Robotics and industrial automated manufacturing systems are transforming warehouse production facilities everywhere by improving productivity and enhancing operational efficiency to unparalleled levels. When it comes to adopting automated technology, however, the food and beverage industry has been notoriously slow on the uptake. Because the shape and consistency of food products vary drastically, this poses several obstacles to implementing automation solutions at food production plants.
A common perception exists among food manufacturing industry veterans that automating their processes is less than economical. This notion is attributable to the fact most facilities produce multiple food products with various complex procedures. While automation typically offers solutions for a single process, it can still be integrated with existing systems in stages. Given the upfront investment required to automate, however, business owners often find themselves challenged to realize an immediate return on investment (ROI).
Many manufacturers in the food production industry continue to rely on manual operators because they’re under the impression that they simply can’t justify the costs to automate or believe automated solutions aren’t integrable with their current systems. While large-scale production operations can afford to utilize cutting-edge automation technologies and the associated research and development budget, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) struggle with these same upfront costs.
Emergent industrial automation technology is always adapting to consumer requirements and has significantly lowered the cost of entry for SMBs. Many business owners are catching on to this and realizing they can streamline their production processes through new technology coming onto the market to help them exceed their financial projections. With several options available, manufacturers can choose to either upgrade their existing equipment or make their existing infrastructure more efficient by installing new engineering solutions to keep their facilities competitive and up-to-date.
When you automate your processes, you’re connecting several components in your plant to enable managers and operators to control them by gathering critical information through a centralized database on one device. This central control lets authorized users find quick access to valuable data about your raw materials, core performance metrics, and the operational parameters of your equipment. Below are just a few reasons why small and medium-sized benefit from modern automated solutions:
1. Improved accuracy and product consistency
Owing to the accuracy of the machinery, emergent automated technology yields high-quality products that are consistent in flavor, texture, and shape. Your packaging benefits from automation, as well, giving operators greater control over consistency to achieve a uniform presentation identifiable with your brand. When you automate your facility, monitoring the performance parameters of your equipment is simplified, staying on top of routine maintenance procedures is effortless, and it helps you identify and remediate mechanical issues before they escalate into a more severe problem.
2. Enhanced product safety
Automated systems and machine-based vision provide food manufacturing managers have with detailed insight into every stage of their processes. If a procedure requires modification to comply with safety standards, automated systems let you implement the new process, seamlessly, in a single brush, with minimal impact on other areas of your plant.
Automation lends itself to error-free production and increased visibility, both of which carry a substantial impact on workplace safety. If you are thinking to yourself, “sure, but are there any industrial automation companies near me?” Consider EZSoft, a leading provider of process controls in Pennsylvania that helps companies improve product safety and hygienic measures through automated solutions. Without further delay, here are the 6 top reasons you should automate your food and beverage production facility now:
3. Better traceability
Visibility and traceability are increasingly important to food and beverage manufacturers because they help with recalling expired or spoiled products quickly before they hit the retail shelves and potentially impact brand reputation.
Automated industrial solutions enable food plant operators to trace their goods throughout the entire production process to locate items at any stage in the chain and gather valuable data on these goods. If managers need information on raw material intake, packing data, processing, or distribution channels, for example, automation provides complete control and streamlined traceability of these elements.
4. Brand Preservation
Automation helps companies protect their valued brands in several ways. Your brand is the fundamental way you communicate with your customers, and food producers depend on their brand reputation perhaps more than any other industry. One product recall alone can be enough to force your facility to shutter.
Such an event could have serious implications for the entire supply change while costing millions as an investigation takes place across your food growers, retailers, and end-users. Because automation is less reliant upon human operators, sanitary safety measures are enhanced, and the improved traceability lets identify and root out problems before they escalate.
5. Safer workplace
Better workplace safety is among the top advantages of implementing automated solutions at your food manufacturing plant. When you eliminate repetitive motion and other potentially hazardous tasks such as heavy lifting, you expose fewer human operators to risk to foster a safer workplace environment.
When robotics and automated machinery replace monotonous and physically strenuous roles, your staff is much safer. Automation allows you to allocate more resources to other core areas of your business where your employees can develop themselves to better leverage their unique talents.
6. Flexibility and agility
One of the top benefits you’ll discover after implementing automated industrial solutions at your facility is an improved reaction time to shifting production needs. Manufacturers are in a position to be more nimble when it comes time to retool for a new product initiative or a shifting regulatory environment.
Automation allows you to update solutions to unanticipated obstacles much more quickly by programming them into the automated software. This reduces both downtime and the need for additional employee training, which can be costly and take your staff out of their production roles.
Streamline your industrial automation solutions today
EZSoft is an automated software engineering company in Malvern, PA, that provides information and control systems for the process industries.
To discuss your business automation requirements and learn more about how EZSoft’s control system solutions can improve productivity at your manufacturing plant, call (484) 568-5040.