AC&TS Customer Solution

CASE STUDY: Replacing Single-Loop Controllers Without Interrupting Day-to-Day Operations

“Automated Control & Technical Services created an easy-to-use control system for us that’s extremely efficient to operate and maintain. Plus they accomplished this on time and on budget so we were ready for peak tomato season. We’re extremely pleased with how they handled this project from beginning to end.” D.N., Maintenance Manager.


The Challenge:

Replacing near-obsolete single loop controllers for evaporators at a major tomato processing plant without interrupting day-to-day operations.

The Solution:

Converting existing single loop controllers to a much more efficient, technologically advanced, user-friendly, compact component.

Technical Highlights:
  • Industry: Food processing
  • Application: Evaporation
  • Products Used:
    • Allen Bradley Programmable Automation Controllers (PAC) hardware and software



Background:

The client is one of the country’s largest processors of tomato sauce and paste. Located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, where over one-third of all processing tomatoes are produced worldwide, they’ve been harvesting, processing and packing tomatoes for a wide range of customers since 1991. The client prides itself on its reputation for commitment to quality and service. To achieve this, they’ve built a facility that is highly automated with dual processing lines, allowing great processing flexibility in order to zero in on each customer’s needs and specifications.

Even the best plants, however, need to be upgraded from time to time. When the client recognized that the loop controllers that regulated their 3 existing evaporators were becoming obsolete, they immediately began to look for someone who could replace them with new technology. After all, if the loop controllers failed, they would no longer be able to find replacement parts for them, resulting in costly downtime during peak season that can be as short as 12 weeks. The client turned to a few companies who had worked with them in the past, including Automated Control and Technical Services (AC&TS). During their bid reviews, they decided that AC&TS would be the best choice since they had proven themselves to be excellent troubleshooters and felt that they could trust them to bring this project to fruition.

Process:

The AC&TS team had their work cut out for them: with 18-20 separate loop controllers to convert, they had to rebuild the control panels using three Allen Bradley Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs). This process included careful documentation of how the loops were wired, as well as developing the code to accurately control temperature, pressure, flow and level of steam. They were also able to convert the client’s table-mounted monitors into panel-mounted monitors, which proved to be much more user-friendly, compact and allowed a much greater level of control over the evaporation process. In fact, the client was now able to control each evaporator from any monitor since the application contained multiple layers (there are 6 monitors within each panel in the control room.)

Results:

The client was extremely happy with not only the exceptional functionality of the new system, but also with the technological advancements made as well as their user-friendliness. AC&TS kept the client’s head operator and electrician involved in the entire process from planning to execution, so minimal training was needed. They also provided a tremendous amount of documentation, including operation and maintenance manuals complete with diagrams, for troubleshooting purposes. The client can now look forward to processing tomato paste without worrying about the viability of their equipment for years to come.

Request:

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