Industrial Automation

Why the Data Ingestion Phase Is Critical to the CPG Sector

Peter Kneski

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is ever-changing, with new competitors emerging every day as consumers shift their expectations and buying behavior.


As a result, CPG plants are taking steps to improve data ingestion and make production processes leaner to decrease waste, reduce errors, eliminate unplanned downtime and integrate automation. These improvements in operational efficiency can help a CPG plant outperform the competition by allowing it to lower costs and get more goods to consumers faster. 


An important part of the shift to lean production is moving from reactive to predictive maintenance—and relying on data ingestion to make it happen. 


Reactive or corrective maintenance involves repairing equipment after it fails. Predictive maintenance is enabled by technology, sensors and data. By constantly monitoring equipment performance, failure can be anticipated and predicted, allowing issues to be fixed before malfunctions occur.


Predictive Maintenance Provides Better Visibility


Say you invest in a machine that performs packaging and labeling tasks. It has a highly reliable, good-quality motor—but motors will eventually fail because they have constantly moving parts. At some point, when its parts no longer move, the motor will reach the end of its life.


If your plant works in reactive mode, then you may not realize there’s a problem with the motor until it breaks down and equipment stops functioning. This can bring production lines to an unexpected halt. In a predictive environment, however, data can warn you about anomalies that indicate potential problems ahead: overheating, overloading, vibration, etc. You have the chance to step in and correct a problem before time and money are lost.


The evolution of cars over the past few decades is a good reflection of what’s happening in the CPG world today. In the 1960s and 1970s, there weren’t many dashboard warning signs to indicate potential motor failure. You rarely knew there was a problem until a few moments before the motor stopped working (popping noises or dark smoke may be the first clue). 


Today, cars are equipped with state-of-the-art warning lights, indicators and even apps to let you know when something isn’t right. By continuously monitoring sensors and signals that could affect performance—and relying on data ingestion to get this information to the right places—you can find out what the check engine light means and how bad the problem may be so you can take action. And that’s exactly where the CPG industry is headed with factory automation. Digitizing processes provides better visibility into each step of production. 


The Role of Data Ingestion in Predictive Maintenance 


If you want to automate processes and detect equipment defects as part of predictive maintenance, then gathering data from across the entire production environment is necessary. 


A data ingestion framework is a critical component of predictive maintenance, providing a roadmap to extract, transform and load data from different sources for processing and analysis—often moving it from the premises to the cloud. The data ingestion process can happen in real time to enable operational decisions.


Establishing Your Data Ingestion Framework


The first step to get your data ingestion framework set up involves a workflow and reliability assessment within your plant and control system. What information and processes are currently being digitized? What needs to be digitized in order to improve efficiency and implement predictive maintenance? Answering these questions also gives you a benchmark to work from in the future. 


Once you assess your plant’s situation, then you can map out the steps needed to establish your data ingestion framework. It outlines the process you use to transport data from various sources to a storage repository or data processing tool.


The Next Step in Your Digitization Journey


Belden’s goal is to provide your plant with education and solutions that help you become leaner and more efficient so you can act based on what your data tells you. 


We can evaluate your plant with a network assessment and audit. As our consultants dive deep to identify challenges and uncover opportunities, this helps you (and us) develop a comprehensive understanding of your operation’s workflow and processes.


From there, we create a unique blueprint and business plan designed to meet your specific KPIs and requirements while ensuring that your network outperforms industry benchmarks and maximizes return on investment. Start here.