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. Continue Reading “Do You Really Need to Upgrade Your PLC-5 Automation System?”
Automation has gained plenty of traction in the food and beverage processing industry thanks to benefits including cost savings, labor reduction and increased food safety. However, a slew of national and international guidelines and requirements has made owning automation equipment more complex than ever before—with risk assessments an especially gray area. The good news? Clearer risk assessment requirements have arrived from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), offering more consistent expectations.
Food and beverage processors are increasingly turning towards robotics for the technology’s slew of benefits including reduced costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety. Earlier this month, I contributed to the Food Engineering article, “The rise of robotic automation,” discussing the functionality for robots in the food processing industry. While robotics does boast various benefits to food manufacturing, it’s important to follow some best practices during your own implementation. Continue Reading “5 Best Practices for Using Robotics in Your Food Processing Plant”
As product lines become more diverse due to increased demand in specialty ingredients in multiple sized packages with private labeling, manual processes become both costly and time consuming. Many food processing plant managers are recognizing the benefits of automating previously manual processes to increase production and reduce labor costs.
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.