The Food & Beverage industry is an industry serving a very large number of consumers. Their tastes and habits are constantly changing and evolving which impacts the way manufacturers build, operate, and optimize their plants. These manufacturers may need to build bigger plants to produce higher volumes or need to increase velocity to optimize time delivery and inventories. Skills and experience are a necessity for plant managers to drive their assets in a safe condition.
By combining smart devices and smart machines processes with software, digital solutions, such as our EcoStruxure platform and architecture, allow transforming manufacturing operations and improve flexibility and profitability to tackle the challenges of 21st century manufacturing.
One of the main capabilities for an Agile Manufacturing is Process Control Systems. As a matter of fact, the Food & Beverage industry is made of several sub-segments with different requirements concerning Process Automation. Some processes are discrete, moving more or less solid parts, others are continuous, processing liquids without stop and many are batch or hybrid. From our Process Automation line of business, we have technologies that can be used in Food & Beverage process control applications to manage these types of processes.
Among these solutions, there is EcoStruxure Process Expert which is a comprehensive architecture built on secure, field-proven components from connected products like sensors, electrical devices, circuit breakers, motor starters or speed drives.
The solution is connected to edge control and includes operation and engineering server to business information systems as well as navigation services, alarm management, sequence of events, version control and operational audit trail.
EcoStruxure Process Expert provides features of a traditional DCS like single database, concurrent engineering, high availability, or powerful diagnostics while providing an easy to use and open automation system based on best-in-class products and open standards. This solution is an energy-aware Process Automation System that delivers on growing energy management requirements.
EcoStruxure Process Expert brings together the best from the PLC and DCS worlds and combines it with integrated energy management features to deliver superior value throughout the life cycle of a plant. It allows better maintenance capability to reduce downtime and maximizes operational profitability.
To better understand the benefits of applying Process Control solutions, the case of Aavin Dairy, a popular cooperative Milk Producers’ Federations in Tamil Nadu is perfect.
Aavin dairy offers committed supply of milk, both packed in sachets and loose, through booths, automatic vending machines, parlours and other retail outlets. It promotes economic development of the local farming community by procuring, processing, and manufacturing milk products.
The company was looking to improve productivity to meet growing market demands, accuracy in milk processing uniformity in end product quality and to reduce excessive plant downtime. They were faced with diverse difficulties such as lack of scalability, asset information, life cycle support and maintenance. They also had limited monitoring due to a manual plant which reduces operational efficiency, no visibility on energy consumption and the inability to track operational events.
Aavin Dairy chose EcoStruxure Process Expert with Modicon PLCs and connected products like Altivar Process and Harmony HMI as a solution.
The solution increased production from 0.2 to 0.3 million litres per day with a scalability up to 0.5 million litres but also operational efficiency and flexibility. It allowed the company to have real-time visibility, a future-proof system, simplified operation and maintenance as well as improved energy efficiency using consumption reports.
The results were highly satisfactory with 50% increase in milk processing capacity and 50% improvement in operational efficiency.
In addition to companies like Aavin Dairy, Schneider Electric’s partners have also used Exchange to find this solution.
It is the case for Interlinx, a certified Alliance SI from Malaysia who was looking for EcoStruxure™ Process Expert libraries (formerly named EcoStruxure™ Hybrid DCS) for projects in the sugar industry. Exchange contextualized search helped Interlinx discover a specialized library for Ecostruxure Process Expert. The library is published by Supertech, a Master Alliance SI from India, which monetized its IP on Exchange.
Interlinx purchased Process Expert libraries for Sugar Industry from Supertech through a transaction fully executed on the Exchange platform. The license management and the download were also carried through the platform.
Another available solution is Plant iT by ProLeiT which is an object-oriented, continuous and PLC-based automation solution whose base systems include a standard process control system with integrated recipe management system for hybrid and batch processes. Plant iT provides a manufacturing execution system functionality, one central database and on one server as well as a standardized user interface, a sidebar, a ribbon menu, and search tools. The solution also comes with context-sensitive user guidance and comprehensive alarm management.
Plant iT allows to replay events for analysis and training thanks to its visu-recorder functionality. It includes phase controllers to take care of the processes, object control matrix to control the function of the objects involved and automation objects that monitor themselves. The solution offers full transparency down to the single object.
Plant iT offers numerous benefits. First, efficient engineering with parameterization instead of programming and an open and compiler less system architecture. It also offers a user-friendly interface developed based on the latest usability standards as well as a lean system design and operation. Finally, the solution allows enhanced audit, traceability, and continuous improvement.
With Plant iT, no complex PLC coding is required, configuration and start-up are simplified thanks to embedded process-specific libraries. Its system is multilingual, available in seven languages and is built upon Microsoft Standard software.
It is an integrated Automation System for customers to design, engineer, operate and maintain standardized control systems based on Modicon PAC, and provides a seamless Integration with AVEVA System Platform. It provides an asset centric and object-oriented automation platform to deploy system-wide standards in a digital ecosystem.
This solution allows centralized hardware management, control system architecture management and central repository hardware configuration. It includes a plant model designed with reusable and standard asset templates; plant assets are centrally asset configuration. This way, control logic strategies are automatically created based on plant asset configuration and distribution. Standardization is enforced reducing errors and driving consistency and quality.
EcoStruxure™ Process Expert for AVEVA System Platform provides numerous benefits. Thanks to its unified engineering tool to boost efficiency, engineering costs are reduced as well as time to market with faster project delivery. The solution also improves operational profitably with tools and information in a format to empower workforce to make business decisions to continuously improve productivity. Finally, maintenance and plant performance are also enhanced.
For more information on Process Control Systems, Agile Manufacturing or on the Food & Beverage industry, join the discussion with experts in the dedicated Exchange Forum.