Process management: MES/ERP blend yields performance improvement at Berner Foods

Getting a grip on real-time plant information without being locked into a custom-coded manufacturing execution system (MES) is giving rise to a whole new generation of plant intelligence solutions. For Dakota, Ill.-based Berner Foods, a configurable plant performance management system led to a 20-percent improvement in plant efficiency.<br/>

05/30/2008


Getting a grip on real-time plant information without being locked into a custom-coded manufacturing execution system (MES) is giving rise to a whole new generation of plant intelligence solutions. For Dakota, Ill.-based Berner Foods , a configurable plant performance management system led to a 20-percent improvement in plant efficiency.
Berner Foods is a contract manufacturer of processed cheese, salsa, and dips. CIO Troy Grove says deployment of CDC Factory, a real-time performance management system from CDC Software , allows plant operators and managers to track downtime or line bottlenecks, and analyze likely causes and fixes.
“It’s real time,” says Grove. “You can see what happened a few minutes ago, this morning, or yesterday.”
The browser-based system ties into data generated by PLCs, as well as specific data input received when events like machine downtime prompt operators to check off simple choices on touch screens. Grove says this improves response time to potential problems—such as a nonconformance at a quality check—because the alerting and management screens immediately call attention to those problems.
“We don’t want to wait to decide if our quality side should put something on hold,” says Grove. “We want to know now so we can limit product coming off the line that doesn’t conform to spec.”


A real-time performance management system from CDC Software allows Berner Foods to track events such as downtime or line bottlenecks, and analyze likely causes and fixes. Paper-based efforts at continuous improvement and plant performance were plagued by data latency.

The system also supports continuous-improvement efforts over slightly longer time horizons, such as trying to minimize downtime events on certain lines or work centers. Grove says analysis of data from CDC Factory may reveal that downtime is being caused by cans falling over on a conveyer line, after which maintenance might tweak the conveyer speed to solve the problem.
The system, first deployed by Berner Foods in October 2005, went into second-phase deployment in August 2006. Setting up quality-check details or reason buttons for downtime events is done by selecting from pre-built parameters in an administrative module. Such configuration is done by Zach Kneubuehl, operations manager—and a nonprogrammer, says Grove.
According to Kneubuehl, setting up a quality check with the parameter-based utility can be done in just a few minutes. It’s a matter of selecting basic information about the line and assets involved, as well as picking a simple rule, such as how often to perform a moisture check at a cheese-processing operation.
On the plant floor, the browser fields are configured as touch-screen buttons so operators can quickly select reasons for events, or enter some simple notes.
Kneubuehl says that while CDC Factory doesn’t have any graphical business process modeling tools to control workflow, the continuous-improvement modules have some process steps to choose from in setting up projects. As for the aforementioned 20-percent efficiency improvement, Kneubuehl says it was plantwide, but the majority of the improvement came from one line where the system was used to analyze and clear a bottleneck. He says the key is for operators and managers to leverage the data and trends to guide improvement measures.
“The system tells you what’s going on, but it’s up to you to decide what you want to target, and where you want to start making your changes,” Kneubuehl concludes.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me