customer’s challenges.

“A TAWI product is there to be used – one that isn’t used would stand as a monument to a flawed process. And that is not the TAWI way.”

Erik describes how even in already automated processes, there is often a need for tweaking an existing product or a completely customised product.

“About half of the products we provide are customised to some degree. Around 70% of these are relatively simple adaptations of standard products, while 30% are more specialised products with substantial changes. We conduct an initial analysis, then look at our standard range and see how we can dimension a product to match the unique demands of the situation. Customising a product in this way is a matter of finding the perfect balance – you don’t want to under-dimension or over-dimension the product; the former might lead to product failure, and the latter would make the product harder to use. Our aim is always to configure products – whether customised or even from our normal product range – to be as easy to use as possible for operators while meeting all lifting requirements.”

When approaching a new customer, Erik says he always starts with understanding how a customer works – their needs and what TAWI solutions need to achieve. He explains that if the situation can’t be handled by an existing tool or solution, TAWI can develop a new one. In these cases, Erik always begins with a few simple questions:

  • What needs to be lifted?
  • What sizes or weights need to be lifted?
  • What will happen with the object once it is lifted?
  • What other challenges do you face?”

This gives him an overview of the entire scenario. TAWI´s approach is always to adapt our products to the user’s needs, not the other way around. But he explains that the TAWI approach doesn’t stop with customising products.

“In many cases, we help the customer streamline or optimise their work to reach the most cost-efficient and user-friendly solution. This balance – combining our industry-leading lifting equipment with branch expertise means we can find the golden middle ground between working processes and technological applications, which is often the key to future success.” 

IT DOESN’T END WITH THE PRODUCT 

In the mixing and blending process of food and beverages, they move the barrels or bags of ingredients or material from where they are to where they are needed. Many containers, bags and barrels, reels and rolls, and other items need to be lifted, shifted, tipped and positioned in multiple ways daily. These items come in many sizes and weights, making these manual lifting operations both physically stressful and resource-consuming.

In addition to handling the many fragile or liquid substances that must be transported throughout warehouses and storage areas, the products produced by the food and beverage industry also require packaging and wrapping with stretch film. This process requires a substantial amount of reel handling.

“It’s ironic”, says Erik, “that the most common use of our lifting trolleys in the food industry is not actually in the handling of food; it’s the lifting of reels. In production, many types of reels need loading – everything one buys these days is wrapped in some paper or plastic – and the machine that does this wrapping uses large reels of material. These rolls are heavy and difficult to move and handle – and place great physical stress on workers. TAWI lifting trolleys make it possible for any employee to manage even the heaviest roll – at any stage of the process.

Erik Wingholm’s three TAWI Cornerstones: 

  1. Ergonomics – TAWI helps create a healthier workplace 
  2. Efficiency and productivity – TAWI trolleys don’t get tired and can work forever 
  3. Economy – TAWI trolleys reduce the cost of sick leave and injuries etc. 

In addition to the standard challenges in the industry, the rising demand for craft beer and other niche foods and beverages has created a score of new products. These bring new requirements for productivity and efficiency – requirements that simultaneously endanger the well-being of workers. Erik goes on to describe the way that TAWI lifting trolleys can be used as a great addition to an existing system, helping to mitigate these ever-changing challenges.

“Lifting trolleys are often useful in smaller spaces, in unique or relatively unique situations, or for actions that are only performed a couple of times a day. Increased product specialisation has only increased the frequency of these types of situations – niche products lead to the use of smaller amounts of ingredients. However, they are still heavy and still require manual lifting. In these cases, larger systems might not work, but a lifting trolly can fit in places where a larger system cannot – doing the actual “hard” part – that is the final manual lifting.”

Erik sees a wide range of possible future uses for lifting trolleys in the food and beverage industry as well. “The food and beverage industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing business segments. The manual lifting requirements often result in injury or downtime, dramatically impacting your bottom line. However, as the industry evolves, lifting solutions from TAWI will be there to help. In fact,” he concludes, “once you break down the numbers, implementing a TAWI solution is a no-brainer – it’s an investment, not a cost”

Are you facing the same challenges companies face in the food and beverage industry?

With a TAWI trolly lifter, you can take your work product or object from where it is to where it’s needed without risking product or employee safety. Contact us to learn more about how we can help optimise workflows, increase profit, and secure the health of your employees

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Lifting in the Food and beverage Industry: Custom solutions

The manufacture of the food and beverages we eat entails a wide range of manual operations, from lifting and moving raw ingredients to sealing or shipping finished products. The heavy lifting can pose substantial risks to worker safety, process efficiency, product quality, and sanitation. Erik Wingholm, Area Sales Manager at TAWI in Sweden, has deep experience in the many ways TAWI lifting trolleys attack even the most fundamental of these challenges, bringing enhanced safety and hygiene to every stage of the production process.

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