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FMA implements control system upgrade for cheesemaker

03 February 2011

After an exhaustive competitive tender process, FMA Process Engineering of Lichfield, Staffordshire, has completed a major control system upgrade for The Cheese Company of Lockerbie, Scotland.

This major project consisted of replacing the obsolete Alert 500 control system which had run its course with many components, including IO parts and processors, now being unavailable.

The ultimate objective was not increased throughput at the plant but improved efficiencies and cost savings.

The key to the upgrade lay in replacing the plant’s existing control system to a Siemens S7 400 PLC. To achieve this FMA commissioned its partner company A2I to take the raw code from the Alert 500 system converting it into new PLC code that could be installed into a Siemens S7 PLC.

After the appropriate error checking and debugging process, the code was then returned to FMA in S7 format. Additional work was undertaken by FMA to install a Win-CC SCADA system along with a new server for it to run on, enabling operators to control the processes at will to check the alarm system.

Naturally speed was of the essence in a project which involved the replacement of what is effectively the heart and soul of the plant. FMA rose to the challenge by completing the task, all the way from receiving the Alert code to installation of the SCADA system, in around six weeks.

Not only that but conversion of the code, in preference to writing from scratch, meant a seamless transition, cutting the time required for testing and commissioning by half.

What it also means is that operators at the plant can enjoy all the benefits of a new state-of-the-art system supported by Siemens without having to master new and unfamiliar operating methods.

Comments FMA Sales and Marketing Director Paul Bunyan - “ The project is a demonstration of how FMA can effect a major system upgrade without significant disruption to productivity and, just as importantly, established ways of working”.


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