Green Planet Farms selects control system for pilot organic processing facility

Process automation system provides the flexibility needed to extract the food industry’s first hexane-free soy isolate.
By Control Engineering Staff June 3, 2009

Green Planet Farms , South Sioux City, NB, has selected a Rockwell Automation process automation system for its hexane-free, soy protein isolate plant. These isolates are a key ingredient in a wide variety of food products, including milk, protein shakes and snack foods.

As a pilot plant, the primary system integration challenge involved migrating from a lab environment to a full scale, automated manufacturing process. Most soybean processing plants use hexane to separate protein from the fat, sugar, and fiber found in soy flour. Green Planet Farms says it has developed a unique water-based process for its new organic soybean processing plant that more naturally separates these elements.

“To bring this new isolate to market, we turned to Rockwell Automation and ESE Inc. as they share our strong commitment to environmental stewardship and have considerable experience implementing innovative manufacturing processes,” says Susanne Stoeger-Moore, board chairman and chief marketing officer, Green Planet Farms. “As a manufacturer, we are focused on ensuring that we produce products and food ingredients in an environmentally responsible manner, and we knew automation could help play a role in enabling our sustainable production practices. We were impressed by the extent to which Rockwell Automation was able to help us reduce the use of raw materials and energy, as well as improve workplace safety.”

A PlantPAx process automation system manages more than 100 batch and continuous process phases designed to separate and dry the isolates. Green Planet Farms’ automation system also features software to help the company meet its track-and-trace requirements, as well as process instrumentation from Endress+Hauser and wireless solutions from ProSoft Technology .

At full production, Green Planet Farms can process 68,000 acres of organic soybeans annually. Based on the success of the plant, which opened in November 2008, Green Planet Farms plans to open another organic soy processing plant in 2011.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com
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