Precise temperature control in food processing and packaging systems can have great influence over product quality. In addition, tightly controlling temperature can impact energy consumption and process efficiency – which ultimately results in lower cost of operation.            

When packaging foods, temperature control is important for food quality. Today’s flexible packaging rely on heat for sealing. In a package sealing machine, heat platens apply the right temperature and pressure for a specified time, depending on the type of material involved              

A shrink tunnel is another type of packaging machine that needs precise temperature control.                      

For example, heaters have different rise times depending on their wattage. A thermostat doesn’t know the difference between heaters. However, a temperature controller with auto-tuning can calculate and “learn” the rise speed of a particular heater. These systems reach their optimum productive state more quickly and maintain that effectiveness, thus operating most efficiently.                                    

By ramping up temperature faster, processing and packaging machines become more energy efficient due to their ability to eliminate waste heat caused by overshooting.                          

The Zelio® REG temperature controller from Schneider Electric (www.schneider-electric.com) is unique in that it has a proprietary, advanced control algorithm and built-in PID and auto-tuning, giving it highly precise control. Zelio controllers can reach the set point value 33 percent faster than other controllers that do not have combined PID and auto-tuning features.                                    

For use in a variety of intelligent architectures, Zelio controller models are available with integrated Modbus® to interface with PLCs and HMI displays.  For more active control over temperature in older equipment, Zelio controllers can be retrofitted to replace static thermostats. Such an upgrade can allow companies to take full advantage of existing equipment by adding capabilities rather than investing in all new equipment.                        

Precise temperature control helps food companies consistently process and package safe, high-quality products that stimulate brand preference among consumers. In addition, temperature controllers improve operational costs by reducing energy consumption and optimizing processes.