The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and What It Means for Your Food Plant

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and What It Means for Your Food Plant

By now, you’ve likely heard about the various ways our homes are getting “smarter.” We now have devices such as the Amazon Echo, Wi-Fi-connected toaster ovens and doorbells with live-streaming video. Nowadays, you can lock your front door from your smartphone, tell Siri to turn on the lights inside your house and control your thermostat from anywhere you have an internet connection.

These networks of physical devices embedded with electronics, sensors and software that allow them to connect and communicate are often referred to as the Internet of Things. This new era of technology isn’t just limited to your home, though — food and beverage plants are taking advantage of smart devices as well.  

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to connected devices and technologies that can collect, monitor, analyze and exchange large amounts of data and provide valuable business information to improve processes, quality or maintenance activities within a plant.

Are you thinking about using more of this technology in your facility? Let’s look at some advantages, considerations and potential pitfalls.

 

Improve Your Food Plant’s Sustainability With These 5 Tips

The best options with ROI in mind

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Improve Your Food Plant’s Sustainability These 5 Tips

Achieving sustainability in a food processing plant is no easy task. Upfront costs and expenses associated with energy-efficient solutions, such as equipment and building materials, can be difficult to justify. How do you know which energy-efficient options will provide the best return on investment?

 

The One Mistake You’re Making With Your Compressor Logs

The importance of a skilled refrigeration analyst

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The One Mistake You’re Making With Your Compressor Logs

After working with compressors for nearly three decades, there’s one mistake I see people making time and time again when it comes to their compressor maintenance. They keep their daily logs, recording necessary temperatures regularly, but when they’re through, they simply put the logs aside and don’t look at them again. The results are not analyzed for corrective measures, if discovered. Are you looking back to ensure you’re addressing the inconsistencies and issues you notice during your compressor evaluations? Analyzing the daily logs is just as important as writing it down.

 

14 Factors to Keep Your Refrigeration Compressor Package in Check

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14 factors to check to ensure the health of your refrigeration compressor package

While we’ve already blogged about ways to determine the fitness of your refrigeration compressor, it’s important to pay attention to the big picture as well. Ensure you keep up with the the health of your entire refrigeration compressor package, as failure to check components including the motor, control panel and suction superheat, can cause major failures. Here are the 14 key factors to check within each component of your compressor package.

 

How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Food Facility

Examining the best applications for LED and fluorescent lighting

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How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Food Facility

All lighting is not created equal. When selecting LED or fluorescent lighting for your food facility or warehouse, understand that each type is better suited for some areas rather than others. How can you know which is the right fit for your plant?

 

3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions

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3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions

Do you give enough care and consideration to your food processing facility’s electrical equipment? As a senior electrical engineer for Stellar, I joined several of my peers in a discussion in this month’s Food Engineering article, “Electrical systems and components: The lifeblood of your facility,” on electrical safety, systems maintenance and more. In the article, I reviewed factors that impact your plant’s electrical well-being. Below I describe them in greater detail for Food for Thought’s readers:

 

Automation Safety: Clearer Requirements Arise for Risk Assessments

Applicable to all new or significantly rebuilt / remanufactured machinery

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Automation Safety: Clearer Requirements Arise for Risk Assessments

Automation has gained plenty of traction in the food and beverage processing industry thanks to benefits including cost savings, labor reduction and increased food safety. However, a slew of national and international guidelines and requirements has made owning automation equipment more complex than ever before—with risk assessments an especially gray area. The good news? Clearer risk assessment requirements have arrived from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), offering more consistent expectations.

 

Refrigeration for the Future: Low-Charge Refrigerated Packaged Equipment

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Refrigeration for the Future: Low-Charge Refrigerated Packaged Equipment

Due to its phaseout, an alphabet soup of replacement refrigerants has been developed to replace R-22 in existing chillers. However, most of these alternatives have drawbacks. Some replacements severely penalize the performance of the chiller, while others have significant glide—and all have higher global warming potential than ammonia. And though these refrigerants may not be on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) phaseout list yet, they have the potential to be. As new chillers rise to replace the old, ammonia is one refrigerant that has become an effective alternative.

 

Distributed Refrigeration: The Benefits of Ammonia Refrigeration Without the Risk

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Distributed Refrigeration: The Benefits of Ammonia Refrigeration Without the Risk

The majority of industrial refrigeration systems in the U.S. are central-station ammonia systems—the backbone of the food and beverage industry. For over 100 years, these ammonia systems have dominated the industry because they not only have superior thermos-physical properties, but also because they’re environmentally friendly. Ammonia has a global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero.

 

3 Ways to Determine the Fitness of Your Refrigeration Compressor

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3 ways to determine the fitness of your refrigeration compressor

Refrigeration screw compressors use axial thrust load bearings—and they have a life expectancy that will begin to fail over time. At one time or another, all food processors and beverage manufacturers will be in the market for a refrigeration compressor rebuild or replacement. Because the compressor and its bearings will deteriorate over time, staying on top of its performance is crucial to avoiding a catastrophic failure. Here are three methods that can help gauge your compressor’s fitness.