Food & Beverage Companies Doing Less With More

Pepsi Bottler Boosts OEE; Wonderware MES Suite Adds Quality Management.

By Paul Studebaker

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Food and beverage company attendees at this week's Invensys Operations Management meeting for users of its Wonderware and Avantis software brands received tours of both a transformation in productivity at a bottling plant, and the path to compliance with new U.S. FDA food safety standards.

Chris Bacon, operations productivity analyst, ISS Productivity, was on the fourth day of his new Invensys affiliation, freshly hired from his role as operations manager at PBV Idaho, Pepsi Bottling Ventures' plant in Boise. He detailed how his plant used Wonderware performance management software to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), quantify causes and durations of downtime, and make just a few critical equipment repairs and modifications to bring the 100-year-old facility's OEE from 62% in 2008 to 83% in 2012, while increasing its SKU count from 21 to 43.

PBV Idaho runs four 10-hour shifts per week and does it all with just 21 employees (well, maybe now it's 20). "We couldn't do more with less," Bacon said, "and we prefer to do less with more – use more technology and tools to reduce our workload and get better results."

The biggest OEE problems were related to product changes, where legacy equipment that wasn't going to get replaced led to excessive changeover times, quality issues and product losses. The causes turned out to be deeply buried in the equipment design, installation and controls. "We had to know where the opportunities were to use technology to improve results," Bacon said.

Using Wonderware, Bacon put in an automated downtime tracking system that let him know, for every downtime event, what was stopping production. With no operator input or intervention, he was able to analyze the results and determine the major causes: overlapping process steps due to faulty sequencing logic, excessive losses of time and scrap material due to trapped water and convoluted piping, and a simple issue with the labeling machine (this alone reduced downtime 55% and paid for the project in five months).

On the food safety front, Niels Andersen, Invensys Operations Management's vice president, global industry solutions, took attendees through the process of compliance with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), distilled it into simple steps and described how Invensys software and services can streamline compliance with the Act's product and process definition, hazard analysis, corrective action and documentation requirements. If your job includes FSMA compliance (or you just enjoy a good show), watch the compliance webcast available on demand at www.plantseminars.com.

Quality information made critical contributions to Bacon's understanding of changeover problems at PBV Idaho, and quality control is integral to FSMA compliance. At the event, Invensys introduced an updated version of Wonderware MES software. The newest version expands existing operations and performance management functionality by adding quality management for sample data collection, statistical process control and quality results monitoring.

"We already have MES modules that track product transformation steps and collect real-time production data for operations and for performance (overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE)," said Maryanne Steidinger, director, advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management. "Now we've added a module for quality."

The module can collect and track quality data by work order, independently but integrated with the operations and performance modules. All are part of ArchestrA System Platform, Invensys' real-time automation and information management framework, so they use the same methodology.

Monitoring quality data in near real time allows plant operators to respond faster to non-conformance conditions, quality trends and deviations, as well as to take corrective actions that minimize variations and bring quality closer to specifications. It complements existing enterprise quality management systems with sample plan execution automation, higher accuracy in shop-floor quality sample data, integrated statistical process control (SPC) and enhanced work order and operational execution context.

"Data can be collected manually or automatically, online, at the production line, in-line or offline," Steidinger said. "You can apply any of 20 different SPC rules – bar charts, x-bar charts, etc., and integrate the package to the plant floor as well as business systems. You can track quality, consumption and inventory status, tag nonconforming suppliers, and propagate information through the system to wherever it's needed."

A workflow component can enforce procedure and process standardization for consistency and compliance, Steidinger said. "It empowers operators to do a better job – to take those samples, to understand how quality affects production, and to control it."

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