Maintenance and updates for processing plants to prepare for a prosperous 2015
As you wind down the 2014 calendar year, it is a great time to set the stage for a successful 2015 at your food manufacturing facility with some proactive maintenance and updating of your systems. Tackling these issues before there is a problem can save you time, money and heartache down the road.
First, if you haven’t already, sit down and create a preventive maintenance plan. Food Safety Magazine recommends these steps for creating that plan: listing your inventory of equipment, running a risk assessment on each machine and documenting a maintenance schedule for each one. In addition, write detailed instructions for each maintenance procedure and create a logging system to ensure that instructions are being followed correctly and on time.

“The bottom line is that preventive maintenance provides peace of mind for people and food processors, and is one program where benefits, both quality and economic, can be measured…” writes Richard F. Stier.

Stier specifically addresses replacement parts as one area processors often overlook, saying “All processors need to maintain a spare parts inventory to keep the plant running smoothly… Processors need to understand the potential risks of being down because of a part or equipment failure.” WPS has developed a strong network with more than 25 parts manufacturers to help ensure that you get the part you need when you need it, which means you don’t need to keep every part on-site.

The Marshall Institute, a consulting company focused on maintenance issues, echoes Stier’s opinion that preventive maintenance is a good investment, saying, “planned and scheduled maintenance work is three to four times more cost efficient than breakdown maintenance.”

Well-timed and well-planned maintenance can help ensure that you experience minimal downtime, and our WPS maintenance professionals support that end goal with on-site services that get you up and running quickly when maintenance is required.

Even in the best-maintained facility, there comes a time when a piece of machinery has reached the end of its usefulness or has simply become obsolete or inefficient. At that point, it’s time to consider an upgrade to a new machine or even a complete overhaul of your processing line.

To determine if it’s time for some upgrades, you first need to review your data and determine where you have room for improvement in your process. For example, if several steps of your process require a lot of hands-on, manual work, it might be time to consider an automated system instead. WPS can help you identify areas for process improvement, and we are equipped to help you design and build a new system or upgrade an existing one.

If you need to make updates because of food safety concerns, those items of course will take top priority to ensure that you are meeting compliance standards. Food Engineering Magazine recently ran a report on how to manage a renovation in the wake of a less-than-stellar food safety audit.

This month, the magazine highlighted the ground-up design and build of a new plant and listed several considerations to keep in mind when selecting a location: enough land for expansion, industry-friendly regional government and utility access and reliability. It also covers how to design a facility with water usage, sustainability, food safety and efficiency in mind.

When you are ready to upgrade your existing facility, or if you are considering building a new one, WPS can offer engineering, equipment and construction expertise through the whole process – from planning to designing to building.