One Successful Food Kitchen Leads to Another

Not long after completing an engagement with ECS to update and automate a kitchen for producing red pasta sauce, a leading US pasta sauce brand came back for seconds, so to speak. The company hired ECS again, this time to automate its kitchen for producing dairy based white sauce. The goal was to achieve the same efficiencies and availabilities ECS had previously introduced in the red-sauce environment. In addition to extending those benefits to a second kitchen, the company wanted to start establishing consistency across its entire plant to streamline operator training and make it easier to maintain multiple production environments over the long term.

It’s tough to compete with success

The pasta brand’s parent company required competitive bids for updating the white-sauce kitchen. But once the bids came in, it was easy to choose the same ECS Total Process Automation solution with which the company was already enjoying substantial success – especially when ECS came in at the lowest proposed cost to update the white-sauce kitchen to the same specifications as the red-sauce kitchen. Leveraging ECS’ experience with the previous project made it easy to accomplish everything outlined in the user requirements, and at less cost than any competing bidder on the project proposed.

A model-based approach for a streamlined deployment

ECS delivered the same Total Process Automation solution used in the previous red-sauce kitchen update. The solution is centered on model-based control, conforms to the ISA-88 standard for batch systems and utilizes commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) software whenever possible to reduce the need for costly, time-consuming custom programming. ECS delivered both the network design and the software to control system configuration for equipment control; provide material management and tracking of consumed goods; and use a historian function to track process event data. ECS also handled system commissioning, provided site support for startup and production, and trained operators in how to use the new system.

Consistent, repeatable results

With the new, automated kitchen up and running, the pasta brand began to realize similar efficiencies and equipment availabilities to what they had with the red-sauce kitchen project. The added efficiencies translated to a lower cost to manufacture, while the improved availability enabled increased revenues from more production. Furthermore, the consistency of the automation approach allowed plant operators and maintenance technicians to make a much smoother transition from one kitchen to the other, with less time required for operator training and system startup than they likely would have had otherwise.