classic | mobile
 

Search...

SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide

Technews Industry Guide - IIoT 2018

Technews Industry Guide - Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation

 

FlavourCraft standardises on Beckhoff Automation
February 2008, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers


South African Instrumentation and Control features editor, Andrew Ashton, interviewed Andrew Craig, automation manager, FlavourCraft, to establish the thought processes behind this decision.

Andrew Craig
Andrew Craig

[SAI&C]: Please give us an overview of your company, your products, your customers, and your position and responsibilities.

[Andrew Craig]: FlavourCraft is a privately owned South African flavour house. We supply flavourings and food formulations to the savoury and confectionery food markets. I am responsible for plant automation and the integration of the plant systems with the rest of the business.

[SAI&C]: What are the primary requirements of your plant control systems, functions like recipe management and reporting must surely be important?

[Andrew Craig]: Our processes are mostly short batches of a few hours duration, and each batch is different. Recipes and set-points are sent to the plant for consistent machine operation. Plant performance is monitored and reports are created on equipment and operator downtime. Trends and alarms are captured to help with plant troubleshooting. The goal is to reduce cycle times by machine and operator optimisation without compromising on quality.

[SAI&C]: When you designed your plant architecture what were the system-level criteria during solution evaluation, and which system did you choose?

[Andrew Craig]: We needed decentralised I/O. The old days of taking lots of wiring looms to a central switch room and PLC are gone. Now the wiring is run locally to small I/O stations and the information is transported to the central PLC using a single fieldbus cable. Beckhoff supports almost every flavour of fieldbus, we standardised on Profibus since the Ethernet industrial standards were not readily available from all manufacturers. Smart devices like motor drives can now be interrogated for lots of information to run the plant better. We have a scada system and we needed easy integration with this using an industry standard like OPC, which Beckhoff supports.

[SAI&C]: What particular capabilities did you consider important for integration?

[Andrew Craig]: The Beckhoff choice allowed us the flexibility to build both the small and large systems we required all with the same components and programming languages. We can start small and grow big or even split I/O stations into many pieces with very little PLC work. Cost is important and Beckhoff uses standard PC CPUs in their PLCs and I/O stations which really brings the costs down, this also means that their processing power jumps every year as the CPU speeds increase.

[SAI&C]: With respect to the food and beverage industry, and its unique problems, how has your control architecture allowed you to meet these requirements?

[Andrew Craig]: Beckhoff components are low cost and easy to install. We generate many new recipes a week and we are growing at a fast pace. This means a continual growth program which requires quick and easy plant upgrades. The I/O block idea connected with a fieldbus really suits this kind of expansion. Beckhoff has almost all the fieldbus types and terminals that allow us to interface all the devices we need to. The cost factor is also very relevant, since we may install a plant and then overhaul it within a year to cope with a new customer requirement.

[SAI&C]: Scalability sounds important, will your current system be able to accommodate your future expansion needs?

[Andrew Craig]: Beckhoff uses the same program for all their PLCs and it is written using the IEC61131-3 international standard for PLC languages. We can add and remove systems to the PLC with downtimes of less than an hour. If there is too much load on one PLC then we can easily move the I/O station and software to another PLC in a few hours.

[SAI&C]: You have a lot of PLC and control experience. How has the new technology made life easier for instrumentation engineers?

[Andrew Craig]: There is great variety in the range of components available from Beckhoff. By using specific cards rather than generic digital and 4-20 mA loops we get better diagnostics and eliminate many potential errors along the way. A good example is a temperature card, using traditional methods one would use a probe to generate a signal, say 4-20 mA, this would then be transmitted and would need reconversion to value. Now we have the probe connected straight to the card, which gives us the value directly. Also, the temperature value in the PLC is always scaled by 10, whereas traditionally there would be two scaling steps with variable scaling that would cause lots of errors. Installation and troubleshooting are also easier since these terminal cards have an error indication specific to what they are measuring. Many problems can now be sorted out without resorting to looking at the values in the PLC.

