Submit News Stories or Press Releases
FEED NEWS

Feed manufacturer benefits from software and automation upgrade

Published on 27 July, 2014, Last updated at 00:14 GMT
 
Feed manufacturer benefits from software and automation upgrade

Australian feed manufacturer Thompson & Redwood, earlier this year modernised its manufacturing plant. Partnering with Siemens Solution Partner, AP Automation, they achieved a seven percent increase in production while at the same time reducing its energy consumption by two percent.

The upgrade was acknowledged with the company receiving an award for software implementation at the Endeavour Awards 2014, established to recognise innovative Australian manufacturers.

The project also made AP Automation the winner of the 11th PACE Zenith Awards in the Food & Beverage category. PACE (Process and Control Engineering) an Australian news magazine dedicated to process, control and automation engineering. The annual Zenith Awards were established by the magazine to publicly recognise and reward companies as well as industry professionals who show leadership in engineering and technological excellence and innovation.

The strategy of AP Automation was based on the use of generic applications, allowing the animal feed manufacturer to quickly and easily adapt to any grinding or batching application required. The brainchild behind AP Automation's grand design is the Siemens' Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) The philosophy behind TIA encompasses risk-free integration of hardware, user-friendly software, visual diagnostics for proactive maintenance and fault detection as well as automated reporting. "As an engineering company, we have the freedom to integrate any equipment into our designs as we see appropriate and we've found TIA to consistently bring results," says Andrew Phan, AP Automation's Managing Director.

The application software is quite user-friendly which has minimised the costs in training the manufacturer's operators. It picks up the recipe from the WinCC database and displays it on the Human Machine Interface (HMI) screen. The operator can then alter the recipe parameters if required, depending on the process order and availability of raw materials.

"In terms of the batching, reports are automatically produced and exported to MS Excel. The batching software is designed to work with any number of raw materials and an unlimited number of recipes which makes it adaptable to any grinding and batching application. It also displays the status of the batch on the overview screen," Thompson & Redwood Projects & Operations Director, Henry Little, explains.

Thompson & Redwood Projects & Operations Director, Henry Little, realised the need to upgrade his plant in the face of increasing operational and industry pressures. "Over the years, we've noticed a decrease in the number of technicians that are familiar with our unique system which has led to massive downtime issues and loss of production during equipment failure.

"In addition, with changes in the food safety regulations, we are now required to trace back any batch of product for quality assurance, which our existing system was not capable of," explained Little.on (TIA), is the name Siemens gave to efficient interoperability of all automation components. The open system architecture covers the entire production process and is based on the consistent presence of shared characteristics: consistent data management, global standards, and uniform hardware and software interfaces.

TIA delivered risk-free integration of hardware, user-friendly software, visual diagnostics for proactive maintenance and fault detection as well as automated reporting, to name a just a few benefits.

Totally Integrated Automation. Phan has utilised TIA technology to the benefit of his customers for many years, helping many clients across various industries make the right decisions for the future of their businesses.

"As an engineering company, we have the freedom to integrate any equipment into our designs as we see appropriate and we've found TIA to consistently bring results. I'm especially pleased with TIA's diagnostic ability, which I believe to be superior in the industry, as this has assisted many of my clients in preventing a lot of potential breakdowns and issues while maximising their uptime and most importantly, their profits," reported Phan.

Siemens has conducted studies that have shown TIA to have assisted in reducing hidden life cycle costs, amounting to up to 80 percent of the total project costs. Little could not be more pleased with the choice of technologies applied in his new look plant and explains how this new system has transformed his production.

"The application software is quite user-friendly which has minimised the costs in training our operators. It picks up the recipe from the WinCC database and displays it on the Human Machine Interface (HMI) screen.

The operator can then alter the recipe parameters if required, depending on the process order and availability of raw materials. Once the operator is happy with the recipe, they release it to the system which automatically assigns the batch number and starts production. The operator is then able to monitor the entire production process as it is happening. "In terms of the batching, reports are automatically produced and exported to MS Excel. The batching software is designed to work with any number of raw materials and an unlimited number of recipes which makes it adaptable to any grinding and batching application. It also displays the status of the batch on the overview screen," explained Little.

In an age where consumer choice prevails, manufacturing has had to overcome the challenge of providing more and more product lines in smaller quantities to meet the diverse consumer needs - all while retaining of economies of scale.his, tied with the ongoing economic climate of local resource costs and until recently, a very strong Australian dollar, has created a lot of pressure on our manufacturing sector to remain profitable. In order to continue operating in Australia manufacturers need to modernise their industrial production even more - to increase their productivity, efficiency, quality and digitalisation.

For Thomson & Redwood, the key selling point for the Siemens solution was its ability to adapt to any grinding or batching application with ease. The solution was based on reusable, reproducible and repeatable software libraries which can be tailored for any application and consequently provide Thomson & Redwood with the flexibility to produce various product lines efficiently.

Combined with standardised hardware and all the automated features of a modern control system, Thompson & Redwood has reported an increase of up to seven percent in production efficiencies since commissioning of the plant upgrade.

"The improvement in efficiencies is due to fine tuning of the new system and reduced down time. And, as a result of these efficiencies, we've also seen energy savings of two percent which is a bonus given the rising cost of energy," said Little.

 

 
COMMENTS
 
 
opens in a new window or tab
feedmachinery.com
  • 2017 © FeedMachinery.com. All Rights Reserved.