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The Future of Manufacturing in the Food & Beverage Industry

September 5, 2019

The Future of Manufacturing in the Food & Beverage Industry  

We are currently in the middle of a substantial transformation regarding the way we produce products. Smart manufacturing is beginning to have a major impact on the food and beverage industry, and manufactures must adapt to this fourth industrial revolution in order to benefit from it.

Simply put, smart manufacturing is the technology-driven approach that uses Internet-connected machinery to monitor the production process. This major transition is also referred to as Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth revolution that has occurred in manufacturing. It will take the adoption of computers and automation from the third revolution and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems that are driven by data and machine learning. This fourth revolution is mainly due to increasing automation, digital transformation, evolving industrial and manufacturing technologies, the integration of information technology and operational technology (IT and OT), andthe intensive usage of data and analytics.

Smart manufacturing has the potential to drastically change the way food and beverage companies perform day-to-day operations. It connects all aspects of manufacturing and reports on its activities throughout the supply chain and can help companies to optimize their business processes to a level that could previously only be imagined.

Here are just a few ways Smart Manufacturing can impact food and beverage manufacturers:

  • Efficient manufacturing and use of ingredients: In a smart factory, information flows rapidly and effortlessly, providing workers insights that allow for better decisions about production, inventory, and scheduling. This helps the facility share data, collaborate, and problem-solve.
  • Less waste: Optimization tools, precision scheduling, and analytics allow companies to reduce food and ingredient waste, maximize capacity and uptime, and reduce remakes.
  • Internet of Things and the cloud: A key component of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things, a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network.
  • Food safety: With improved tracking and monitoring, food manufacturers can precisely track and trace ingredients and products throughout the supply chain. This allows for companies to remain in compliance, provide detailed reports, and prepare for inspections. This functionality lets companies respond promptly and with more accuracy in the event of a recall.
  • Smart Factories and Smart Manufacturing Units: These fully integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems can adapt to supplier and customer needs in real time, which leads to more accurate production and safe and compliant operations.
  • Robots: Robotics are now more affordable and available to organizations of every size. Autonomous robots can quickly and safely support manufacturers. They also reduce costs and allow better use of floor space.
  • Process improvement: Smart factories produce massive amounts of data that can provide powerful insights that can allow companies to consider changes to processes throughout the sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution processes when analyzed and reported on.
    • Helps internal operations, and through the use of the cloud environment where data is stored, equipment and operations can be optimized by leveraging the insights of others using the same equipment allows for the various machines, devices, and sensors to communicate effectively with one another
    • It can create a highly-connected, knowledge-enabled enterprise that boosts a company’s business and operating activities across the board, leading to optimized productivity, sustainability, and economic performance.

 

Some ways to start adapting to Industry 4.0:

  • Experiment and run proof-of-concept to understand what outcomes you want and what kinds of technologies you should test as you will not know which solutions will improve your processes until you research and experiment.
  • Begin to set a foundation that can interconnect operations and the supply chain.
  • Look into IT infrastructure management and power-efficient products to learn about building a smart building. If overall equipment effectiveness is your priority, then consider technologies that will increase performance and decrease downtime.
  • Installing an IT/OT infrastructure can reduce technical and business risks by providing solutions that are readily maintainable by plant operations and maintenance personnel.
    • Easiest path to address both existing application needs and achieving digital transformation advantages.
    • Enables a very reliable integration of equipment and system information for end-to-end production visibility and traceability, as well as automated data collection for efficiency and analysis.
    • Essential to help food & beverage companies address their manufacturing challenges and make a positive impact to their productivity and profitability.
    • Begin moving to a digital, open platform and use proven practices, as well as partnering with experts that have deep industry knowledge.
    • Start to embrace new digital technologies to address process improvements and any production expansion opportunities.

 

While Industry 4.0 is still developing and the food and beverage industry may not be completely ready to embrace this transition, manufacturing trends are moving in that direction and will continue to do so. This influence is already on its way to changing jobs, so manufacturers should decide if they should begin investing in new technology and personnel or if waiting is the more sensible choice. The future is here, and everyone in the food and beverage industry needs to be ready for it in order to thrive in this new industrial revolution.