Grantek has over three decades of wide-ranging experience in the food and beverage industry—in fact it is our largest vertical. We have completed integration work across a broad range of products, including brewing, soft drinks, meats, dairy and snacks. We understand the regulatory environment in which food and beverage manufacturers operate, and our expertise extends to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) taking effect in 2017.
Many food and beverage producers rely on automated systems to ensure production at a scale large enough to meet demand. Maximizing the capacity of the automated systems means measuring production correctly, ensuring complete but fast sanitation, minimizing energy usage, ensuring mass balance, reducing product changeover times, increasing yields, and ensuring quality and food safety. Grantek has deep experience providing our clients with applications such as OEE and downtime tracking, CIP controls, automated recipe management, centerlining, golden batch, HMI/SCADA, mass balance intelligence, process historians, statistical process control (SPC), and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) applications.
A properly integrated system also enhances the traceability of food products in compliance with FSMA. Traceability provides the producer with the information necessary to minimize the scope of a recall and improve quality overall and reduce cost by reducing waste and catching problems early. Further, a properly integrated system also provides important information for use in a hazard analysis when required.
Our consultants can help generate a strategic roadmap to help you plan future upgrades and expansions. We determine where our clients want to go and understand how to help them get there, improving efficiency, increasing yields, and maximizing ROI by implementing upgrades in logical steps.
Grantek has experience across the breadth of the food and beverage industry. Our expertise goes well beyond simply automating food production. We can integrate your systems through all five levels of the ISA-95 model to provide actionable business intelligence.
Grantek’s Project Process
Our food and beverage consulting team has wide-ranging expertise and focuses on optimizing productivity, increasing yields, improving quality and improving speed for respond to a recall. At Grantek our Project Management Office has the experience to design complete production lines and add them to your plant, as well as the expertise to upgrading existing lines. We study how you do business and develop complete specifications that identify your needs and how we are going to meet them. We work with our clients throughout the process to help ensure compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices and design systems in preparation for FSMA compliance. We also help our customers select the right machine suppliers and equipment and then pilot their projects to verify fit and function. Our experience and process, and adherence to industry standards, helps ensure satisfaction and results in a strategic manufacturing road map that can maximize ROI well into the future.
Our process consists of thoroughly understanding the customer’s requirements, determining what needs to be built to meet those requirements, and developing system design specifications to meet the functional requirements.
Our vendor-agnostic approach focuses on optimizing products and increasing yields. Grantek understands the tools brought to the table if our customer has already chosen an automation vendor, such as Rockwell, Wonderware, GE, Inductive or Cognex. We partner with many top suppliers to ensure our staff has the training and experience needed to effectively implement solutions using the products. We help customers automate and integrate the following types of food/beverage production:
- Continuous process
- Batch process
- Discrete manufacturing (assembly and packaging)
If appropriate, for MES level projects, Grantek constructs a pilot system to test upgrades/systems that are intended to be rolled out to multiple lines or facilities. We perform extensive acceptance testing/IQ/OQ to ensure the system meets the specified requirements. To do this, we ensure that we staff engineers with the right experience cross the scope of a project, including vision systems, controls, HMI, Historian. MES, ERP integration, and reporting.
If Grantek is installing an automation-only project, we conduct FAT/SAT on every project. If a higher level of integration is required, we define success criteria up front in order to conduct effective end-to-end testing as the system is implemented. We design a closed loop system of testing to ensure that the system as installed meets all business and technical requirements.
As part of any project, our Project Managers deliver a complete documentation package including:
- As-built drawings defining the system configuration
- User manuals as needed for the installed equipment
- Specific training documents for your operators
- Specification documentation
- Troubleshooting information for your maintenance staff
Grantek employs modern operational and information technologies in our systems designs. We are a partner with several major automation and software vendors, including Rockwell Automation, Inductive Automation, SAP, Cognex, and others. Our engineers have deep expertise in integrating complex systems involving process and packaging, as well as networks and cybersecurity.
We promote the use of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and business system integration to improve system performance. We are a member of MESA International and are a MESA Recognized Business with a number of MESA Recognized Practitioners on our staff. Whether we design a new production line or an upgrade to an existing line, we focus on optimizing production, improving quality, and enhancing regulatory compliance through information. A properly integrated MES produces business intelligence from line sensors on a machine all the way up to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, allowing management to understand the situation on the production line and plan accordingly.