[SAI&C]: How do you find the service and technical support for your chosen supplier?

[Andrew Craig]: Beckhoff has a South African branch with staff who have many years of experience using the systems. Service and support has always been good. It also helps that we are in the same time zone as the parent company in Germany so in an emergency they can get a hold of the developers and get quick answers.

[SAI&C]: You are now using embedded controllers as your PLC and PAC in the plant, have you found them more useful than standard PLCs?

[Andrew Craig]: The beauty of an embedded PLC is that it has access to standard services available on a Windows server. We currently send e-mails and SMSs direct from the PLC. A web server on the PLC is also available. Standard PC applications can also run on the PLC if required to interface with external software such as databases. Another advantage of an embedded PLC is that many features can be added without upgrading the hardware, one need only install a new library.

South African Instrumentation and Control thanks Andrew Craig for his time and the insight provided in his answers.


Credit(s)
Supplied By: Beckhoff Automation
Tel: +27 11 795 2898
Fax: 086 603 6868
Email: info@beckhoff.co.za
www: www.beckhoff.co.za
Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • Robot-assisted machinery for the fish industry
    October 2018, Beckhoff Automation, System Integration & Control Systems Design
    Fully automated deboning and filleting of fresh fish.
  • Flexible controller technology removes project roadblocks
    October 2018, Emerson Automation Solutions, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    Emerson’s latest capital project technology enables chemical, life sciences, oil and gas, and other industrial manufacturers to scale automation, simplifying project execution. As capital projects grew ...
  • PC-based control ensures high quality sporting goods
    September 2018, Beckhoff Automation, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    ADC fills market niche with standardised and highly precise testing systems.
  • Process 4.0 Breakfast Seminar Series
    September 2018, EPLAN Software & Services, Beckhoff Automation, News
    Beckhoff Automation and EPLAN recently hosted a successful Process 4.0 Breakfast Seminar Series, the first 4th Industrial Revolution seminar in South Africa for process industries. Around 350 people ...
  • Yokogawa releases Centum VP R6.06
    September 2018, Yokogawa South Africa, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    Yokogawa has announced the addition of new functions to the Centum VP integrated production control system, which will be released as Centum VP R6.06. The enhancements include the addition of support ...
  • Mini PLC offers versatile options
    September 2018, AC/DC Dynamics, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    GIC’s PL-100 mini programmable logic controller is a real-time system designed for multiple input and output arrangements. The PL-100 can control a wide variety of devices to support the user’s evolving ...
  • Latest PlantPAx release empowers convergence
    September 2018, Rockwell Automation, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    With the latest release of the PlantPAx DCS from Rockwell Automation, industrial producers can create smarter, more productive and protected operations. The new system capabilities include a more intuitive ...
  • Micro PLC reduces complexity of large standalone machines
    September 2018, Rockwell Automation, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    Machine designers can use a new micro PLC to help optimise the control architecture in large standalone machines or systems. The new Allen-Bradley Micro870 PLC can support smart micro applications that ...
  • New controller for DC retrofit applications
    September 2018, Rockwell Automation, PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
    The new Allen-Bradley PowerFlex DC field controller from Rockwell Automation enables customers to upgrade their DC motor application to a modern system, without the need for complex external devices. ...
  • Machine evolution yields higher ­efficiency and quality in processing
    August 2018, Beckhoff Automation, Motion Control & Drives
    TwinCAT CNC controls grinding machine for dental drills with exceptional precision.
  • Ultra-compact IPC is ideal for edge computing
    August 2018, Beckhoff Automation, Industrial Computer Hardware
    Simple path to Industry 4.0-enabled process technology using an IoT edge device.
  • A new path appears for modular and IoT-capable machines and systems
    Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0, Beckhoff Automation, Industrial Computer Hardware
    Ultra-compact industrial PCs: a new generation of devices for challenging automation, visualisation and communication tasks.

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.