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Process Automation for Agile Manufacturing

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Crewman Crewman

Process Automation for Agile Manufacturing

Food and Beverages is an industry serving a very large number of consumers with changing tastes and habits. This has an impact on the way manufacturers build, operate and optimize their plant.  In some cases, they may need to build bigger plants to produce higher volumes. They may also need to increase velocity in order to meet retail expectations for short time delivery but also to reduce the inventories impacting the balance sheet.  And they also need to manage a changing number of SKU, variable upon the market demand.  


Most of the plant managers also face important information visibility issues: they need to know all about ingredients, process, finalized product and supply. It is key to break information silos and enable a rapid, centralized and consistent access, from one site to the other. Increasing real-time visibility to drive performance in Food and Beverage operations is critical to improve flexibility, yield and finally profitability.


By combining smart devices, smart machines and process with software, digital solutions, such as our integrated and interoperable EcoStruxure platform and architecture, allow to transform manufacturing operation into a paperless and real-time information management.


An automation platform must encompass:

  • From field devices to ERP integration

  • From connected devices to cloud and analytics technologies

  • From simple machine to multisite management capabilities

  • From design to operation and maintenance dedicated applications

  • Including third-parties component integration


One of the main capabilities for an agile manufacturing is Process Automation. How to meet Food and Beverage process control need for transparency from plant floor to top floor?


Take as an example the edge-control solution that combines Modicon M580 ePAC controller with connected products, together with a multi-facet Device and Process Control Object Library and EcoStruxureTM Control Expert for a simplified automation lifecycle.


Modicon campaign 2.jpg



This controller is based on standard communications (OPC UA EthertNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFIBUS, HART, AS-I and Serial) and allows easy integration  of field proven components, such as Automation Devices Motion and Drives but also Power Management Devices, and a ready-to-use library of device and process control objects to facilitate integration with the Schneider Electric HMI offers and specifically with AVEVA System Platform (Wonderware).


The new generation of Schneider Electric controllers are 5-times faster and has an increased memory size. Modicon 580 integrates high availability, integrated safety and embedded cybersecurity to protect business continuity.  The support for open fieldbuses and protocols and on-line modification simplify engineering and maintenance of the applications.


Modicon ePAC is integrated with the Apps, Analytics and Services layer thanks to library with ready to use objects modelling device and control modules needed in a Food and Beverage application. Each object is made of several facets for the control and operation. The library can be customized by the end-user to create company standard and help reduce engineering cost and improve operation efficiency. These object libraries also allow transparent and optimized communications and native system diagnostics down to the device level.


The Process Control Objects Library allows customizable enterprise standard, reduced engineering efforts and it enhances operation, by including:

  • Prepackaged know-how implementing both control and operation facets

  • Complete set of Hybrid Batch Control and Device integration

  • Control / Equipment Modules options:

    • Liquid Processing

    • Bulk Material handling

  • Automatic synchronization of Object hierarchy into Aveva system platform

  • Globally supported and maintained


Finally, EcoStruxureTM Control Expert provides a common environment to design and deploy the entire automation architecture: multi-PAC systems including various types of automation assets. With a graphical/tree presentation, it is easy to design and deploy an automation architecture, allowing network consistency check and providing a client-server model with central repository and an out of box system diagnostic for greater efficiency to maintain the system.


A real case to better understand the value of applying a Process Control digital solution can be found at Wilmar Sugar, Australia’s leading producer of raw sugar, with an output of 2.5 million tons of sugar a year from its 8mills.


Wilmar .jpg


They were looking to modernize its largest sugar mill, the InvictaMill, which had been operating at its current site for 98 years. The idea was to replace the InvictaMill’s existing boiler control system equipment that was reaching its end of life. It was also really important for them to simplify system and embed safety procedures.


Wilmar chose an EcoStruxure Plant architecture with the Modicon M580 Safety PLCs and AVEVA’s Plant SCADA software for their new control systems as a solution.


The solution simplified control systems into one interface and improved safety, efficiency and productivity with a solution architecture that is easy to use. Wilmar Sugar's results were highly satisfactory with Zero lost crush and 20% faster start-up, setting a new benchmark for safety and reliability to be rolled out to additional plants.


Food and Beverage next generation industries are more than digital, more than IIoT. It’s a holistic transformation for customers to achieve the next generation of efficiency, resiliency and sustainability that is focussed on real people. This requires bold movements on every step of the value chain and solutions to facilitate product and process lifecycles integrated management.


For more on Process Automation, Agile Manufacturing or the Food and Beverage industry, join the discussion with experts in the dedicated Exchange Forum.



@UdayShah @olivierwolff 

1 Reply 1

Re: Process Automation for Agile Manufacturing

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