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Case Study: Chocolate Manufacturing Company

May 10, 2016 10:08:00 AM / by Jeff Knepper

This chocolate manufacturing company (privacy requested) uses Canary Labs software such as the Canary process data historian and Canary trending solution, Axiom to connect to an HMI via OPC.  Once their data is collected, they view the trends of several different processes.
The drying process is monitoring the various oven temperatures (CCP - Critical Control Points) to make sure the oven remains within that temperature zone and if the process varies outside this zone, then action is taken to divert the product off the production line.
Also monitored is the conveying pressure; the pressure it takes to convey the dry powder out of the system.  Too high of a pressure indicates the product is too wet or the oven temperatures are too low.  This indicator is important to the control operator.   Using high/low limits, the operator is visually warned that the product is beyond the CCP and immediate action needs to be taken.
The process is also monitoring items such as pressure and vacuum.  They monitor various operations such as uptime, dry material, time that the vessel is charged, time started, and monitors the operators’ interactions.  Management can see if the product went thru the process correctly.  They can also determine if the operator did the proper functions in a timely manner.  The Canary Labs software has been a tremendous help with the operators log.  It keeps the operators honest and on track.
Problem solving is easy to diagnose with Canary trending application and it makes people aware of various items.  The operator is dealing with many things and the Canary software shows them when certain events happen such as the following:  There is a drop below a critical control point and the operator is out on the floor and not in the control room and missed an event.  They now know time events happen and prompted the company to put in additional measures to automate the off stream processes.  The company was able to make process changes and implementation more effectively.
The Canary software points out when equipment is not performing correctly.  If the operator is looking at 4 or 5 vessels and sees one vessel has different characteristics, they can determine problems with the heating of the vessel or it is not pulling the same vacuum of the other vessels.  A user can’t see this looking at gauges or numbers but needs a trend line.  Each vessel should have a similar profile.  If it deviates, then something is wrong and the question is asked why?
Is it a maintenance issue? Are the condensation lines blocked or not flowing correctly?  Is the proper amount of heat going to the process line?  The operator sometimes will not pick up on these causes because these problems develop over a relative long process.  Startup takes hours and the operators will miss these nuances without historical trend data.
The Canary software was used in the following ways: The software pointed at maintenance problems, vacuums aren’t as low as they should be.  Water temperatures were higher than they should be.  By looking at the Canary trends, these things jump right out at you.  Look at the profile. Overlay trend lines. Compare.  See profiles and blimps. These things manifest themselves in the product.  The color is not right. The moisture content is not right. The alkaline is off.
The Canary software answers the questions of why.  It has been a tremendous help to the end-user.  Future needs are to move data from the production floor to the front office.  They want to utilize the use of historical data in a spreadsheet and use the Canary Excel Add-in product.
When temperature shoots off the chart, maintenance knows they need to replace the sensor or change the transducer.  Canary Labs software brings out a log of good things happening in the process.
One time on a Sunday afternoon at 1:30, engineers noticed oven control problems.  Operators were claiming that nothing of significance happened at that time but the Canary client applications were showing something different.  After pressing the operators, it was found out that they double charged a mixer adding 2 times the amount of solution needed.  The product was too wet but made it through the system.  They eventually were able to track the product and pull it from the system.
With the Canary system in place, users were able to better tune the vessels and reactor temperatures.  They determined the product was getting too hot and it was taking a lot of energy to cool the product. They were able to drop the product temperature and allow the process to naturally cool versus sending it through a cooling system.  They were running it hotter than it had to be and determined a more efficient way to get the results they were looking for.  They ended up self-regulating the system by trimming and putting temperature limits on the process.
The system integrator on this project commented that the Canary software has worked well wherever the product has been deployed in his applications.  He especially appreciates the file management services and customer care that Canary gives.
To learn how you can use the Canary software products to improve your process, contact us below.

Topics: Case Studies, Data Historian, News, Products, Trending Software

Jeff Knepper

Written by Jeff Knepper