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Optimize Production Operations with Share2Act

Digitalization is revolutionizing the world. Share2Act is revolutionizing the beverage industry and rendering its production operations intelligent and efficient. Share2Act networks staff, machines, and IT systems, and is thus the ideal open platform for applications and analyses.

Share2Act is a social media platform developed specifically for companies in the food and beverage industries. It networks all the people, machines, and IT systems involved in the production process – and thus gets us a whole lot closer to our goal: you see, the app enables procedures to be streamlined, communication paths shortened, and downtimes reduced. It groups together all a plant’s information on a central interactive platform. From automatically generated production data to empirical feedback from the staff, a huge array of different contents can be imaged, exchanged, discussed, and jointly edited.

Share2Act networks staff, machines, and dietary systems and is thus the ideal open platform for applications and analyses. All the systems connected can access a comprehensive base of data, which are aggregated and computed using edge devices. Machines and lines can be linked together irrespective of the manufacturer involved, and already existing IT systems integrated through interfaces. Thanks to the modularized structure of Share2Act, the various services involved can be individually and flexibly put together to suit the production requirements concerned. The aim is to cut costs and upgrade quality and productivity. This is accomplished using data-driven decision making, mathematical models that run in the background, and on-the-basis of data to help to make the right decisions. Thus, the user automatically receives information specifically tailored to his/her job precisely when he/she needs it.

In shift operation, for example, by utilizing Share2Act, an operator comes to work and uses his/her terminal to log on to the platform. The shift manager can see in Share2Act which operators are available and allocate tasks accordingly. The shift manager can then monitor the entire integrated production operation using the live visualization feature in Share2Act. The operator sees his/her allocated tasks immediately on the dashboard. On the dashboard and in the timelines of the machines, the operator can also check everything that happened in the previous shift.

Tasks are also generated by the machines themselves, not just from maintenance intervals and error messages. In addition, the machines can output maintenance tasks themselves, which are then assigned to the operator either automatically or by the shift manager. The maintenance tasks are supplemented by SOPs, which describe step-by-step instructions on how the preventative maintenance routine must be carried out. If the operator cannot carry out the maintenance routine himself, he/she can use smart glasses for live support from the machinery manufacturer’s service team. The completed maintenance of the machine is then posted automatically in the timeline and the shift manager is informed by a push notification.

Additional tasks can be scheduled in the calendar, enabling all staff to see what task is currently being performed. After each shift, a shift report is created automatically, which the shift manager can view at will. By using Share2Act, the managers and operators can significantly optimize everyday production operations!

To review more of the features and benefits of Share2Act click HERE.

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Application Story: Upgrade of a Brewhouse Control System

The project was completed at the facilities of the Founders Brewing Company, with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a globally recognized brewing company, and one of the top 10 largest craft brewers in the US. According to Alec Mull, Vice President of Brewing Operations at Founders Brewing, the project was critical, “As we grew and matured as a brewery, it was important for us to decrease our digital risk and increase our security and reliability of our most important software and network.” Alec went on to say that, “Virtualization, though not common among our brewing peers, was developed and implemented with a cooperative between our brilliant Founders OT/IT teams, the great brewing minds at Krones, and the incredible people at PDA. This project, though challenging, was handled with the utmost skill and professionalism, culminating in an outcome we are all proud of. Hats off to our colleagues at Krones and PDA for executing this exciting improvement.”

The project consisted of two isolated brewing control systems, referred to as “Gigantor” and “CombiCube” were operating at the facility, the first with a BOTEC F1 License installed on two redundant servers and four clients. The second system is operating with a BOTEC Classic license installed on one server.

The upgrade would involve combining the two systems to allow an operator to control any portion, according to security credentials, from any HMI in the plant. This required merging the equipment and software currently used on the Gigantor process control system with that of the CombiCube control system. To achieve this merger, it was necessary to create a system with two redundant virtual server pairs in separate locations with a virtual SQL Server and several client machines.

