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The History of Automation: How James Lewis Kraft Helped Shape Food Automation

James Kraft, president of the Kraft food empire, plays a large role in the history of food processing, and the results of his search to create a more stable and long lasting cheese product engineered food processing techniques that are still used in the industry today.

Kraft began with only $65, a horse and wagon, and a small business venture purchasing wholesale cheese and reselling it to retail stores who needed reliable deliveries. In 1909 he expanded the business to include several employees and named his enterprise J. L. Kraft & Bros. Co.

In the early days of his business, Kraft began exploring ways to sell a more stable and long-lasting cheese, as the current method of producing cheddar left the finished product with a short shelf-life and tendency to dry out quickly. As Kraft began selling his own cheeses he explored different production methods and pioneered a homogenization process that would allow him to pasteurize his cheese.  He soon won a patent for ‘process cheese’ in 1916 and began developing new packaging methods that enabled him to sell a stable, long lasting cheese in convenient sizes. In WWI and WWII, pre-packaged cheese that could be shipped to supply lines was an important commodity, and Kraft was able to continue innovating after the war to produce products such as KRAFT DELUXE and CHEEZ WHIZ.

Although Kraft died in 1953, his pioneering spirit lives on in today’s food production, as food manufacturers are still perfecting ways to make food safe, stable, and consistent. Processes such as pasteurization have become standard requirements in food processing, but with new capabilities for automated food safety measures like traceability, standards and requirements like FDA21 CFR Part11 can be followed to ensure safe and reliable food. HMI and SCADA software like InduSoft Web Studio can make it easy to comply with such regulations.

InduSoft Web Studio SCADA Software Provides Solutions for FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and Other International Standards

Food safety has always been an important part of the conversation surrounding our food. With a growing number of cases of anti-biotic resistant E-coli and Salmonella on the rise, food manufacturing companies are working harder than ever to provide quality foods. When these safeguards fail, as happened with Chipotle earlier this year in the Pacific Northwest, food manufacturers and vendors rely on software and traceability to perform quick and reliable recalls of their products. Companies with strong traceability measures in place can also avoid potential shutdowns by being able to present their data for audits to government and regulatory agencies. Machinery built with safety in mind can use HMI software to record production data and validate food quality. Building better machines for food processing can help make sure that equipment is sterilized and allergen-free during production.

Stock America and InduSoft Meet Tough Standards in The Food and Beverage Industry

It’s possible to help ensure safe food in multiple integrated systems that can be used together to create safeguards against dangerous production conditions. For example, a bakery in Texas uses InduSoft Web Studio to monitor and control warehouse cold storage temperatures to maintain food products at safe, stable temperatures.

Automating Temperatures to meet Rigorous Food Safety Standards in Texas

Software can even take food manufacturing beyond safety and also help ensure quality. By storing and ensuring that recipes and batches match the exact specifications for the product it’s possible to create consistent products that help companies maintain their own standards for food quality. Here InduSoft was used to automate batch processing:

Automated Batch Process Analysis for the Food and Beverage Industry

Packaging food products brings much stricter requirements than products that aren’t going to be ingested. InduSoft Web Studio has also been used to help package products safely and ensure that overfill and food waste are reduced during production in our Mother Parkers case study.

Want to learn more about using InduSoft Web Studio to create better food and beverage products? You can learn more here.

Food and Beverage with InduSoft Web Studio

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