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FoodTech Report

Volume 7 Issue 1

Line efficiency saves money,
protects product quality


An economic downturn can force companies to focus on how internal processes impact the bottom line. But in both good and bad times, line efficiency enhancements can increase productivity and provide cost savings.

JBT FoodTech engineers, service managers and technicians are constantly evaluating equipment operating efficiency to reveal opportunities for cost recovery, cost savings and process remediation. The most common ways to ensure lines run at optimal efficiency is through aftermarket upgrade kits, maintenance programs and off-site product and equipment testing.

Aftermarket parts and services play an important role in the philosophy of total-cost-of-ownership, where processors make the most of their equipment to save costs now and sustain a healthy business in the future.

Increase profits with regular upgrades and communication

JBT FoodTech specialists often identify opportunities for improved operation through hands-on experience maintaining equipment operating leases. In many cases, DSI lease contracts guarantee 99 percent uptime.

JBT FoodTech makes custom improvements to leased equipment and then passes this knowledge on to equipment owners and operators through aftermarket upgrade kits. For DSI Waterjet Portioning Systems alone, this approach has led to the development of four new upgrade kits in the first quarter of 2009.

Line efficiency and profitability also are dependent on communication on the plant floor. Operations management, quality assurance and maintenance management should all have the same perspective on the needs and changes to the line.

“If I am a maintenance manager and I find a way to save $20 on the cost of a part, this could appear to be a good choice,” said Kelly Golden, DSI service manager for JBT FoodTech. “But if the part does not function well and generates hundreds of dollars in additional downtime and maintenance, a $20 savings now results in added costs on the bottom line.”

When looking at total cost of ownership, maintenance and operational efficiency go hand in hand.

From unplanned downtime to 96 percent efficiency

The majority of JBT FoodTech food processing equipment has a potential lifespan of more than 20 years. This longevity can only be achieved through diligent care that includes regularly scheduled maintenance, awareness of each system’s limitations, and using the most effective parts and aftermarket products.

An effective maintenance program can be the difference between an unplanned equipment replacement and a planned replacement. A U.K.-based canned food processor realized this benefit firsthand after a major overhaul significantly reduced unplanned downtime.

With no maintenance plan in place, the canned food processor had a high number of major unplanned stops in 1999. In 2000, JBT FoodTech provided the processor with a major overhaul of its eight sterilizer lines, each of which housed multiple shells. The overhaul reduced major stops by 75 percent in 2000. After the overhaul, the processor decided to forgo a maintenance program, and by 2007, the equipment was prematurely deteriorating. Major stops increased by four in 2007, equivalent to operating at an 81 percent efficiency rate. With a second overhaul in 2008, plus the addition of a maintenance plan, JBT FoodTech was able to guarantee a 96 percent efficiency of the sterilizers.

Leave it to the experts



When processors are testing new products on existing equipment or considering new equipment for an existing product, they typically have two options. They could shut down part or all of their operations to test a new food product, processing technique or packaging design in existing lines. Or, they will purchase new equipment for a line without testing to ensure a product can be processed appropriately. Both options come at a cost of lost production time.

JBT FoodTech Food Technology Centers provide food pilot labs and expert staff for product research, equipment testing and maintenance training. Processors can run production as usual, while gaining insight on product or equipment design that they would not have achieved on their own.

A reactive approach to line efficiency can quickly lead to unplanned downtime and unexpected costs. This can throw a wrench in production and operating budgets. Planning, upgrading, testing and maintaining equipment help processors take control of their operations, opening the door for continuous improvement and untapped revenue.

To learn more about JBT FoodTech products and services, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site.

DSI is a trademark of JBT Corporation.

©2009 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved

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