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Industry 4.0 in the food and beverage industry

eremy Shinton explains how food and drink manufacturers in particular can benefit from the implementation of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0
can be defined as the development of manufacturing technologies to allow higher levels of interconnectivity, leading to greater communication between machines and decentralised/local processing of data. The result is smart factories in which machinery is increasingly autonomous, so able to manage its own service and maintenance requirements, and adapt instantly to new production requirements.


Industry 4.0 is leading to greater communication between machines and decentralised/local processing of data. The result is smart factories, able to manage their own service and maintenance requirements and adapt instantly to new production requirements. Source: Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV Automation Systems Division, UK

Food and drink manufacturers could benefit from the implementation of Industry 4.0 even more than most industries. Here’s how:

* The constant pressure on costs in the food industry means it has a long history of innovating, so is likely to embrace Industry 4.0quickly and enthusiastically;

* The need for traceability right through the production chain has already ensured that machines are interconnected and archiving data. Industry 4.0 will enhance this;

* Greater flexibility will enable bespoke production for each customer and rapid adaption to changing product specifications;

* Energy usage can be monitored and optimised to new levels.

The net result will be improved machine performance, optimised maintenance and reduced costs. This should help win new customers and retain existing ones. It is also likely to create new revenue streams in the form of value adding services, and allow seamless connectivity with upstream and downstream supply chain partners.

The constant pressure on costs in the food industry means it has a long history of innovating, so is likely to embrace Industry 4.0 quickly and enthusiastically. Source: Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV Automation Systems Division, UK

The constant pressure on costs in the food industry means it has a long history of innovating, so is likely to embrace Industry 4.0 quickly and enthusiastically. Source: Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV Automation Systems Division, UK

Significantly, Industry 4.0 is not just a ‘big boys’ toy’. If anything, it offers even more opportunities for small- and medium-sized food and drink producers, which will be able to form seamless links with their machine builders and technical services suppliers. This will make their production systems just as advanced and sophisticated as those of their larger brethren.

For instance, it will permit the optimisation of preventive maintenance programmes, so that expensive and delay-inducing machine failures are all but designed out. Put another way – the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) strategies that to date have been the preserve of larger companies, will come within reach of all.

We can sum up Industry 4.0 as improving data management through better communication and data collection across all machines in the production chain; instant archiving and data historian functions; real-time analytics; multifunction alarm management; web-publishing; as well as interconnectivity and data transparency throughout the entire value chain.


Most engineers are able to see the practical advantages that the new cyber-physical interface of Industry 4.0 will bring. However, like the internet 20 years ago, or mains electricity a hundred years ago – it will almost certainly over-deliver on expectations by orders of magnitude. This is because while we can foresee the immediate and obvious benefits, far more will almost certainly evolve over time.

Jeremy Shinton, Product Manager – Business Solutions at Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV Automation Systems Division.

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Industry 4.0: the smart Factory of the future in the Food and Beverage Industry, by Siemens

  • How to create the Smart Factory of the future in the Food and Beverage Industry was the main topic of the conference organized by Siemens

Siemens’ Digital Factory Division in Greece, in cooperation with the German-Hellenic Chamber of Industry and Commerce, organized in June a conference on the topic: Industry 4.0: How to build the Smart Factory of the future in the Food & Beverage industry, at the Science Center and Technology Museum “NOESIS”, in Thessaloniki.

More than 120 executives of the most important businesses in the Food and Beverage Industry of the country attended the conference, which included speeches by representatives of organizations and companies from Greece and abroad and by Siemens’ executives. Aiming to bring in contact the world of the Greek industry in Food and Beverage with the new worldwide trends and technologies, the innovative Siemens’ technological solutions that cover the present and future needs of the specific industry were presented during the event, so that the transition of the industry sector in the digitalization era (Industry 4.0) will be accomplished more effectively and reliably, in Greece as well.

During the open discussion session, all the participants had the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers, regarding the next day for the Industry sector in Greece and for the ways with which Siemens can contribute in the preparation of the Industry for the transition to Industry 4.0. In parallel, an exhibition by the Siemens’ Solution Partners took place, where visitors had the chance to be informed about the solutions offered by the Siemens’ Solution Partners in Greece. The global network of Siemens’ Solution Partners consists of certified partners in the Industry sector, who along with their proved expertise and experience, offer those solutions that will cover all the needs of the interested parties. Having access to and knowledge of all new technologies and systems of Siemens, the Siemens’ partners design guaranteed solutions especially for the needs of each industry.

