Valio is the market leader in all key dairy product groups in Finland and a world class pioneer as the developer of functional foods. The company has 15 production plants in Finland, two in Estonia, one cheese packaging facility in Belgium and a Customer Service Center including production facilities in Moscow. Valio also commands global sales in food ingredients. International operations including licensing encompass 65 countries accounting for one third of turnover. Subsidiaries are located in Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Belgium, USA and China.
Integration of Automation and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
Product quality and traceability requirements are at a very high level at Valio, consequently efficient and reliable data transfer between different systems is crucial. To meet this need Prosys developed integration software between automation and manufacturing execution systems, based on the OPC UA standard. This collaboration is still ongoing with furher development and maintenance of the existing system.
Production systems development
At Valio production is continuously developed with several suppliers. The aim is to optimize production efficiency and quality using the best technical solutions for each process, while at the same time maintaining complete integration. According to Valio’s production automation development manager Jukka Peltola, strengths of Prosys are innovation, effective solution implementation, knowledge of new technology (OPC UA) and proactive communication. “We were provided good experts, whose focus and expertise is strong in industrial systems”, says Peltola about the co-operation. “For us, it is important that we have a reliable and long-term partner, which understands the needs of the production environment and is able to carry out demanding production systems integration using OPC UA technology.”
The solution uses OPC UA data communication to integrate different automation (DCS, PLC) systems with the manufacturing execution system (MES) and the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) tracking system. The solution runs on top of Microsoft’s .NET framework and an Oracle database is used as an interface to the MES. The main software development tool is Microsoft Visual Studio. For easy configuration of data collection an user interface was developed so that, for example, new trends can be easily added to data acquisition. The data can also be buffered to ensure integrity in case of communication disruption.
In general, the transferred data includes process messages and measurement data. Additionally process orders are transferred from the manufacturing execution system to the automation system via the connection.
Continuous real-time data of the state of production processes is needed to track the efficiency of production. To achive this, the measurement data is sent to the Simatic IT OEE tracking system via our OPC UA solution.
Using OPC UA, all of the communication needs above can be met by a single reliable and easily configurable connection. Connecting to Classic OPC systems is made possible by using the UaGateway software. The solution also improves data security, because OPC UA technology allows the use of the latest security methods and at the same time is easily routable even in difficult network conditions. The solution can be used to manage integration needs between automation and manufacturing execution systems in all of Valio’s production plants.
” For us, it is important that we have a reliable and long-term partner, which understands the needs of the production environment and is able to carry out demanding production systems integration.”
Production Automation Development Manager, Valio