TM asked Martin Walder, UK Industries Manager at Rockwell, how domestic home and personal care (HPC) product manufacturers could stay ahead of overseas competition.
The short answer; “invest in more highly automated and flexible plant and ensure it is tightly integrated with your supply chain,” Walder said.
He cited a private company, Persán, which had recently done this in Spain, and which had been extremely successful exporting beyond its shores to a number of other major European countries, including the UK & France.
“Persán”, he explains, “has had a number of product firsts including detergent in a tablet, 3-in-1 tablets and a 6-in-1 fabric softener. They needed to update and expand their manufacturing facility to take full market advantage of their product portfolio.”
The Spanish manufacturers called upon the services of Rockwell Automation and its local System Integrator Procisa to help with this initiative and based the solution on a PlantPAx Process Automation System with its integrated FactoryTalk Batch technologies.
Persán’s primary goals were to increase production capacity; increase flexibility in order to modify and create new products; and increase product quality through the use of a contemporary automation solution. Like many household product companies, Persán needed to couple greater quantity with more product variety but without compromising on quality. In the competitive consumer market where customers have so many choices, product quality and reliability are paramount.
With its new PlantPAx solution, Persán controls 40 raw material tanks, six process reactors, 25 intermediate tanks and all manual operations. The upgrade was implemented by Procisa, a recognised Rockwell Automation System integrator able to offer the flexibility to adapt the automation and batch solutions to meet the final needs, within an optimal timeframe.
Connected to the factory’s existing IT infrastructure, the Allen-Bradley hardware deployed for the project comprised two ControlLogix L63 programmable automation controllers (PACs), one ControlLogix L64 PAC, a number of field-located PanelView HMIs, E1 Plus overload relays, 20 PowerFlex drives in MCCs, 36 motor starters and 23 remote I/O panels for field communications.
With PlantPAx offering a high level of product integration, the Persán facility now benefits from higher levels of product quality; increased production capacity (up to 1 million kg/day); increased flexibility to modify products or create new ones (managing more than 200 recipes); a very good level of reporting; and bi-directional SAP integration with the process system.
The installation is fully operational with Persán now planning for additional capabilities to expand the installation further, such as additional automatic dosing of raw materials, further reactors, and the introduction of new production phases to develop new products.
Walder said: “Here in the UK, Rockwell Automation is very active with HPC companies providing complete process control and MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) solutions as well as working with a number of local System Integrators who can deliver our solutions in the same way as Procisa have for Persán. Needless to say, such improvements translate to improving the bottom line. It’s hard to stay competitive with the global market, let alone grow, without a progressive approach to the manufacturing process, but it is remarkably simple to benefit from a rapid ROI with the right approach.”