Affordably and effectively: IT solutions for brownfield projects

Transparency throughout his filling operations. That’s what every beverage producer wants. Not least for his existing lines. In the past, however, clients were repeatedly confronted with the problem that preparing their existing machines for interfacing with a production data acquisition system entailed very high retrofit costs, because of the elaborate PLC programming required. And it was often not easy to interface third-party machines at all, which meant that implementing this for existing lines was frequently an unattractive proposition. Krones shows how this can now be affordably and effectively accomplished by means of an adapted LDS Line Documentation System. Because the new “Brownfield LDS”, an adapted version of the original LDS, makes it a whole lot easier to incorporate old and third-party machines into the production data acquisition system.


Brownfield LDS: what’s behind it?

What our clients want to do is deploy suitable systems for achieving transparency on weak points within the production lines, and obtain dependable statistical ratios (e.g. efficiency, availability, etc.).

Whereas in the case of new lines automated production data acquisition and computation of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) are meanwhile almost standard, for existing lines dependable detection of malfunction causes and weak points is often entirely lacking.

By introducing a new concept, Krones AG is now able to identify optimisation potentials for its clients by implementing appropriate IT modules, so as ultimately to achieve increased outputs and enhanced efficiency.

Using an adapted LDS for brownfield lines does not require any elaborate retrofits for the machines’ control systems. Using what are called S5/S7 adapters and hard-wired ET-200 stations in conjunction with a master PLC enables the most important information from the machines concerned to be recorded. This lean concept will produce enormous cost savings for the client.

Successful pilot projects

As a pilot scheme for one of its clients in Thailand, Krones integrated seven existing lines into the automation concept, involving 89 machines at four different facilities, of which only 34 are from Krones, and 55 are from third-party manufacturers. The client can now access important production-related information from company headquarters. Thanks to high-performance evaluation modules (e.g. cause-of-malfunction analyser, web reporting, etc.), the data were efficaciously analysed. Both “old machines” and “third-party machines” were seamlessly integrated.

The client now possesses a holistically harmonised concept for all his facilities and kit, with the same look and feel for new and old lines alike. Thanks to synergetic effects in regard to hardware, software, licences, commissioning and travel costs, moreover, there were some respectable cost reductions.

ProduktionsberichtAt a second project in the UK, the client’s rapid growth demanded optimisation of the production process. The declared goal was “to become the most efficient plant in the group.” The client accordingly launched a tendering procedure for line optimisation, with five vendors submitting a bid. Krones was chosen by reason of its sectoral experience and its intensive knowledge on the automation level. So in close liaison with the Krones Academy, first of all a change management workshop as held, followed by user training courses.

In this project, too, Krones solved the problems involved in integrating the existing third-party machines by using an adapted LDS for brownfield lines, which did not require any elaborate retrofit work on the machines’ control systems.

Krones installed the Brownfield LDS with production reports for MTBF (mean time between failures) and MTTR (mean time to repair), large-text displays as “motivational dashboards” for operators in the line and “management dashboards” for the senior echelons and production managers, with individualised reports. A data chart capability for individualised analyses was later installed, and serves as a basis for deciding on new investments. In addition, an LPA Line Performance Analyser was integrated, supplying compressed information on availability, output, quality and orders, and creates a ratio analysis (OEE – overall equipment effectiveness) referenced to orders and shifts, as well as classifying the causes of standstills.

“The system’s advantages for us lie in the elimination of incorrect information and the provision of reliable data”, says the client.  “Both the management level and the operators themselves receive visual alarms if something’s not in order. That includes problem machines, reasons for the problems, reduced output, efficiency losses at change-overs, standstills for staff breaks, and all filler standstills. We receive information on the staff’s performance trends, the time elapsing before a fault is detected, and before it’s corrected. The system shows us the priorities for continuous improvement and for future investments. At last we have a viable basis for calculating the efficiency and know the precise running time for correlating it with the energy consumption. Overall, the data we acquire are the foundation for transforming the culture of our filling operations.”