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Retail Meat Packing Facility Commissioning

Retail Meat Packing Facility Commissioning
Crossmuller was contracted by a leader in the Food Retail Industry to assist commissioning one of Australia’s largest fully automated meat packing facilities.

The customer had a demanding timeline in which to integrate packing line machines from several vendors, integrate MES and machine systems, manage several projects, set up documentation systems for the Business As Usual team and to co-ordinate local and external engineering teams to ensure all was fully operational to provide the best quality fresh packaged meat to market.

With many systems integration projects and several existing Wonderware systems on site, as Asia Pacific’s only CSIA Certified and Wonderware Endorsed System Integrator, Crossmuller was the ideal choice to meet these challenges.

The customer’s senior management team relied on Crossmuller’s project management expertise to deliver several projects in a timely manner and on budget.

Crossmuller’s engineers played a leadership role in coordinating projects which integrated process and site services with the packaging lines, provided compliance to government building and environmental regulations, and linked security, safety and quality management personnel with site alarm monitoring and plant quality assurance systems.

The following are details on a few of the key projects which Crossmuller led:

  • Consolidating disparate Wonderware SCADA applications and delivering alarm and process data to QA, Security, Safety, Management and Engineering personnel via remote access technologies
  • Oxygen line cleaning to government standards and subsequent connection to packaging lines
  • Liquid CO2 connection to production equipment
  • CO2 Gas Extraction from production equipment in a manner that satisfied EPA and local government regulations.
  • Process Gas safety monitoring and control systems
  • Design and Implementation of CIP systems

Crossmuller’s engineers played a leading role in developing and executing checks, qualifications and verification tests to ensure all machines were properly integrated to deliver to the customer’s specifications.

When overall system performance was failing to meet specifications, Crossmuller facilitated a dialogue between Management, QA, Operations and Engineering, put systems in place to  capture defects in a structured manner and instituted data logging in order to understand the root causes. In this way systems were able to be signed off ready for production.

At times Crossmuller found deficiencies in the specifications themselves, and was able to recommend best practice methodologies to overcome several integration issues and get the best performance from the lines above original design specifications.

Crossmuller worked with each vendor to ensure local technical and operations staff were fully trained in the operation and maintenance of equipment, and all relevant documentation was provided.

Crossmuller’s team assisted the plant to transition The team’s expertise in resolving engineering, operational, training, and production issues ensured the transition was smooth and successful.

Some issues which were resolved using Crossmuller’s expertise were as follows:

  • Machine vision issues reading 2D codes.  Crossmuller optimised the vision algorithms to lift the read rate from 50% to 99% on difficult packaging surfaces

  • Machine vision inconsistency verifying label presence were overcome by teaching  operators the best methods for setting up algorithms for optimum performance.

  • Issues with print smudging and alignment were resolved by a root cause analysis which revealed that ribbon quality needed to be upgraded, film anti-static system needed to be implemented and operators needed training on film alignment and registration methods.

  • Packaging quality control issues - Gas ratios not meeting specifications. Fine-tuned parameters to ensure proper vacuum achieved before gas mixture injection into packaging trays.

  • Crate packing quality issues – root cause analysis determined vacuum generators setup incorrectly, pneumatic hoses incorrectly piped, belt speeds not at optimum settings, tray pattern settings needed adjustment and maintenance tasks required to be added to ensure belts remained clean.


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