Digitisation alliance supports the Smart Meat Factory

Food and drink IT specialist CSB-System and leading food machinery company Handtmann are working together to provide further seamless integration between machines and ERP systems as part of the continuing move towards the Smart Meat Factory.  The collaboration is designed to offer meat companies benefits such as real-time monitoring of machines and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) reporting.

In their first project, CSB and Handtmann are enabling meat processor Wolf to achieve complete transparency throughout the filling process through the connection of the company’s sausage filler lines to its central business software.

The expanded communication platform means existing orders in the CSB ERP system can be transmitted directly to the Handtmann Communication Unit (HCU) of the filling machines, while these machines are able to return details of fill levels.  In addition, the HCU interfaces enable the transfer of data concerning individual fillers, their sequences, number of operators and required set-up and filling times.  The HCU is also able to control additional tasks such as the limitation of adjustable parameters and weight regulation.  Quality data, for example the quality of natural casings, can be keyed into the HCU and incorporated directly into a vendor assessment.

Alongside this, the CSB-Maintenance Management programme has been incorporated.  Any problems or malfunctions are now reported directly at the filler which then triggers a centralised documented workflow for the repair process.

The new integrated system enables planning to be more easily controlled and adjusted, in particular in the case of ad-hoc activities in response to operational requirements.  Equally important, the interaction between machine software and the ERP system allows for the overall monitoring of a department in addition to on-demand target performance comparisons between planned and actual data.  This ability to measure the efficiency of both equipment and entire departments allows companies to more easily identify and implement appropriate OEE measures.

For Wolf, the analysis of machine data represents a big step forward.  In the future, data are expected to become an enormous factor for success, providing a competitive advantage as many other companies are not yet able to access or make use of such information.

Wolf managing director Jan Seidel confirms that while quality is the key reason behind Wolf’s continuing success, IT is also now a critical factor:

“It’s just not enough anymore to focus ‘only’ on your products,” he explains. “Data is crucial too, such as origin, production, quality and billing.  Without these, you won’t get a listing on the market.  For us, digitisation is a permanent process of further development in order to become more efficient, and also to comply even better with legal requirements and customer wishes.”

He concludes: “In the first place, we are a successful sausage and meat manufacturer.  But we want to achieve world-class level also when it comes to digitisation.  This is for us the basis of a successful business.”

CSB and Handtmann are continuing to explore and develop projects on an international level.  The companies say that networked production has many economic advantages for meat producers, including the optimisation of resources and comprehensive quality management.  The major benefit, however, is the improved control that can be achieved for departments, machines and margins.