The food processing industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States, accounting for approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing output. Sales for food processing companies totaled $265.5 billion in 1999. Because of quality of food requirements, stainless steel is widely use. Assuming that the stainless steel consumption and cost in this industry is entirely attributed to corrosion, a total annual direct cost of corrosion is estimated at $2.1 billion. This cost includes stainless steel usage for beverage production, food machinery, cutlery and utensils, commercial and restaurant equipment, and appliances, aluminum cans and the use of corrosion inhibitors.
Maintenance management systems are implemented in food processing plants to monitor machine production histories, downtime, and reliability to prioritize equipment and maintenance problems. Reliability Based Maintenance (RBM) teams are used in conjunction with maintenance management systems to predict maintenance and root-cause analysis of food processing equipment failures. Strategic maintenance programs are part of the plants overall vision of the future, which aims at boosting production efficiency.