When it comes to creating an optimal manufacturing process that limits variation and conserves energy or resources, or a developing a new formula that is most likely to meet customer expectations, design of experiments (DOE) is an indispensable tool.
Consumers expect a certain consistency in quality and taste from the food and beverage brands they love. But many factors can influence the way a product tastes when it reaches the consumer – ranging from the manufacturing process to seasonality of ingredients to storage temperatures. Similarly, a number of other factors may influence the overall quality attributes that matter, such as alcohol content of beer or stability of the whiskey aging process.
Looking for ways to improve the efficiency of its power plant operations while reducing costs and environmental emissions, the Department of Power and Water at Michigan State University (MSU) began a study using multivariate data analytics that led to some surprising findings. The results have implications that could help other operators of large-scale power facilities reduce their carbon footprint and improve power plant operations.
Finding the right balance between efficient power output from boilers and other energy producing equipment while also reducing environmental emissions is an important objective for power plant operators. Governments and environmental agencies around the world establish emission standards as part of air pollution regulations, but finding the right way to meet the standards can vary greatly depending on location, equipment and other operating factors.
In the midst of a global crisis, many industrial manufacturing operations— including those in the chemical industry— are faced with shortages of supplies and equipment, or staff reductions, and finding it difficult to keep operations working as normal. Are there process improvements or tools that can be used to manage production more efficiently during this time of COVID-19 (and moving forward)?
While many other industries have implemented multivariate data analysis software for process optimization and control, it is still not very common in the pulp and paper industry. However, multivariate data analysis has a very promising potential for both cost reductions and quality improvements in pulp and paper mills. No capital investments are needed, the implementation can be done remotely, and the software typically requires no permits.
Optimizing the function of boilers, turbines and other capital equipment used to generate power requires a careful balance of fuel, heat, pressure, operator proficiency and many other variables. Managing the process on a day-to-day, or minute-to-minute basis, is like performing a skilled and well-orchestrated dance—partly based on data, but also based on operator expertise. Yet, adding more accurate information to the equation can potentially save millions of dollars, cut emissions significantly and even expand the working life of your equipment.
Several trends in the food and beverage industry are leading to challenges for manufacturers that can be best addressed with data analytics. With growing digitalization, more companies have access to the kinds of data that can transform their processes to meet the latest consumer demands as well as to shorten time to market, reduce costs, and shrink health and safety risks.
In agrochemical, pharmaceutical and other industries that manufacture complex chemicals, finding ways to reduce waste and improve inefficiencies often hinges on selecting the right chemical compounds. Data analytics can help manufacturers find alternative compounds that meet complex requirements, decrease raw material usage or enable more cost-effective, sustainable processes.
Whether it’s fake olive oil, coffee bulked up with husks and twigs, or honey tainted with antibiotics, food fraud is a growing problem worldwide. The Australian research organization CSIRO states that the economic damage alone from food fraud has reached $35 billion (in US dollars) in 2018. The underlying cause is nearly always financial gain and economic pressures to save money by using inferior (or mislabeled) products. Predictive analytics is one tool manufacturers are using to combat food fraud.