Total automation may be an ideal for most food processors, but it can be difficult to determine how to connect every system in a food plant—or if they should even be connected at all. To optimize ROI, it’s important to learn which areas of your food processing facility are best suited for automation. Below are five tips for improving your plant’s automation capabilities.
Michael has 10 years of experience in industrial automation including refrigeration, chilled water, power and energy management, and monitoring automation systems. He has extensive experience in the refrigeration control field including the design and programming of refrigeration computer control and microprocessor-based systems for complete automation of low-temperature food storage and processing facilities. Michael understands key process automation design and installation requirements for areas involving refrigeration and chilled water systems and safety and gas detection systems that are required in these facilities. His role is to lead all phases of the project to ensure cost, schedule, quality and safety are in line with project specifications. Michael has overseen projects for Burris Refrigerated Logistics, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Nestlé, Keystone Foods and many others.
Tips for migrating your processor effectively, efficiently and affordably
Upgrading PLC-5 automation systems has been on the food and beverage industry’s radar for quite some time now. In fact, when I began working at Stellar 12 years ago, people were buzzing about Rockwell Automation moving the processor into retirement (“Silver Series” status). However, the PLC-5 1771 was such a widely popular system, Rockwell held back on pulling the trigger until recently. In August 2012, Rockwell revealed it would no longer support the PLC-5 processor anymore, including engineering replacement parts—big news, considering more than 80 percent of the marketplace owned these systems.
When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges.
Tagged: Bakery, Beef/Pork, Beverage, Dairy, electrical & plumbing (MEP), ENERGY AUDITS/ANALYSIS, energy optimization, Foodservice, mechanical, Mechanical and Utility, Poultry, public refrigerated warehouse, Ready-to-eat, refrigeration & controls, Refrigeration Services, Retail, Seafood, Total Operations and Maintenance
I recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.
Tagged: Bakery, Beef/Pork, Beverage, Dairy, Design, electrical & plumbing (MEP), ENERGY AUDITS/ANALYSIS, energy optimization, Foodservice, mechanical, Mechanical and Utility, Planning, Poultry, public refrigerated warehouse, Ready-to-eat, Refrigeration Services, Retail, Seafood, sustainable solutions
2014 trends and predictions
Many food processors are turning to wireless automation to improve the efficiency and interoperability of the plant’s control systems. This method of automation architecture offers significant cost savings in engineering and installation, while providing more flexible access to data for monitoring and analysis.
Refrigeration Control Series
Your team relies on HMI screens to monitor real-time performance of your refrigeration control systems. But if your dashboards are not presenting that information in a clear, usable format, you’re not getting a clear picture. Your HMI should present performance metrics in a format that’s customized for your system to allow your team to effectively diagnose, analyze and manage your systems.
Your HMI screens should include an overview of the entire plant in addition to a single view of the machine room. Each piece of equipment can be animated and color-coded to show operational status, capacity, pressures, communication errors and other functions. Alarms and other critical issues are easily recognizable with pop-ups and red animation.
Refrigeration Control Series
The ability to remotely monitor your refrigeration system can have a significant impact on your bottom line, reducing energy, maintenance and overall operating costs. If you’ve recently upgraded your refrigeration controls system or are in the process of upgrading, it’s important to ensure your new system offers remote access. This will allow for speedy diagnostics, offsite troubleshooting capabilities, and constant monitoring, all with a “big picture” view of the entire system.
There are three key benefits of remote monitoring:
Remote access allows your team or an outsourced consultant to monitor the system 24/7 for alerts such as refrigerant leak detection, high liquid levels, high product temperatures, high system pressure, and more. Outsourced consultants who offer a higher level of specialized expertise than your in-house team can view your entire system in real time and offer advanced insight and support.
This April, we’re taking a look at refrigeration controls systems. While they represent a significant capital investment, automation components, software and systems are critical to the success of any food processing or cold storage facility. But no technology—no matter how innovative—can last forever.
In our series of articles, we will explore signs that it’s time to replace your refrigeration controls system, the benefits of newer systems, remote monitoring, and HMIs.
Stellar provides state-of-the-art automation services to help clients achieve maximum efficiency for their refrigeration systems. We are the only approved Rockwell Automation Solution Partner for refrigeration controls.
We look forward to your thoughts and questions on the information in this series. If you have other questions, feel free to contact Kevin Frantz at 904-260-2900 or email@example.com.