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Cargill improves machine health with condition-based monitoring services

The saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While this quote can apply to just about any segment of a food manufacturing business—financing, overhead, food safety regulations and more—it can also be suitable for inside the food processing facility—the equipment.

That’s why Cargill Inc., selected Azima DLI, a Woburn, Mass.-based provider of scalable, hosted predictive condition monitoring services, to supply whole-plant monitoring services to its North American starch and sweeteners division.

The decision came after Cargill completed an 18-month pilot program at its Bovina, Texas, sweet bran processing plant and its Spiritwood, N.D., micro-malting plant.

Cargill and its maintenance partners use wirelessly-enabled TRIO Class I, Division II vibration data collectors to collect vibration and process data from machinery and transmit it securely over the internet for remote diagnostics by Azima DLI’s analysts.

“Azima DLI demonstrated its ability to remotely monitor, track and accurately diagnose emergent mechanical failures during these two pilot programs,” says Rick Baldridge, global reliability leader for Cargill. “These programs proved both the value of Azima DLI’s WATCHMAN services offering as well as its potential to scale and attain our reliability excellence goals.”

Azima DLI remotely analyzes vibration data from more than 8,000 machines across 14 Cargill sites and delivers comprehensive machinery health information via its WATCHMAN Reliability Portal, which offers multi-views to a plant’s machine condition through the web from any location. In addition, Azima DLI will integrate more than 6,000 lubrication, motor, infrared and other product data management data sources into the Azima DLI WATCHMAN Reliability Portal to create a holistic, multi-technology picture of machine health.

“Cargill is an industry innovator in the realm of applied predictive analytics,” says Burt Hurlock, chief executive officer of Azima DLI. “We look forward to collaborating with Cargill as the company augments its reliability excellence initiatives, which will expand with the implementation of Azima DLI’s WATCHMAN Reliability Portal, and evolve with the domain knowledge and bench depth of Azima DLI’s immediately accessible machine health analysts.”

In February 2010, Cargill implemented a third-party remote video auditing (RVA) program to monitor food safety practices at its Fresno, Calif., and Milwaukee, Wis., beef processing plants. The RVA, supplied by Arrowsight Inc., Mount Kisco, N.Y., in collaboration with ADT Security Services, Boca Raton, Fla., monitors employees and provides constructive statistical feedback to plant management.

Going forward, Cargill and Azima DLI plan to explore the implementation of wireless data collection systems, integration with Cargill’s computerized maintenance management system for work order management and develop business metrics tailored to Cargill’s needs.