Upgrading machines is a complicated business and is often seen to carry a high degree of risk. Taking a key production machine out of service, completely changing the control system for a new, bespoke set-up with modern technology, often including mechanical modifications, then putting it back into production within a fixed downtime period is an extremely cost-sensitive process.
However, OCS md Michael Hill believes that upgrading the outdated drives and controls of plant and machinery will give food firms a healthy payback. New control systems can also slash power consumption, particularly important with looming energy price rises.
Optima, a Siemens Solution partner, recently upgraded a Hamba 2 Spreads Line filling tubs of margarine for an unnamed food ingredients company using Siemens S7-315 Profibus, an Ethernet processor and a new human-machine interface touch screen for processing information, such as the positions of tub valves.
By replacing the outdated Siemens S5 programmable logic controller and upgrading to Siemens S7 the line is operating more efficiently and the food firm's engineers no longer have to worry about the availability of parts for the machine. The refurbishment was so successful that Optima has been asked back to overhaul the manufacturer's Hamba 3 line.
"The intelligent integration of modern drive and control technology has a significant impact on production efficiency in the food industry," says Hill. "The upgrade we successfully completed for this manufacturer has improved the machine's effectiveness and also provides them with the ability to cater for any future system expansion."
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