Effective Asset Monitoring Gives Food Manufacturers an Edge

Food and beverage manufacturing is a complex industry that depends upon sophisticated equipment to bring safe, consumable products to store shelves in a timely fashion, so any maintenance issues that result in unscheduled downtime can be catastrophic for food processors. We’re not being dramatic: statistics show that unscheduled downtime can cost food and beverage processors as much as $23,600 per hour with most facilities experiencing about 25 hours of unplanned downtime each month, costing about $35 billion per year, or the equivalent of 1% of revenue, across the entire industry. In addition to the high cost of unplanned downtime, equipment failures can knock food and beverage manufacturers out of compliance with government regulations pertaining to processing conditions and may also present serious contamination issues.

For these reasons, effective management and maintenance of facility assets and equipment is crucial to turning a profit and avoiding disaster in this dynamic industry. This blog will address the special needs of the food and beverage processing industry and the ways in which an effective asset monitoring solution can help food and beverage manufacturers overcome common challenges, keep production outages to a minimum and gain an edge over the competition.

electric actuators aid in food production

Food Industry Challenges

Food and beverage processors are faced with many of the same challenges as other manufacturing sectors, including mounting pressure to control costs and the need to increase efficiency and throughput; however, because products made in this industry are intended for consumption, food manufacturers must acknowledge additional burdens in their everyday operations, such as:

  • Regulatory Compliance: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely regulates the way in which food and beverage products are manufactured, packaged and labeled in an effort to ensure that only safe, contamination-free products reach consumers. Equipment used for food and beverage processing and the areas within the facility where food is produced must pass inspections in order to ensure compliance with these regulations.
  • Maintaining Contamination-Free Environments: In addition to meeting FDA regulations, equipment and facilities must be kept clean and sterile to avoid compromising the safety and integrity of products meant for ingestion. Malfunctioning, leaking or faulty equipment can present opportunities for contamination or cross-contamination of food items, which can lead to costly and reputation-damaging recalls. Any maintenance issues should be addressed without haste to avoid issues that can impair food safety.
  • Avoiding Food Waste: While all manufacturers want to minimize waste to help control costs, the stakes are higher for producers of food and beverages because food waste is a significant concern due to the current focus on sustainability. Ensuring processing equipment is in working order can help food and beverage manufacturers reduce food waste caused by equipment snafus that result in ruined batches and production outages that result in production delays that may cause ingredients to spoil.

Asset Monitoring for Food Manufacturers

Asset monitoring is the real-time observation of the performance of key plant assets in an effort to reduce downtime, increase throughput and maximize asset usage. It entails collecting and analyzing data from connected sensors placed on critical production equipment. The sensors monitor equipment and production variables such as vibration, differential pressure, pressure dew point, detection of harmful gasses, temperature, tank level and other specs and present collected data in an understandable, actionable format so that users can make informed decisions regarding the health of essential equipment, helping to prevent equipment performance issues and unscheduled downtime.

While asset monitoring can be a labor-intensive endeavor when performed manually or a complicated one when relying on Internet of Things (IoT)-based devices that necessitate complex coding and programming, a new solution, the Asset Monitoring Gateway (AMG) with SNAP ID from Banner Engineering, simplifies the process, making performance data easily and instantly accessible.

Provided by Sensors Incorporated, A Tavoron Company, the AMG solution features a user-friendly gateway that automatically recognizes up to 20 compatible wired sensors that simply plug into the gateway and begin monitoring equipment immediately. The AMG with SNAP ID offers an onboard touchscreen display that allows users to commission the sensors, as well as an onboard status indicator that shows the status of each connected asset at a glance. The system can also be linked to Banner’s Cloud Data Services using Ethernet or cellular connectivity and dashboards can be auto-generated or customized with drag-and-drop widgets.

The information gathered by the asset monitoring solution allows food and beverage manufacturers to quickly and easily track equipment performance so they may make informed decisions about upcoming maintenance needs that, if not addressed, might negatively affect productivity, cleanliness, regulatory compliance and asset utilization.

Specifically, the Asset Monitoring Gateway with SNAP ID from Banner Engineering can help food and beverage manufacturers:

Optimize Asset Utilization

In order to avoid supply chain interruptions or delays in getting product to consumers, food and beverage manufacturers can use the asset monitoring solution to examine asset usage trends, such as availability and productivity, that can help them better plan production schedules to meet demand for products. Further, food and beverage processors can study trends to see if there are recurring issues with quality, compliance or waste so they can find the root cause of the problem and make improvements that will help them avoid fines and waste in the future.

Avoid Unwanted Downtime

With real-time access to critical performance specifications, any upcoming issues that may impact productivity, compliance or sanitary conditions can be detected early enough to schedule preventive maintenance before downtime occurs or before they result in non-compliance, contamination or food waste, saving food and beverage manufacturers the costs associated with equipment failure, lost production, non-compliance and recalls.

Make Proactive Decisions

The ability to continuously gather real-time data on equipment health allows food and beverage processors to detect performance issues related to abnormal vibrations, out-of-range temperatures or other specifications so that users get a “heads up” about potential maintenance or production issues that could impair productivity or interfere with compliance or sanitary conditions. Operators and maintenance technicians can make proactive decisions that prevent costly outages, wasted or spoiled products and/or contamination.

In today’s food and beverage manufacturing industry, optimizing equipment usage to achieve the highest levels of throughput; preventing unscheduled downtime; avoiding regulatory non compliance; inhibiting opportunities for contamination and recalls; and circumventing supply chain delays are imperative to staying ahead of the competition. To find out how the Asset Monitoring Gateway with SNAP ID from Banner Engineering can save your food and beverage operation tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs, please contact Sensors Incorporated, A Tavoron Company.