October 12, 2021
Food and beverage processors face several unique challenges in their daily operations. Because the products they produce are intended for human consumption, extra care goes into ensuring operations run smoothly. And in order to stay competitive, many food processors need to run their production lines around the clock — making downtime costly.
Equipment that isn’t maintained properly can hinder a plant’s ability to consistently produce safe, quality food products. Not all maintenance plans are created equal — but a well-designed, properly implemented preventive maintenance plan can optimize production, minimize food safety risks, and save money.
A processor’s ability to operate efficiently is heavily dependent on equipment running smoothly. Planned maintenance prevents machine failures, ensures consistent product quality, and can mean cheaper repairs down the line. A well-maintained machine typically has a longer life span, extending the time between replacing a piece of equipment.
Through careful record-keeping, information gathered within a preventive maintenance plan can — and should — be analyzed to prevent part failures and anticipate downtime for repairs and maintenance. Avoiding unplanned downtime can help a processing plant control maintenance costs and operate with limited interruptions.
Regularly changing the oil in a car can help save money on car repairs over time, just as regular maintenance can do the same for food processing equipment. A fixed schedule for equipment maintenance allows food processors to get the most out of their equipment without needing to halt production for urgent repairs.
But over-servicing a piece of equipment can become a problem too. Every time a technician provides maintenance on a machine, they’re potentially exposing internal electronics to external substances, risking damage to the machine. And of course, because downtime means lost profits, food processors aren’t keen on unnecessary repairs. A well-designed preventive maintenance plan ensures that equipment is being properly maintained without unnecessary downtime or servicing.
The food and beverage industry has strict sanitation and hygiene regulations. Machines that aren’t properly maintained not only break down more frequently but also, due to improperly maintained components, package integrity can also be at risk, which means potential contamination of valuable product.
A ruined product must be disposed of, costing the processor both time and money. If the problem isn’t caught immediately, it can even lead to recalls, which cost an average of $10 million each, according to a study from the Food Marketing Institute and the Consumer Brands Association. These food safety concerns can lead to damaged relationships between the food processor and retailer and even public relations nightmares.
Done well, a preventive maintenance plan can be a major cost-saving measure. It’s imperative for processors to invest in the right strategy. Preventive maintenance plans like our SEE™ Advanced Maintenance Program include regularly scheduled equipment audits, catastrophic parts protection, and equipment reconditioning, designed to increase uptime. Enabled by SEE™ Smart Link, these plans allow processors to leverage Sealed Air’s knowledge, labor, and data to improve equipment performance.