Are Labor Shortages Driving Your Automation Needs?

A recent article, “It’s About Labor”, published in Food Engineering magazine,
processors were interviewed about the ongoing difficulties finding and retaining workers,
even beyond the post pandemic labor levels. Mepaco®’s
customers, too, have been driving automation conversations, so we are developing resources
to share our application expertise with solutions that are semi- or fully

Some applications lead food
manufacturers to consider equipment that allows for versatile functions to reduce labor and
manual processes that can either be locally controlled or fully automated. 



ThermaBlend® Cooker is a highly efficient cooking/blending
solution with a substantial heat transfer area featuring highly efficient agitators and a
patented scraper system that proves fast processing times. The ThermaBlend® Cooker is
engineered for specific customer goals and is capable of cooking, searing, caramelizing,
chilling, sautéing, and blending. Mixers, cookers, and blenders are highly engineered and
highly controlled systems for large-scale batch operations up to 1000-gallon

In one
example, Mepaco’s customer, a chicken processor, used manual processes for tenderizing,
cooking, and shredding. The labor was nearly eliminated with the introduction of the
ThermaBlend® which combined five processes to temper the meat, massage,
tenderize, cook, shred and blend with thickening sauce.

Mixer-Blenders and
Buffering Mixers
: Product Temperature

equipment can be modified for the needs of the application to include direct or in-direct
steam options. Cooling jackets, insulation/cladding, or injection systems
2 or
2) also
add versatility to mixing and blending

Mepaco has engineered buffering mixers to streamline operations. In one application, Mepaco
engineered heated buffering mixers which kept the particulates in various densities in
suspension until downstream operation signaled for more product.  In this example, the
buffering mixers solve for automation, and maintain the integrity of the product. 


Systems:  Versatile loading while maintaining product

Another application specific
solution, screw Conveyors are among the most modifiable equipment solutions to suit the
processing layout and versatile loading positions in an automated line.  Screw conveyors can
have automatic loading based on product weight or downstream signals, as well as automated
pivoting between equipment. 

learn more about automation, or upgrades to controls packages, discuss your application and
goals with Mepaco.