How to Sweat Your Industrial Assets in the Food and Beverage Industry

How to Sweat Your Industrial Assets in the Food and Beverage Industry

In the highly competitive world of the food and beverage industry, manufacturers often find themselves balancing the need to limit capital investment while maximizing the use of existing assets, a practice known as “sweating the assets“. This approach, though financially sensible, often leads to increased energy usage and CO2 emissions.

Many plants, focused on cost-efficiency, inadvertently become significant energy consumers and CO2 emitters, leading to environmental impact and inefficiency. The industry faces the complex task of optimizing asset performance and profitability, along with reducing its energy footprint.

This post will navigate these challenges, exploring strategies to enhance asset utilization and productivity, while considering energy efficiency and CO2 reduction. We aim for a balanced approach, focusing not just on competitive advantage but also on responsibility and sustainability. By leveraging the latest technologies and methodologies, you will learn to assess, implement, monitor, and evaluate initiatives that improve asset efficiency while also contributing to reducing energy usage and CO2 emissions.

Assessing the Current State of Your Assets and Identifying Opportunities for Improvement

Before you can start sweating your industrial assets in the food and beverage industry, you need to have a clear picture of the current state of your assets and the potential areas for improvement. This is where an asset audit comes in handy.

An asset audit is a systematic and comprehensive assessment of the condition, capacity, and performance of your industrial assets. It helps you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your assets, as well as the opportunities and threats they face. An asset audit can also help you to benchmark your assets against industry standards and best practices, and to prioritize your improvement actions.

There are several factors to consider when conducting an asset audit, such as:

  • Age: How old are your assets? How much useful life do they have left? How often do they need to be replaced or upgraded?
  • Maintenance: How well are your assets maintained? How frequently do they require preventive or corrective maintenance? How much does maintenance cost and affect downtime?
  • Downtime: How often do your assets experience breakdowns, failures, or malfunctions? How long does it take to restore them to normal operation? How much does downtime affect your production and profitability?
  • Energy consumption: How much energy do your assets consume? How efficient are they in terms of energy use? How can you reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint?
  • Quality: How well do your assets produce the desired output? How consistent and reliable are they in terms of quality? How do they comply with the quality standards and regulations of the food and beverage industry?
  • Safety: How safe are your assets for your workers, customers, and the environment? How do they comply with the safety standards and regulations of the food and beverage industry? How can you prevent or mitigate the risks of accidents, injuries, or contamination?
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Understanding the TCO of your assets is pivotal. This involves considering not just the initial purchase price of an asset, but also the entire cost of its lifecycle. This means accounting for maintenance expenses, operational costs, energy consumption, and even disposal costs. Evaluating the TCO provides a comprehensive view of the financial impact of each asset, enabling more informed decisions about upgrades, replacements, and improvements. It’s essential to factor in these long-term costs to truly gauge whether an asset is contributing positively to your bottom line, or if it’s a hidden drain on resources.

To collect and analyze the data related to these factors, you can use various tools and methods, such as:

  • Sensors: Sensors are devices that measure physical properties or conditions of your assets, such as temperature, pressure, vibration, flow, level, etc. Sensors can provide real-time data on the status and performance of your assets, and alert you to any anomalies or issues.
  • IoT: IoT stands for the Internet of Things, which is a network of connected devices that can communicate and exchange data with each other and with a central system. IoT can enable you to monitor and control your assets remotely, and to collect and store large amounts of data for further analysis.
  • AI: AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which is a branch of computer science that simulates human intelligence and learning. AI can help you to process and interpret the data collected from your assets, and to provide insights and recommendations for improvement.
  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing is a service that provides access to computing resources, such as servers, storage, software, etc., over the internet. Cloud computing can help you to store and manage your asset data securely and efficiently, and to access it from anywhere and anytime.

