Hätälä Oy is a fourth-generation family business with the vision of providing the world’s most delicious fish products. The company’s Oulu plant ships high-quality fish products to Finnish retailers, professional kitchens, wholesalers and for export. With a staff of 220, Hätälä processes some 18 million kilograms of fish every year. Process Genius visualizes production data into an intuitive form, meaning that the situation at the plant is much easier to take in at a glance, with quicker response times for any problem situations.

Cooperation began in 2018 with the monitoring of packaging lines, and is expanding to gradually cover the entire plant’s operations. Roima collects data requested by Hätälä about the machines, and Process Genius visualizes it. The goal is to provide an instantly understandable view of events at the plant, on the basis of a 3D model. “We wanted an end to interpreting long strings of numbers, number lists and Excel sheets, and calling people for an overall picture of what was going on at the plant. With PG’s visualizations, anyone needing information can immediately see what is going on at the plant,” says Hätälä’s production and logistics manager Jari Jääskeläinen.

Data guiding operations

Data on machines and scales was previously dispersed between several systems; there was no single place to obtain an overview of the plant’s operation, which machines were running, and mechanical problems. What’s more, the plant’s documentation was scattered between several places. A 3D model has now been made of the entire plant, showing work performed in different units: which machines are running, disruptions, the location of hygiene areas, the temperatures of ovens and different parts of the production plant, etc. Emergency exits are also marked on the 3D model.

Visual reports are created of factors such as the running speed of production lines, size of production batches, and percentage of rejected products.

We have a real time view of what is happening to the machines and can control operations on the basis of that data. Senior management, production managers, supervisors and employees can all follow the data they need. The closer you get to the process worker, the more detailed the data gets. “For example, production can follow the metrics of a single machine or production line, or the realization of target values, says Jääskeläinen.

Quicker response time in production

Production efficiency is monitored by comparing the running times of machines, for example. This data can be used to determine why certain machines are run more than others. Real-time monitoring of the plant has speeded up operations during fault situations, for example. “We react faster when the system presents data visually and intuitively. If I see that a certain line has stopped, I contact the process workers to ask whether something is broken, or for an update on what is going on. We also monitor temperatures: we can have the system alarm us automatically if something is wrong. If necessary, I can follow this data from home,” says Jääskeläinen.

The plant’s visualization is also used for teaching new employees and other training, without having to be present at the plant.

We present hygiene areas, the plant layout, names of machines, safe routes etc. In a customer meeting, a virtual tour of the 3D factory, processes and machines gives an idea of what a modern fish processing plant includes. Our quality manager and other employees can also use the system for quality training and occupational safety issues, says Jääskeläinen.

Cooperation supports business development

When employees of a traditional production industry and people dealing with 3D images meet, both sides need lots of motivation, learning and a good attitude to understand the other side. “We develop a solution by talking together. We need an idea of how people at PG do their work, and they must understand how we do ours. If necessary, we take them into the plant to see what our work really involves,” says Jääskeläinen.

Much has already been done, but new development ideas are continuously emerging. “Visualization of our plant and process is already excellent. In future, we want to include more detailed data on the machinery for visualization purposes, and will include other operations, such as building automation, in the system,” says Jääskeläinen.

Hätälä is eager to grow in a market that is highly competitive both in Finland and abroad. To grow, they must stay at the crest of the wave in both their core business and support functions. Modeling a continuously developing and modernizing plant and data collection require continuous planning and prioritization. We are seeking insights at each level of the organization, to enable the better use of data in the system. “PG people always approach a challenge in the same way: we can make it work, as soon as we find a way together. All our problems, including the big ones, are eventually solved. “Cooperation with PG also supports the development of our core business,” summarizes Jääskeläinen.