Ancient spa, modern procedure

09 March 2009

In 1907 the congregation of the Merciful Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul acquired the spa of Adelholzen in the Bavarian Alps. The bottling operation has come a long way since its beginnings, when the Sisters bottled healing water, to today when Adelholzener Alpenquellen GmbH produces 240,000 bottles per hour and employs 420 people.

Adelholzener produces its products on nine bottling systems. Three of them are used for bottling with reusable PET bottles, three with disposable PET bottles and the other three with reusable glass bottles. In addition, since 2004, two bottle sorting systems sort reusable PET bottles. The computer-controlled automatic bottle sorting plant allows for the reuse of eco-friendly PET bottles. The PET bottles are filled in clean rooms under aseptic conditions.

The company uses zenon from Copa-Data, an Austrian owned company that launched a UK subsidiary in 2007. Herbert Schrobenhauser, responsible for control and monitoring at Adelholzener, said: ‘Our goal was to get a more holistic view on our systems and machines and to allow for intuitive and flexible handling of machines.’

Adelholzener uses zenon for operating and monitoring of its bottling systems. Furthermore, zenon monitors production data such as temperature, bottling line efficiency, CO2 level of beverages, Brix value (mixing ratio) and it records all operator control actions. It also manages alarms and monitors the quality of the water supply and return and also the water sources that are spread around the bottling plant.

In addition to the visualisation of systems and machines, Adelholzener also uses zenon for building automation. It monitors and controls the supply of air, steam, electricity, CO2, O2, N2, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Zenon also controls the in-house wastewater treatment plant, staying within local regulations. The company says it has cut training and administration requirements by using zenon for so many tasks.

Zenon displays production data (such as the number of bottles, lot data and time intervals) of all bottling lines and also archives all data with its Archive Server. Archive data is stored in compressed and tamper-proof files on the central control room server. This allows Adelholzener to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

Adelholzener says it tried to automatically secure production quality so its staff can concentrate on producing beverages. Zenon records all data for the number of bottles, type of beverage and production period. Afterwards, zenon archives all this information and displays it as a trend. These curves represent the current status of production. Zenon worldview, applied by food and beverage system and machine specialist, Krones, displays the complete layout of all production lines, offering an overview of machines and units. Worldview also allows for cross-line diagnostics, showing the types of failures and the units at which they occurred. The user can zoom into the line layout to view machines and units in full detail, to look at a single valve for example.

Schrobenhauser said his goal was to utilise zenon to improve handling of Adelholzener’s production systems. He said with zenon he had ‘achieved this goal’ and by ensuring quality products has met ‘an essential requirement of the food industry’.

‘At the same time, we wanted to identify further potential improvements to strengthen and prepare our company for the future,’ he added.

Adelholzener claims all its production data is visible at a glance, adding that it can now make quick decisions to ensure optimum effective output. Efficient output has now reached 400 million fills per year, an increase of 100 million fills over the last 10 years.

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