Together towards the Smart Food Factory

CSB-System AG and MULTIVAC are jointly developing solutions for food production of the future


Industry 4.0 is one of the most important topics for the future in the food industry. The term, which arose from an initiative of the German Federal Government, has since come to mean internationally the linking of processes, machines and products in the Smart Factory. A revolution? No, since many of the ideas, which Industry 4.0 claims for itself, have long been a reality in food processing, such as automated picking systems, the use of robot technology and the linking of the shop floor and the top floor through ERP and MES systems. But still nevertheless: everything in future will be a little more linked, efficient and transparent. Whereas today, industrial systems are still centrally controlled, in future machines, systems and products will communicate independently with each other.

Particularly dynamic innovation on the path to the Smart Factory can be seen in line projects, which comprise equipment from various manufacturers. Here, knowledge flows together from a variety of technical areas such as software, machine building and system design. One example of such interdisciplinary cooperation is the partnership between CSB-System AG, an internationally successful IT specialist for the food sector, and the packaging specialist MULTIVAC. Both companies have trodden joint paths for several years in many projects in various markets, and they have already developed a large number of interfaces together. These are necessary, so machines and software solutions can communicate seamlessly with each other.

This cooperation means a service plus for food manufacturers: they benefit from the expertise of the two market leaders and get a customised solution from one source. This enables them to achieve digitalised and automated food production and packaging, which are in line with the future demands of Industry 4.0 and the Internet. Perfectly coordinated project management on a partnership basis ensures the project proceeds smoothly.

 

“We are noticing a growing interest by our customers in system solutions,” explains Bernd Lasslop, Sales & Product Manager for Partner Products at MULTIVAC. “There are frequently applications, where for example the project includes traceability or line control, and even in some cases the complete linking of an entire production hall.”

 

In addition to end-to-end control of a packaging line including higher-level recipe management, MULTIVAC’s range of services also includes the tracking of individual packs in real time. This means a complete data set of information, for example about the source of the meat and its various production stages and parameters, can be provided for each individual pack. The data for each order batch is evaluated by CSB at the next level, whereby all the machines involved in the process are included, and it is possible to link them at line, production hall or factory level. Typical applications, which CSB and MULTIVAC develop jointly, include traceability of packs, analysis and optimisation of the overall equipment effectiveness of a line, or the advanced linking of entire production areas and factories.

 

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Successful example: CP Foods

The latest successful project in the partnership between CSB and MULTIVAC was undertaken in Thailand. The food company, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), built a production site near to Bangkok. CPF has 24,000 employees and an annual turnover of around 530 million euros. The company produces and packs sausages made of minced fish at the new site.

When it comes to the two MULTIVAC thermoforming packaging machines, CPF relies on CSB line control for optimising the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE: percentage with which a machine produces quality products at a specified speed). This control station system delivers real-time data on the current loading and output of the packaging machines, and this data is used as the basis for production management decisions. “If the degree of automation increases, the need for monitoring also grows. CSB linecontrol enables bottlenecks, downtime, poor machine performance and insufficient capacity to be detected at an early stage,” explains CSB Sales Manager, Hermann Schalk. This benefits the company’s management, production planning and line operators alike. This is because the machines’ utilisation times are more transparent, the causes of lost production can be captured and analysed holistically, and it is easier to check the effectiveness of the measures introduced. This also promotes overall cooperation among the staff, and operators learn to understand the machines better. And last but not least, data on machine productivity enables better maintenance strategies to be devised; production losses can be identified and minimised. Overall CSB linecontrol helps CP Foods to shorten production and delivery times, ensure consistent quality is achieved, increase productivity and reduce costs. No wonder therefore, there is already a second project. CP Foods is building a further production site at Korat in Thailand, and here too it will be relying on a joint solution from CSB and MULTIVAC.

 

The next development stage

Most machines in future will not only be connected by an ERP/MES system to digitalise production and implement Industry 4.0 ideas. There will also be a permanent data line to the machine manufacturer. This has been achieved with the new generation of thermoforming packaging machines from MULTIVAC. A large number of sensors control and monitor the machine processes. This process data is sent via a secure data line to the MULTIVAC X-Cloud, where it can be evaluated. This enables the customer to receive valuable information about the optimum operation and servicing of his machine. Unique to MULTIVAC is the fact that the production data, which is supplied to the ERP system, is separate from the process data. The latter is used for offering “Smart Services”.

 

 

  The CSB Group: your success is our business – since 1977

The CSB Group is a leading software manufacturer and supplier of specialised IT solutions for management and process control, as well as industrial automation. Since 1977 CSB has been advising companies of every size as well as looking after and implementing successful projects worldwide. CSB optimises its customers’ processes and provides them with crucial competitive advantage. The company combines excellent sector know-how with state-of-the-art technology to produce modular and scalable IT solutions for the meat, food, drinks, chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and logistics sectors. From the producer to the consumer, from the management decision right through to the final product on the machine, and whether it is an individual process or an entire overarching system – the open architecture of the CSB system ensures CSB solutions are integrated perfectly, even into existing systems and environments. CSB’s core expertise is shown in the perfect linking of a company’s entire departments and locations as well as its logistics and process periphery, allowing an efficient company management system to be created from one source. The result: faster, more transparent and productive processes with the CSB system.

 

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