A food manufacturer was having trouble ensuring that all packages were being shipped at the right weight. Underweight packages posed a threat of legal liability, damage to consumer reputation and a loss of retail customers – and overweight packages had potential to be a significant cost. A high speed of production meant that some standard solutions wouldn’t work. To deal with this issue, the company brought in personnel now with Verus to develop and implement a system that would ensure plant floor accuracy and front-office analysis as regards package weight.
In order to rapidly capture data for seven weigh scales across three package lines, our team designed and wrote ControlLogix code. The team found that the plant’s speed of data inputs was too high for standard database storage. So, the weights and associated information were queued up in the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), and then stored in Wonderware‘s Historian using Rockwell’s xCoupler module. In order to analyze weights, rejects, and acceptable limits and then produce a detailed report for Management use, the team wrote a statistical algorithm in SQL Server. The system allows data to be sliced by many parameters including line, product and shift.
This provides the management team with the information they need to improve shipment weight accuracy, minimizing both underweight and overweight shipments.