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    Sustainability and Maintenance

    In the last few years, Sustainability has become a key issue in the food industry. It has grown as more and more people have understood that it is also a very profitable way to run a business. I have been asked several times how the maintenance function can contribute to sustainability.

    The biggest contribution is that when we maximize equipment uptime and effectiveness, we reduce waste for the entire product supply chain. When we suffer from equipment stoppages, we almost always generate waste of some sort. It might be raw materials used to manufacture the product, or packaging materials, and/or energy.

    The farther into the manufacturing process where the waste occurs, the more it costs. If we have minor stoppages in the packaging equipment, we lose not only packaging materials, but finished product and all the materials, labor, and energy that has gone into them.

    In the area of energy, we in maintenance can contribute by making sure that the replacement component parts that we use are energy efficient. Motors are a good example. The energy efficiency of motors can vary greatly, and we should be sure that we spend a little more to save the energy that we can.

    An effective maintenance organization enhances the sustainability of the overall manufacturing effort by making sure that our equipment is both reliable and efficient.

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