Crucial plant intelligence is tracked and recorded automatically a benefit greatly appreciated by Arla production managers like Eric Veslov.
“The previous dairy systems were not automated” says Veslov. “The PLCs were not networked. Important information could only be retrieved by wading through piles of reports. The new system automates everything and puts critical process information in the hands of people who need it to make business decisions every day.”
Microsoft SQL servers are among the tools Arla relies on. Real-time plant historians they collect data from throughout a plant—right down to the individual PLCs on the plant floor—and serve as a centralized data resource for processing packaging and material history. Once captured this data can be accessed in real time by plant intelligence applications from Wonderware. These applications include InTouch for machine visualization and control InTrack for detailed product geneology and DT Analyst for identifying problems in the process and making necessary changes.
Each of these rests on Wonderware’s ArchestrA platform which is essentially an industrial operating system that sits on top of the Microsoft operating system. “We settled on ArchestrA as our preferred platform about a year ago” says Svendsen. “It was installed in 10 plants in 2004.”
Veslov likes the track-and-trace potential that has been gained.
“Traceability is mandatory and has been for many years but when you use a paper-based system it takes a lot of time slowing response time” says Veslov. “With the previous system it would take hours to locate data to resolve a customer complaint. Wonderware’s plant intelligence systems have enabled Arla to enhance its reporting capabilities to more quickly address customer complaints. We are now able to access reports more quickly which allows us to identify any errors in the manufacturing process that would require a product recall.
“In addition to faster response times this new level of traceability actually reduces the risk of having to recall a large amount of product because we have detailed information on each batch. All we need is a package number to know exactly what time a given product was produced and what ingredients were used to make the product. We can then create a report and see exactly what was going on at that time and then have a limited recall if necessary.”