Manufacturing Gels Around Automation

When the company set out to build its new Fayetteville plant, Nitta Gelatin wanted a world-class manufacturing facility that would employ the latest practices in automated systems, enterprise integration, security, manufacturing operation management (MOM), and analytical tools. To implement these objectives, Nitta looked for help from a major system integrator to design, build, install and comm...

06/01/2007


When the company set out to build its new Fayetteville plant, Nitta Gelatin wanted a world-class manufacturing facility that would employ the latest practices in automated systems, enterprise integration, security, manufacturing operation management (MOM), and analytical tools. To implement these objectives, Nitta looked for help from a major system integrator to design, build, install and commission the full automation package. Real Time Systems (RTS) of Toronto, ON, received the contract for this project and brought all their capabilities to the table. The skills required to complete a greenfield project of this size included consultation services, electrical engineering, control system engineering, instrumentation, programming, specification writing, and commissioning services. The scope of the project necessitated assigning a dedicated project manager for the duration to ensure a single point of contact between Nitta and RTS.

Nitta Gelatin’s Fayetteville, NC, plant is a state-of-the-art facility that produces 3,000 tons of pharmaceutical and food grade gelatin per year for domestic and international markets. Nitta’s gelatin has unique characteristics that make it especially useful as a gelling agent, binder, emulsifier, or thickener. Its melt-in-your-mouth characteristics and ability to form thermo-reversible gels are two of its most desirable properties.

Nitta begins the process with pork skins that are chopped into pieces and then put through a unique extraction process to remove the gelatin. Since product from the Fayetteville plant is used for pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, it must be filtered and sterilized according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) procedures and meet US Pharmacopoeia standards. Once it has been sterilized, gelatin is cut into noodles and dried to become film. This film is strong enough to prevent absorption of moisture and oxidation of whatever it surrounds or protects. The final part of the process is to grind the gelatin into a powder and package it.

Nitta Gelatin USA provides many different grades of gelatin for a variety of uses in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a key ingredient in the production of soft and hard shell capsules. Many tablet formulations require a gelatin component to bind ingredients or a gelatin coating to ease swallowing and mask unpleasant tastes. Cosmetic companies also use gelatin for encapsulation of bath oils in moisturizing lotions and skin creams, making an important contribution to how we look and feel every day.

Call in the system integrator

When building the Fayetteville plant, Nitta Gelatin turned to Real Time Systems of Toronto, Ontario to handle all the planning, design, fabrication, implementation, and commissioning of the plant’s automation system. RTS was also responsible for integrating the automation system with the security system and for adding a MOM system to coordinate data collection, historian database, reports and business analytics.

The RTS team began by evaluating and developing an overall control system architecture based on plant layout, new equipment requirements, main control system philosophy, and other OEM subsystems. This plan also included all the necessary networks between the field devices, PLC, SCADA, and MOM, as well as robust communication to the servers located at the corporate office in Toronto.

Implementing the design

Next, RTS developed criteria for selecting instruments, power supplies, types of signals, and communication protocols. RTS also conducted an intense audit to determine Nitta’s present and future needs for PLCs, SCADA systems, control panels, and other hardware and software. The specifications outlined by RTS provided Nitta with the ability to easily implement future additions to any of the integrated networks and to create a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

After all required hardware and software was approved and procured, RTS completed the programming for the PLC and SCADA systems according to ISA S88 standards as well as Nitta’s approved control narratives and P&IDs. RTS’s custom programming methodology allowed for the creation of reusable code which subsequently accelerated commissioning.

RTS fabricated 21 control and starter panels in only 9 weeks and supervised all the subcontractors’ hardware installation. RTS also integrated all the OEM equipment into the main plant control system and integrated process and security cameras into the SCADA system to allow for overall plant monitoring and control. Finally, RTS supervised or performed all required testing during the commissioning phase, including factory acceptance tests.

Results

By choosing RTS to automate their new manufacturing facility, Nitta Gelatin was able to ensure a single source of responsibility for the entire project, thereby reducing the need to coordinate multiple sub-contractors. Having a single program manager enabled a high level of coordination and schedule adhesion while ensuring that the overall schedule was completed on time and on budget.

RTS was able to complete the following tasks for Nitta:

  • Vendor selection

  • Topologies design

  • Control and starter panel design

  • PLC & SCADA selection

  • Programming

  • Pre-engineering

  • Electrical design

  • Instrumentation specification

  • Power and control specifications

  • Network design

  • MOM selection/implementation

Nitta also received a copy of the plant audit containing an engineering analysis of requirements for ERP, plant floor control, and electrical power and distribution instrumentation. RTS was able to create an overall set of standards for the automation, electrical, inventory, maintenance, and training systems as well as various other sub-systems that will make future projects easier to implement.

RTS is currently working to include an exception-based reporting system. This utility will provide valuable information to operators, engineers, and managers about key performance indicators, process targets/conditions, and business decision support.



Author Information

Vance VanDoren is consulting editor to Control Engineering. Reach him at controleng@msn.com .




No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.