Snellman, a family-run company based in Pietarsaari, wanted to replace its existing production system with newer technology. A new manufacturing execution system (MES) was chosen with a view to even more precise monitoring of production.
The change also included a transition from a barcode-based system to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. “The goal was to enable more precise monitoring of production and obtain more reliable data. High-quality data can be used to improve production processes and cut costs,” says Snellman’s systems specialist Guy Enkvist.
It was decided that the new production system data should be visualizedin order to make it available also to the staff in real time. With these needs in mind, Snellman decided to turn to Process Genius. The visualization of manufacturing at Snellman’s production facilities in Pietarsaari and Kerava was carried out using Process Genius’ 3D Digital Twin application. The application provides an identical, virtual copy of the physical factory, and it collects and visualizes data from existing devices and systems. Its deployment does not require renewing the production monitoring system or other new system acquisitions.
Once the MES was up and running, line-specific indicators were the first to be visualized. This enabled monitoring of production line operations in real time.
Minimizing waste through real-time cooking process monitoring
Somewhat surprisingly, it was noticed after some time that one of the most useful features of the Digital Twin application was control of the cooking process. If a product is left on the production line for too long, it spoils and becomes waste. “In the cooking section, incoming and outgoing products are registered in each oven and on each line. For instance, we track the time at which each product was put in the oven and when it was removed for cooling. The products have to cool to a certain temperature within a certain period of time – that’s part of the quality control process,” Enkvist says.
“With the application, we’re monitoring nine ovens and six cooling tunnels in real time, and we use visual data to ensure that products are not held up any longer than they should be,” Enkvist explains. Before such process control was the cook’s responsibility. The systematic visual monitoring that the application allows has improved the quality of the process.
In addition, Snellman decided to utilize the info-TV system to make real-time information from different areas and processes more easily visible to everyone in production. In this way, staff can react faster to any deviations in production.
MINIMIZING PRODUCTION DISRUPTIONS SAVES MONEY
The project started with the visualization of packaging lines and the production process but the scope of measurement and visualization in production has since extended. Although just about anything can be visualized, it is important to identify the factors that are most crucial to monitor in production. “For example, production facility temperatures and areas where a high level of hygiene is required for product safety have been included in the visualization as new features this year,” says Process Genius’ business development manager Nadia Sabour.
According to Snellman’s production process controller Filip Sundström, the biggest advantage of the Digital Twin is that it allows production staff to see how the previous and next stages are progressing on the other production lines in the facility. This way any deviations can be addressed quickly, as they can be very costly. For instance, if work in the cutting section comes to a halt due to a break in the production pipeline for even a minute, this will make a big dent in the bottom line. The Digital Twin application’s real-time snapshot of the situation can be used to avoid many such problems.
The project team has also had plenty of ideas about visualizing the production process from start to finish. According to Enkvist, this still requires some getting used to the idea that the 3D application could be used more extensively than at present.
VISUALIZATION OF STORAGE ROOMS ALLOWS FOOD PRODUCTS TO BE USED AT THE RIGHT TIME
Next, Snellman’s project team considered the potential practical benefits of visualizing storage facilities. This is a big deal, since there are currently over 10 storage rooms in use, and more are being planned. Sabour had some good news at this point, as the revamped Genius Core™ 2.0 platform presents new possibilities for inventory visualization. A continuous, real-time overview of storage and ‘traffic light’ visualization based on the expiration date of individual products would help ensure that ingredients and finished products do not go out of date. Obviously, this reduces the overall amount of food waste.
The visualization of storage rooms was first introduced at Snellman’s meat processing plant in Pietarsaari. Due to the very positive reception it received, Snellman decided to introduce the feature at its Kokkikartano plant in Kerava as well. Further development is also being planned, and the introduction of an updated version of the storage feature was completed in early autumn 2021. “Snellman is looking forward to the money-saving benefits of the upgrade,” says Enkvist hopefully. “We have been extremely satisfied with our cooperation with Process Genius Oy. We have gotten exactly what we needed.” And according to Process Genius’ Sabour, it is always a pleasure for PG to work with a partner that is enthusiastic about development and understands the potential of new technology.
For inquiries about our 3D Digital Twin application for the food industry, please contact:
Business development manager Nadia Sabour, nadia.sabour(a)processgenius.fi, tel. +358 (0)50 349 6291
The Snellman Group is a family business in the food industry based in Pietarsaari. In addition to the parent company, Oy Snellman Ab, the group consists of meat processing company Snellmanin Lihanjalostus Oy and ready meal manufacturer Snellmanin Kokkikartano Oy located in Kerava.
Founded in Joensuu in 2012, Process Genius is a software company with a successful combination of 3D visualization and industrial competence.
Process Genius’ 3D Digital Twin application helps companies in the food industry meet strict product safety and traceability requirements. Our clients have gained proven competitive advantage through increased production efficiency and shorter reaction times. Significant cost savings can also be achieved with preventive maintenance and maintenance status monitoring.