A cheese producer achieved a fully integrated and paperless production with one-click auto start.
A producer of semi-hard cheeses in southern Europe.
Timing is critical in cheese production and this producer in southern Europe, with a daily production of 53.7 tons of semi-hard cheese needed to get full control of their production, ensure production safety and stability and eliminate unplanned interruptions. They also aimed to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for operator actions between batches, to reduce time losses and risk of human error. So, they requested a fully integrated plant with one point of operation for all activities and equipment and a one-click auto start of planned production and CIP programs for the whole day. Cheese production is a continuous process and they needed to be able to identify which order each cheese corresponded to with full genealogy, including financial and traceability information. To achieve that, they needed full traceability – from raw milk tanks to final cheese blocks – with full batch production history, CIP validation and material suppliers viewable for every single customer order. Beyond that, they aimed to achieve a paperless plant and, by eliminating use of physical documents, also reducing human errors and time dedicated by staff in handling them.
We customised a Tetra Pak PlantMaster solution for a fully integrated plant to help the producer overcome their challenges. A Scheduler and Process Cell Control function enables them to plan and automatically run production. A new Batch Engine in the PLC, enables continuous operation while ensuring production safety and stability. The solution gives them full traceability with full batch production history, CIP and material suppliers displayed for each customer order. The solution has one single user interface and one point of operation for all their activities and equipment such as curd vats, buffer tanks, casomatic, presses, demoulding equipment, cranes and brining pools, including operating equipment from other suppliers. This gives them easy access to information and results for quick decision making. We have also provided them with a solution for customized reports focused on cheese production data and enabling clustering of data by order number. The solution is also integrated with their ERP, collecting data from an external database and communicating with the PLC.
The cheese producer can now supervise all their equipment from one control room and get a complete view with a single MES reporting system adapted to cheese production. They now have the tools to start their planned production automatically, with production running continuously. And they no longer need an operator in the control room to start orders throughout the day. They are now able to keep financial control as well, since they can access full traceability and financial information for each individual order.