Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing

Case Studies

1) Banana Crates (pdf)

At the banana ripening facility of Coop Schweiz, crates of bananas are restacked before being shipped. The company also inspects the quality of the fruit at this time, and ensures that they are shipped exclusively on europallets. Weighing and attaching prices to the bananas was previously also carried out here, but since this is now done at the point of sale, an opportunity existed to automate the main tasks which remained. A special requirement is that the fruit must be handled with great care. Thus the crates with the delicate bananas have to be picked up and put down gently, without being tilted or tipped over. Moreover, the automation equipment has to be able to pick up boxes which were pressed together or became tilted during sea transport.

2) Pan Pacific (pdf)

Early in the year 2000, Pan Pac identified a large area of forest becoming available for harvest, but was concerned with its ability to manage the volume of wood chips that would result from its production. While its sawmill operations could process the milled lumber being extracted, its pulp mill would not be able to handle the concurrent volume of chips. Rather than burn off these chips in its steam operations and lose an important raw material for its parent's paper operations, Pan Pac decided to ship the surplus for processing in Japan.

3) Timber Preservation (pdf)

Towards the end of the last decade the Koppers Picton site faced a significant shift in its operations: primarily a diminishing requirement to treat its own 'Koppers brand' product range at the site, coupled with increasing local market demand to treat 'third-party timbers' (timber products from outside manufacturers). Koppers Picton needed to move quickly into this third-party treatments sector, as some of the larger regional timber groups were already considering installing their own preservative treatment facilities. When treating its own brand timber products the company could accommodate the many weaknesses of the fully manual process: the operator variation in process setting and the imprecise charge sheets; the practice of 'overtreating' timber to meet specification; and the occasional 'wet charge' that would require lengthy, timeintensive drying.

With third-party timber treatment the rules changed. The cost of operation needed to be trimmed, wastage reduced and flexibility of operations increased. Margins were no longer available to accommodate overtreating practices. Third-party timber customers demanded precise traceability and repeatability of treatment, so operator variation in treatments and poor charge sheet recording could no longer be accommodated. Achieving efficient turnaround on each batch was also vital, explains Picton process and production manager, Barry Cater. "With third-party timbers, the customers want their product back quick, because their market is driven by sales. If we don't get them back quick, they want to know why!"

4) Namyang Dairy (pdf)

Maintenance issues were exacerbated by less than satisfactory support from its former automation supplier that was neither local nor timely. Namyang Dairy therefore wanted a vendor that would provide local maintenance support and be a partner in helping the dairy to reduce its downtime and maintenance costs.
The existing communication system was difficult to manage because it was hardwired. Multiple wires meant it took time to troubleshoot and solve
problems. This in turn costs more money because it took more time and maintenance personnel to manage the system.

5) Morinaga Milk (PDF)

Morinaga Milk wanted to find a superior batch automation package for its facility near Yokohama, Japan, where they manufacture processed cheese products under the license of Kraft Foods, Inc. The package they would choose needed to address several key challenges. It was essential that it integrated with STAGIONE and could meet the standards defined in ISA S88.01. It needed to offer flexibility, so changes in recipe execution could be made as required. And it needed to be able to set the stage for the future; the package that would be chosen had to integrate easily with an anticipated enterprise resource planning system. It had to be software upon which they could standardize and which meet the needs of Morinaga Milk's other plants in the future. Another challenge was time – the installation had to be executed quickly.