Projects - Confectionery Manufacturer

For a Confectionary Manufacturer the road to productivity is paved with data

It seems a truism, but it’s still worth repeating every now and then: good decisions need to be based on accurate information. In many situations, and certainly within the walls of a factory, if you can’t measure performance, you’ve little hope of improving it. As the athlete prepares to take on the best in their discipline by logging and comparing training sessions, a modern manufacturer will log and compare plant inputs, outputs and everything happening around them. Since the late 1980s, Wonderware has been a go-to set of software solutions to help industrial businesses – in a broad collection of sectors (including food and beverage, chemical processing, oil and gas and more) – measure and improve performance. Locally, Efficientia Solutions staff  have over two decades of experience in Industrial Automation IT and offers assistance including,  in product selection, training, consultation and technical support.

Sometimes referred to as the world’s favourite Industrial Automation Software, Wonderware takes care of the two fundamental information flows in production, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI). Having both performing optimally will mean that real-time data is at hand for every production operation in a plant – transforming business objectives into operational commands – while EMI collects manufacturing data, presents this and helps you visualise what it means for the whole business. A recent example where measuring production and performance was able to guide a company to vast improvements – even steering it away from the brink of failure – was a local sweets manufacturer. A number of  years ago the Sydney-based confectionery factory saw its KPIs fall behind the standards both within the company globally and against the FMCG industry. Partnering with Efficientia Solutions technical team, it implemented software to collect, aggregate and visualise KPIs from around the plant. Mixing and batch reporting did not identify a production bottleneck, but when attention was turned to the packaging line, the data showed that improvement (and better data collection – due to legacy PLCs) was needed. After screen displays providing accurate data visualisation were installed, a 3 per cent saving was realised in six months, and a payback period in four weeks. This was followed by making the data accessible remotely via web portal, followed by operations staff being able to make necessary improvements as information was presented. Savings led to capital expenditure on packing halls and new product lines, backed up by Wonderware data justifying the expected ROI. Further gains were realised in minimising energy and water use through integrating the Building Management System into the Wonderware system. The enhancements have seen a 50 per cent decline in water usage, reductions in scrap, and more done with less. Data and visualisation have been essential, and the incremental, cumulative improvements continue. Five years later, the factory continues.