Does Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), sound scary to you? It needn't be.
You're undoubtedly doing a little IIoT already if you are accessing anything relating to your plant operations through an internet connection. If the pandemic taught us all anything, it's that some things are best done remotely.
Industry 4.0 right now is about as intimidating to food and beverage processors as that first personal computer was to office workers of the 1980s. But would you turn back the clock and give up your PC?
From automakers to energy producers, the IIoT is delivering unprecedented levels of productivity, efficiency and quality to the manufacturing sector. While the food and beverage industry may be lagging a bit, perhaps no other industry category could benefit more from Industry 4.0.
We're not just talking about the potential for plant-floor productivity, but business improvements up and down the enterprise … and beyond it, to regulators, third-party inspectors and even to consumers, who are increasingly looking for more information about the foods they buy. What are the ingredients? Are any genetically engineered? What farm did the meat come from? What's your company doing for sustainability?
A label can only hold so much information; the internet is limitless.
Industry 4.0's potential for the food and beverage industry is huge, but it shouldn't be intimidating. You needn't try to do it all in one shot. A few steps into the Industrial Internet of Things can painlessly yield improvements in machine performance, and you can use those as the foundation for your next steps.
Start with maintenance. Start with the data from all those sensors embedded in your machines. By digitizing that data, you become more proactive and register a lot of information that can be used to better organize your maintenance and cleaning activities in the factory. Recording failures and data from IIoT sensors helps technicians and operators at food processing plants minimize catastrophic breakdowns that could result in recalls, fines or workplace safety issues. I.e., saving you money and improving food safety.
Where you go from there is up to you, but Maintenance 4.0 is a great start – a relatively simple, high-reward effort that can get your toe in the water of Industry 4.0 and ensure your company's viability for whatever the future holds.
[Special Report] How a Little Industry 4.0 Can Increase Asset Performance and Food Safety
Read this report to learn how a connected strategy can help food and beverage processors reduce maintenance costs while improving quality, safety and sustainability. Get your copy