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On the menu tonight: maximising machine uptime

Every second of production counts in a food or beverage processing plant, so preventing unplanned machine downtime is critical. Unplanned failures can shut down an entire production line, which can incur high costs. Therefore, condition monitoring is essential! David Smith, Lifetime Solutions engineer at Schaeffler UK, discusses why conditioning monitoring is essential for the food and beverage (FOOD AND BEVERAGE) industry.

With growing populations and increased urbanisation, global demand for food is rising year-on-year. To-day, according to the recent estimate by the UN, the world’s population is 7.3 billion, possibly reaching 9.7 billion by 2050. This growth, along with rising incomes in developing countries, are driving up global food demand, which is expected to increase between 59% to 98% by 2050 (Agricultural Economics).

Consumers want safe, high-quality food with a long shelf life. With time sensitive supply chains, price-sensitive products and increased industry regulations, the food and beverage sector face numerous challenges.

What’s holding up your breakfast?

Equipment failure is one of the main causes of food waste in the food and beverage industry. Machine downtime disrupts the production process, resulting in lower output, affecting supply chains and customer demands. Adding price inflation, geopolitical tensions, and global shortages (AllTech Mag, 2023) to the long list of pressures on the food and beverage industry makes planning, monitoring and overall prevention of machine failure essential for meeting demands efficiently. Utilising products from the Schaeffler Lifetime Solutions portfolio allows for easy recognition of impending machinery issues and prevention of unforeseen failures, ultimately extending machine life and reducing costs.

Schaeffler have decades of experience with the food and beverage sector worldwide, which is why we were able to help a biochemical company with implementing solutions, such as our award winning OPTIME, so successfully.

The OPTIME solution successfully helped the plant to prevent 144 hours of unplanned downtime per year, as well as saving €30,000 in the process. One of the Application Engineers at the plant stated how “each solution provides us with the protection we need for our machines – we are completely satisfied with the Schaeffler solutions and services.” You can read more on this Success Story here:

Feeding your machinery

Did you know that almost three-quarters of lubrication points in the process industry are still manually lubricated and up to 80% of unplanned bearing failures are caused by improper lubrication?

Proper lubrication extends the lifespan of machinery, which reduces the need for frequent replacement and maintenance, ultimately reducing overall costs. Often lubrication points are located in hard-to-reach areas, and in food and beverage plants you might have hundreds to manage – this makes machine maintenance complex and time consuming. However, there are products out there such as Schaeffler’s OPTIME Ecosystem for wireless CM and automatic lubrication, that can create a cost-effective, predictive maintenance solution, meaning plants can effectively and sustainably minimise down-time, avoid high-maintenance costs, plan cartridge replacements on the lubricators in advance and mini-mise inspection rounds, in turn making production more safety and operationally efficient.

Every component used within food and beverage machinery has a chance of coming into contact with food produce (, which is why it’s important to ensure the correct grease is used to prevent machine breakdown and harm to the consumer. Our OPTIME C1 solution will tell you which grease to use and will provide the correct settings for each specific lubricator. A company in Germany uses this solution and expressed how “OPTIME C1 enables us to identify early on whether areas are not lubricated or if the lubrication point is empty – simply opening the app and seeing that everything is running smoothly gives me peace of mind,“ which is crucial for process industries like food and beverage.

The food and processing industry is fast-paced, highly demanding and faced with various challenges, which is why we are constantly expanding our Schaeffler Lifetime Solutions portfolio – bringing to the market cutting edge technology to keep your production lines moving, whether you produce confectionery, flour, or that ever important refreshing beverage - Schaeffler has the solution for you.

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