Leading personal wash company, PZ Cussons, has invested in a new high-speed liquids manufacturing facility, significantly increasing capacity as well as benefiting from a more efficient process. Its old site, which had grown organically over a long period of time, was unable to deliver the production volumes to satisfy the economies of scale necessary to meet the demands of the business. It also experienced too much operator intervention at virtually all stages of manufacturing, which often introduced unwanted levels of product variability.
The company knew that significant cost savings could be made by its production operations and recognized that only a modern process plant that provides flexibility, visibility, scalability and access to intelligent measurement device information would help reach these objectives.
As part of a complete overhaul and modernization of its UK supply chain, PZ Cussons decided to take advantage of the control and visibility capabilities offered by a modern process-capable automation infrastructure. While establishing the justification for a new UK manufacturing facility, the company realized that much of its existing process equipment at its old site was not up to the demands of a modern manufacturing environment.
This is one of the reasons why it chose to employ the very latest the industry had to offer from Rockwell Automation and its Alliance Partner Endress+Hauser. Not only was the solution all based on the ISA S-88 standard, utilizing networked instrumentation and routing valves, but the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture™ meant a common software environment and scalability made installation and cross-line migration incredibly straightforward.
FDT Technology (IEC 62453 and ISA103) was used to provide a common look and feel for intelligent device configuration and device maintenance and troubleshooting. This allowed the networked instrumentation and valves to be set-up and adjusted in a standardised application – saving time, reducing errors and supporting the validation requirements. FDT also enabled the seamless integration and visibility into each device from a central location, reducing unnecessary trips into the plant.
Starting from a ‘clean slate’, PZ Cussons recognized many areas where savings could be made and unnecessary costs removed. It also wanted to adopt leaner manufacturing procedures making further savings in stock holding and deliveries.
The primary challenge was to obtain visibility of all steps of the process and to keep all parameters within operational tolerances. This required extremely accurate batching, mixing and metering systems, which could not only communicate with each other, but also with the master control system within the offices and external suppliers via a secure extranet.
An entirely new processing and production operation was developed, controlled by equipment engineered, supplied and improved by services from Rockwell Automation, along with instruments and fieldbus networks engineered, designed and commissioned by Endress+Hauser. Also included was the FDT-enabled application FieldCare which contributed to the flexibility and reliability of the control system by enabling easy access to device diagnostic data.
FDT Technology and device DTMs contributed to solving their automation puzzle by maximizing production to meet the changing demands of the business by bringing together their available fieldbus and control technology, instrumentation assets and the expertise of the staff.
The implementation and use of FDT Technology on the project made full use of the flexibility and the improved process and diagnostic data that the fieldbus devices provide. Since FDT is supplier and protocol independent, it provides the flexibility and scalability needed to meet current and future demands.
This has given PZ Cussons a level of process visibility and control far beyond what it had in its older plant. The new approach is helping it to attain many of the savings it envisioned, while also removing many of the process variables which introduced unwanted costs. By measuring and automating virtually every step of the recipe creation, mixing, processing and packaging lines, the total solution supplied by Rockwell Automation and Endress+Hauser has had a significant impact. Not only has the control system provided the required production volumes, but with the seamless integration of the field devices, providing validated accuracy the quality targets have also been met. The savings have been such that the company is vindicated in its decision not to move manufacturing to alternative locations outside of the UK.
The new PlantPAx™ process automation system uses a combination of technologies to achieve the production and quality targets. Overall line control is undertaken by a number of cabinet encased, line-side Allen- Bradley® ControlLogix® PACs. As well as providing the core control for Allen-Bradley Intelligent Motor Control Centres, the controllers also link to FactoryTalk® Batch and supply data for FactoryTalk® Historian. The FactoryTalk® AssetCentre tool provides plant-wide asset management support. This tool uses an FDT Frame Application to provide visibility into a wide variety of field devices for better operational and maintenance decision making. The whole installation is also covered by a Strategic Maintenance Contract, and a Team Support Contract support should any primary system experience issues.
In operation, the factory receives bulk raw materials, combines them with smaller, precisely dosed quantities of perfumes and additives, using a set list of recipes, and then mixes and packages them in accordance with production volume needs. Although simple in theory, the entire process requires extremely high levels of measurement and control so that batches fall within the company’s stringent quality standards. According to Andy Ellams, process development manager at PZ Cussons: “We had a very clear view of what we wanted – a distributed control system which runs off a set of servers integrated into our general IT infrastructure. These servers are connected to the PLCs on a fiber optic network which is shared with our office systems traffic.”
The field instrumentation can be maintained and configured from a central location using the FDT/DTM capabilities of Endress+Hauser’s FieldCare. The fieldbus networks also facilitate central monitoring and analysis of communication traffic. This completes the seamless integration from the control system to the field device providing validation of measured variables and consistent device maintenance.
PZ Cussons has effectively been able to deskill some processes that took operators many years to learn. Even then, each operator had their own way of doing things on each of the machines, which lead to some of the process variability. Labour in one area has been reduced from 16 people on a four-shift pattern to just one person who only needs to visit the section once a day. The remote access of measurement device status and parameter configuration provided by FDT-enabled solutions also contributed to these savings. Some of these roles have been redeployed elsewhere in the factory. With the old approach, all of the recipes were hard coded into the PLCs so there was no easy way to test new recipes and mixes without a significant re-coding exercise. Rockwell Automation’s technology has allowed the company to pilot test new recipes on a small scale prior to mass production. FDT Technology provided an easy and secure configuration environment to make device changes – independent on the number or complexity of the devices. Previously, there was a need for specialist operators, but due to the scalability and portability of the software, any operator can now run any line. Operators are now much more multi-skilled – adding value to the areas where their intervention really counts. Ellams concludes: “First-time passes are now becoming the norm. The quality standards we are seeing are very high with little or no tweaking required. We often go weeks without any production issues.” Overall, the plant is experiencing reduced downtime, greater accuracy and shorter batch times, which, in turn, is also saving energy and shortening time to market.