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Beverage producer delivers step-change optimization

With strong competition from private labels and fresh food offerings for many years, large food and beverage producers are optimizing production and increasingly connecting plants to business platforms, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP). These plant optimization efforts take on greater dimension when producers need to add new production lines due to volume demands while also introducing new productivity metrics.

South African-based Amalgamated Beverage Industries, a division of SABMiller, recently commissioned a new, high-speed KHS filling and packaging line for its beverage production division and concurrently added Schneider Electric’s manufacturing execution system (MES) Wonderware Performance software.

Along with these capital additions, the commissioning of the packaging line also introduced PackML information blocks — from The Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) group, which standardized machine communications and facilitated easier overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) calculations.

“Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are responsible for the performance and the commissioning of their machines until handover,” says John Coetzee, business systems manager for manufacturing at SAB, “and, without a yardstick, it’s difficult for us to evaluate the meaning of the statistics they provide.”

This modernization and enterprise integration effort also included the addition of Schneider Electric’s Archestra A system platform, InTouch SCADA, an information server web portal and a real-time historian.

The introduction of the ISA-95 based-MES system to the packaging division allows SAB to integrate the MES and ERP systems and optimize inefficient processes. Currently, SAP’s ERP planning module generates orders and are then entered manually into the MES.

“The MES software is required to add context to the captured information,” says Coetzee. The software tracks production volumes and deliveries against the downloaded production order (that originates from the ERP).”

SAB enlisted system integrator South African-based EOH Mining and Manufacturing (EOHMM) for the project at the company’s Amalgamated Beverage Industries’ plant in Pretoria, South Africa. The system integrator compiled user requirement specifications, developed and implemented the full application right through to the end-user reports, conducted factory acceptance testing, and commissioned and trained users and the technical team.

The new HMI screens give operators on the plant floor OEE data and a clear look at machine states via the PackML communication standard. For the default operator screens on the filler line, the company limits the amount of performance data to be shown and only provides the “availability” component from the OEE equation. However, the entire OEE dashboard can be made available to the HMI screens on request.

Other non-OEE data on the HMIs include downtime Pareto charts — information on why a machine stopped, frequency and duration — job progress, historical performance trending and process orders.

“The accuracy of the downtime reports is such that even the OEM is using them to troubleshoot their equipment in preference to the manual tracking sheets they normally use when commissioning,” says Coetzee.

Other benefits are the ability to report all microstops on the filling line. The software automatically logs all stoppages and eliminates all manual logging. “Major stoppages are well known, but it’s the microstops that kill performance,” says Coetzee.