The benefits of conducting an asset audit are manifold, such as:

  • Identifying inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and risks: An asset audit can help you to detect and diagnose the problems and challenges that affect your asset performance and efficiency, and to determine their root causes and impacts.
  • Finding potential areas for improvement and innovation: An asset audit can help you to discover and explore the opportunities and possibilities for enhancing your asset utilization and productivity, and for creating value and differentiation.
  • Setting goals and targets: An asset audit can help you to establish and quantify your objectives and expectations for your asset improvement initiatives, and to align them with your business strategy and vision.
  • Developing action plans: An asset audit can help you to design and implement your asset improvement plans, and to allocate the necessary resources and responsibilities for their execution.

Implementing Best Practices and Technologies to Enhance Asset Utilization and Productivity

Once you have assessed the current state of your assets and identified the opportunities for improvement, you can start implementing the best practices and technologies that will help you to sweat your industrial assets in the food and beverage industry. The goal is to increase the output, extend the lifespan, reduce the waste, and improve the quality of your assets, while lowering the costs and risks associated with them.

There are several principles and strategies that you can follow when implementing asset sweating initiatives, such as:

  • Lean manufacturing: Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to eliminate waste and optimize value in your production processes. It involves identifying and eliminating the sources of waste, such as defects, overproduction, waiting, inventory, motion, transportation, and overprocessing. Lean manufacturing can help you to improve the efficiency, quality, and flexibility of your assets, and to reduce the environmental impact of your operations.
  • Continuous improvement: Continuous improvement is a culture and mindset of constantly seeking ways to improve your asset performance and efficiency. It involves setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), collecting and analysing data, implementing changes, and monitoring and evaluating the results. Continuous improvement can help you to achieve incremental and breakthrough improvements in your asset utilization and productivity.
  • Asset management: Asset management is a holistic and strategic approach to plan, organize, and control the activities and resources related to your assets. It involves aligning your asset management objectives with your organizational goals, developing and implementing asset management plans, policies, and processes, and ensuring compliance with the relevant standards and regulations. Asset management can help you to optimize the value and performance of your assets throughout their lifecycle.

To support these principles and strategies, you can also leverage some of the best practices and technologies that are available in the market, such as:

  • Automation: Automation is the use of machines, software, and systems to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intervention. Automation can help you to increase the speed, accuracy, and consistency of your asset operations, and to reduce the labour costs and human errors. Automation can also enable you to perform tasks that are difficult, dangerous, or impossible for humans, such as working in extreme temperatures, handling hazardous materials, or operating in remote locations.
  • Robotics: Robotics is a branch of engineering that deals with the design, construction, and operation of robots. Robots are machines that can perform physical actions, such as moving, manipulating, or sensing objects. Robotics can help you to enhance the capabilities and capacities of your assets, and to perform tasks that are complex, repetitive, or precise. Robotics can also help you to improve the safety and ergonomics of your workers, and to create new products and services.
  • Digital twins: Digital twins are virtual representations of your physical assets, processes, and systems. They use data from sensors, IoT, and other sources to simulate and optimize the behaviour and performance of your assets in real time. Digital twins can help you to monitor and control your assets remotely, and to test and validate different scenarios and outcomes. Digital twins can also help you to improve the design, maintenance, and innovation of your assets.
  • Additive manufacturing: Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process of creating objects by depositing layers of material on top of each other. Additive manufacturing can help you to create complex and customized parts and products for your assets, and to reduce the material waste and inventory costs. Additive manufacturing can also help you to shorten the lead time and improve the quality of your asset production.

The benefits of implementing these best practices and technologies are numerous, such as:

  • Lowering costs and risks: By enhancing your asset utilization and productivity, you can reduce the operational and capital expenses associated with your assets, such as energy, maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. You can also reduce the risks of asset failure, downtime, and non-compliance, and mitigate the potential impacts on your production, profitability, and reputation.
  • Increasing profits and customer satisfaction: By enhancing your asset utilization and productivity, you can increase the output and quality of your products and services, and meet the changing demands and preferences of your customers. You can also create new value propositions and competitive advantages for your business, and increase your market share and profitability.
  • Supporting sustainability and social responsibility: By enhancing your asset utilization and productivity, you can reduce the environmental footprint and social impact of your operations, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, waste generation, and worker safety. You can also contribute to the sustainable development goals and the circular economy, and improve your corporate image and reputation.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Results and Benefits of Asset Sweating

After implementing the best practices and technologies to enhance your asset utilization and productivity, you need to measure and track the performance and efficiency of your industrial assets. This will help you to ensure that your asset sweating initiatives are delivering the expected results and benefits, and to identify any issues or opportunities for further improvement.

