Milk is the most consumed food item in the Indian households. The Indian dairy sector has witnessed so many changes in the recent years manual operations are now replaced by large machines with better functioning resulting in efficiency and increased productivity. However, dairy industry is the least mechanized industry compared to other sectors of agriculture due to being perceived as a secondary occupation of farmers. Today dairy has become main source of bread and butter of millions of rural populations.
The Indian dairy industry has benefited greatly in recent years from technology-driven products, facilities and solutions. The role of technology in the dairy industry has grown from automated/mechanized milk collection and testing the composition at the village level to real-time milk procurement, assessment of total milk quality parameters, automatic dairy plant operation and so on.
The benefits of automation on the dairy farm are; improved profitability, animal health, lifestyle and milk quality. Automation saves time, but it can also provide information that will enable dairy farmers to be proactive rather than reactive, especially in terms of nutrition, reproduction and animal health.
How automation revolutionizes dairy industry manufacturing:
1. Better Farm Management
A dairy farm must ensure that all of its activities are running smoothly. Technology has made it very simple for a farmer to keep track of large herd size using an app-based system that can operate on mobile-phones. Farmers can track the herd record, performance of cows, managing the breeding cycle, lactation cycle and vaccination schedule and can generate alerts as well using RFID-based chips and other programs. These programs will automate and digitize a dairy farm’s end-to-end operations. Robotic milking machines and herd tracking drones are being used to control vast dairy farms in developed countries.
2. Improved Production Capacity and better control
Automation within the dairy industry manufacturing creates robotic systems that can work at a constant rate, 24 hours a day, unlike human labor. Introduction of new product lines without necessarily affecting on-going operations can help increase capacity within the plant. Integrated systems such as the Manufacturing Execution System can help dairy farms and plants to have precise control over their production processes. The information management systems generate automated reports of the production data for effective planning and optimization of plant processes.
4. Consistent Product Quality
Automated manufacturing plant can operate for long durations with less variability, resulting in consistency in the products processed that helps standardize all products leaving the plant. Controllers allow plant managers to fine-tune the production unit with defined workflows and timelines.
5. Food Safety
Automation of dairy farm reduces the need for human control, which eliminates the chances of human error during the production process. Automated processes such as controlled cleaning within the production lines prevent contamination through unwanted mixing of products. Milk freshness, purity, microbial load, adulterants and shelf-life can now calculates using technologies-based apps and programs.
6. Product Traceability
Automation of production lines allows for effective tracking of products. Farmers can create an inventory tracking that begins at the reception area of the raw materials, through the production systems and batch tracking of the finished products. It helps in easier tracing and investigation of defective products that may end up on the shelves. Dairy producer using technology to show farmers how the milk is being processed and used. Consumer may also use the technology, such as QR code to track how their product was collected, packaged, shipped and then stored.
7. Monitoring Supply Chain System
Technology plays an important role in ensuring timely distribution, cold chain maintenance and control over inventory. Milk is highly perishable product that needs to get to its customers in the best possible condition as soon as possible. GPS driven Supply Chain Network technology stop theft of goods and fuel and increase saving. Usage of this technology in procurement and delivery vehicles reduce unauthorized usage of vehicles and increase the accountability of drivers and employees.
Automation in dairy industry manufacturing helps businesses adopt effective practices that improve production control while increasing its capacity. It can also help to minimize errors on the production floor as well as support production consistency.