Soda sales have hit plateaus in recent years, forcing beverage makers to become more efficient to maintain profit margins. Coca Cola Enterprises, one of the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottlers, recently standardized automation and controls equipment, making it easier to train personnel and maintain equipment.
Consumers’ budget cutbacks and concerns about calories combined to curtail consumptions throughout Europe, say market researchers at Euromonitor International. The United Kingdom was one of the bright spots in recent years, with 3% growth in 2011, according to Euromonitor’s latest report.
The 2012 Olympics was one of the driving factors in the UK’s market growth. When CCE ramped up production for the huge influx of athletes and fans, expanding demand, the company made its Sidcup factory in Kent a centerpiece of a plan to standardize equipment.
At the Sidcup facility, CCE standardized on Siemens automation controls as part of the commissioning of a £14.3 million ($21 million) production line that was quickly set up to run a range of canned products. The partnership between CCE and Siemens included close co-operation with CCE’s preferred supplier, KHS, which is now implementing the Optimized Packaging Line (OPL) architecture for all the key machines as standard.
The OPL approach is based on a standardization to support CCE’s drive to increase the production efficiency of its bottling and canning lines; reduce levels of maintenance and training requirement across its production sites; optimize spare part stock and lay the foundations to future proof investment in its production facilities.
The new KHS canning line has a capacity of 120,000 cans per hour. It’s one of five new canning lines supplied by KHS to CCE Europe during the last 3 years. The new line increased capacity at the Sidcup plant by another 20 million cases per annum. That upgrade helped provide additional capacity not only for the summer games. It also supported future growth by adding overall production capacity for the south east region.
When building a new plant or line or enhancing an existing one, end users will traditionally utilize the services of several OEMs to supply individual machines to add to the line. Invariably this means a multitude of different control systems, components, software and methods of interfacing to the operator and plant as each task in the production line is dealt with individually.
Taking such an approach can lead to three potential issues for a manufacturer. Firstly, various control system architectures for machines and interfaces at the plant can lead to lower efficiency, as maintenance staff and operators have to work with and be trained on a range of machines and make sense of a varied list of different component manufacturers with inconsistent interfaces.
Secondly, costs are higher because of a substantial spare parts inventory, as well as the need to increase training of maintenance staff to cope with the diverse range of machines which can fail at any given moment without prior warning.
Finally, by not being able to network the individual components within the machine or network the machines together, manufacturers will never be able to obtain the level of data required in a real time format to monitor machine performance and improve operational efficiency.
Higher line efficiency, reduced training costs and less capital tied-up in stock of varying spare parts, which also reflects the achievement of the new KHS line, can be achieved with numerous other advantages, by applying a Siemens OPL standardization strategy.
Under the master agreement, Siemens and CCE are working to adopt this strategic approach across Europe. The Sidcup plant has the largest range of packaging types of any CCE plant in the UK, producing cans as well as plastic and glass bottles. The new KHS turnkey line will initially produce 150 ml and 330 ml cans, with plans to introduce 500 ml cans in the future.
CCE’s Noel Corry says, “After we analyzed the installed base we came to the conclusion that a standardized approach could help us in many areas such as cost reduction, training and maintenance needs, spare parts and efficiency gains. Coinciding with the need to increase capacity, the move to a standardized approach and the implementation of Siemens’ OPL concept will, I believe, deliver real benefit in the future.”
Mat Campbell of Siemens adds, “OPL and standardization are highly beneficial for production sites, as CCE is finding out. A prime example is the ability to develop a flexible production line more easily. With all the elements of the line networked together it is much simpler to implement changes and respond to market needs. Add reduced line downtime as intuitive diagnostics deliver proactive maintenance support to ensure problems can be addressed before they become critical, as well as the time and cost savings inherent as part of a repeated engineering and operating philosophy that mean staff do not have to learn various operating procedures for several machines, and the benefits of such a strategy are clearly evident.”
Automation technology can play an important role in providing the level of flexibility of production required in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Standardized sensors, vision systems, robotics, drives, motion and PLCs, networked both horizontally and vertically, can provide the operating efficiencies and total cost of ownership benefits. These best practice principles enable manufacturers to upscale efficiencies and reduce costs.
With this standardization program, CCE is ready to capitalize on the benefits of the Siemens OPL agreement across their systems. This strategy is already delivering results at Sidcup and will soon be expanded throughout CCE’s entire supply chain.
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