A Borg company

Mixer and Oven System Upgrade

Mixer and Oven System Upgrade
PepsiCo, a leading manufacturer in the Australian food and beverage industry engaged Crossmuller to update their Smith's Snackfood Company's automated grain mixing supply process.

Smith’s runs a number of food & beverage production facilities producing products for their brands including Smith’s chips, Doritos, Red Rock Deli, Grain Waves and Sakata. They were looking to replace an aging automation system that controlled their grain mixing supply process. This process supplies a mix of base ingredients required to produce Twisties and Burger Rings, amongst other products.  As part of the upgrade, the customer also wanted to have better control and visibility of the recipe data for the system.

The existing Grain mixing system had been in place for many years. As a result, there had been a number of additions and modifications resulting in a system that was fragmented and difficult to maintain.  Along with these automation changes, the Smith’s process had undergone a number of equipment upgrades and naming convention changes over the years which were not replicated in the control system.

The existing recipe system was implemented in the PLC, with any Recipe changes requiring modification of the PLC program.  Smith’s wanted to replace this with a solution that integrated both with the PLC and SCADA as well as providing the ability to track and modify recipe versions without having to delve into the PLC program.


The Solution

Due to the difficult-to-follow nature of the existing system, the decision was made between Crossmuller and Smith’s to design the new automation system from the ground up. This would mean a complete re-write of the PLC program, along with the creation of a new SCADA system to control the process.

With the site recently installing Wonderware System Platform, this was the perfect opportunity to design the new automation system with the techniques required to leverage the built-in object oriented features of System Platform.

With System Platform requiring a ‘site-wide’ model of the plant to properly utilise all features, Crossmuller ensured sufficient design time with Smith’s to outline both their business structure and site processes. From this, a complete site model and naming structure based on the ISA-95 equipment naming standards was established.

Using custom PLC Add-On Instructions (AOI’s) in association with matching System Platform templates, Crossmuller was able to standardise both the SCADA and PLC code.

A complete re-design of the SCADA system focused on maximising efficiency by using situational awareness concepts to draw operator attention to required areas, along with optimising screens for use with a new 21” Touch Screen display.

In order to give Smith’s the flexibility and functionality required for recipe management, Crossmuller supplied and configured Wonderware's Recipe Manager Plus to  manage recipe formulas, version control and recipe selection for the production line.  All management is performed through a web browser from any terminal on site, with configurable user logins and security.

The Delivery

The result was a completely automated grain mixing system, fully utilising the benefits of System Platform, Recipe Manager Plus and the new process naming convention.

Installation of the new system needed to work around production to ensure there was zero downtime. The new system was fully installed and commissioned over a two-day period, with production starting up and running consistently with absolutely no downtime. Multiple training sessions performed by Crossmuller ensured all Smith’s staff across all shifts were aware and capable with the new system.

The 21” full HD Touch screen display provided the operational platform for the new system, giving operators greatly improved visibility and control of the process. Response from site staff was overwhelmingly positive.

The Benefits

The key benefits of the new automated grain mixing system include:

  • Faster response time to alarms thanks to the Situational Awareness SCADA design concepts, which draw attention to the areas required.
  • Vastly improved recipe management and tracking.
  • Easily customisable and maintainable
  • Improved equipment control
  • Improved diagnostic information and process status


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