MRO Magazine

Max uptime event brings F&B industry together

Around 100 food and beverage industry professionals attended Food and Beverage Maintenance and Engineering magazine’s Max Uptime virtual event recently.

July 6, 2022 | By Mario Cywinski

Max Uptime looked at how an organization’s food and beverage production capabilities are highly dependent on the state of its capital assets. Additionally, how the goal of any organization is to maximize uptime.
It offered maintenance and reliability professionals in the food and beverage sector knowledge and techniques on how to easily identify an asset issue, react to solve problems, and prevent unexpected and costly breakdowns.

Four industry experts presented, covering a wide cross-section of the food and beverage industry with topics ranging from visual management tools, data-driven warehouse operations, to robotics, and best practices for food and beverage manufacturing.

Uptime optimization using visual management tools
Mariela Castaño, Senior Vice-President and COO of Kunst Solutions led the opening presentation. She shared tips and tricks that can be applied within the work environment to improve observation that processes are in control and running at rate. As well, a method to keep team members engaged and helping to detect potential problems early.

“Working in the food industry I learned some of the most important lessons in my life. It is where I learned the power of visual management and its effects in uptime, efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability,” said Castaño. “It was a real pleasure to participate in the MRO Max Uptime event and briefly share a summary of my learnings. This industry needs not only heroic actions but also a well-planned and executed improvement journey to ensure sustained and efficient results.”


Data-driven warehouse operations and evidence-based insights for productivity and profit
Paul Tolnai, Business Development Manager at Icicle spoke about the benefits of automation. More specifically, how to build capacity for lean production teams through supply chain challenges, how to optimize maintenance to ensure sustained productivity and why reducing waste to meet profitability and sustainability goals is valuable. He discussed how building supply chain agility and flexibility through supplier and formula management and how to achieve operational excellence through a unified data-driven approach.

“The combination of proven business strategy with smart automation technology ensures that food manufacturers can take challenges in stride. Data-driven food manufacturers increase worker productivity and manufacturing uptime in a way that yields rewards beyond improved profitability,” said Tolnai. “They build resilient and innovative businesses that stand the test of time despite notoriously razor thin margins, delivering an elevated level of safety, quality and trust with their customers.”

How robotics is changing food
Jim Beretta of Canadian Food Innovation Network explored how operation teams can integrate technology into their plants to achieve efficiency and open new business opportunities for their organizations. He spoke about how research, automation and data are driving the 4.0 food industry towards innovation for food service and grocery customers. Beretta used a selection of videos to convey his topic.

“As a follow up to my presentation on food and robotics: Robotics in action, Seeing is Believing, on behalf of the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN), one of the most important advancements of Industry 4.0 and IoT has to do directly with MRO,” said Beretta. “Unplanned downtime can be almost eliminated by harvesting data we already have access to in our facilities. All that’s required for Canadian companies, is planning and leadership to take advantage of these technologies.”

Best practices for improving uptime in food and beverage manufacturing
Jim Neawedde, Food and Beverage Segment Manager at Motion Division – Drives Business at ABB, discussed how many components play a part in maximizing uptime in a food and beverage facility. He mentioned how running lean has become the mantra of most manufacturers. When instead, the focus needs to be on the core competency of producing quality products. As food and beverage plants become more automated, processes need to be efficient, maintained, and repaired when needed.

Neawedde also spoke about how system design impacts uptime, how energy efficiency plays a role, how to make improvements, and what tools and resources can help you create efficiencies that drive uptime.
“The Max Uptime was a fantastic virtual event featuring a unique panel of experts who provided insight into the newest trends driving improved operational efficiency,” said Neawedde. “I was honoured to present solutions and techniques for mitigating electrical harmonics, moving from preventive to predictive maintenance, improving process efficiency, and reducing energy costs.”

Each presentation was followed with an insightful Q and A session.

Max Uptime presentations are available online here:


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