The project involves three phases (with the third to be completed in 2021):      

  1. Implementation of a virtualized system, BOTEC process data servers, and a SQL server to reduce risk.
  2. Upgrade from BOTEC Classic to BOTEC F1 and merge applications. The brewhouse has been running on BOTEC Classic, operating on an unsupported system without a backup for that system. By upgrading to BOTEC F1 (which is in use at the company’s larger brewhouse) and merging into one cohesive system, the brewers were able to control multiple areas of the facility (such as the 300 bbl and 80 bbl brewhouses, or the cellar) from any of the server stations and/or client screens.
  3. Upgrade the visualization system (to be completed 2021) from Iltis V2 to Iltis WPF. The former is an older version of visualization and is not supported for new features on the BOTEC roadmap. In contrast, Iltis WPF uses open format Windows standards and incorporates enhanced features related to trending, screen manipulation, and troubleshooting issues.

The first phase provided several advantages, migrating the process data server and SQL server to a virtual machine, to:

  • Reduce the time required the recover from hardware failures
  • Allow periodic backup of the virtual machines
  • Split the load across multiple servers thus reducing redundancy
  • Create a system that is controllable from any server location

The upgrade from BOTEC Classic to BOTEC F1 and merger of the applications effectively replaced an obsolete product, as well as providing the capability to control all the systems from anywhere in the plant.

In the future, upgrading from Iltis V2 to Iltis WPF will add new features, together with the ability to add improvements as they may be developed. This approach will bring all the automated brewhouses to the same visual system giving the brewers more familiarity with all the brewhouses.

The most difficult part of the project was the coordination of available downtime in the brewhouse with completing the changeover from a physical server configuration to virtual. With only a short window of time available, this changeover was successfully completed without any unexpected impact on the brewing schedule. This represented a substantial amount of work, being completed in a single shift of downtime.

Data from the Combicube brewhouse is now recorded in the same way as that for the larger (Gigantor) brewhouse and the SQL database, which includes recipes, is backed up daily. The system, completely reprogrammed to function with BOTEC F1, operates as it did previously but now includes the added features of BOTEC F1. Upgraded development programs from Krones for both BOTEC F1 and the visualization system may be implemented in the future.

When asked about the project, Eric Williams, Project Lead at Process and Data Automation said, “It was a real pleasure to work with the Founders team in executing these upgrades.  We had the opportunity to work with everyone from Admin to the key team members of the IT/OT group and brewers, all of whom worked diligently to support our endeavors towards the upgrade and were eager to accept the system once implemented.

The virtualization portion of the project was only to be considered a success if completed within the downtime window and without notice by the brewers.  We totally changed the back end of the system and brought the brewhouse back online after only one shift.  The brewers were back to crafting delicious brews without our assistance that evening, I am very proud of this successful project.

The Combicube was taken down for only one week.  We worked closely with the Founders technicians and brewers to completely recommission the brewhouse.  Due to solid planning, tight coordination of all involved, and the team’s dedication we were running CIPs by the third day and water brews by the fourth.  As planned, the brewhouse was back to running production brews with only minor parameter tweaks required the following week.” 

According to Alec Mull, “Our road to a more consistent and automated brewing process started in 2011 with our first Krones/Steinecker brewhouse operating under the BOTEC Classic program. It was an incredible improvement for us in technology that helped us to further develop world-class beers that were even more consistent and reliable. A few years later in 2015, the world demanded even more Founders beer, and our obvious choice was to once again lean on the experts at Krones to build us a world-class customized brewhouse and cellar, though this time operating BOTEC F1. Our team found tremendous value in this updated software, so we reached out to PDA to execute an upgrade of our BOTEC Classic to F1. While this sounds easy, it was clearly a large project, as we needed to execute this upgrade and virtualization simultaneously due to brewing demand. I am amazed at the skill and professionalism of our colleagues at PDA, who seamlessly integrated this software upgrade and virtualization project with minimal downtime. We didn’t miss a beat, and we really appreciate the opportunity to work with PDA and Krones on these exciting upgrades.”

Download this Application Story HERE!

About Founders Brewing

Founders Brewing Co is one of the top 10 largest craft brewers in the US with global recognition for many of their quality beers. Founders Brewing Co. has evolved into one of the highest recognized breweries in the United States. They have been ranked in the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the last five years, and have several beers listed in the top 100 beers of the world on Beeradvocate.com. Founders Brewing is now among the top ten largest craft breweries in the country and considered one of the fastest-growing.

