Iconic Australian Dairy Producer leads the way with automation

A leading Dairy producer has built state of the art facilities that even its competitors admit provide significant productivity gains – and the key is automation.[1]

Australian manufacturing continues to operate in an environment with reduced profit margins due to increases in manufacturing costs and relatively small economies of scale. The company faces the expectation of upholding high Farmgate milk prices, but needs to deliver on price to stay competitive.

The company managed to face these challenges head on with its purpose built facilities for the Coles own-label milk contract, which according to the AFR, “barely requires human employees”.[2]

They have its sights set on growing its milk production through investing in leading edge manufacturing and supply chain capabilities that will connect it to the Asian growth markets. It is working towards creating a more efficient manufacturing environment, where downtime is minimised and data is well managed. This was achieved in the Coles-brand milk facilities by working with Wonderware Australia.

Wonderware Australia specialise in software solutions to help industrial businesses measure and improve performance and have over two decades of experience. Wonderware is backed by Schneider Electric and offers assistance including in product selection, training, consultation and tech support.

Wonderware’s software and associated services allows visibility on the manufacturing process. This allows for quantitative analysis of data to identify bottlenecks in the process and other areas of potential savings. Furthermore, changes in the process can be measured against the base line data to ensure that the system is providing a return on investment.

The short shelf life of milk further drives the need for “just in time” manufacturing basis and there are no stock holdings, making process predictability critical. This includes the reliability of the manufacturing assets and also their performance ratings. Under this manufacturing model it is critical to understand the capacity of the plant to meet the scheduled production as failure to meet schedule incurs financial penalties.

The Wonderware Manufacturing System works by acquiring SAP process orders and using them to instruct the AGV’s and other systems on the manufacturing floor on the production requirements. The system presents the work orders in sequence and in the event of an abnormal condition, business users can select from the Work Order display which job they would like to start.

Data is then collected through the process and held in the Wonderware system for further analysis and completed pallets information is sent back to the SAP system.

Due to the installations success with Wonderware Australia it plans to roll out the system in its new facilities. These facilities will be built with the aim of fulfilling the company’s vision of being the first choice dairy food supplier to consumers and customers in Australia and the major growth markets of Asia and the Middle-East.

For more information, visit www.wonderware.com.au.

[1] http://www.afr.com/business/agriculture/murray-goulburn-leaves-a-sour-taste-20150823-gj5nm1
[2] http://www.afr.com/business/agriculture/murray-goulburn-leaves-a-sour-taste-20150823-gj5nm1