Food/beverage: Need for infrastructure impacts process automation



Dedham, MA —Many food companies recognize they need an improved global automation infrastructure even in the most automated facilities, a recent study by ARC Advisory Group has learned. That move, it said, will require a paradigm shift in the design, selection, and deployment of process automation systems, from automation software to plant floor control hardware to the use of more international automation standards and best practices.


Initial emphasis of food and beverages manufacturers, said the report, has been on standardizing common, enterprise-wide financial systems. Many larger companies are specifying adherence to ANSI/ISA 95 (ISO/IEC 62246) for enterprise-to-control system integration, study results showed. In addition, the report said, these companies must consider ANSI/ISA-95 (ISO/IEC 62246) and ANSI/ISA-88 (ISO/IEC 61512) as factory-floor-level automation extends to support "a more highly automated and information-driven system requiring minimal manual data entry."


"Food manufacturing firms are able to use this new automation to meet the changing demands of a growing and increasingly diverse population and consumers' demands for pre-processed foods," said Asish Ghosh, author of the study, "Food and beverage industry automation worldwide outlook."


Food manufacturers continue to place safety as the top priority, the study reported. Many indicated they have well-documented food safety programs that include good manufacturing practices, good sanitation and pest control practices, HACCP (hazards analysis and critical control point) protocols, personnel qualification and awareness training, process validation, change management, and an effective product recall system.


However, the study found that food manufacturers need to strengthen food security programs, including increased plant security and anti-counterfeit packaging. The report pointed out that although most packaging line machinery is highly automated, most labeling and inspection operations remain manual, leading to allergen mislabeling and unreadable date and bar codes. An increasing number of these systems are being replaced with more automated equipment, the report added.


For more on the report, click here .


To download a pdf about the study from ARC, click here .


Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor


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