Personnel now have KPI dashboards that give them up-to-the minute results of monitored metrics, helping them react quicker to process changes.
Automation project boosts output and improves track-and-trace visibility
As the world’s population grows, so does demand for the seeds and supporting products used to grow food. In fact, the seed industry market is expected to grow from its current $22 billion to $35 billion by 2020.
In light of such rising demand, Syngenta Crop Protection, a maker of insecticides, fungicides, and other crop protection products, decided it needed to replace the outdated processes and systems at its chemical production facility in Omaha, NE. The solution was to implement an information and control automation system, based on an array of technologies from Rockwell Automation, to improve workflow and management and to support continuous batch production. Syngenta also wanted to gain better access to track-and-trace information, and to implement an information and control strategy that would help operators monitor and control production.
Previously, operators weighed and added ingredients and recorded information by hand. Now, the batch production capabilities of the new system allow production runs to be done in bulk, instead of batches. Operators prepare ingredients in advance and store them in tanks.
The new continuous process blends the ingredients in the specific desired order, ratio, and flow rate, making the process more agile. The batch system client also shows operators the batch sequence, and automatically organizes the sequencing applications such as continuous process startup and shutdown and cleaning.
The track–and-trace capabilities provide managers with historical and real-time information. Personnel now have KPI dashboards that give them up-to-the minute results of monitored metrics, helping them react quicker to process changes. Machine data is captured automatically, so overall equipment effectiveness calculations are more accurate. The system also produces real-time access to information about raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods.
The Crop Protection Plant project, which earned Syngenta a 2011 PM100 Award for Operational Excellence, has allowed the company to increase production by 166% while reducing errors, labor costs, and non-value-added activities. The new system was implemented in eight months, and resulted in productivity gains and improved workforce management within the first several months of