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Food Manufacturing

The food industry is one of the biggest and most diverse businesses in the world. It supplies most of the food which is consumed by the growing population. The food manufacturing industry faces several challenges compared to most industries. These challenges include strict regulations to follow, like complying with standards that are set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency and balancing the standards from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the US Department of Agriculture. Many challenging jobs in this industry are alleviated by the IoT through machines, digital analytics, and smart electronics.

Machines that are used in the food manufacturing industry are highly complex and often need specialized training to diagnose problems for each piece of equipment. For instance, one machine may have programmable internal logic while another might be hardwired. Quality control is the key when it comes to food production.  It helps to make sure that the food is safe for consumption, QC (Quality Control) issues such as making sure it has the right flavor, the right packaging, and so forth. Along with the time, consumers are demanding increased food flexibility while maintaining high productivity.

As the food revolution has begun, food companies needed to utilize digital tools including the IoT (Internet of Things) to make monotonous tasks more manageable. Using the IoT, digital food and beverage companies tap into data from various sources and use analytics to achieve a consumer perspective. For example, a company could release a survey where people could share their opinions, or even allow people to comment on their social media pages. Instead of asking person-to-person, they can ask many people at once. Using the feedback, they reformulate the recipes to respond to trends. They leverage plant automation to take advantage of changing preferences.

Food manufacturing companies are turning to digitization to achieve higher productivity. They reduce the downtime by observing equipment health and servicing equipment before it fails using the industrial IoT and by routine maintenance. They utilize the IoT and analytics to diagnose performance to identify improvement opportunities. They apply the digital twin of their plant to simulate and validate the influence of changing equipment. They quickly arrange new recipes, packaging, and equipment using a virtual commission. Finally, they execute the digital idea into production.