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Nestlé has planned the optimization of costs and labor inputs in line with the requirements of the Industry 4.0 concept at its plant in Osthofen, Germany. It implemented a pilot project based on the Orange Box solution provided by B&R. It meets the requirements of transformation and helps old factories make a huge step forward on the road to the efficiency of intelligent factories. As part of Nestlé, a new plant is created every year. One of them is the factory in Schwerin, Germany, where production started in 2014. Today’s plants built from scratch are equipped with highly advanced technology, but they have not yet reached the level of standardization provided for in the Industry 4.0 concept notes Ralf Hagen, technical manager for Nestlé’s production systems.
In addition to the new and efficient plants being built every year, Nestlé also has 430 older factories that need to be changed. – These plants should also achieve a competitive level of performance, which means they are optimized in line with the requirements of the Industry 4.0 concept. Some of the machines in these plants were put into operation 50 years ago. Then, network infrastructure was something entirely unlike, comparing to recent times and intelligent factories. In the new plant, we have a single communication system that transmits data to the enterprise resource planning system in real time – explains Ralf Hagen. Describing the contemporary situation in present plants, they still collect data from machines manually in some cases. Sometimes the data we need for tasks such as monitoring the state of the machines are already there – we simply do not use them.
Nestlé has approached several automation suppliers with its problem, including B&R. Karl-Heinz Mayer who is the head of the B&R technical office in Bad Homburg, Germany, has found many options for exploiting intelligent automation to design the conditions for the finest use of existing resources. The best measure that can be used to decreasing production costs is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Improvement of the OEE index may reduce production costs by 10-20 percent. Nestlé management saw the need for change. To improve the OEE indicators, they must significantly reduce the frequency of unplanned downtime. They use simultaneous access to digital production data from all of their lines. That applies to both: newer – fully integrated systems, and to older – less automated lines. It is also significant to have a direct and indirect correlation to the business resource planning system ERP. In addition, the solution must meet the Nestlé security standards.
The management of the company was looking for something that resembles the principle of using touch devices from Apple: see – touch – work and what at the same time could serve as a successful transitional solution for short period of time (three to five years), till the ideal solution will be based on the cloud. Additional tasks occur from the fact that individual plants use diverse and dissimilar originations of control systems from multiply producers, and additionally differ in the level of specialist knowledge about automation. After considering Nestlé’s requirements, B&R has proposed an Orange Box solution, including equipment based on the Scalability+ principle and software based on mapp technology. Orange Box is the optimal combination of our modular equipment and software, tailored strictly to customer requirements. The control system, HMI and mapp technology have been combined to create a perfect platform for production that meets the requirements of the Industry 4.0 concept. Customers can choose between two options to connect their machines and devices – use I/O modules with third-party controllers or receive data directly using the ISO protocol on TCP or TCP/IP.
Specialists from B&R could strictly adept to the customer’s requests and wishes thanks to the mapp technology. The mapp technology consents to use many standard functions immediately after mounting the device. Computing OEE, user management, PackML, data acquisition – all these functions are accessible as convenient mapp mechanisms that can be installed easily similar to an application on any smartphone. There are some key dissimilarities between the concept of mapp and the conventional approach established on function blocks. The mapp components are interactive, which mean, they are able to be linked together and exchange data automatically. B&R solutions are based on a precise selection of homogeneous products that cover all areas of automation. Regardless of whether we are talking about a single machine, an integrated production line or the entire factory – solutions are implemented using the same universal software tool as Automation Studio. By integrating integrated automation, software packages and machine technology into a coherent whole, B&R is opening a new era in the field of machine automation.
The first pilot application of the Orange Box was implemented at the Nestlé plant in Osthofen, Germany. Three hundred employees of the plant produce liquid food supplements, offered by Nestlé Health Science to people with special nutritional needs. Thanks to the full scalability of software and hardware, Orange Box could interoperate with every machine and production line in the plant. The use of open standards enables flexible connection of process control systems: both the B&R APROL process control system, third-party solutions, as well as MES systems of the Wonderware system used in their plant. Notably, the Orange Box installation does not require any software modifications in existing machines. The system is so accessible that it does not require calling an expert. During each operation, the user is guided through an intuitively simple menu as described by representative of Nestlé. Data from the device is collected locally in digital form, and security is implemented as an autonomous solution or through protocols provided by standard information systems. With relatively small expenditures, Orange Box provided them with instant insight into data and enabled to introduce targeted improvements – very effective and based on a good understanding of the situation. It is also extremely modular, so they can easily adapt or expand it at any time. That is all they have been looking for.
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