IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Food and Beverages Industry

IT Enabling Industry 4.0 in Food and Beverages Industry

Industry 4.0 includes data exchange and business process automation throughout the manufacturing and supply chains to improve the overall operational performance of the company and its partners. Technologies range from industrial IoT, cloud computing, big data analytics, machine learning, and cyber physical systems to many other technologies. These range from drones to blockchain distributed databases to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Industry 4.0 has also become a strategy to improve manufacturing efficiency with global recognition and support in the food and beverage industry.

Below are some basic changes that are expected in this era of industry 4.0.

  • Data from each phase of the supply chain will be digitally analyzed and integrated to produce real-time output that will improve decision-making.
  • Business decisions will be more complex because of the integration and analysis of multiple processes. Both managers and line employees will need new skills to ensure that data results are successfully leveraged.
  • Fast forward, automation will advance production scheduling, inventory management, maintenance planning, order fulfillment, equipment operation, machine learning, and robotics. An integrated system will use touch screen operations, cobots and augmented reality.
  • Support activities will also see changes. For example, cyber security requirements will increase, as will staffing, training and retention.

The backbone of this industrial revolution in food and beverages industry is IT. Below is the overview of advanced IT techniques that are revolutionizing the food and beverages industry.

Internet of Things

With the addition of hardware and software platforms to connect everything in the physical world to the Internet, IoT is a trend that has gone a long way. It is shaping how people interact with their environment and how they have relied on smartphones and the internet to meet their daily tasks and needs. And like many industries, it is making its way into the food and beverage industry. IoT is transforming every aspect of the food industry into smart insights, and IoT is collecting data through a supply chain and intelligent algorithms through a combination of smart connected sensors. IoT is helping food and beverage industry by allowing them to have a full control and real time view of all processes ranging from manufacturing, packaging and waste management. 

For example,

The biggest problem faced by the food industry for decades is food waste. Thanks to IoT for providing possible solutions to this problem.

The process of careful inventory management will result in faster detection of expiration dates as well as more efficient storage operations and minimize food wastage due to spoilage. Storage and transportation facilities make it possible to control and maintain ideal conditions for foodstuffs so that they do not spoil. Smart, connected sensors will be able to update their digital counterparts with details regarding their quality, making it easier for warehouse employees to quickly identify the expiration date of any food item. 

Another example is of Zest Lab’s state-of-the-art ZIPR Code (Zest Intelligent Pallet Routing) was developed with the goal of improving post-harvest logistics performance and identifying key points where significant losses occur in the supply chain. Using a combination of ZIPR wireless IoT sensors and cloud-based predictive analytics and machine learning, it allows companies to directly track the freshness of each product, making it easy to decide about the distance the particular food product can be transported depending on its freshness. 

Cloud Computing and Big Data

IT is not only evolving the manufacturing sector but it has also helped services sector up to a huge extent. 

Fortunately, restaurants have proven that they can offer their food with innovation: even in normal times, with margins narrowing, they have adopted technology to reduce costs while maintaining high quality. In fact, IT has proved so effective for restaurants in the times of covid-19 that researchers recommend that the restaurants should permanently adapt IT techniques such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning in their systems to increase their profitability. The series should be diversified, collective bargaining should be done and guests should be provided a safe experience and the employees too.

For example,

Recognizing the power of big data and cloud computing, food industry giants such as Door Dash and Starbucks started using IT techniques years ago. It is found that the restaurants that adapted IT techniques earlier are having an easy time during the epidemic. 

Quinn has discovered that small restaurants are using data sharing technology to collectively communicate and make deals with wholesale providers. Companies like Simple have served as a bridge to fill a considerable tech gap for independent restaurants that wanted to monetize their data but had no time or knowledge for that. It describes itself as a “marketplace and digital restaurant” that primarily facilitates the buying and selling process using data.

AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence can learn and then make smart, informed decisions based on what it has learned, including fast, complex calculations and data analysis. Users should feed AI information with the goal of learning and growing. In doing so, the system will become more efficient and will help make better choices about maintaining specific business. Just like how an individual thinks – just because of its complexity and analytical capabilities, AI can process a lot of information. 

Artificial intelligence frameworks provide more secure, more accurate production lines with more significant speed and more consistency than human workers. AI is also helping companies in managing their supply chains by allowing them to track products transportation and delivery in real time.

Symphony Retail AI, for example, uses this data to accurately track transportation costs, all prices are quoted above, and to estimate inventory levels, how much food is needed and where the waste generated should be limited.

ABB has partnered with Silicon Valley startup Coventry to provide high-end select robots that work side by side with human workers. Co-variant’s product combines 3D camera and automated learning, so robots can learn new tasks freely. It considers a fairly advanced level of trial and error response, which is ultimately about the incredible accuracy that can work on a scale. These systems will be soon in action in food and beverage industry and will help the companies in providing better consumer services and also improve manufacturing processes cutting the costs at the same time.

Everything around us is evolving with the time ranging from the phone we use to the food we eat. All credit goes to the continuously advancing Information and communication technologies. Stay tuned with us and avail latest information related to the evolving tech world.

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