How to reduce downtime in the food and beverage industry

HanFBConnector.jpgOptimal manufacturing requires maximum  usage of the available production time. This applies to the food industry with it origins in process/processing technology as well as in packaging areas. Industrial food processing can have significant downtime that exceeds 400 hours annually in some cases, which results in significant lost operating costs. These breakdowns can lead to delivery delays, and subsequent backlogs of orders. It often takes many interventions by management, re-planning processes or even changes in the distribution schedule to clean up the interruption's impact.

So minimal downtimes are a crucial factor for company profitability. The fundamental time eaters are unplanned breakdowns, but planned maintenance, set-up times and cleaning (Cleaning in Place – CIP – and Cleaning of Place – COP) also reduce system availability. The system shutdown associated with a maintenance hour can cost from 5,000 to 50,000 EUR, depending on the utilization.

One promising approach to minimize these costs involves using connectors allowing “plug and produce”: Whenever speed and reliability are critical, connectors can show their strengths compared to hard-wired solutions. End devices such as motors, frequency converters, heaters and ventilation systems supplied over connectors can be decoupled, interchanged and/or maintained significantly faster than comparable hard-wired devices. While a connector can be closed or disconnected in a maximum of 30 seconds, hard wiring takes an average of around one hour. A plug-in connection is consequently more than 100 times faster.  

This can be illustrated by taking as an example a retrofitting of mixer hoppers for various end products. Possible downtimes can be significantly shortened by using connectors, by the above mentioned factor in the extreme case. Downtimes due to COP, which require disconnecting electric components each time, can be reduced when connectors are used. If replacements for any substitute devices and components are additionally kept on hand, downtimes are further reduced, also thanks to modular interfaces. Pre-assembled cable harnesses are further option to reduce errors in field wiring, such as due to setup changes, production line reconfiguration or commissioning of new machines. Because wiring harnesses that have already been industrial assembled and completely tested have a substantially lower error rate compared manually wired solutions. Each hour of machine availability that is gained by using connectors results in a significant cost reduction (between 5,000 and 50,000 euros, depending on the production line utilization)

Now HARTING has optimized connectors from the Han® F+B series especially for the food industry environment. In order to accommodate hygiene requirements, the patented design employs particularly large radii and has especially smooth surfaces. The material that is used is a PP plastic that is resistant to ECOLAB certified cleaning agents. When the cleaning agents for the material test were selected, it was ensured that a wide range of cleaning agents regularly used in the food industry are covered.

 HARTING has designed the connectors of the Han® F+B series in a way that no external dirt pockets occur on hoods, housings and caps. Especially the “Cap in Cap” function, describing the dirt pocket free threaded connection of the hood cap and the housing cap, can be mounted close to the interface w/o creating additional dirt pockets and always applicable for usage By this the design prevents the adhesion of bacteria and system contamination. All plastics that are used in hoods and housings additionally have FDA21 approval.

 Find out more about this range here;

Han Food & Beverage Range


Source: Harting  Electric GmbH


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