Global site

ABB's website uses cookies. By staying here you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more

Modernization of sugar production in Switzerland

Automation system hardware and software upgrades performed without interrupting production, achieving faster operation with the new libraries and process graphics, and cost and operational benefits thanks to virtualization

Share this page

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Frauenfeld plant of Swiss Sugar AG operated by System 800xA has successfully replaced control hardware and migrated to the latest software version 6 with the help of ABB partner Kundert Automation.

Time to harvest

Every year, during about 100 days, a lot is happening in the Swiss town of Frauenfeld where half of the country’s sugar is produced. Schweizer Zucker AG, headquartered in Frauenfeld and with another factory in Aarberg, is the only company in this country to process sugar beet.  As soon as the harvesting season starts, depending on the weather conditions (usually around mid-September), up to 10 000 tons of sweet tasting root plants are delivered to the factory daily. They are cut and pressed, resulting juice is being cleaned, thickened and crystallized, producing 1600 tons of cast sugar in Frauenfeld facility alone – every day! 

In addition to granulated sugar, gelling sugar, organic sugar and concentrated juice for the Swiss market, the company also produces pressed and dry chips and molasses from locally grown beets, which are used as feed-stuffs.

It goes without saying, that in order to master such a logistical challenge, all the production systems need to run continuously and reliably.


Main facts

Industry Food and beverage manufacturing
Customer Schweizer Zucker AG
Country Switzerland
Solutions
Year
2016

Time to modernize

 Benefits
  • Step-wise evolution approach gives the flexibility to improve the plant operations over time
  • Evolving existing DCI controllers seamlessly to AC 800M protects the intellectual property investments
  • True system evolution with minimal impact to operations personnel
  • Successful switchover completed within a short timeframe
  • Operators and plant management have access to relevant information related to the installed control system through their myABB/MyControl System accounts

Historically, the Frauenfeld factory was operated by the DCI control system from Fischer & Porter brand (that became Elsag Bailey in 1994, before being acquired by ABB in 1999). When the DCI control system got migrated to ABB’s System 800xA 5.0 in 2006, some of the existing DCP process stations could be retained, and more than half were replaced with ABB AC 800M controllers. By 2015, as Microsoft’s operating system was no longer supported, it became apparent that the existing servers would need to be replaced. To ensure safe operation for the 2016 season, Swiss Sugar decided to do everything needed to upgrade the whole DCS to the latest version of System 800xA, including the operating system and the hardware.

“This meant that several tasks had to be completed at the same time,” explains Rudolf Huber, process control systems sales at ABB Switzerland. “Migrate System 800xA to the latest version 6.0, replace the entire IT installation as well as approximately 40 control panels, moderately renew the network and at the same time migrate some DCI controllers to AC 800M”. The field level would remain basically unchanged.

Rudolf Huber, process control systems sales at ABB Switzerland
"Several tasks had to be completed at the same time: migrate System 800xA to the latest version 6.0, replace the entire IT installation as well as approximately 40 control panels, moderately renew the network and at the same time migrate some DCI controllers to AC 800M. 170 graphics had to be replaced or recreated”

What a sugar automation system upgrade looks like

Once all beets are processed, work doesn’t stop at Frauenfeld . “Outside the beet processing time, the control system is needed for the delivery of sugar from our huge silos or their packaging,” explains Fritz Aeberhardt, Group Manager PLS / Electrical Planning at the Frauenfeld plant. So this was an important constraint, as the plant was required to operate normally during the entire upgrade period. Switching to version 6.0 had to be realized with a minimum shutdown time, programming and application adjustments on site were allowed to be interrupted for maximum one week.

Libraries and graphics of System 800xA 5.0 applications were using VisualBasic, no longer supported by the new Microsoft operating system. Therefore the migration to 6.0 software also meant that all the existing libraries and process graphics had to be replaced or recreated. “That was a total of around 170 graphics," says Aeberhardt.

ABB partner Kundert Automation in Schlieren, performing the migration, first built up a version 6.0 engineering system. After it was installed and tested in 2015, Swiss Sugar technicians created new graphics on PG2 using the new engineering system. Since several old DCI controllers were replaced with AC800M, the respective applications had to be recreated. This especially makes sense if at the same time larger extensions to the system must be made.

The final conversion took place in May 2016. For this purpose, a time frame of three weeks was defined, during which no engineering enhancements could be made to the existing system. After all the hardware had been renewed, the installation of the new System 800xA server was done on virtualized systems. This reduced the number of servers from 16 to 5. The licenses of the system could be adopted and updated within the framework of the existing Automation Sentinel contract. The 40 client workstations were also renewed and replaced by Windows 8 clients with dual screens.

After all the hardware has been renewed, the installation of the new System 800xA server was done on virtualized systems. This reduced server hardware from 16 to 5. The licenses of the system could be adopted and updated within the framework of the existing Automation Sentinel contract.

No time for an extra coffee?

“Compared to the previous version, the new system works much faster, “ emphasizes Aeberhardt. "Even in a quadruple-partitioned monitor, the process graphics with the real-time data are loaded really quickly, whereas in the past one could confidently have time to get a coffee."

The comprehensive system tests were successfully completed on schedule. During the implementation of the project migration, the executing parties were selectively supported by ABB Switzerland’s experts.

"The actual conversion from version 5.0 to 6.0 on the third weekend in May was very easy, almost at the touch of a button," recalls Aeberhardt. The renewed system continued to work smoothly. The deliveries went as planned, ready for many demanding sugar production seasons to come.
Fritz Aeberhardt, Group Manager PLS / Electrical Planning at the Frauenfeld plant
"The actual conversion from version 5.0 to 6.0 was very easy, almost at the touch of a button"

Learn more

Contact information

What would you like to do?

Submit your inquiry

Please select country from the list below
Country / region
Location
For this country please use ABB's partner contact details
Name
Company
E-Mail
Phone
Zip code
Your message
Cancel

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in ABB.
We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Back

An error occurred and your inquiry could not be sent.
Please try again later.

Back

Your local ABB Sales Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Your local ABB Sales Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Name
Address
 
Phone
 
Fax
 
E-Mail
 
 

Please select country from the list

Close

Submit your inquiry

Please select country from the list below
Country / region
Location
For this country please use ABB's partner contact details
Name
Company
E-Mail
Phone
Zip code
Your message
Cancel

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in ABB.
We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Back

An error occurred and your inquiry could not be sent.
Please try again later.

Back

Your local ABB Service Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Your local ABB Service Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Name
Address
 
Phone
 
Fax
 
E-Mail
 
 

Please select country from the list

Close

Submit your inquiry

Please select country from the list below
Country / region
Location
For this country please use ABB's partner contact details
Name
Company
E-Mail
Phone
Zip code
Your message
Cancel

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in ABB.
We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Back

An error occurred and your inquiry could not be sent.
Please try again later.

Back

Your local ABB Emergency Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Your local ABB Emergency Team

Your local ABB's partner contact

Name
Address
 
Phone
 
Fax
 
E-Mail
 
 

Please select country from the list

Close

Authorized Value Providers

Close
Contact Service unavailable