When a leading US pasta sauce brand wanted to consolidate its three sauce kitchens into a single efficient “superkitchen,” time was of the essence. But the challenge wasn’t just that the project had to go from concept and design to installation and commissioning in only 11 weeks. It was that it had to be done in the same space as the three existing kitchens, and without shutting down production in those facilities while the change was being made. That meant adding a number of steps to migrate the new equipment and new controls into the existing production and packaging lines – but not adding to the amount of time allotted to complete the project.
ECS provided a complete process automation and batch solution
ECS was a natural choice for kitchen consolidation, having successfully performed automation and control work for the company before. ECS also submitted a lower bid and committed to meeting the aggressive schedule the pasta sauce brand had established. The Total Process Automation solution ECS delivered relies on flexible, model-based control, conforms to the ISA-88 standard for batch systems and utilizes commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) software. Specific components of the solution include ECS’ model-based S88 Builder as the engine of the control system and Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk Batch for the batch management software.
From concept to production in 11 weeks
By using a model-based approach rather than creating a custom solution from the ground up, ECS was able to meet the accelerated schedule, and the pasta brand was producing sauce just 11 weeks after the contract was awarded. But the speed of delivery was just one of many benefits the brand realized from working with ECS. Others include lower operating costs, higher return on investment (ROI), increased equipment availability and significant savings on subsequent expansion of the system.
Higher efficiency and lower costs for the long term
ECS’ model-based solution requires fewer operators and technicians, resulting in $2 million annual savings in operating costs. This decreased the payback period required and increased ROI. Further, because of the flexibility in the software and the CIP controls, the plant was able to reduce the amount of time spent on CIP weekly by more than half, resulting in a greater than 5% increase in equipment availability and capacity. Finally, when the brand significantly expanded the system within a year after starting production, the modularity and flexibility of ECS’ Total Process Automation approach made it possible for ECS to deliver the associated controls additions for less than half what any other integrator bid.