Inductive Automation, provider of SCADA and MES software, announced the winners of its annual Ignition Firebrands Awards for 2021. Among its winners is CPM Beta Raven’s implementation of an Ignition SCADA system at Smithfield’s feed mill in Milford, Utah. The mill produces 12,000 tons of animal feed per week, which supplies food to 1.7 million pigs annually to Smithfield farms. CPM Beta Raven is s system integrator with more than 40 years of experience in automation and control systems for pet food, bakery, tortilla and premix industries.

Control system for a fast-paced operation

Today a feed mill, like any food production plant, can’t run efficiently with pushbuttons and relays to control equipment, nor can it be effective when employees would add ingredients by hand. And good information with lot tracking plus keeping tabs on ingredient and product variations is a must to be an effective supplier to Smithfield farms.

To automate the mostly manually operated Milford mill, CPM Beta Raven installed Rockwell Allen Bradley CompactLogix processors tied with Flex and SLC I/O hardware. The computers work in a virtual environment, with all machines running on a common server connected to thin clients, reports Jacob Self, lead engineer on the project. CPM Beta Raven’s MillMaster, based on Inductive Automation’s Ignition software, is the interface that the mill’s operators use to receive incoming product, run recipes, track inventory and load out product seamlessly and accurately.

This mill operation is not small. The control system has 48,548 tags, uses ten main screens, operates with an unlimited number of clients and has 5,400 alarms. The system uses four Allen-Bradley 5069-L300 series PLCs and one 1769-L18ER PLC. Databases include two Microsoft SQL Servers and one Millmaster Software system plus a historian. Speaking of historians, the system logs 1,654 tags. The controls also include a CPM Beta Raven Micro Scale system, which allows repeatable measurements within typically hundredths of a pound.

Software is key to the operation

The CPM Beta Raven automation system makes it easy for operators to run several processes in tandem while maintaining accuracy and protecting equipment investments, says Jacob Self. “The Ignition platform has provided several features that streamline the process of developing and troubleshooting customers’ needs for fast results. CPM Beta Raven has made use of making templates and user-defined data types to quickly replicate similar machinery and other such equipment.”

Ignition’s email and text features keep Smithfield’s staff apprised of important process events. Ignition is versatile enough that operators can make equipment changes, run upgrades, or remove certain equipment without interruption to running processes.

Major benefits of the project include the efficiency and response times of the software. The mill is fast-paced, operates safely and depends on the Ignition HMI client to provide real-time data. The control system also provides ongoing status of the boiler, which is critical to plant operation.

Before installation of the new system, the plant ran entirely on pushbuttons, relay circuit boards and physical labor. Now, says Jacob Self, the operators have the capability to focus more on ingredient/product accuracy and production times for the best results. This provides Smithfield the ability to serve more hog farms and therefore provide more protein for humans everywhere.

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