Digital future for food and beverage industry

Food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers face a wide variety of challenges in today’s demanding consumer climate, including changes in consumer demands, product traceability, operations visibility and strict regulatory compliance related to food safety.

Adopting a digital transformation strategy for operations enables F&B companies to meet these business challenges. Schneider Electric South Africa, the global specialist in energy management and automation, offers a number of digital toolsets to address these challenges to transform manufacturing operations, improve profitability and yield and increase flexibility.

‘Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solutions are increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the industry, allowing users to seize new market and profit opportunities, thanks to zero waste and 100 per cent traceable production. The platform improves production through effective monitoring and control systems, while making provisions for the company’s future expansion,’ says Marc Ramsay, Schneider Electric VP for Industry Business.

One of the best starting points for a holistic digital transformation is performance monitoring, specifically monitoring for performance KPIs such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

‘Without rigorous measurement of performance and losses, continuous improvement is impossible. OEE monitoring empowers operators with real-time visibility into equipment performance and, with real-time OEE visibility at the equipment, line or facility level, employees can quickly diagnose issues and deliver potential solutions.’

In an increasingly competitive environment, product safety and quality during the production process are just as critical, and product contamination is a worst-case scenario for any F&B manufacturer. Schneider Electric offers comprehensive automation solutions, from device to ERP integration, process and machine management, and small site to multi-site management, striving for zero waste, while increasing safety and flexibility on the plant floor.

In addition, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure includes smart power management solutions, fit for a flexible environment, delivering reliable, safe and green power for sustainable and efficient F&B operations.

‘Energy is one of the highest operating expenses in most manufacturing plants and the adoption of an effective energy management system is an imperative for improved profitability and sustainability.

‘Plants are modified to add processing lines or increase capacity. In this context, and with limited local resources, maintaining power availability and safety is a central challenge. There is a need to improve safety, availability and flexibility of power during the whole plant lifecycle, keeping power safe, available and green,’ concludes Ramsay.