Case Study

Case Study

Improving Plant-wide Productivity by Creating a Scalable and Uniform Controls Solution for Making Laundry Products

Objective

Our client wanted to have an improved batch control and liquid transfer system that could be scalable and applied across their many disparate mixer-based systems within their laundry products manufacturing plant. Malisko was requested to provide the client with such an automation platform that:

  • Utilized contemporary hardware that was fully supported for the foreseeable future
  • Used a common operational and functional approach
  • Ensured each batch process cell functioned the same after implementing controls upgrades
  • Leveraged current HMI design methods to make the system “Operator Friendly” at the same time maintaining a familiar “Look, Touch and Feel” to operator displays to minimize training required to operate the new platform
  • Provided more intuitive process troubleshooting for maintenance and engineering personnel
  • Streamlined automatic reporting for various user levels

CHALLENGES

  • Existing Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (PIDs) were inaccurate.
  • Incorporating a new stand-alone skid for dye and enzyme additives within the Mixer process schema:
  • New OEM that Malisko had not previously worked with:
  • First time on site with them
  • Difficulty gaining insight and an understanding of OEM code – OEM programmers were extremely guarded with their code – felt as if they were safeguarding their code or methods from our team
  • OEM was unwilling to spend time sharing programming information with Malisko – seemed like Malisko was “in the way” since they didn’t plan or budget any collaboration time to deploy the solution
  • Incorporate hand shaking between the new skid program and an existing Raw Materials (RM) program for skid operation management
  • Incorporate leak detection in the RM control system for a highly flammable ingredient
  • Control System not a part of the plant network
  • Learning the particular requirements of the Client’s Project Manager – working together for the first time, there was some unfamiliar territory for both parties.
  • Existing program code for both RM to each Mixer and Product Transfers from each Mixer to Packaging Lines was minimally documented and difficult to follow
  • Updating data exchange between both RM code and Product Transfer code was difficult

NOTE

The client continues to rely on Malisko to execute these and other process control strategies in order to maintain consistency across the plant’s Industrial Automation and Control System (IACS). Major financial and operational highlights include perpetual cost reductions due to fewer Raw Material overshoots and dosing errors, ROI of under 6 months, increased production profitability due to improved batching operations efficiencies, and improved batch cycle times resulting in a production capacity expansion while utilizing the same production equipment.
Services rendered:

  • S88 Batch Controls – New PLC controllers and I/O hardware – Specify, document, configure, program and test
  • HMI SCADA – Specify, document, configure, program and test
  • Leveraged server design and configuration with future expansion
  • Project management
  • Automated reporting upgrades
  • S88 Batch Solution:
    • Full-featured S88 batch architecture and control applied to a legacy mixer system
    • Leveraged class-based recipe structure and actual recipes created and deployed on previous mixer upgrades
    • Created new recipes for products which the client didn’t have auto-batch recipes for – previously all manual batch sequences
    • Increased throughput – amount of detergent produced per batch (increased the batching “scale size”).
    • Replicated shared resource control of the raw materials additions.
    • Replicated shared resource control of transfer lines from other mixers.

RESULTS

  • The deployed system met the goals and objectives of the client
  • New control algorithms improved accuracies in meeting targets for raw material additions
  • Improvements in dosing accuracy created perpetual and significant annual savings of Raw Materials
  • Enhanced product quality through higher consistency
  • Reduced batch cycle time
  • Increased throughput
  • Control System became easier to troubleshoot, easier to follow, and as easily replicated once the initial system was deployed
  • More agile batch control on rare occasions of an ingredient dosing overshoot – New program upgrades allow Production the ability to track any chemical overshoots and alter the process as needed to mitigate overshoot risk. The end result was a cleaner, more efficient chemical delivery system for each recipe
  • Auto tracking batch operations
  • More comprehensive and granular reporting of each batch operation:
  • Automated-records and information keeping for each batch step during the batching process
  • Improved visibility into how much time each recipe step took
  • Improved accountability within the process 
LEARN MORE

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