IoT in Food Manufacturing: A World of Smart New Possibilities
Food processing plants have many complex mechanical challenges. Interruptions, malfunctions, and other unforeseen occurrences can easily impact the bottom line.
Fortunately, manufacturers are filling the gaps with innovations that clean, streamline, and deliver the power that helps food businesses to grow.
One ubiquitous technology–Internet of Things (IOT)–is growing its presence in the food industry and is changing the business landscape there. For example, sensors are an increasingly popular technology commonly attached to motors where they monitor heat and vibration to discern bearing condition and overall machine health.
These IoT sensors open up a new world of possibilities for mobile applications. For instance, they allow technicians to check motor health through smartphone apps. Then, analysts can use the data generated to create insights and improve performance.
The most popular IoT device on the market is a little smaller than a fist. It connects to the fin of the motor and can be attached to nearly any machine. Then, the sensor displays three lights–green, yellow, and red–for at-a-glance inspection. Through the mobile apps and sensors, analysts can see more detailed info, including a 1-10 numeric grade of motor health.
Early adopters have already begun deploying the sensors by the thousands, sometimes with astounding results. Some users are reporting downtime reductions of more than 70 percent.
The sensors have other benefits not related to uptime, as well. For example, the sensors require the motors to use less energy when needed, helping to optimize operation. One smart sensor, a frequency inverter, has been reported to cut energy requirements by up to 70 percent.
Food production is a sensitive environment. But new technology is helping make machines like drum motors more reliable, accessible, and cleaner.
The end result will be a more diverse food manufacturing environment, with less downtime and more energy efficiency, contingent, of course, on willingness to adopt this new technology.