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Case Study: Soft Drink Batch System Increases Production and Reliability

Soft Drink Batch System Increases Production and Reliability

The Challenge

A major soft drink company manufactures the global supply of their signature syrup at a single facility—making this operation an extremely vital part of the company’s production network. As sales continue to grow, this syrup facility was under heightened pressure to expand their output and to increase reliability and repeatability.

As part of a project to eliminate a batch process bottleneck, the plant also invested in a new process control system to provide an immediate increase in reliability, ease of troubleshooting, and a reduction in operator interactions. The control system needed to be scalable and flexible for future product expansions.

Working with a System Integrator with expertise with Food & Beverage process control systems was critical, as only a short production outage was available, and the project would replace the heart of the manufacturing process, including interfacing with new OEM provided process skids as well as existing plant systems such as CIP and raw material delivery.

The Solution

To meet these challenges McEnery Automation, a CSIA Certified System Integrator with extensive Food & Beverage expertise, used industry best-practices to implement a modern DCS system to update the beverage company’s syrup making process. Our engineers invested time upfront to understand the process systems and identify the customer’s priorities and risks. Then we designed a control system architecture that fit the plant’s immediate needs and was also scalable for planned future growth.

The process modifications included reconfiguring existing mix tanks to produce high concentration intermediate batches, and adding an in-line blender just prior to the filler to create finished product. This relieved the capacity limitations of the batch tanks and more than doubled the amount of final product the plant could produce.

A new OEM-supplied mix station reduced operator tasks and increased mixing consistency, and its CompactLogix was tightly integrated with FactoryTalk Batch:

The new control system consisted of Rockwell Automation’s PlantPAx modern DCS:

Additional Allen-Bradley control devices were chosen due to their ability to tightly integrate with the PlantPAx system through ControlLogix Add-On Profiles:

The Result

The project’s process equipment modifications and control system upgrade together exceeded the plant’s expectations for production capacity increases and performance improvements. Batching a higher density intermediate product reduced the number of required batches and the number of hours by well over 50%.

The accuracy of batch additions increased, and there was a substantial reduction in corrective adjustments required for batches to meet QA specifications due largely to the batch control system calculating the setpoint for additions and eliminating manual setpoint entry.

Maintenance technicians were able to use the PlantPAx objects for troubleshooting without having to access PLC programs.

Batch reports captured addition amounts automatically, as well as additional batch data such as run times, alarms, and events which were used to troubleshoot batches and improve system performance.