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How will Industry 4.0 Influence Food Manufacturers?

Food and Beverages | Thursday, July 29, 2021

In a sector where supply chains were already stretching across the globe, competition has risen to meet this surge, and those who continue to rely on antiquated processes and technology will be quickly surpassed when the next inevitable industrial wave fast approaches.

FREMONT, CA: The manufacturing sector has been digitizing in fits and starts for several years, but the COVID-19 epidemic has expedited migration to new technology infrastructures across the board. Businesses changed top-down as supply and manufacturing chains were disrupted, yet consumer demand for products that surged in reaction to ‘new normal’ conditions remained stable or even increased. In a sector where supply chains were already stretching across the globe, competition has risen to meet this surge, and those who continue to rely on antiquated processes and technology will be quickly surpassed when the next inevitable industrial wave fast approaches.

What is Industry 4.0, and How Does It Influence Food Manufacturers?

German scientists coined the term ‘fourth industrial revolution’ to describe the rapidly evolving complex ecosystem of "smart" technologies and networks reshaping manufacturing in the digital age. While the arrival of increasingly advanced computers ushered in the early conceptions of digitization during the third industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 saw these machines connected via the Internet and the rise of cyberspace as a result. This reflects a merging of the physical and digital worlds, and it means that data in the actual world (such as lot numbers, expiration dates, and other information) is simply and quickly accessible through networked devices that automate data capture processing and action.

Where Technology Meets Practicality in Process Manufacturing

Many of the technology applications digital transformation provides may appear to be science fiction (let alone the conceptual implications still being debated). Yet, there are numerous major real uses for Industry 4.0 in food processing. The fact that the tools provided by this new revolution were previously limited to film and television does not diminish the value of capturing visibility and connectivity from anywhere, at any time, and on any device, or of allowing the machines to do the heavy lifting and thinking. From carefully monitoring product lifecycles to adjusting to changes in customer tastes and seasonal shifts, process manufacturers can and should use digital systems and procedures to streamline mission-critical activities that will significantly affect ROI.

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