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'Easily accessible realtime'

14 April 2009

Citect systems integrator, Silchester Control Systems, has achieved a 90% reduction in manual inputs across the production system at Ryvita

Ryvita in Poole says using Citect’s AMPLA MES solution (Manufacturing Execution Systems) has improved efficiency, accuracy, transparency in reporting.

The Ampla system is the backbone of a flexible factory-wide reporting system, integrating Citect SCADA and Citect Reports, which was installed by Silchester with Citect Professional Services, with zero downtime and no loss of production. It is said to collate vast amounts of data seamlessly, providing easily accessible realtime and historical production data to aid immediate decision-making and drive continuous business improvement.

“This is a major step forward in terms of information accessibility for the site,“ said Mark Chesworth, supply chain director for Ryvita. “It allows live data to be used by the teams in the factory to drive and improve business performance, without time being wasted trying to collate vast quantities of information. It also enables the teams to assume realtime responsibility for driving their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and to witness the results of their efforts. We believe this evolution will prove truly empowering for our production staff.“

Citect systems integrator Silchester Controls was contracted to provide the system Ryvita needed, together with Citect Professional Services. While technical expertise was key to success, the services team also managed change across the business that was impacted by the increase in technology by modelling workflow, focused training and consistent support. Citect Professional Services and Silchester tried to assist the business with identifying improvement possibilities utilising new technologies.

Trevor Jones, MD, Silchester, takes up the story: “The major bottleneck to improved production efficiency was the requirement for each shift to provide manual entries to a Microsoft Excel legacy reports spreadsheet that was the crux of production operations. The spreadsheet totalled more than 40Mb and involved thousands of individual calculations from hundreds of manual entries, which took many hours a week to input. Moreover, as the inputs were manual they could become subjective and inaccurate, resulting in production bottlenecks that were difficult to rectify.”

The answer to this was to provide automatic inputs from sensors across the factory, through the installed base of Schneider PLCs into supervisory computers, and out across the network as useful knowledge. To acquire the data automatically, a SCADA system was required. Silchester recommended a CitectSCADA system because of its reliability and capability for future expansion and because Citect is part of the Schneider Alliance, a factor that simplified the task of interfacing to the installed PLCs.

The CitectSCADA was installed on several servers and many industrial touchscreen client PCs were connected as clients, their SCADA displays being built up as the machine information was connected. Sitting atop the CitectSCADA system performing the tasks of collecting, collating and analysing data from multiple input sources, and providing high level reporting, is Citect’s Ampla MES system.

Ampla is a scalable suite of MES solutions that delivers realtime access to aggregated plant and business intelligence. The system allows key personnel to analyse and act on opportunities to refine the workflow, maximise overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and to correct problems before they impact the business.

Silchester and Citect installed the combined SCADA/MES system with no loss of production or downtime; and the benefits of the new system were immediately obvious. Immediate savings were found by Ryvita production teams as previously-held beliefs were nullified and actual bottleneck problems were targeted and rectified. The manual entry that took many hours per week to accomplish was reduced to a few short minutes per shift. Moreover the accuracy of the data input is now unquestioned and repeatability is sustainable.

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