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Driving productivity improvements for Tate & Lyle

05 February 2018

In 2013 Tate & Lyle acquired the Kimstad oat ingredients factory in Sweden. Today, following a plant automation project, the plant is has greatly increased its output capabilities and now runs 24/7. 

“Our aim was to create a process solution that was highly automated and capable of running 24 hours, seven days a week, all year round. We therefore need the equipment to work consistently,” said Annika Werneman, plant manager. “With the new automation equipment, we have more than ten times the capacity with the same number of shift operators compared to four years ago. It is a huge change over a short period to reach our new high level of production.”

When the company needed new variable speed drives (VSDs) to help it run the factory in a more energy efficient way, it turned to ABB, with whom it has worked on projects in other plants. In addition to the VSDs, ABB motors, motor control centers (MCCs) and low voltage products together with 44 digital electro-pneumatic postioners with HART protocol for the control valves.

These products were supplied directly as well as via system integrators and OEMs. “We wanted to avoid surprises with such a big expansion,” said Werneman. “ABB is a company that we knew had the capacity to deliver the products and services we needed.”

Today over 85 of ABB’s ACS880 variable speed drives, ranging from 0.37 to 55 KW have been installed at the Kimstad factory, mainly to run pumps and centrifuges, as well as handling the transportation of dry products. They have enabled the plant to make energy savings of around 50%. “Moreover, the VSDs have been running without stoppages,” said Leo Dijkstra, power & controls team leader for Europe.

One of the main advantages of the VSDs is that they support a wide variety of fieldbuses and fieldbus protocols. This was important to Tate & Lyle as to allow it to communicate digitally with the drives from anywhere in the world, to help reduce commissioning times and the total cost of ownership. It is, for example, possible to download a drive’s commissioning file over the network, and after correction, upload the file again into the VSD. “This means that we are always 100% certain that the drive will start up,” said Dijkstra. “Also, if the drive fails at night or during the weekend, I can download the file and without any need to bother local people about software issues, we can get it up and running again. This is very convenient.”

Another benefit with the ABB design is that uploads and downloads in the asset management fieldbus do not affect the real control fieldbus as the fieldbus for control is split from the fieldbus for asset management so the network will never be compromised when drive configuration changes are being actioned.

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