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Swedish Match Case Study

Swedish Match, a global manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products, found itself in need of the automation of collecting, reporting, and displaying their production data. At their manufacturing facility in Owensboro, KY, paper-based quality checks, and manually generated reports were becoming inefficient and the company needed to find an automated solution. ECS was ready to identify the right solution.

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Design & Install of a Distillery Dryhouse Project

A major US distillery recently increased the capacity of the Dryhouse equipment in its facility, while maintaining operation until the new equipment was commissioned and fully operational.  The process control solution for the new Dryhouse equipment was designed and installed by ECS.  The Rockwell Automation 1756 ControlLogix platform, together with Citect HMIs, were selected as the basis of the solution.  The system was designed to control fourteen pieces of process equipment in the Dryhouse, including an evaporator, mixer, dryer, centrifuges, a CIP rinse tank and an evaporator cooling tank.  Some of the OEM components had a dedicated controller and required specific means of control.

The system was configured to operate with faceplates and HMI objects similar to those in use in the facility.  All designs for the control system, including drawings of the network, control panel, and electric I/O, were provided by ECS, together with programming, start-up, and commissioning services.  ECS also provided the controller hardware and all I/O components, which included desktop flat screen monitors, Logics Supply Industrial PCs, and a Windows 7 operating system.  Citect licenses were obtained by ECS as an extension to the existing Citect application.

The I/O for the new equipment was configured to be remote to the existing controller. ECS modified the existing ControlLogix controller program to ensure that the new equipment was controlled to meet the required functions.  ECS also fully tested the new HMI screens to verify that all input devices, numeric fields, animation, and faults were functioning as required.  Certain components of the system, e.g. sequences, procedures, and process variables for controlling devices, were simulated to test the logic in the controller.

Documentation and drawings for the new equipment were delivered by ECS including I/O schematics showing field devices, communication/network schematics and a system manual containing all literature provided by the manufacturers of the components of the system.


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A Batch Solution to Address Immediate Needs and Future Improvements

A bread supplier for one of the biggest sandwich-shop chains in the US found itself in a pickle when the computer system running its custom batch management system (BMS) reached the end of its useful life. The quandary was that the BMS was not designed to work with a newer Windows operating system, which any new computer would be running. Going back to the OEM that designed the BMS was not an option, since the OEM had since moved on to a newer custom solution, and the individual who had developed the bread supplier’s custom BMS was no longer around. Faced with a failing computer system and obsolete BMS software – either of which could easily cause a costly production shutdown if it suffered a failure – the bread manufacturer started looking for a BMS alternative.

Once burned, twice shy: Moving from custom to COTS

There was no question that the bread supplier’s next solution for batch management would be a commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) BMS, rather than a custom system. After all, going with a custom approach is what left the company in the tough position of not being able to upgrade the BMS or the likely-to-fail computer on which it was running. The company found Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk Batch to be a solid choice to replace the custom BMS and accepted Rockwell’s suggestion to have ECS implement the new solution. ECS modified the manufacturer’s original ControlLogix PLC code to interface with the new system and then installed, commissioned and provided startup services onsite.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to improve productivity

ECS was probably not the only systems integrator with the technical ability to design and set up the manufacturer’s new BMS solution. But ECS was the one that was able to go far above and beyond simple implementation to enable significant business improvements. Rather than narrowly defining the scope of the project as just migrating to a new system, ECS took advantage of the opportunity to make productivity improvements to reduce customer costs and increase capacity over time. ECS specifically altered the existing system logic to more efficiently utilize the equipment, reducing cycle time and increasing equipment availability and plant capacity by 20%.

The productivity payoff

With the 20% increase in existing system availability and capacity, the manufacturer has been able to substantially increase production and revenue. This in turn has made it possible to delay the addition of a second manufacturing line, which would have required a major capital expenditure. After realizing these benefits, the company contracted with ECS to roll out its model-based Total Process Automation approach to gain additional efficiencies and flexibility.

Additionally, the commercial off-the-shelf, ISA-88 compliant, batch management system made is significantly easier and less costly to add new products than with the OEM provided solution ECS replaced.

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