System Integration

Tea time at AriZona Beverage Co.

System integrator, Vertech, provided automation for AriZona Beverage Co.’s new greenfield facility

By Paul Warning December 10, 2020
Courtesy: Vertech

In November 2019, AriZona Beverage Co., the company behind the AriZona Iced Tea brand, opened its newest manufacturing facility in New Jersey (see Figure 1). This modern facility consumes 621,000 square-feet, houses five bottle and can production lines, a plastic bottling plant, syrup concentrate batch system, a reverse osmosis (RO) water generation system, warehouse space and amenities distinctly “AriZona.”

As an integrator for Inductive Automation and Sepasoft, Vertech quickly became the front-runner to provide a world class automation solution for this new facility. AriZona had stipulated Inductive Automation’s Ignition platform to be used for all supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) functionality and to use Sepasoft modules for manufacturing execution system (MES) functionality as it related to syrup concentrate batching and tracking of bottle and can production across five packaging lines.

Figure 1: In November 2019, AriZona Beverage Co., the company behind the AriZona Iced Tea brand, opened its newest manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 1: In November 2019, AriZona Beverage Co., the company behind the AriZona Iced Tea brand, opened its newest manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Courtesy: Vertech

Project details

Vertech’s scope of delivery crossed multiple areas: SAP integration with MES for production scheduling, SAP integration for tracking real-time batch and finished goods production reporting, ISA-88 batch control and associated programmable logic controller (PLC) programming, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and downtime tracking, control panel design build and overall system commissioning. Vertech provided a solution that stretched across all layers of the automation stack (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Vertech provided a solution that stretched across all layers of the automation stack. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 2: Vertech provided a solution that stretched across all layers of the automation stack. Courtesy: Vertech

The overall process design required more than 2,000 points of control. Vertech’s electrical team designed the required panels, which were built in our UL-certified 10,000-square-foot panel shop (see Figure 3). Twelve EtherNet/IP remote input/output (I/O) control panels were equipped with Rockwell Automation 1734 Point I/O for hard-wired device control and instrumentation, ifm Efector AS-Interface Gateways for control of 250 Alfa Laval mixproof and butterfly valves using V50 and V70 ThinkTop control units and EtherNet/IP to Modbus Serial for communication to Micromotion Coriolis flowmeters.

Figure 3: Vertech’s electrical team designed the required panels, which required more than 2,000 control points. The panels were built in Vertech’s panel shop. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 3: Vertech’s electrical team designed the required panels, which required more than 2,000 control points. The panels were built in Vertech’s panel shop. Courtesy: Vertech

In addition, three motor control panels also were provided for integration of Rockwell Automation PowerFlex 525 drives to handle control for agitation motors and liquid transfer pumps.

At the core, a Rockwell Automation ControlLogix programmable automation controller (PAC) was used for all batch and process control functions. ISA-88 concepts were to be followed. Within the ControlLogix, PAC Phase Manager was used for equipment phase control. A custom batch solution was created within Ignition to allow flexible batch recipes to be created at run time. This ensures AriZona can leverage the flexibility of the batch process equipment to produce its entire portfolio of beverage products. AriZona can create new recipes and change the procedural execution of those recipes without having to modify any portion of the control system.

After batches are produced, the batch control system interfaces with other PLC systems at each packaging line for product transfer to inline blending systems and onto packaging. The PLC communicates with 16 other PLCs to carefully coordinate not only batch production but to also control the transfer of syrup concentrate to production lines and cleaning of all batch equipment, process tanks and line equipment.

Project challenges

The biggest challenge of the project was creating a batch control system inspired by ISA-88 principles within Ignition. Traditionally, industrial batching is often handled by dedicated batch software, which runs in parallel to a traditional SCADA system. Dedicated software has benefits, however, depending on the industry not all the software features are fully implemented. In the case of food and beverage, most often the core requirement is to have the ability to build dynamic and flexible procedures for creating a product using the process equipment at hand with a relatively straight-forward process.

Figure 4: By building a custom solution directly in Ignition, Vertech created a system that adheres to industry standards, uses batch process equipment to its full potential and reduces the overall project cost. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 4: By building a custom solution directly in Ignition, Vertech created a system that adheres to industry standards, uses batch process equipment to its full potential and reduces the overall project cost. Courtesy: Vertech

The flexibility of Ignition and database integration made it an ideal platform to build a custom batch solution from the ground up that followed the core principles of ISA-88 while providing some freedoms to adapt the system to AriZona’s business needs.

Because this system is also using the Sepasoft OEE module, which was built on the principals of ISA-95, we can seamlessly integrate business data within the ISA-88 batch system. Batch performance metrics collected during the batch process are for available for analysis within the MES layer and as batches pass final quality control inspections, the batch system reports actual raw material usage directly to SAP.

