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The Role of Preventive Maintenance in Food Processing Facilities

June 17, 2024

Food processing facilities play an essential role in the mass production of food for human consumption. They provide processed food for sale and distribution and utilise state-of-the-art technology and advanced industrial machinery to operate efficiently.  

Of course, as with any other business sector, compliance rules regulate the food sector. Maintaining quality standards is of critical importance throughout all stages of the food processing cycle, and that is why a Preventive Maintenance Program is crucial. But what exactly is preventive maintenance and why is it important to the food sector? 

Understanding Preventive Maintenance 

Preventive maintenance (PM) plays a key role in extending the lifespan of equipment, whether that’s within the food, healthcare, or energy sector to name a few. 

PM consists of scheduled equipment maintenance and related assets with the goal being to reduce downtime, improve operational efficiency, and prevent equipment failure. The result is that your facility has equipment it can rely on to complete necessary processing tasks. 

Challenges in Food Processing Facilities 

Challenges within food processing facilities range from strict industry hygiene standards to food safety, product shelf life and quality. Still, there are common challenges that food processing facilities face. Among these are: 

  1. Food loss: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, around 1.3 gigatonnes of food is lost each year. This equates to one-third of food produced globally. 
  1. Cross-contamination: Cross-contamination and quality control are major issues across food processing facilities. The major issue here is that preserving food quality is key to managing food processing equipment. 
  1. Greenhouse emissions: With climate change never out of the news, businesses are placing an increasing focus on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, food processing facilities may have more work to do than other businesses as a 2021 report from Nature Food found that food production is responsible for one third of the world’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – namely CO2, methane and N2O. 

Benefits of Preventive Maintenance and Traceability in Ensuring Quality 

Preventive maintenance, depending on the sector, consists of several components. In relation to quality assurance in the food industry, the following components are crucial: 

  • Food safety: Across the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness, PM ensures the highest safety standards. From minimising equipment failure to ensuring production compliance, PM is key to maintaining consistent food safety standards. 
  • Inspections and scheduling: PM helps you schedule inspections which assess equipment for wear and tear. This is essential as, over time, equipment performance can decrease. Finding faults before they become major issues is a key advantage that PM provides.  
  • Equipment cleaning and calibration: PM helps in ensuring equipment remains free of dirt or debris from production processes. Furthermore, lubricating equipment will extend its lifespan and keep it from breaking down.  
  • Component replacement: Filters, belts, seals and bearings don’t have limitless lifespans and need replacing from time to time. Preventive maintenance will help you stay on top of replacements and reduce the need for costly repairs. 
  • Record keeping: Documenting maintenance is essential to traceability and will help you track equipment history, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. A “paper trail” will also ensure you remain compliant with industry procedures and standards.  

PEMAC’s software supports traceability within food manufacturing by automating and optimising maintenance practices, and it delivers the following key benefits:  

  • Clear work order approval processes: Ensures that maintenance work satisfies regulatory requirements. 
  • Documentation of maintenance procedures: Facilitates consistent maintenance and servicing work, even when staff or technician turnover is high. 
  • Better visibility of maintenance activities: Creates an audit trail that tracks user activity and provides evidence that staff are adhering to industry regulations. 
  • Reduced asset downtime: Easily generates work orders from both technical and non-technical employees. 
  • Collaboration: With role-based access control, work order management, and real-time asset information, PEMAC ASSETS software improves collaboration between maintenance personnel, equipment operators, and other team members. 
  • Cost control: Less raw material wasted and more efficient production by avoiding unplanned shutdowns. 

CMMS Solutions for Preventive Maintenance 

CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) software is designed to help produce stable operations, ensure compliance with warranties, and resolve issues impacting production — before they happen. 

PEMAC understands the complex operational and preventive maintenance challenges that businesses face in the food sector. Beyond tight margins, food and beverage facilities must contend with a growing list of compliance and quality assurance standards, such as ISO 22000 and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). 

Our preventive maintenance software allows businesses in the food sector to achieve consistent, high-quality outputs by keeping critical production equipment in a food processing facility, such as filling and packaging machines, running at their best without the threat of unexpected failure. 

But what are the routine maintenance procedures in food processing? Aimed at reducing production downtime, improving equipment reliability, and increasing productivity, our software for food processing helps food sector businesses through routine maintenance procedures by:  

  • Automating and streamlining maintenance processes 
  • Streamlining preventative maintenance planning 
  • Improving compliance 
  • Professional training and upskilling 
  • Enabling knowledge retention 
  • More effective inventory management 

Discover How PEMAC Software Enhances PM Programmes in Food Processing Facilities 

To learn more about how PEMAC’s software enhances preventive maintenance programs and operational standards in food processing, click here, email us at info@pemac.com, or call +353 1 466 3888. 

Alternatively, request a PEMAC ASSETS CMMS quotation for your business.