About Process and Data Automation

Process and Data Automation (PDA) is Krones’ North American Industrial IT Provider and SYSKRON’s Execution Arm. PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. The Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. PDA also features a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

 

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PDA Lends Expertise to Conveyor Controls Project

Process and Data Automation (PDA) provided engineering expertise for a conveyor controls project at a beverage company based in the Great Lakes region. This expertise was directed at the design and implementation of new programming of the OEM and plant provided PLC, HMI and motor controls in order to integrate the plant’s existing processing systems and conveyors into a new line configuration with OEM controls. The client requested that the motors be controlled by new Allen-Bradley Power Flex 525 Series VFDs communicating via ethernet, within new control panels designed and built by Krones Inc.

The engineering group at PDA provided the labor necessary to write the controls code that was integrated with the PLC supplied by Krones. While the PLC and HMI code was what the project required, what was necessary was this and additional, engineering for the final design and project administration to incorporate the needs of both client and OEM.

The project was organized for PDA to provide engineering to coordinate and control the existing conveyor and machine centers that were necessary for the operation of the bottling line, and where the existing centers had not been upgraded. This involved blending equipment from multiple manufacturers into a functioning system, coordinating installation, start-up and runout testing between multiple trades. In addition, PDA acted as a resource to both the equipment supplier and the end-client to triage and resolve issues that were outside the scope of one single party. This role was essential in this project because PDA acted as the glue or connection between the new machine centers provided by Krones, and the original hardware installed in the plant. The involvement of PDA allowed the other parties to focus on their core responsibilities.

The solution provided by PDA has led to increased throughput, a more modular system, and reduced project costs. The integration of the OEE data from the machine centers into the line information system (LIS) now allows data to be readily obtained or tracked by the end-client.

Future upgrades the end client is considering are:

  • Line Balancing
  • Control Zoning (currently there is only one zone)
  • Line Diagnostics LD
  • Line Management Systems LMS

 

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News

PDA Upgrades Failing Controls for Large U.S. Manufacturer
Process and Data Automation (PDA) reviewed and refined the scope of work required to upgrade failing controls equipment for one of the largest privately-held manufacturers of ice cream and frozen treats in the United States, at their production facilities in upstate New York.  The clients needed the upgrades since the existing controls equipment was aged, unreliable and a DEP mandate for tighter controls and better reporting practices had been issued.

Completion of this project moved the facility from an unknown to a known state with respect to automation, as well as providing a comprehensive system overview contrasting the legacy, existing islands of discrete controls.  PDA not only upgraded the core control equipment but also added Monitoring and Automated Reporting capabilities to replace the manual-entry method at the facility.  PDA also delivered process narrative and documentation, that could easily be followed by the client, integrated disparate controls into a cohesive facility-based model and assisted the client’s ERP team with the integration of key data into the Oracle reporting system.  The agile interactive approach to project planning allowed the client to achieve regulatory milestones in an expedited fashion.  PDA also completed the upgrade of the core control hardware with selected use of existing equipment in order the minimize costs.

The major challenges to successfully completing the project included:

  1. A compressed timeline.
  2. Unknown or unreliable site and equipment information.
  3. Multiple trades working on co-operative yet competing deadlines.
  4. Difficulties encountered in implementing the solution included scheduling, the lack of site knowledge, and competing ideas from key client contacts of how to do it “right”.

The solution implemented by PDA resulted in better visibility of the entire process, multiple adjustment points to fine-tune controls and the assurance that only approved materials are transferred.  The facility now has automated chemical injection processes, separation of fat and valving and motors as necessary.  Further, the tracking and data collection for the chemical dosing and for raw and corrected pH and TSS are available.

In the future, the client could consider increased capacity and different correction methods.  In addition, the introduction of remote monitoring and increased data collection should be considered.

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

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Give Yourself Peace of Mind with our Plant Support Agreement

Plant Support Service Agreements from Process and Data Automation (PDA): Offering a Spectrum of Services to Our Customers

There are many advantages to Plant Support Services Agreements from PDA, however only at the point you need support, do you realize just how beneficial it is to have access to a spectrum of services!

Today, we are going to discuss three different, real-world cases in which our service agreement saved the day.

How easy is it really to switch between unique scopes of work? Very easy!

