• In food and beverage processing, quality is primarily about food safety, which is non-negotiable. Asset performance is key for food and beverage processors to reliably produce safe food at the lowest cost.
    In food and beverage processing, quality is primarily about food safety, which is non-negotiable. Asset performance is key for food and beverage processors to reliably produce safe food at the lowest cost.
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Asset performance is key for food and beverage processors to reliably produce safe food at the lowest cost. This goes beyond only having the equipment available. It’s about ensuring that Asset performance is one of three variables used to calculate the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) - the other two variables are availability and quality. In food and beverage processing, quality is primarily about food safety, which is non-negotiable.

Food recalls have been increasing in Australia. According to statistics from the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), between 2011 and 2020 there were 763 recalls coordinated with 109 recalls in 2020 alone. The FSANZ data also shows that the 10-year average of recalls has increased from 71 to 76 recalls per year.

An estimate by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute from the United States pegs the average cost for a food recall to $10 million (AU$16 million). The associated brand damage can also be immense.

Most food recalls in Australia between 2011 and 2020, were due to undeclared allergens, microbial contamination, and chemical contaminants. The FSANZ report highlights that 103 recalls during the nine-year period were due to the presence of foreign matter in food.

The most common types of foreign matter reported were:

  • metal (37 recalls; 36%);
  • plastic (33 recalls; 32%); and
  • glass (21 recalls; 20%). 

Cross- contamination, pathogens, and faulty labelling are other possible reasons why food and beverage manufacturers must recall products.

It is crucial to recognise that the state of equipment and the behaviour of workers have a big impact on food safety. Eliminating food safety risks and risks to workers are the primary responsibilities of any food processing company.

Helping food and beverage processors address challenges

Enterprise asset management strategy must evolve to improve food safety. Regardless of size or industry, asset-intensive organisations are always looking to do more with less. For a food and beverage manufacturer that means finding ways to extend asset life to minimise costs, improve food and worker safety and reduce waste, while performing the right maintenance on the right equipment at the right moment to avoid downtime. State-of-the-art technologies make it possible to achieve this by:

1. Deployment of Internet of Things

IoT sensors on conveyor systems that monitor temperatures and vibrations can trigger timely condition-based replacements. Body temperature monitoring combined with facial recognition can also help prevent ill people from working with food products.

2. Using the power of Data Analytics

A modern maintenance organisation is built on asset data—a large amount of data that needs to be maintained, analysed and made readily available. By collecting and analysing asset data, food producers can predict when an asset will fail and why. This information enables preventive maintenance schedules that prevent costly failure and downtime.

3. Enhancing asset productivity

Data analytics can also be used optimise the efficiency and productivity of assets, meet compliance obligations and maximise asset uptime and lifecycle. This saves costs, makes budget forecasting easier and more accurate, reduces food and worker safety issues, and aligns with strategic goals. More productive assets enable better sustainability – a key aim for most organisations these days.

Infor ANZ managing director Jarrod Kinchington has more than 20 years experience working with business and IT stakeholders in telecoms, utilities, financial services and public sector.

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