Food & Drink Process & Packaging Issue 15 2017 - Page 26

Automation platforms deliver productivity benefits in food and beverage production There are clear benefits for food & the automation platform is a system beverage manufacturers in rationali- where the benefits go far beyond the sing their automation vendors. Using footprint of the machine, process or a single source of supply for automa- production line, to provide the driver tion components can play a big role for plant-wide improvements in ope- in improving flexibility and reducing rational efficiency and agility. downtime but as Jeremy Shinton An automation platform can be of Mitsubishi Electric explains, an pro-active, predict its own health and automation system can be much more performance and inform operators than just the sum of its parts. about how to make improvements With supermarkets driving demand in efficiency, helping to coordinate for more diverse products at lower manufacturing, processing and logis- prices, combined with increasingly tics. This can be a major step towards being a smart factory. stringent legislation – not only within the production environment but Using the cloud it can also extend data throughout the entire supply chain – food and drink manufacturers are that can be derived from sourcing re- facing increasing pressures on their quired automation components from business. The companies that typically a single vendor. The result is that the grow and succeed are the ones who likes of PLCs, inverters, servo com- are quick to adapt and flexible enough ponents, networking cards, HMIs, I/O to change. modules and even smaller robots are Increasingly, investment in auto- mation is being recognised as a key more frequently purchased as a total solution. storage and processing to t