Busy food processing plant gets much needed HMI upgrade
Tyson Foods is one of the largest food processors in the world. This project -- at the company’s New London, WI plant -- involved upgrading an aging PC-based Human Machine Interface (HMI) system to a new Rockwell Automation platform with WIN-911’s alarm notification software. The system monitors the cutting, chilling, cooking, and packaging equipment of several production lines. The old process involved operators visually monitoring the control screens, and then physically calling a maintenance technician if an issue occured. With the new system, WIN-911 automatically sends email alerts to maintenance and engineering staff when tank levels, temperature, or pressure systems trigger industrial alarms, resulting in better response times, increased food safety, and improved staff productivity.
Old PC-based system causing weekly system crashes
The old PC-based system monitoring the plant operations was running obsolete programs -- some from as far back as the ‘90s -- and crashed weekly. While food production lines rolled on, an IT and operations staff member would pair up to troubleshoot the system shutdown.
While this was going on, plant supervisors would have no visibility into production lines, and data would be frequently lost. What's worse, compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reporting regulations was being put at risk.
Once the system was back online, staff would then need to recheck all the production and utility systems, and reboot all applications. The entire process took several hours.
“The fact that the system was crashing every week was a sure sign that we needed to upgrade,” said Jonathan Riechert, senior engineer-innovation, Corporate Engineering Group, Tyson Foods.
“Beyond the USDA reporting issue, we knew that we couldn’t keep taking hours out of employees’ days to troubleshoot. A new operating system would be both a food safety and maintenance improvement.”
Automated alarm notifications emailed directly to right staff at right time.
WIN-911 -- along with its SCADA partners -- helped Tyson Foods automate a time-consuming, error-prone equipment alarm monitoring process. Frequent system crashes have been completely averted, resulting in increased worker productivity, greater food safety, and lower maintenance costs.
“In addition to helping ease compliance, the capabilities have allowed the facility to save $100,000 in wastewater chemicals,” said Riechert. “The added visibility allowed us to see where inefficiencies were happening so we could adjust and refine our process.”
- Saved $100K in wastewater chemicals
- Eliminated weekly system crashes
- Full compliance with USDA reporting
- Improved food safety
- Do more with less staff