Ryvita plant installs MES

07 April 2008

Ryvita, part of the Associated British Foods Group, claims to have cut manual inputs, across its production system, by 90 per cent, boosting efficiency and accuracy. The food manufacturer is using a Citect AMPLA MES, installed by Silchester Control Systems, at its Poole, UK site, to act as a backbone for its factory-wide reporting system.

Citect’s AMPLA MES system delivers improvements in efficiency accuracy transparency and reporting for Ryvita
Citect’s AMPLA MES system delivers improvements in efficiency accuracy transparency and reporting for Ryvita

Mark Chesworth, supply chain director for Ryvita, described the information accessibility the system offered as ‘a major step forward’.

He said: ‘It allows live data to be used by the teams in the factory to drive and improve business performance, without time being wasted trying to collate vast quantities of information. It also enables the teams to assume real time responsibility for driving their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and to witness the results of their efforts.’

Ryvita required a fast, flexible factory-wide reporting system that would overcome the major obstacle to production of manual data entry, and provide data regarding system efficiencies, downtime and product tracking.

Citect systems integrator, Silchester Controls, was contracted to provide the system together with Citect Professional Services.

‘The major bottleneck to improved production efficiency was the requirement for each shift to provide manual entries to a Microsoft Excel legacy reports spreadsheet that was the crux of all production operations,’ said Trevor Jones, managing director of Silchester. ‘The spreadsheet totalled over 40Mb and involved thousands of individual calculations from hundreds of manual entries, which took many hours a week to input.

‘Moreover, as the inputs were all manual they could become subjective and inaccurate, resulting in production bottlenecks that were difficult to rectify.’

The answer to this problem was to provide automatic inputs from sensors across the factory, through the installed base of Schneider PLCs into supervisory computers, and out across the network as useful knowledge. To acquire the data automatically, a SCADA system was required. Silchester recommended a CitectSCADA system partly because Citect is part of the Schneider Alliance, a factor that simplified the task of interfacing to the installed PLCs.

The CitectSCADA was installed on several servers, and a number of industrial touch-screen client PCs were connected as clients, their SCADA displays being built up as the machine information was connected. Sitting atop the CitectSCADA system, collecting, collating and analysing data from multiple input sources, and providing high level reporting, is Citect’s AMPLA MES system. AMPLA is a scalable suite of MES solutions that delivers real-time access to aggregated plant and business intelligence. The system allows key personnel to analyse and act on opportunities to refine the workflow, maximise overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and to correct problems before they impact the business.

Silchester and Citect installed the combined SCADA/MES system with no loss of production or downtime. The manual entry that took many hours per week to accomplish was reduced to a few minutes per shift.

As each new report becomes openly available the shift teams and production managers can see what is happening to the end product as minor changes in process are implemented. Any downtime becomes instantly visible to anyone logged onto the Ryvita network, using only a web browser.

The reports provided by AMPLA are available network-wide as soon as the record entries are completed. In addition, slice and dice reporting of shift/product/line/machine/day data can be achieved using both the Citect AMPLA Analyst and the power of Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence Reporting Studio. In addition, custom tabular, pareto, trend, pie charts and reports are available, customised per user in clearly understandable dashboards, and linkable to Microsoft Dynamics NAV data. The technology and data transport of the Production Management System is hidden to the end user, who only needs straightforward information in order to make business decisions in a timely manner.

Paul Hurst, managing director of Citect, commented on what is claimed to be the first installation of the AMPLA MES system in Great Britain.

He said: ‘AMPLA provided the ideal solution for this project.

‘It delivers a flexible and scaleable solution based upon the customer’s immediate and also future needs.

‘The modular architecture that is central to AMPLA’s flexibility enables the MES system to be set up in many different ways, with customers creating their own KPIs.

‘This is important both for initial integration of the MES, and for future development, as it means that AMPLA complements Ryvita’s business rather than conflicts with it; something which is often sited as a problem with other MES systems.’

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