An increasing number of food and drink manufacturers across the UK are making use of the expertise of external engineers in order to help fill gaps in their own internal workforce.
The move has allowed many firms to achieve the level of efficiency need to compete with their rivals, while also managing to keep costs down.
A recent conference organised by Mitsubishi Electric Europe (MEE) discussed the nature of ongoing improvements in terms of production within the industry, including the examination of overall equipment effectiveness, energy consultations and asset audits.
MEE's managing director John Rowley, cited the firm's work with Yorkshire pudding manufacturer to increase productivity through improving the level of disposition and monitoring technologies, which eventually led to a cut in giveaway, while another case study looked at automated biscuit production using vacuum gripper technology.
Other companies to have benefitted from such expertise include Kerry Foods, which has managed to record an improvement in its energy consumption and subsequently cut its running costs at its plan it in Spalding, Lincolnshire, with the help of Brammer, a British distributor of maintenance, repair and overhaul services.
As well as reducing financial costs, Brammer's work at Kerry Foods has also managed to help the firm to cut its carbon emissions.
Brammer's regional key account executive Andy Hickin said: "Our audit of the Kerry Foods facility soon established that motors powering three separate systems were constantly running at full capacity, with no means of controlling speed to match demand.
"After demonstrating the possible carbon savings – as well as the short payback period – achievable by providing variable speed control to these motors, an upgrade project was agreed with the customer."
These motors involved included a 7.5kW device, used to maintain higher air pressure within the plant than outside, while an 18.5kW motor was used to power high-pressure hot water for the washing down of equipment.
As these machines were running 24 horus a day, they added up to total running cost of over £18,000 per year.