Improving asset performance management in the food & drink industry


The team here at Detectronic are supporting a leading UK bakery with its asset performance management. Located in Yorkshire, the commercial bakery contacted us after experiencing issues with the amount of solids in its trade effluent discharge.

In order to comply with the terms of the trade effluent consent licence and meet regulatory compliance, the bakery’s operations team was eager to address the problem and better understand the entire trade effluent process.


  • Identify issues with solids in trade effluent with a view to providing a solution
  • Deliver trade effluent licence compliance
  • Better understand the bakery’s entire trade effluent process in order to improve asset performance management

Planning & implementation

Following a couple of site visits, we devised a short-term study to ascertain what was happening when the effluent stream discharged, discover the constituents of that trade effluent and identify when spikes in both dissolved and suspended solids were specifically occurring.

We installed one of our ORAKEL Asset Performance Monitors (APM) which features a multi-analyser to accurately calculate daily loads and instantaneous loading. Using the ORAKEL APM, the objective was to gather data on both flow and load of the effluent discharge and find out exactly what was causing the increases in solids.

After just a couple of weeks, our skilled data analysts were able to identify a very clear pattern, provide highly accurate insight and offer a tangible solution.

A number of different manufacturing process impact the amount of suspended or dissolved solid in the effluent stream. In-house management of the washdown regime helps reduce the amount of solids being discharged. However, due to the nature of large production runs, it is inevitable that there will always be considerable high levels of solids in the effluent discharged from an industrial scale bakery.

It is, therefore, important that the trade effluent monitoring equipment used to determine the effluent discharge parameters is reliable. From the short-term survey, it was identified that a small background flow was causing the automatic wastewater sampler to act like a timed proportional sampler. This meant it was grabbing a sample from the sewer every 16 minutes, regardless of a true production run.

This was further impounded by the dissolved solid being retained in the sewer by a downstream restriction. Therefore, the automatic wastewater sampler was grabbing old waste that was just sat in the sewer.


Adjustments to the sampling regime and investigation to the downstream restriction has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the daily solid load previously being reported by the factory to the regulator.

Before any factory or business can improve its asset management performance, it must first fully comprehend its own unique trade effluent discharge process. By implementing a strategic monitoring project to address a specific issue, answers can be provided and significant cost and operational efficiencies achieved.