The benefits of integrating process engineering methods from multiple fields

As in many fields, the food and beverage processing industry has been revolutionized by technology. However, the most significant advancement isn’t found in a single piece of technology, but in the practice of cross-industry process design integration. As process engineering companies look beyond the normal parameters of specialty markets, many are creating new systems that meld the technology and practices from many market segments into an integrated, innovative, and remarkably efficient new process design. The idea is to bring multi-industry experience to the table, allowing customers to benefit from successes and innovations in otherwise unrelated industries.

“This practice shows that workflow, efficiency, and total production are major business metrics that we can help guide from a process standpoint,” explains Wright Process Systems engineering manager Albert Terrazas. “For example, our recent use of an automation reporting platform from the IT industry, in conjunction with ultra-reliable field instruments from the pharmaceutical industry, helped our beverage bottling customer realize production gains never before thought possible.”

The beauty of such a process-centric approach, adds Terrazas, is that it can benefit any customer and almost any part of a process. New plants will benefit by having their core infrastructure developed around the combination of practices and technology best suited for their unique product. Existing plants will benefit by systematically breathing new life into each process system, piece by piece.

How do processing plants realize the benefits of cross-industry process design integration? The first step is to partner with a company that maintains an experienced multi-industry engineering team. Look for companies that serve multiple core markets—not so many that their focus is scattered but enough that there is some diversity in their portfolio. Then, simply be open minded to new ideas that may seem outside the typical way of doing things. If done well, this mode of process engineering opens up manufacturers to worlds of new methods that can lead to a more integrated, more collaborative, more environmentally conscious, and more forward-thinking food and beverage manufacturing culture.

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