Columns

Automation has its perks

November 4, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Web-based plant architecture improves rework and variance rates for coffee producer.

Staff in the Realcafe control room can review real-time and historical data with its new automation system. The system was installed without shutting down the production process. Source: Emerson.
"Justifying investment in automation has been difficult due to perceived cost/benefit ratios, the historically low profitability of the Brazilian coffee producers and the complexity of the automation equipment," says Raimundo de Paula Soares Filho, executive vice president of Realcafe soluvel do brasil, based in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil. "Some coffee producers have invested in automation by focusing on controlling a few unit operations, such as packaging. However, plant-wide automation and information technology infrastructure have been missing. As a result, automation investment is primarily occurring, if at all, on a piecemeal basis."



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

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

TYSON FOODS

Tyson Foods made headlines announcing the company intends to acquire Hillshire Brands in a deal valued at $8.55 billion. Do you think the acquisition will be beneficial for meat and poultry processors?
View Results Poll Archive

Food Engineering

July 2014

2014 July

The July 2014 issue of Food Engineering features the 12th Annual Replacement Parts Survey. Also covered: OEE improvement steps and increased filtration cycle.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +