ProLeiT and Schneider Electric together, transforming operations in Food and Beverage

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Dogfish Head, a regional craft micro-brewery based in Delaware, USA, needed to expand operations and improve operational transparency in order accommodate rapid business growth. Operators required an automation system that could provide more visibility to production data across their recipes and batches, and around their filtering, boiling, fermentation and storage processes. Such capabilities would enable operators to integrate process lifecycle management for more flexibility, quality control and resilience.

Unfortunately, their legacy automation system placed a ceiling on the levels of quality they could achieve and curtailed their ability to exceed annual production totals of 250,000 barrels of beer. “To achieve our unique flavors, we needed a new automation platform that would allow us to inject enhancements into our operations such as ingredient pot and specialty hop dosing systems,” said Liz Stairs, Dogfish Head’s process improvement specialist.

Dogfish Head required a partner with a high level of brewery expertise. They decided to engage ProLeiT, an organization with an established track record for success.  ProLeiT’s Brewmaxx  platform was both efficient and transparent, enabling both more profitable production and deeper visibility into the nuances of the operation.

Operational transparency boosts product quality

When originally conceived, brewmaxx was built as a highly efficient end-to-end process control system. Features such as recipe management, materials management, and even ERP interface could easily be added on. “Visibility to key process data is now much more transparent than in the past,” said Stairs. “With ProLeiT, we easily adjust our parameters and setpoints and quickly assess how that alters our production. We also have very helpful visual features that enable us to replay what was happening from an operational standpoint an hour ago, a day ago, or even two weeks ago. This allows us to compare our past operation to what is happening now. That is invaluable to our continuous improvement process and to our ability to output consistent products,” she said.

Benefits transferable to adjacent liquid-based industries

The scope and depth of ProLeiT’s solution portfolio recently expanded when the company joined forces with Schneider Electric, a leading global supplier of industrial automation solutions. ProLeiT’s software now supplements Schneider Electric’s extensive automation portfolio with solutions that provide clients with increased end-to-end transparency of plant and supply chain operations.

According to Mike Jamieson, President of Schneider Electric’s Consumer Packaged Goods segment, both manufacturers and process OEMs will be able to accelerate their pace of digitization.

“The union of Schneider Electric and ProLeiT helps to further the cause of operational transparency by linking a core industry application, like ProLeiT’s, to the broader concept of universal automation—the ability to decouple innovative production software from any particular brand of hardware. Based on the global IEC 61499 standard, and enabled by open products such as EcoStruxure Automation Expert, food and beverage and pharmaceutical organizations, as well as batch industries such as specialty chemicals, can now seamlessly run software automation products, like ProLeiT’s, regardless of the hardware installed base they currently use to run their operations,” he said.

Juergen Woelfl, Senior Director of ProLeiT’s Life Science, Food and Chemistry segment, explained that hardware agnostic libraries of objects are codified into the software out of the box, to reduce engineering work cycles when deploying or upgrading plants. “No longer are engineers having to spend long hours testing code on various PLCs to make sure it works on the existing platform. These libraries of objects enable a much faster commissioning process. The solution is very lean from a programming perspective and is highly scalable. The application can be run from a laptop in a small organization, or, can be scaled all the way through to a massive production facility running on a single server,” he said. “The software is open. It allows interested parties to develop their own libraries if they choose.  For instance, either OEMs or internal programmers can encapsulate their own intellectual property into a library within the ProLeiT environment,” he added.

Strengthened global distribution and support

With over 2,850 installations of ProLeiT software worldwide across highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage (with a high concentration in breweries, dairies, and baked goods), and consumer chemicals industries (paints, coatings and finishes), users benefit from a single, holistic plant model which offers them a high degree of data integrity.

The well-established Schneider Electric global sales and distribution presence also helps to assure longevity of ProLeiT application support in addition to a future-proof software solution that fits into the development plans of the broader Schneider Electric open EcoStruxure architecture of intelligent devices, edge control and apps and analytics.

To learn more, access the Dogfish Head video, or visit the Schneider Electric food and beverage industry web page.

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