The food and beverage industry is complex and rapidly evolving. Markets and tastes are changing.
Consumers are more connected, informed
and outspoken. And competition is
everywhere — from store brands and
online food providers to an ever-growing
number of specialty product makers.
In this new reality, food and beverage
producers need operations — and
a workforce — that can keep up.
Fortunately, smart manufacturing can help
them do just that.
Smart manufacturing is connected,
information-enabled manufacturing. It
capitalizes on the latest technologies to
redefine food and beverage operations.
With the ever-growing number of
Internet of Things (Io T) devices, producers
can now access data that has long been
hidden within machines, processes
and supply chains. For example, mobile
devices allow users to access reports and
dashboards to identify production issues
and collaborate on solutions. And data
analytics can help manage a company’s
massive amount of data and contextualize
it into actionable information.
Furthermore, when deployed on
a secure, EtherNet/IP™, network
infrastructure, previously disparate
processes can be easily connected to
truly enable smart manufacturing. With a
single view of operations and seamless
communications across people, data and
assets, food and beverage producers
can improve real-time collaboration,
continuously optimize processes and be
responsive to consumers’ needs.
While virtually any aspect of a food and
beverage manufacturing operation can
be improved with smart manufacturing,
focusing on areas that improve
productivity and efficiencies are priority. In
particular, smart manufacturing can help:
• Improve asset utilization
• Increase yield
• Drive workforce productivity
• Optimize resource management
• Mitigate security risks
Improve Asset Utilization
Food and beverage producers can
use smart machines and devices with
embedded intelligence to harness the
power of their own data in new and better
ways. Of course, data only offers value if
it’s organized and contextualized. That’s
why enterprise manufacturing intelligence
(EMI) software is vital.
EMI software integrates all data into
a single information management and
decision support system. Data-rich
dashboards inform operators how a
machine or a line is performing so they
can spot issues and make adjustments
in real time. Notifications alert workers if
parameters, such as an oven temperature,
exceed preset limits.
A modern distributed control system
(DCS) can integrate all automation
processes into one plantwide system.
DCS features — such as model predictive
control (MPC), alarm management
and batch management — can help
improve plant efficiencies and operational
performance. Virtualized servers
and workstations can help reduce IT
investments, improve uptime and extend
Smart manufacturing allows food
and beverage producers to monitor key
production areas and follow the flow of
ingredients to better track yield throughout
the entire manufacturing process.
A modern manufacturing execution
system (MES) is a key ingredient to
achieving this. It replaces outdated, paper-
based work instructions and manual data
collections with automated workflows
and data collection. This can deliver
better batch control, as well as deeper,
more immediate visibility into areas like
materials usage and production line
can use this
process control strategies — and
specifically MPC technology — also
can help food and beverage companies
get more from their operations. MPC
continuously monitors multiple parameters
to help maximize equipment performance
and improve the management of complex
One food company used MPC in its
powdered milk processing operations to
reduce moisture variability levels in its
dryers by an average of 52 percent. This
helped increase yield by an average of one
ton per day.
Drive Workforce Productivity
Smart manufacturing also is helping
companies improve labor utilization. It
can deliver real-time, contextualized
data to help ensure workers receive the
information that is most relevant to them.
This “frictionless” productivity can make
operations more responsive to workflow
needs and reduce time-to-market.
At the same time, smart manufacturing
also can help food and beverage companies
address productivity in new ways.
For instance, many companies don’t
see worker safety as an opportunity
for improving productivity. But safety
systems that are integrated with
machinery control systems are not as
prone to nuisance shutdowns as older
hardwired systems, which can help reduce
downtime. Additionally, collected data
on safety incidents can be used to make
adjustments in areas where safety-related
shutdowns are occurring.
Better Data Feeds Productivity
How smart manufacturing can help improve productivity,
yield and efficiencies in food and beverage operations
By John Dart, Senior CPG Industry Consultant, Rockwell Automation