Case Study – Ingredients Manufacturing

Posted on by P.J. Kortens

by: Kelly Treml 6-1-15

Problem: Customer lost product due to occasional cooling failure.

Observations: Coordinated efforts with customer to develop a solution to prevent this from happening again.  The customer makes a product that is very temperature sensitive at certain times in the production sequence.  If the product does not cool down in a certain amount of time (usually during the overnight hours) the product can be ruined.  When the employees arrive in the morning the product could be bad without anyone knowing.

Solution: Customer had a remote call out system in place for some very basic call outs.  Added PLC programming code to their SLC 5/05 and configured their existing Wonderware SCADA system to allow supervisors access to the new alarm set points.  Integrated new timers into the PLC / HMI system that when the process went into heat/cooling steps and the supervisor’s settable time had  not been met, it would trigger an alarm on the Wonderware system. The  WIN-911 alarm software was integrated to call out or text the person who was on-call to insure that expensive product was not lost.

Results: The customer contacted  me 2 weeks later to say that their cooling solenoid had failed again, but this time, with the phone call at 2 am,  he and the maintenance person were able to go into the plant at that time and save the product from being ruined.  He also said that the one batch savings had paid for the cost of having PJ Kortens come in and set this up. Overall this project has already paid for itself and the customer would like to look into adding more alarm call outs in the future.


Control Magazine May, 2014

Posted on by P.J. Kortens

Informative page content (should not see this)…

P.J. Kortens and Co. is mentioned in the May, 2014 issue of Control Magazine for our work on the Foremost Farms USA Appleton Cheese Plant Expansion.

“Foremost Farms doubles production and adds data acquisition and historian functions to its SCADA/HMI system to find exceptions and improve operations.”

See Complete Article



Machine Vision Applications

Posted on by P.J. Kortens

What if you could employ 100% inspection in your production line?

I remember working for a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and ends (lids) back in the ’80s. It is vital that the sealing compound on the ends is flawlessly applied to ensure a viable seal. The manufacturer purchased a vision system to provide 100% inspection of the ends as they exited the liner application machines. Back then, this system set the manufacturer back something in the neighborhood of several $100K.Vision System

Now, thanks to advances in machine vision technology, even relatively small manufacturers can implement accurate, reliable, 100% inspection. Machine vision uses a small camera mounted in a strategic position on the line to acquire an image of the product. The image is then analyzed by software to determine if various aspects of the product are within acceptable limits. This is done at blazing speed – fractions of a second. With the reduced price tag that accompanies advances in technology, the return on investment for machine vision systems is also amazingly fast; often times only a matter of months.

Whether you manufacture aluminum cans, castings, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or dairy products, machine vision can prevent off-spec product from getting out the door. Machine vision can inspect for correct part geometry and placement; proper packaging and labeling; seal integrity; and a multitude of other parameters. Machine vision systems can read 1D and 2D bar-codes, and are capable of optical character recognition (OCR), making possible a variety of track & trace, inventory control, and logistics applications.

Since the applications of machine vision technology are so numerous, and diverse, we will perodically feature specific applications that we hope will be especially interesting and useful to you.