King's Hawaiian standardizes on Rockwell Automation

  • December 14, 2014
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Case Study

By: Rockwell Automation Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of PULSE.  Click here to download PULSE.

The distinctive sweetness of King’s Hawaiian bread has made it an American favorite and fueled the growth of the company for more than 50 years. In 2010, King’s Hawaiian had reached capacity at its California factory and bakery, and consumer demand was spreading across the country. With rising gas prices and transportation costs weighing on the bakery’s budget, King’s Hawaiian decided to build a new facility in the Eastern United States. The company could then get its products to store shelves more quickly and cost-effectively. King’s Hawaiian chose to build a highly automated 125,000-square-foot facility in Oakwood, Ga. The complexity of the project posed a challenge for the 10-month timeline. The entire bread-baking process required 11 specialized machines, manufactured by a different original equipment manufacturer (OEM), with a control and information platform requiring a unique design environment, user interface and vendor support model.   “We couldn’t turn each OEM loose without clear specifications and an overall integrated design architecture,” said Mike Williams, director of engineering for King’s Hawaiian. “If we had, we would’ve had to learn several types of PLCs and HMIs, and stock several varieties of the same part for repairs.” King’s Hawaiian also wanted to address its long-term needs for the plant’s information infrastructure. The company wanted advanced data-collection capabilities to help it consistently bake the highest-quality products and gain operational efficiencies across the enterprise. “We’ve been a small, family-run company, so building a new plant 3,500 miles away was a huge step,” Williams said. “We wanted to be sure we could look in on the process remotely from California to make sure production meets our customers’ expectations.” With Bachelor Controls Inc. (BCI), a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner, they created an architecture that would enable King’s Hawaiian to get the equipment up and running in 10 months, while laying the groundwork for information gathering and sharing throughout the enterprise. BCI gathered the controller and human-machine interface (HMI) requirements from each OEM and wrote an overall specification standardized on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system. BCI and Rockwell Automation then validated the system’s design. The specification directed the OEMs to use the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC) featuring an integrated platform for scalable motion and machine control in a single programming environment. This integration provides King’s Hawaiian with fewer spare parts to maintain, while the control platform’s openness helps ensure easy integration with third-party components. It also required FactoryTalk View Site Edition software on each machine to simplify application development and training—a crucial time-saving element on a fast-turnaround project. Each version of the visualization software is running on Allen-Bradley Industrial Environment Computers with a separate touch screen and solid-state hard drive to protect the system and reduce the number of failures. For the packaging machines, BCI specified Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PACs and AllenBradley PanelView Plus HMIs. The scalability of the Integrated Architecture system allowed BCI to use the controller, providing all the benefits of the Logix control platform in a smaller form. The entire plant communicates via EtherNet/IP. The single network architecture allows King’s Hawaiian engineers to remotely access, diagnose and service machines from two redundant VMware servers located in a central control room. “By standardizing on the Integrated Architecture system, we can now go from one process to another within the plant, and use the same software and knowledge to address various issues,” Williams said. “The architecture also allows us to collect vast amounts of data—everything from oven temperatures and bake times to scale weights and maintenance operations—that previously we couldn’t manage manually.” Production information is saved, stored and managed using FactoryTalk Historian software that collects and archives time-series data from all equipment and data sources in the plant. FactoryTalk VantagePoint software correlates and aggregates the information and produces real- time dashboards and web-based reports with unique situational and historical context for different users.   Operators can access the data using FactoryTalk ViewPoint software, which allows them to monitor operations remotely from any location where Internet access is available. The new facility opened in October 2011—one week earlier than planned. Immediately, it doubled the company’s bread production. “The common network architecture enabled us to get this plant up and operational in a matter of weeks instead of months,” Williams said. “And through the continuity of materials, we’re able to stock spare parts we’re familiar with, reducing lost production time during a failure. King’s Hawaiian now has the capacity we need for the foreseeable future.” Stage two—developing the centralized data collection and control system— was completed after the plant went live. Williams and his team are focusing first on leveraging this new information to establish exact product-quality standards and parameters—then on operational efficiencies. “This is a learning process,” Williams said. “Though we all know the end goal—to put information to work for the greatest value.”

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