food processor automation

Recently a major bakery products manufacturer eliminated a bottleneck in their mixing operations at the production site in Dandenong. This leading manufacturer produces a range of quality, well known gluten free breads.

The bakery managers had identified that constant operator intervention during the dough mixing process was an impediment to the plant’s overall efficiency. This was mainly due to the outdated automation on their San Cassiano SE 250 mixers, so managers sought the expertise of the team at Mobile Automation to provide a viable solution.

Mobile Automation engineers prepared a report outlining the performance issues and limitations with the original equipment, and provided detailed proposals to 1) minimise the need for operator intervention, and 2) reduce cycle time to a level commensurate with daily schedule targets.

Basically, the previous system used five batch controllers which needed to be present for each new product mix, to provide the correct volume or weight of ingredients for that particular dough. In addition the sequence also required the operator to start and stop the process many times during the cycle, as dictated by the recipe.

Mobile Automation assigned one of its Industrial Automation specialists to the task to install a new operator touch screen (ProFace GP 4000 series), then design and code graphics for recipes, monitoring, and alarm pages. In addition, SICK process sensors were installed to critical control valves, and the redundant Conterec model 414 batch controllers were removed. Mobile Automation upgraded the existing PLC to an Allen Bradley Micrologix 1200 to handle the additional inputs and outputs necessary for the revised automation equipment.

The client is now enjoying the benefits of a more streamlined process, with reduced operator requirement. In addition, when a different product is scheduled the operator simply selects the required recipe from a menu on the touch screen- weights and volumes are predefined, and the mixer is ready to go!

At present these upgrades have resulted in an improvement in process time, as well as freeing up operators to carry out other tasks. Plans are in the pipeline for stage two of the upgrades, which will involve the installation of a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) to the main mixing motor, allowing for complete control of the sequence and zero mid-process operator intervention. It is estimated this will achieve roughly an additional 30% to 40% saving in original batch mixing times, plus a further reduction in labour costs.

Check out the article here: Automation Technology gives Bakery the best mix

We have just released our first Mobile Mail article for 2016!

We detail our involvement with a leading gluten free baker, improving their automation technology and increasing their output by approximately 30%-40%.