There are several indicators and metrics that you can use to monitor and evaluate your assets, such as:

  • Availability: Availability measures the percentage of time that your assets are ready and able to perform their intended functions. It is calculated by dividing the actual operating time by the planned operating time. Availability can help you to assess the reliability and uptime of your assets, and to identify the causes and impacts of downtime.
  • Reliability: Reliability measures the probability that your assets will perform their intended functions without failure for a given period of time. It is calculated by dividing the number of successful operations by the total number of operations. Reliability can help you to assess the quality and consistency of your asset performance, and to identify the frequency and severity of failures.
  • Throughput: Throughput measures the amount of output that your assets produce per unit of time. It is calculated by dividing the total output by the total operating time. Throughput can help you to assess the productivity and capacity of your assets, and to identify the factors that affect the output rate and volume.
  • Quality: Quality measures the degree to which your assets meet the specifications and standards of your products and services. It is calculated by dividing the number of defect-free outputs by the total number of outputs. Quality can help you to assess the customer satisfaction and compliance of your assets, and to identify the sources and costs of defects.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Return on investment measures the profitability and efficiency of your assets. It is calculated by dividing the net income generated by your assets by the total cost of your assets. ROI can help you to assess the value and performance of your assets, and to compare the benefits and costs of different asset sweating initiatives.
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): OEE is a crucial metric that combines availability, performance, and quality to provide a comprehensive measure of an asset’s effectiveness. It is calculated by multiplying the three factors: Availability, Performance, and Quality. OEE helps in pinpointing areas where equipment is not performing to its full potential and guides strategies to optimize productivity and efficiency.

To collect and visualize the data related to these indicators and metrics, you can use various tools and methods, such as:

  • Dashboards: Dashboards are graphical interfaces that display the key performance indicators and metrics of your assets in a clear and concise manner. Dashboards can help you to monitor and control your assets in real-time and communicate asset performance information with stakeholders.
  • Reports: Reports are documents that summarize and analyze the performance and efficiency of your assets over a specific period. They provide structured and detailed evaluations, offering insights and recommendations for improvement.
  • Analytics: Analytics apply statistical and mathematical methods to asset performance data, generating meaningful and actionable insights. This supports decision-making and problem-solving by identifying patterns, trends, and relationships in the data.

The benefits of monitoring and evaluating your assets are significant, such as:

  • Ensuring Optimal Asset Performance: By monitoring and evaluating your assets, you can ensure they are operating at their best level, meeting or exceeding performance and efficiency goals.
  • Identifying Issues and Opportunities: This process helps in diagnosing problems affecting asset performance and efficiency, and in finding opportunities for further improvement and innovation.
  • Demonstrating Value and Impact: Monitoring and evaluating assets demonstrate the value and impact of your initiatives, justifying investment and efforts.

Conclusion

In this post, we have discussed how to sweat your industrial assets in the food and beverage industry. We have covered the following topics:

  • Assessing the current state of your assets and identifying opportunities for improvement
  • Implementing best practices and technologies to enhance asset utilization and productivity
  • Monitoring and evaluating the results and benefits of asset sweating

We have shown that sweating your industrial assets can help you to optimize the performance and efficiency of your assets, lower the costs and risks associated with them, increase the profits and customer satisfaction, and support the sustainability and social responsibility of your operations.

We hope that you have found this post informative and useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading! 

Francois Pierrel
Francois Pierrel
Hi, my name is François and I am passionate about solving process engineering problems. Over the years, I have developed a number of process equipment and control systems which have had a significant impact on reducing energy usage, waste and impact on the environment. My business ethos is to always get to the root cause of problems and data analysis and modelling are always at the forefront of any project we undertake.

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