Comprehensive solutions that directly address food and beverage production efficiency include methodologies that manufacture without new investment. The food and beverage manufacturing industry is under steadily growing pressure. Once an investment is in place and as long as there is demand for the products, companies must produce as much as possible with existing production facilities while keeping costs as low as possible.
Explore this issueDecember/January 2011
Automation is directly connected to this dynamic situation and must deliver increasingly agile and open solutions. Industrial software represents the core of the systems dedicated to increasing production effectiveness.
Equipment performance systems are becoming increasingly innovative in delivering overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), with significant benefits for food and beverage producers. A production efficiency solution must provide an improvement method for all industry participants—whether end users, integrators, or machine builders, whether isolated machines or integrated lines.
In the food industry, labor usage is quite extensive and, therefore, costs are high. Monitoring machines help streamline labor efficiency, enabling the overall process to be more productive and reducing labor costs.
Extracting OEE Data
“Few OEE solutions allow for a universal machine interface allowing a connection to any machine,” said John Rattray, Memex Automation. “In the food industry, any machine with a basic electrical signal can be made to extract OEE data. Information such as run time, cycle time, and part counts … all are very valuable in streamlining the manufacturing process. Making this information available in real time for quick response or historical reporting for lean initiatives is exceptionally helpful.”
Solutions that deliver value and require configuration rather than programming are best; insight into the application of software techniques to produce advantages for operations, quality, maintenance, and regulatory compliance illustrate many ways of getting more from existing investments by monitoring their effective use and OEE.
Food quality assurance managers are instructed to prevent problems, and they require a real-time performance OEE dashboard to view the plant. These data must capture metrics from each machine, as well as run time, down time, cycle time, and production rate. Other data needed include production, scrap counts, and process time (dwell, duration, inject, form, fill).
A production efficiency solution must provide an improvement method for all industry participants—whether end users, integrators, or machine builders, whether isolated machines or integrated lines.
When main machines are connected to the corporate networks in the food industry, they can offer a lot of information, including OEE. “The biggest issue facing the food industry with respect to machines is that the vast majority of machines are not connected and, therefore, provide very little information to the corporate network for analysis and automation,” said Rattray.