By building a custom solution directly in Ignition, Vertech was able to create a system that adheres to industry standards, ensures system flexibility, uses batch process equipment to its full potential and reduces the overall project cost by eliminating additional software licensing and associated hardware (see Figure 4).

Dedicated SCADA terminals were provided based on functional area of the plant. Bulk receiving, syrup batch stations and packaging lines received a dedicated terminal. Because of Ignition’s unlimited licensing model, additional terminals have been added to other areas of the facility with relative ease. The value of unlimited licensing is further enhanced as AriZona’s information technology (IT) group made Ignition clients accessible through their corporate business network. This allowed management, quality, maintenance and production planners access to SCADA and MES systems through their corporate laptop computers without additional licensing costs.

Figure 5: Allowing Ignition to be configured for active directory authentication, single sign on and integration of email allows Ignition to automatically send email notifications on shift, weekly and monthly basis for overall plant production reporting. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 5: Allowing Ignition to be configured for active directory authentication, single sign on and integration of email allows Ignition to automatically send email notifications on shift, weekly and monthly basis for overall plant production reporting. Courtesy: Vertech

It was established early on that integration with traditional corporate IT services were essential to further enhance the value of Ignition to AriZona. Allowing Ignition to be configured for active directory authentication, single sign on and integration of email allows Ignition to automatically send email notifications on shift, weekly and monthly basis for overall plant production reporting (see Figure 5).

Using the Ignition Perspective module, a mobile application is accessible through a secure corporate wireless network. This application shows production status of each of the packaging lines as well as syrup tank product information and bulk sugar inventory with a quick glance of a user’s smartphone or tablet. An additional Perspective application displays real-time production information on TV dashboards located throughout the plant.

To collect data related to OEE, downtime and overall production tracking, each of the production line control PLCs have been be integrated into Ignition to allow monitoring of line machine center status and line production counts. At each production line, the filler is considered the “key” cell for identifying line downtime or uptime. The Sepasoft OEE module monitors the key cell to determine production modes and states, in combination of production counts obtained at the filler and line control PLC, the OEE modules calculates OEE metrics (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: The Sepasoft OEE module monitors the key cell to determine production modes and states, in combination of production counts obtained at the filler and line control PLC, the OEE modules calculates OEE metrics. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 6: The Sepasoft OEE module monitors the key cell to determine production modes and states, in combination of production counts obtained at the filler and line control PLC, the OEE modules calculates OEE metrics. Courtesy: Vertech

OEE performance is determined by the number of infeed units to filler measured against the line rate, OEE availability is based on if the filler is filling containers, OEE quality is determined automatically from inline inspection units that have been integrated into Ignition through the use of OPC-UA.

Integration of the production system with the company business system was a high priority for AriZona. As production orders are assigned to the facility from their ERP system (SAP), they are automatically communicated to the MES layer through the Sepasoft Web Service module. Once the facility has received a production order, detailed production planning and scheduling occurs within the Ignition MES layer. Production planners generate the required batch and packaging work orders and schedule them appropriately. Ignition MES automatically reports the batch and packaging work order production schedule to SAP where raw material inventory ordering and delivery is handled. Raw materials for packaging such as trays, wraps, lids and raw materials required for batching are delivered in a just-in-time fashion (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Ignition MES automatically reports the batch and packaging work order production schedule to SAP where raw material inventory ordering and delivery is handled. Raw materials for packaging such as trays, wraps, lids and raw materials required for batching are delivered in a just-in-time fashion. Courtesy: Vertech

Figure 7: Ignition MES automatically reports the batch and packaging work order production schedule to SAP where raw material inventory ordering and delivery is handled. Raw materials for packaging such as trays, wraps, lids and raw materials required for batching are delivered in a just-in-time fashion. Courtesy: Vertech

Vertech has provided a solid foundation in Industry 4.0. Ignition will become the central data hub for all plant manufacturing data, granting the facility unprecedented access to data across all systems through the MES layer. Future integration opportunities include utility monitoring, building information systems, warehouse management, maintenance management systems and additional production lines and batch tanks.

To the untrained eye, it appeared the goal of this project was provide an automation solution that enabled the process engineering equipment to ensure the facility was capable of fulfilling the market demand of AriZona Iced tea. While it is extremely satisfying to witness a greenfield sight come alive as bottles and cans begin to travel down the production lines on their way to be palletized shipped, the real challenge is sustainability. AriZona’s core brand strategy is to keep the 23-ounce can product at a 99-cent price point. Vertech recognized sustainability was just as important as production.

Transforming production data into consumable information and analytics will help AriZona adhere to its mission statement to bring customers great-tasting products, using top-quality ingredients, presented in a uniquely designed packaging, skillfully produced and made affordable to everyone.

Vertech is a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

This article appeared in the Global System Integrator Report.


Paul Warning
Author Bio: Paul Warning is a solutions architect at Vertech.