PROBLEM:

A national snack food manufacturer had the opportunity to put this to the test.  “We came to work to find that none of our front office computers would connect to our order entry system, could not connect to the internet and that our IT guy quit without any notice.  My first call was to PDA”.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

After receiving the call from the plant around 9:30 that morning, PDA had a Digitalization Services Engineer onsite before lunch.  While this isn’t our team’s typical work, our client needed help and our team had the resources. After this emergency callout, PDA worked with the plant to temporarily rework the contract commitment of resources to allow someone from DSG to start their day at the plant for up to two hours a day to ensure that everything IT was behaving for the plant. Doing this allowed the plant to use their PSC commitment to solve this challenge without breaking their budget.

Once the plant fills the internal IT position, we will return to doing the more traditional tasks that we were busy with prior to this event. For PDA’s service department, the goal is to ensure that the client gets the most out of their contract, even if we need to be part-time IT for their office staff.

Can training can be part of our Service Agreement? Our answer is a resounding, “Yes”! When talking about the advantages of our Plant Support Service Agreement, employee training is often not thought of as part of service – but one of our clients discovered that training was their major need.

PROBLEM:

A frozen food manufacturer came to us and explained that their current maintenance employees didn’t have the HMI & PLC skills they currently needed. PDA sat down with them and worked up a plan to help.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

PDA adjusted their Plant Support Service Agreement to offer training for six months. PDA did handle a little maintenance during the six-month but predominantly handled training. PDA built up a training resource for the client and provided ad hoc training to their employees and the client saw benefits in employee performance very quickly. At the end of that six months, PDA switched back to what their regular scheduled service agreement was. None of this had any additional cost and they remain a happy client.

How flexible is your service agreement and how fast can it change to meet our needs?  A Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA is the most flexible and fastest in the industry!

PROBLEM:

Corporate sales for a food manufacturer landed a big contract that required them to re-work one of their rooms with a very aggressive timeline to finish and the normal sales cycle was not fast enough.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

PDA was able to re-work the service agreement so that they could handle the design portion (laying out control methodology, IO count, the panel builds) which saved them the time they needed to complete their new project on time.

Our goal is to make our service agreement work for the individual needs of the client and that also means being flexible enough to change course quickly when necessary.

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The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

________________________________________________________________________________

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News

PDA’s expertise on Plant Digitalization leveraged in Food Engineering 2-Part Series

In a recent 2-part Digitalization series for Food Engineering Magazine, Scott McCausland, Digitalization Services Manageroffered his expertise on planning for digitalization in manufacturing plants.

This two-part series takes the reader through the process of becoming a digitalized plant with experts weighing in on how to best navigate the journey.

Part of that journey is a solid assessment of the network environment. That will allow a processor to see any deficiencies and formulate a plan to move forward, says Scott McCausland, “Just because equipment is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of acting as support to reach a goal. In general, a robust network infrastructure is required.”

Scott later discusses that some machine builders, such as Krones, have already provided a solution that allows the addition of new sensors and data aggregators without touching the original legacy machine. PDA is the North American integration arm for Krones’ Syskron.

Read PART ONE HERE.

Read PART TWO HERE.

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Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA: Offering a Spectrum of Services to Our Customers
Part 1: Our Team is Your Team!

There are many advantages of having a Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA—and we can tell them to you all day—BUT—it’s not until you need it that you realize just how beneficial the spectrum of services can be. In our ongoing three-part series, we are going to discuss three different, real-world cases in which our service agreement saved the day.

A question we sometimes get about our Plant Support Service Agreement is, “How easy is it really to switch between unique scopes of work?”. Recently a national snack food manufacturer had the opportunity to find out.  “We came to work to find that none of our front office computers would connect to our order entry system, could not connect to the internet and that our IT guy quit without any notice.  My first call was to PDA”.

What happens now?

After receiving the call from the plant around 9:30 that morning, PDA had a Digitalization Services Engineer onsite before lunch.  While this isn’t our teams’ typical work, our client needed help and our team had the resources. After this emergency call, PDA worked with the plant to temporarily rework the contract commitment of resources to allow someone from DSG to start their day at the plant for up to two hours a day to ensure that everything IT was behaving for the plant. Doing this allowed the plant to use their PSC commitment to solve this challenge without breaking their budget.

Once the plant fills the internal IT position, we will return to doing the more traditional tasks that we were busy with prior to this event. For PDA’s service department, the goal is to ensure that the client gets the most out of their contract, even if we need to be part-time IT for their office staff.

The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News