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Manufacturing Execution System for Wander AG drink maker

Achieving increased efficiency and flexibility in production processes by introducing ABB’s Manufacturing Execution Solution (MES) and complete horizontal and vertical integration — from raw materials to finished products, from ERP to plant floor.

Wander AG, maker of the globally popular Ovomaltine (Ovaltine) and Caotina chocolate malt drinks, achieves increased efficiency and flexibility by introducing ABB’s Manufacturing Execution Solution (MES) in production processes.

Ovomaltine and Caotina not only taste good — they have become an essential part of breakfast for many children all over the world. Developed more than 100 years ago, Ovomaltine is a nourishing food beverage for children with its vitamin-rich properties from malt extract, milk and cocoa. It is recognized as an ideal combination of essential nutrients in a delicious, satisfying warm drink.

Wander’s plant in Neuenegg, Switzerland, one of its oldest Ovomaltine production sites, faced the challenge of increasing demand for capacity and flexibility in a production facility whose structure has grown over many decades. Thus, Wander embarked on a project to modernize and streamline its production process to realize improved efficiency and flexibility.

The production of the Ovomaltine and Caotina drink mixes has long been controlled by ABB’s automation platform System 800xA. The need to increase production efficiency and flexibility led Wander to implement a Manufacturing Execution System (MES). With the introduction of ABB’s MES, Enterprise Connectivity (ECS), Wander now also has complete horizontal and vertical integration — from the delivery of raw materials, to production, to finished products, and from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to plant floor.

The integration of the business system layer with the control system layer enables the synchronization of the production processes, transparency of all plant activities, as well as production improvement and optimization.

Facts

Industry: Food and beverage

Company: Wander AG

Countries: Switzerland

Solution capabilities:

  • Integration
  • Production order management
  • Material management
  • Warehouse management
  • Raw material handling
  • Weighing and material preparation
  • Reporting back to ERP
  • Quality management

Modernization without major interruptions

The implementation of the MES system was part of a larger modernization project that also included changes in the physical building and higher level of automation in the logistics operations (eg, connecting the high rack warehouse to the production and automated guided vehicles). The major challenge for the parties involved was to maintain the production and logistics operations without major interruptions. The constant changes through the individual projects required optimal coordination and fine-tuning. The high standards of product quality, hygiene and service delivery also had to be adhered to at all times.

New silos for raw and bulk products play a key role for optimal production processes. It is now possible to control material flows and to track production processes, thanks to an accurate and automatic data acquisition of the MES. Manual and paper-based pre-production steps, such as pre-weighing of raw material, are now also supported by the system. Operators are guided through the weighing using ergonomic workplaces and barcode scanners, thereby ensuring an accurate and efficient process at all times.

Automated formulation

The new system now controls the work order picklists of the individual products. When the production order is downloaded from the ERP system, the MES system starts the batches and calls the necessary raw material, which is delivered via a driverless fork lift (AGV) from the high rack warehouse. Another part of the raw materials comes from the day silos. The required ingredients in the dry mix are then combined, mixed dry or wet depending on the recipe, and then dried, granulated and bottled as a dry mixture.

The system thus controls the overall formulation — from the weighing of raw materials to the actual mixing process, including automatic dosing of all components supplied. With automation, error rates are reduced as the system instantly detects and interrupts the weighing or mixing process when any deviations are detected.
Mr. Steffen Grill - Project Manager, Wander AG
“Not only were the functionality and technology of ABB’s ECS project solution convincing; they also showed experience and knowledge. It was a constructive and fruitful collaboration with ABB’s team.”

Raw materials handling and inventory

Other improvements that were realized with the new system include raw material handling. Before the project, whey powder and cocoa were delivered in 25kg bags. Today, these ingredients are stored in silos with a daily capacity of 5,000kg, which are filled by big bags. The changed formats mean savings for Wander in terms of filling and raw materials input, as well as a significant reduction of handling. A key functionality of the MES system is the seamless and complete traceability of all materials, equipment and persons involved in the production process. It is now possible to instantly view the genealogy of the products, all the way down to the mixing layers of powders in the silos.

Inventory is another area that has seen improvements. As material usage is booked back in to ERP as it is consumed, inventory is always up-to-date and correct. This enables timely material reordering and avoids corrective actions and unplanned downtime.
Wander AG
“A key functionality of ABB's MES system is the seamless and complete traceability of all materials, equipment and persons involved in the production process.”

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