Obsolescence Management For Food And Beverage

Friday, January 18th, 2019 | 3242 Views

Imagine opening your fridge in 2030. Perhaps you’ll be dining on lab-grown meat, or your ‘smart’ fridge could be sending you notifications to finish your milk before it goes sour. As new technologies continue to revolutionise our food habits, older trends—and their manufacturing processes—quickly become obsolete. Here, John Young, Sales Director APAC of obsolete industrial equipment supplier, EU Automation, discusses managing obsolescence in the food and beverage industry.


Machinery in any manufacturing plant is susceptible to wear and tear. In food and beverage plants, equipment can really take a beating. As the global population expands, new technologies are developed and our tastes continuously shift, manufacturers not only have more mouths to feed—but also need to consider more ways to keep consumers happy. A successful food and beverage plant needs to effectively manage intense production targets, while maintaining stringent safety regulations.


Added Strain

Consider milk, for example. Despite the increasing range of dairy-free alternatives on the market, the International Farm Comparison Network reports that milk production will experience a 35 percent increase by 2030. The dairy industry manufactures and sells products with very short lifecycles, while adhering to meticulous storage conditions and safety standards. Automation is essential in helping companies overcome these challenges, while meeting consumer demand.

Although automation helps manufacturing run smoothly, the process isn’t always as kind in return. To keep up with demand, machinery helps churn out masses of products with little planned downtime. Keeping food safe doesn’t always keep machinery safe either, as harsh sterilisation, washdown processes and issues such as ingress build-up can take their toll on equipment.


Going Obsolete

So, where do you turn when things start to fail? Manufacturers may consider replacing broken or damaged components with new ones, but this isn’t always effective and may lead to upgrading adjacent equipment, lengthy regulatory assessments and potential training gaps. Instead, manufacturers should consider going obsolete. For obsolescence success, you need to be in touch with a reliable equipment provider. EU Automation helps you get the parts you need, when you need them to keep operations running smoothly.

Because of technological changes and new regulations, many products, equipment, skills and software are fated to become obsolete. Although obsolescence cannot be avoided, a management plan can transform going obsolete from a manufacturing sore spot to the perfect problem solver.


Getting Prepared

Obsolescence management is essential at every step of a system’s lifecycle. Doing this pre-emptively and pro-actively will prevent production downtime and expensive upgrades.

When reviewing your obsolescence management strategy, you should consider conducting an audit. The audit should identify the assets that are at risk of obsolescence, how critical they are, and what stage in the obsolescence lifecycle they are at. For example, when purchasing a new piece of machinery, it is important to remember it is common for a system to outlive its components.

Businesses may decide whether they want to stockpile spare parts, but this can be costly and requires warehouse space. An alternative would be to rapidly access a required part when needed. This requires a relationship with an obsolete equipment supplier, to help limit production downtime without the pile-up of emergency parts.

As new technologies continue to change the way we eat, drink and manufacture, the future is never fully foreseeable. However, plant managers should know one thing—an obsolescence management plan will help prioritise components, target budgets effectively and extend the life of equipment.