The cost of maintenance is a common pain point amongst food and beverage manufacturers, and for manufacturers in the process industries at large.

Partial digitization has enabled manufacturers to marginally improve operations, but many factories and plants are still battling with costly maintenance and unsatisfactory OEE levels, often below 65%.

With the advent of Industry 4.0, food and beverage manufacturers now have the opportunity to make continuous improvements to maintenance activities that affect the bottom line.

The missing part of the puzzle:

Strategy.

The elements of an industrial IoT system – sensors, gateway devices, edge and cloud computing, connectivity protocols – are all implemented to gather and organize data.

By applying machine learning algorithms to this data, manufacturers can gain new and tangible operational efficiencies, but this requires planning and the allocation of resources.

Enter Asset Performance Management.

What is Asset Performance Management?

The term “Asset Performance Management” (APM) refers to a strategic approach that employs dedicated software applications and tools to improve the availability and performance of physical manufacturing assets.

Assets may include equipment, production machines, and factory infrastructure systems.

APM has a number of benefits:

  • Reduction in unplanned downtime
  • Increase in the availability of critical assets
  • Cuts in maintenance costs
  • Improvements in maintenance efficiency
  • Reduced environmental, health and safety (EH&S) risks

APM and Food & Beverages – A Perfect Match?

The last item in the list of benefits above is especially important in the food and beverage manufacturing sector. APM can help companies operate in compliance with ever-changing government EH&S regulations.

When machines run efficiently, waste is reduced, and safety conditions are improved as a natural byproduct.

With the predictive analytics capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies, operators, technicians and managers are notified of imminent component, machine, or process failures well in advance.

This allows for proactive maintenance – repairs can be planned, resulting in better use of human resources and equipment. Inventory is better managed avoiding unnecessary and expensive emergency purchasing of spare parts.

Most importantly, if downtime is unavoidable, it’s scheduled so that disruptions are minimal.

APM in Food Manufacturing

Many factories and plants have avoided tackling maintenance efficiency head on. This is partly due to a somewhat conservative mindset that “accidents happen” and that preventive maintenance is good enough.

The truth is that reactive and scheduled maintenance is extremely costly, especially when it results in unplanned downtime. According to a T.A. Cook report on maintenance efficiency, 45% of maintenance activity is of no value at all.

By introducing Asset Performance Management as a consolidated strategy, food and beverage companies have the chance to leverage IIoT technologies to stay competitive and improve quality.