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Smart manufacturing is a necessity, not a choice

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:5/21/2019 12:05:33 PM

Awais Bin Nasim, VP of Services – Middle East & Africa, Tetra Pak, shares smart manufacturing developments in this interview with ZAINAB MANSOOR.  

Awais Bin Nasim, VP of Services – Middle East & Africa, Tetra Pak

Which smart manufacturing techniques have taken centre stage in the past decade?

3D printing, data-driven human/process/machine control, vertically and horizontally integrated automation, ubiquitous connectivity, vehicles that drive themselves – these are all examples of accelerating trends that have been shaping the manufacturing industry and will continue to do so for years to come. These technologies have one thing in common: they all fall under the movement digitalising the manufacturing industry, which we call today Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is about smart manufacturing. It is where automation combines with IT networks and systems – enriched through live and constantly available data and analytics – to drive operations more effectively and efficiently, by providing granular visibility into manufacturing operations and along the full product life cycle, while harnessing abundant and cheap computing power to fulfil a vision of data-driven decision-making and control – at the board level, all the way to the equipment level.

How has it impacted the value chain of F&B providers?

The entire value chain, from sourcing to waste, will need to start thinking of data and connectivity.  All parts of the value chain must complement each other.

Industry 4.0 allows businesses to optimize the four levels of their operations by giving greater oversight of the whole process, ensuring greater traceability and performance monitoring, and allowing more intelligent decision making. It allows for better oversight of:

Things: Individual parts of individual pieces of equipment such as sensors collecting data which allows businesses to monitor how a particular part is performing;

Equipment: Where a company monitors and controls the performance of a whole machine or line of machines;

Manufacturing Operations Management: Where a business connects and monitors the performance of the whole factory, connecting soloed systems and synchronizing people and machines through a combination of asset management, data analysis, visualization and modular control.

Business Systems: Where a company monitors the planning and performance of the whole enterprise, or of multiple factories within its business. For example, looking at how sales are related to what is being produced on the shop floor, ensuring the company is producing the right goods in the timeliest fashion.

Tetra Pak is one of the few food packaging companies that are leading the way into the future through incorporating technology into their approach working with partners such as Microsoft, ABB and SAP to develop digital solutions for food and beverages manufacturing. These partnerships allow us to make our processes smarter, our solutions more efficient, and our customers happier and more profitable.

What are the top three smart manufacturing technologies according to Tetra Pak?

The best way to maximise results with technology for the benefit of the manufacturing industry is to integrate the available technologies in a connected system. Tetra Pak’s factory of the future is a great example of this.

In March this year, we’ve unveiled our “factory of the future” where digital technology revolutionises the way food manufacturing plants operate. Machines will be able to communicate with each other as well as with the digital systems of the entire operation, automatically taking on tasks such as diagnosing problems, ordering and delivering parts, and looking for an engineer who is most suitable for the service needed.

Supported by these smart solutions, the workforce will be able to focus on managing the plant, making quick, informed decisions and continuously increasing the speed of production, reducing errors and minimising product waste.

How does the efficiency of using smart production techniques translate into value for the end-user?

Today’s consumers are more and more sophisticated in the way they build relationships with their brands. They are more demanding – they expect an exceptional service, are cognizant of environmental impacts, and of course while still wanting a top quality product. On top of this, they also seek two-way communication channels where they can express their opinions, complaints, and praising of products and services. Industry 4.0 allows F&B providers to be more transparent, more connected, and offer more consumer-friendly propositions.

From connected packaging to more sustainable processing solutions and transparent labelling; everything that happens in Tetra Pak’s factory of the future to make F&B brands and their end-users more connected – to the product, to the brand, to the manufacturers, to each other.  The value lies in the enhanced offerings beyond the product itself, and being able to deliver them at the same price point requires efficiency gains driven by smart manufacturing.

Are consumers of today aware of smart manufacturing and do they endorse it?

The truth is, there is a lot to be done in order to recruit the majority of F&B providers to the industry 4.0 movement, but it is not a choice anymore, it is a necessity. Tetra Pak will continue to invest in innovation and encourage the integration of sustainable technology in its operations. We hope all our customers will be able to benefit from the countless advantages of industry 4.0 and the factory of the future. In this region, consumers are less aware than in other parts of the world.

What is the total smart manufacturing investment expected in the region in the next five/ten years?

Difficult question, as who really knows?  There are too many assumptions required to make these sorts of forecasts. It is rational to say that estimates range from 10bn to 12bn USD, accounting for rounding and the potential for accelerated growth rates towards the latter end of the period.

Looking more at other perspectives an IDC report pegs 2021 at 12.6bn USD IoT spending for MEA, with 15.8% for manufacturing.  For 2018, 7bn USD in GMEA across all industries, thus CAGR from 2018 to 2021 of 21.8%. 

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