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ABB Helps Oat Factory Workforce Increase Capacity By More Than Tenfold
- Published: Wednesday, 22 November 2017 07:26
When Tate & Lyle PLC acquired Biovelop, a Swedish manufacturer of oat based food ingredients, in 2013, it modernized and expanded its factory in Kimstad, Sweden with ABB’s variable speed drives, motors, motor control cabinets (MCCs) and valve positioners.
In 2016 it celebrated a capacity expansion, and as the remodeled plant nears its first anniversary, the results are hard to ignore.
The global market for specialty food ingredients, including health and wellness products, is high and growing, with annual sales of $51 billion1 and annual growth of 4-5%.2 Oat ingredients have been actively involved with this trend as they offer some key nutritional and functional benefits. In particular, oat contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that has been proven to lower cholesterol and reduce post prandial glycaemic response – claims that have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It was these properties of the grain that made the sector an attractive one to Tate & Lyle when it made a decision to diversify its portfolio.
"We have seen a more than tenfold increase in capacity with the same number of shift operators compared to four years ago," said Annika Werneman, Tate & Lyle plant manager. "It's a huge change in such a short time, and it means that we've gone from a low-level facility to one that can deliver high quality product to our customers globally."
Automation technologies run critical food processing equipment including pumps and decanters, with material handling machinery also used to transport the dry food products. ABB delivered automation equipment including 85 variable speed drives (VSDs) with different power ratings, ranging from 0.37 kW to 55 kW, as well as its range of MNS 3.0 motor control cabinets and low voltage motors. ABB also delivered 44 Digital Electro pneumatic postioners TZID-C with Hart protocol for the control valves.
“We needed a process that was highly automated and could run 24 hours, seven days a week, all year long," Werneman continued.
This meant building a system that enabled Tate & Lyle’s engineers to digitally interact with the system, commission (start) devices, and diagnose performance deviations or failures from anywhere in the world. This would not only help ensure operational consistency, but also reduce the total cost of ownership by enabling staff to manage processes without being physically present at each site.
Such interactivity was enabled by ABB’s inclusion of remote monitoring and fieldbus flexibility in the drives (a fieldbus is a type of computerized network control).
"I like that ABB designed the equipment so that the fieldbus responsible for device control is split from the fieldbus used for asset management," explained Leo Dijkstra, power & controls team leader Europe at Tate & Lyle. "This ensures that I can make any changes to the configuration of the devices without the risk of the whole network going down.”
At Tate & Lyle, they place great importance not just on what they do, but how they do it. “We are working continuously wherever we can to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations,” said Dijkstra. ABB was well placed to help as it has developed a portfolio of products and solutions that improve industrial energy efficiency.
"In our pump applications alone, we are using up to 50 percent less energy thanks to the variable speed drives, and have been running non-stop for the last two years without a single failure," Dijkstra continued. "What's more, ABB was so quick to deliver products that we even had the first VSD delivered in just a few days."
Although the nearest ABB support is only a ten-minute drive away from the Kimstad factory, the fieldbus flexibilities in the drives enable Tate & Lyle to rely on its own staff to handle the ABB equipment remotely.
“Our work with Tate & Lyle illustrates the benefits of digitization, which can yield immense productivity and output gains from existing facilities,” said Petter Hollertz, area sales manager at ABB. “It’s also shows what great teamwork can accomplish, as we worked together as true partners on this project.”
1) IHS 2014; Speciality Chemicals update Program: Food Additives; Leatherhead 2014: The Global Food Additives Market; and other sources.
2) Leatherhead; LMC International; Company analysis; data as at 2013, five year CAGR 2009-2013.