With the constant influx of new flavors, new ingredients, new sizes, and new shapes, the food and beverage industry is constantly adapting. From changing consumer trends to sourcing and supply chain disruptions, the demand for flexibility is real. Navigating demand fluctuations and ever-changing products are not the only priorities for food manufacturers today, however—consistency and quality are also top of mind. Without these key areas, profitability can plummet.
From the onset of product ideation, food manufacturing teams must plan how to implement any new equipment and new lines needed and modify existing production to accommodate them. As with any implementation or modification, risks can arise—specifically, risks in reduced quality, reduced output, and breakdowns in safety. In a pivotal industry with a small margin for error, food producers must employ new ways to maximize their yield without risking their operations.
Reactive to Proactive
If you are implementing a new system or process at your facility and are waiting for physical testing to determine equipment readiness or discover errors, you are already too late. When design and controls meet for the first time, rework is almost inevitable. Working backward to replicate, repair, and retest results is lost time and money. Unlike some fortunate industries, the food and beverage sector must also navigate the challenge of working with time-sensitive ingredients. From the moment an error is discovered, the race is on to diagnose and repair before you encounter major product loss and break promises to your customer.
Designing and commissioning new machinery or processes entails a significant investment. Manufacturers must think proactively and leverage technology to help protect their investment. What if there was a way to virtually commission new machines, new lines, or new automation technology for faster time to market, or a way to identify potential breakdowns or inefficiencies before they occur? There is, and the answer lies in emulation.
The consumer packaged goods industry, from food production to goods manufacturing to fulfilment, is realizing substantial savings by using emulation software to optimize configurations based on digitally recreated environments that account for business needs. With advancements in visualization and training, emulation is even easier to employ and can quickly become a competitive advantage.
Specifically, emulation software can help you:
- Dive deeper with digital twins: Create a virtual model of your equipment and system to simulate your manufacturing environment for scenario testing;
- Model integrations: Predict and solve complex integration challenges before they occur;
- Demonstrate value early on: Reduce the need for physical demonstrations and the risks associated with them by performing virtual testing; and
- Build quickly: Access a resource library of standard equipment to help design a digital twin of your operations.
Risk Reduction Using Emulation
Changes in the food and beverage industry are pushing manufacturers to employ new technology and rapidly adapt automation. Each change to your operations, whether you are introducing a new product or updating outdated machinery, opens the door to additional training requirements, unexpected downtime, and/or safety breakdowns. While embracing new technology and innovation can be an overwhelming undertaking, using emulation software can support deployments and help reduce risks associated with them.
Additionally, quality and output are highly dependent on one another and are equally vital to producers. Without visibility into machine behavior, when a line changeover is needed, questions start to surface, such as:
- “Will changing the product size require new equipment?”
- “How can we ensure that the new packaging process will be successful?”
- “What impact will adding a new product to the mix have on system throughput?”
With strategic planning and the right technology, these questions can be answered before existing operations are disturbed. Simulating changeovers allows you to test and validate in a virtual space before making any adjustments. Additional efficiencies and speed can be realized by using an emulation software’s resource library to build your virtual factory floor and tailor the simulation to your unique operations. The insight gained from employing emulation helps maximize output while meeting stringent quality expectations.