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SOMAX interview with Baking Business at IBIE 2019

SOMAX’s J Wright was interviewed by Baking Business. For the full article, click here.

“IoT is just scratching the surface of its potential,” J Wright tells Josh Sosland of Baking Business. “Smart phones are the new clipboards.”

The case for IoT in baking maintenance has become increasingly compelling because of the lack of resources bakers have to devote to maintenance, excessive paperwork in maintenance, the increasingly complicated array of software involved in bakery production today, according to the article.

The baking industry also faces a major shortage of skilled maintenance personnel. The article points out there are approximately 700,000 maintenance jobs open in the United States, and young people aren’t being trained for the multi-faceted work required of maintenance staff. Simultaneously, the most experienced and skilled workers are rapidly approaching retirement age.

When talking with Sosman, Wright gave a very practical example of how IoT may be used in baking:

The installation of $100 sensors on a piece of baking equipment would replace weekly or monthly inspections of the equipment. Plus, the sensor checks on the device once a minute – instead of weekly or monthly – helping maintenance personnel use their time more productively and stop problems before they escalate.

Success with IoT comes not just from identifying problems, Wright said. Developing checklists/procedures for what to do with the information is also key.

Wright also pointed out that while the baking industry is 5 to 10 years behind many other industries in adopting IoT for maintenance, a benefit is the cost of IoT has declined.

Heat and vibration sensors are two great ways to monitor the health of baking equipment. While many baking operations managers identify vibration as a good test case for using sensors, Wright advocates heat sensors as a better starting point. Detecting changes in vibrations can be complex, while heat sensors are capable of identifying a wide range of issues such as low oil in a gear box; alignment issues; binding issues; loose or faulty wiring and bearing issues - allowing the baker to catch problems before significant damage occurs.

For more detailed advice on what IoT offers the baking industry and how to get started,  click here for the full article in Baking Business.