ESE’s Director of MIS, John Tertin, was recently quoted in a Food Engineering article. The article discussed how the right tools can cut waste, curb giveaways, improve efficiency, decrease downtime and maximize product.
Advanced controls yield major process improvements
You think your dairy processing plant is efficient, but when you do the math, you can’t account for 7 million pounds of lost milk per year. That’s a loss of more than $1 million. In addition, your POTW is billing you more than $80,000 annually for exceeding the maximum permitted levels of fats, oils and greases (FOG) in your wastewater. What’s going on? Seems like money down the drain, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon, especially when you don’t know what’s going on in your process. And, as Murphy’s Law’s first corollary states, “Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.” Most likely, without intervention, this dairy facility would have seen even worse numbers as time went on. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Vigilistics, Inc. (now part of SafetyChain Software) production management software was employed to get a handle on what was happening to the “spilt milk.”
The advanced controls software includes real-time data collection from the plant floor. To get started, engineers segmented the plant into key performance areas. Then, key performance metrics were established using the data collection engine for each key step. Up and running, the system revealed a measurable shrink, and the dairy was able to reduce the shrink from 2.5 percent to less than 1 percent the first year, translating to an annualized savings of $600,000. The dairy was able to stop the FOG from going to the POTW and realized an additional $80,000 savings the first year.
The Vigilistics system includes real-time variance reporting and collaboration, which highlight variations from the key performance metrics. Operators are alerted to problems before they expand to become significant issues. In addition, milk receiving and cream load out procedures were adjusted, and operators were retrained as needed to understand procedures. Production planning adjustments were made to avoid unnecessary product changeovers and minimize recycle time on the pasteurizer—the time to change from product to water and water to product was reduced to an acceptable level. Filler loss and overfills were reduced, and the production of unsalable product was reduced. Waste stream FOG levels were monitored and managed.
Advanced process control and suitable applications
While you might think of advanced process control (APC) as sophisticated model predictive control (MPC) systems, neural networks or advanced regulatory control (ARC), even data historians coupled with SPC (statistical process control) may actually be more “advanced” than what some processors are using.
“A production historian is a must-have for processors to improve process efficiency,” says John Tertin, director of manufacturing information systems, ESE Inc., a member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). “While food processors are starting to adopt this technology, the number of major processors that haven’t yet is astounding.”
Read the full article here.
Don’t forget to check out the Sidebar section on “APC and ERP” at the bottom of the article. read more