Automation has its perks
Realcafe is part of the Tristao Group of Companies, one of the largest conglomerates in the Brazilian coffee industry. During an instrumentation and control tradeshow in Sao Paulo, Realcafe came up with the idea of installing a plant-wide automation system. Company executives had three critical considerations: cost, simplicity and ease of use. Any new equipment purchases had to be affordable due to budget constraints. And, the system had to be simple and easy to use. "We had a 30-year-old plant operating on manual control," says Soares, "so the level of in-house expertise available to engineer a highly sophisticated automation system was almost non-existent."
After considering several systems, Realcafe selected PlantWeb digital plant architecture provided by Emerson Process Management Systems. The new architecture included an all-digital DeltaV automation system with embedded data historian software. The system is based on an intuitive personal computer/Windows platform and automatically acquires data from the process or externally, stores the data in a database and makes it available to users via the web. Process measurements, such as temperatures, pressures, flows and levels are acquired using the Foundation fieldbus standard for field instrumentation.
Realcafe was further interested in the system's predictive technologies such as predictive control and maintenance. For example, predictive maintenance software allows communication with intelligent field devices using Foundation fieldbus protocol, which enables the system to predict potential process problems before they cause a production shutdown.
"We can also answer queries from customers. For example, as part of his audit, one customer wanted to know the exact values of a certain temperature of a certain process during his coffee production. We were able to provide them with the data and they were impressed with our quality control procedures," says Artur Jacbonia, Realcafe's IT manager.
Currently, 90 percent of the plant is under control of the new system and Realcafe intends to bring the remaining 10 percent under the same infrastructure. Able to reduce its rework by 60 percent and dramatically reduce process variance, the plant has become a powerful sales tool. "I simply go to my control room when I receive visitors from other industrialized countries such as Japan, Germany and America. I show them a few display screens and everybody leaves here super-impressed. It has become so easy to sell the plant today, thanks to our new system," says Soares.
For more information:
David Holmes, Emerson, 512-418-7536