KANSAS CITY — With labor-tight bakeries crunched for capacity, eliminating unnecessary downtime has become essential to ensure they reliably meet their customers’ demands for their products. That’s why there’s an increasing focus on tools that provide predictive maintenance.

At the IBIE 2022 and Pack Expo trade shows, equipment companies featured apps or subscription cloud-based platforms that monitor machine metrics, measure vibration, track wear parts and provide predictive maintenance. Bakers, for instance, can get real-time monitoring of cycles, hours of operation and run time status of all the critical wear parts on a machine.

Remote technology surged as food manufacturers searched for ways to reduce unexpected downtime, drive efficiencies and bolster capacity to meet the demand for more products, noted Jorge Izquierdo, vice president, market development, PMMI.

While cybersecurity remains an issue, he added, many food manufacturers discovered ways to alleviate those concerns using cloud-based, wireless and other solutions and embraced predictive maintenance. In fact, PMMI’s 2022 report on “The Future of Automation of Packaging and Processing” shows 58% of consumer packaged goods companies use remote access while 32% plan to use it in the next three years, and 43% currently rely on predictive maintenance while 45% expect to roll it out soon.

“It’s similar when you’re driving a car these days,” Mr. Izquierdo said. “You really don’t check the pressure of your tires anymore because if there is a problem, your car will tell you.”

As companies transition from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance, the finish line is a more profitable bottom line.