Mr. Konstantin Zois, General Director of the Digital Factory/ Process Industries & Drives Divisions in Siemens Greece, stated: “Our basic aim from the beginning, as we recognize the importance of the Food & Beverage sector for the domestic Industry, was to support the role that this sector can play as a pioneer in the convergence of the digital and the real world. We all now recognize that software and data management  is the key for a sustainable future, and in this light, we organized with great pleasure the conference in the Industry field, under the central theme of the digital revolution in the Industry sector, or otherwise called Industry 4.0”.


Mr. Stefanos Tziritis, President of ISOMAT A.E and President of the Committee of North Greece of the German-Hellenic Chamber of Industry and Commerce, during his speech referred to the importance of the Greek industry’s participation in the digitalization era, as well as to the contribution of the Chamber as a communication bridge among the Greek and the German businesses.

Dr. Philipp Hoff, of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, referred to the latest trends and developments in the Food and Beverage Industry in the context of the Digital Revolution (Industry 4.0) and presented the benefits of the Digital Revolution for the businesses, that can be summarized as follows: a) design and manufacture better products  b) improve process efficiency and save costs  c) create new business models  d) generate additional business (  3D bio-printing for fabricating biological constructs to produce soft tissues and artificial bones) e) unleash innovation f)  rethink organizations.

Referring to Greece and to the country’s position in relation to the implementation of the Digital Revolution, Dr. Hoff said that Greece has a long way to move ahead, as its ranking in the category of Business Usage is in the 96th position, in the category of the use of International patents Greece is in the 39th position, and holds the 111th position in the employee training and development category*. In addition, the fact that Greece belongs to the “Reluctant users” of Industry 4.0, by having for the time being one of the lower indexes regarding its participation in the Digital Revolution** compared to the rest of the European countries, demonstrates the big distance that our country has to  go through  in the near future, said Dr. Hoff.

He added that in order for Greece to be closer to the Industry 4.0 revolution, the immediate improvement of conditions is required, such as investments in infrastructure and energy, data connectivity, and adoption of new technologies by companies, as well as the acceleration of innovation, through the cooperation of the public with the private sector, the adoption of best practices by the global network, the establishment of  Infrastructures  with focus on the digital infrastructures, in a competitive environment that will foster the adoption of new dynamic telecommunications and network usage. Moreover, fostering new talents through education policies, as well as the development of an action-plan by the companies for the adoption of Industry 4.0 and for its integration in the corporate strategy of each company, is essential according to Dr. Hoff.

Ms. Ioanna Karapanou-Blob, Regional Partner Manager of Siemens Factory Automation Division, presented the Siemens global program of certified partners. The company has 1.000 certified partners in more than 75 countries with the aim of creating added value and competitive advantage for its clients. Through this partner program, Siemens provides all the necessary knowledge required for ensuring product and services’ quality, integrated applications, systems and experience.

Mr. Feng-Erik Sun, Marketing Manager in Automation Division of Siemens spoke for the businesses’ need to proceed with the improvement of their processes, in order to remain competitive, through production flexibility, reduction of time to market, increase of production’s quality and efficiency. Mr. Sun presented the Digital Enterprise portfolio characterized by an efficient interoperability of all automation components, underlying that only a holistic approach regarding the automation technologies can lead to a sustainable competiveness in all the steps of the productive process, which is the desired outcome.

Mr.Hans- Joachim Roesler, Food & Beverage Manager of Siemens, analyzed the challenges of the Food and Beverage Industry and presented the automation processes on a plant level, from
its planning to its operation, which constitute the base for the factory of the future, providing ways for the standardization of various interfaces of hardware and software, through appropriate data management.

Finally, Mr. Georgios Petrakis, President and CEO of the Automation System Hellas, and a Siemens Solution Partner, cited an example of new technologies’ application in the Food and Beverage industry, which took place in Greece.

* Source: WEF Global Information Technology Report 2015, Roland Berger

** The valuation is based on industrial excellence (production process sophistication, degree of automation, readiness workforce and innovation intensity) and value network