Upgraded automation platform delivers processing accuracy

A major Italian wine producer adds more automation tools to provide accurate process data between its processing and bottling facility.

Wine producers come from many parts of the world, such as France, California and, of course, Italy.  One of Italy’s largest wine producers is Faenza-based Caviro, with more than 34 partner wineries and 13,000 wine growers from different parts of the country.

Caviro’s business model is all about vertical integration, as the company oversees vineyards, partner wineries, small batch production and bulk wine processing. The company cultivates grapes from eight regions in Italy and has four different facilities for bottling in the country.

With so many moving parts and its high wine standards, Caviro enlisted system integrator, S.A.I.I.E., srl, to deliver a responsive, automation platform for better real-time information in its process and bottling areas at the Forli production facility.

The production process for Caviro begins with its wine cooperative members storing quantities of wine that doesn’t include blending at this point in the supply chain. Suppliers let the wine mature in these vessels and eventually ship the product to the Forli production facility, where the product resides in these storage units for an appropriate length of time. 

This large facility is capable of receiving up to 480,000 hectoliters—12,680,258 gallons—of wine, and the enterprise challenge has been accurate, real-time data exchanges between the bottling operation and processing vessels.

“With more than 6,000 hectoliters of wine bottled packaged each day, we needed an elegant automation solution for our 124 storage vessels,” says Domenico Dosio, general maintenance, investment and technical service manager at Caviro.

Caviro called on Siemens to supply the sensing, networking and control platform solution to address its real-time communication challenges at the production facility. Automation upgrades included the Sitrans LR250 radar transmitter, Sinamics G120C inverters, Simatic ET 200 I/O system and the Simatic S7-1500 PLC.

“The first challenge is the wide range of storage vessel sizes and shape at the facility, says Dosio. The process monitoring solution must be able to suit both stainless steel and fiberglass vessels.”

To enable a real-time monitoring, S.A.I.I.E. engineers added radar transmitters with flanged-encapsulated antennas on the vessel hatch, located at the top, and this shape allowed operators, during maintenance, to clean the equipment without the removal of the transmitter.

The heart of this modernization project centered around seven automatic outflow pipes that move wine from storage vessels to the packaging area. With the help of flowmeters and stainless-steel sensors, operators began to continuously monitor wine flow and level monitoring. Vibrating level switches were added to provide minimum and maximum level monitoring, so operators know exactly when the vessel is empty.

Caviro’s unique processing facility also presented other engineering challenges, such as wine storage vessels stacked on top of each other.

“For some, there isn’t space above the bottom vessel to install a radar transmitter, says Dosi. “So, engineers decided to take advantage of the wide-level measurement technology.”

Instead of top-mounted devices, Caviro uses Sitrans P DS III pressure transmitters to continuously monitor the differential pressure at the bottom of the vessels. From here, the PLC converts that to a volume measurement, according to S.A.I.I.E.

Operators now can see real-time volume measurements and use that information to produce the correct mixture for many different blended wines at Caviro. Plus, the combination of all three updates—radar transmitters, differential pressure readings and a new PLC—allowed operators to provide more precise inventory of all storage vessels.

Caviro also uses Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal for complete production visibility within the processing and packaging areas. “This advanced instrumentation and control system allows us to concentrate on process quality,” says Dosio.

And, that’s good for all wine drinkers.

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