Success Story: Food and Beverage, None

United Biscuits

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Glasgow, Scotland

McVitie’s selected ICONICS' HMI/SCADA for their application, which now controls their Rich Tea biscuits production line, with a multizone oven that produces thousands of biscuits per hour.

Challenges

  • Automate 30 years of operator experience controlling the oven.
  • Be able to switch between different products, each having a different set of rules.
  • Retrofit the new system onto existing equipment.

Results

  • Rules-based modules automatically apply rules created by skilled operators.
  • Product selection is simple, and current in-place rules are displayed and easy to read.
  • Line efficiency has increased by 2.5%.
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The ICONICS GENESIS software is so easy to use. DataWorX™ is a very understated component with a great deal of power. The graphics that can easily be created in GraphWorX™ are outstanding.

— Senior Management Team

About United Biscuits/McVitie’s

Quality is a primary concern for McVitie’s, part of United Biscuits (UB). At their plant in Tollcross, Glasgow, they have developed a control technology, which puts them in the front line on this point, as well as reinforcing the approach to innovative solutions encouraged across the business. The question was how to translate the intelligence of more than 30 years experience into an automatic, high-performance process control system, which is user friendly and could be retrofitted on the existing equipment.
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The ICONICS GENESIS software is so easy to use. DataWorX™ is a very understated component with a great deal of power. The graphics that can easily be created in GraphWorX™ are outstanding.

— Senior Management Team
Burner Control Screen Burner Control Screen

ICONICS Software Deployed

The software selected for this application is based on ICONICS GENESIS. On the production line, which makes their Rich Tea biscuits, they have a multizone oven that produces thousands of biscuits per hour. Before automation was in place, an operator with many years of experience governed the control of this oven, and a great deal of skill and high-quality biscuits were produced. The knowledge of this operator was documented and formulated into a set of rules for adjusting the oven control based on the quality of the biscuits exiting the oven. ICONICS engineers from ICONICS UK, working alongside McVitie’s technical staff, developed a software system to execute the rules and automatically make the control adjustments within the oven.
Burner Control Screen Burner Control Screen

Key Features

United Biscuits Production Line United Biscuits Production Line
The data acquisition module, DataWorX™, acquires and manipulates these data, which are then accessed by the HMI, GraphWorX™, and a rules-based module. The rules-based module built into GENESIS then applies the rules developed from more than 30 years experience of the operators and outputs the instructions, via the scripting module ScriptWorX™, to the PLC, which controls the burners and temperatures in the oven zones. GraphWorX also performs the other more traditional SCADA functions of graphical display of data and process elements. This includes the screens to select which one of the products is to be manufactured.
United Biscuits Production Line United Biscuits Production Line
Main Control Screen at UB - McVitie’s Main Control Screen at UB - McVitie’s

Project Details

For each different product there is a different set of rules to apply to the oven control. However, GENESIS makes this adjustment automatically for whichever product is selected. It also displays the rules, which are being implemented at any particular time. All rule modifications are password-protected, online through the operator’s terminal.
Main Control Screen at UB - McVitie’s Main Control Screen at UB - McVitie’s

Conclusion

United Biscuits is delighted with its success on controlling this line, and it has taken GENESIS as their standard HMI/SCADA software, with installations planned throughout the UK and Europe. The software was integrated by APD of Annan, Dumfriesshire UK. APD also provided on-site training for the operators and engineering personnel.

Benefits of the System

By utilizing these methods for control of the baking process. United Biscuits is now able to put into practice new ideas within the process itself to further improve their product and to provide a competitive advantage over their competitors. The actual recipe for the fine control of the oven is top-secret to McVitie’s, but now they make a higher-quality biscuit and line efficiency has improved by 2.5%.