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Smart Maintenance Produces Food

Sustainability in the food and beverage industry has long since ceased to be a trend. Instead, it is a strong driver of quality and innovation, and thus also an important factor for greater added value and competitiveness. But where does sustainability start? With the intelligent maintenance of machines and systems, for example.

When you think of “sustainability” in the food & beverage sector, the increasing production of plant-based food, recycled packaging or packaging-free concepts as well as organically or regionally grown food certainly come to mind. Behind this is a large and fast-growing industry juggling new raw materials, ethical standards and technical possibilities. The goal: highly flexible, efficient production of food and beverages of consistently high quality with short delivery times – that is the day-to-day business of the F&B industry.

A different view of sustainability

The challenges here are great because even the smallest defects or irregularities in the process can cause major damage. Be it through faulty packaging, in the case of which customers refuse to buy for visual reasons, or far worse, through contamination of the products. And the unplanned downtime of a plant can also cause enormous economic damage to the well-timed food industry. This is why the maintenance of plant and equipment plays a central role. And this is where sustainability begins because maintenance per se helps to ensure that machines and systems are in operation for as long as possible. This is also a simple calculation from an economic point of view. On the other hand, there are fixed service intervals within which systems are shut down and components are replaced – whether necessary or not. Therefore, it is above all intelligent, needs-based maintenance that can contribute to greater sustainability in food production.

Quality is everything

However, a modern maintenance strategy poses challenges for companies. This is another reason why the trend shows that more and more producers outsource maintenance activities in order to focus on their core business and to increase the actual, then lean, production. Leadec offers, among other things, machinery and equipment maintenance in the food sector. Therefore, we know that the same strict principles apply to the service provider as to the producer itself: Quality is everything. In order to strictly adhere to the quality requirements for every batch produced, the processes are clearly defined and parameterized. Leadec, too, must meet all the parameters of the Supplier Qualification Index for its F&B customers and adjust them daily through continuous improvement measures and programs. This involves issues of delivery predictability, reports of non-conformity with error analysis, analysis of the risk of contamination and traceability of orders and items. This is done primarily digitally.

Digitalization between chocolate and soft drinks

Food production is permeated with data that must be documented in a legally compliant manner. This applies to the entire supply chain with the raw materials used, the actual production and related services. And maintenance, with its own processes and data, is a very important part of this ecosystem. Leadec uses the Leadec.os platform for this purpose, an end-to-end solution which digitizes all service processes across systems and thus creates maximum transparency regarding service planning and provision. Customers can thus view and control all relevant service processes related to production digitally – and use the data obtained intelligently. For intelligent maintenance, for example, this means in concrete terms that sensor data is evaluated in real time to achieve preventive maintenance that prevents imminent machine failure. The IoT-enabled solution creates a decision-making basis on which the food industry and the service provider can jointly design processes to be even more efficient, of better quality and more flexible. Just as the extremely dynamic food industry and demanding consumers require.

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