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Parmareggio Unigrana has used Product4Automations' low cost Movicon 11 SCADA
to automate one of the creameries that has helped it become a major butter producer,
as well as world-famous for its cheese.
With demand for the region's butter soaring (up 22 percent in 2011 to Euro35m) the
decision was made to automate the Fiordalba creamery in Modena, to increase
production, guarantee quality and ensure efficiency. To maintain quality and originality
many food products from this area of Italy have special Protected Designation of Origin
(PDO) status.
The creamery's systems design and installation was entrusted to I.T. Technologies Srl,
a Movicon integrator that works extensively in the region. The plant, which was already
partially controlled by Movicon equipment, was to be fully automated, including
installation of a new SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. This
would improve the system redundancy and add a quality certification capability. Many
other new systems were also installed on the production floor, while some existing
systems were enhanced with extra functionality.
Butter production
Fresh cream is the raw material used for making Parmareggio butter. This comes
directly from regional PDO dairies which themselves use automation systems to
guarantee security and quality. Close relationships are maintained with suppliers, often
built up over decades, to ensure product integrity.
The cream is first put through a centrifuge where it is mixed with water and melted
butter. It is then pumped into a storage tank from which it is collected and sent onto be
skimmed. From here it is immediately sent on to a pasteurisation plant. This delicate
process cycle is constantly monitored and recorded by the Movicon SCADA system to
ensure compliance with stringent European food safety standards.
Once pasteurised, the cream is left to settle naturally in vats. During this phase the
temperature is constantly controlled in order to obtain a perfect end product with an
easy spreading consistency. After this it is pumped on to ripening tanks where it cooled
and remixed then pumped on to the butter making machines, where it is churned while
milk enzymes are gradually. This thickens the cream to make butter. Separated
buttermilk, a useful by-product, is sent to a separate pasteurising process then stored
in silos to await collection for other processes.
A sophisticated NIRS (Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy) system working with
the SCADA constantly controls the all the products' chemical parameters.
The butter is automatically transferred to the packaging area. As with the rest of the
production, this phase uses completely enclosed and automated equipment to prevent
the risk of product contamination from operators or the environment.
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The high speed lines are able to package butter in all shapes and sizes according to
market demands. They are also equipped with automatic weight control systems.
With all the production and packaging processes complete, the butter is placed in a
refrigerated storeroom where temperatures are constantly monitored and recorded
until all the product quality controls of each batch have been double checked by the
Quality Control Office. Security and food quality are always maintained at maximum
levels during this stage.
Plant and control
The entire production plant is controlled by a Movicon 11 SCADA system implemented
on three Siemens S7 PLCs built into stainless steel control panels in a central control
room and connected via Ethernet. One PLC manages the production process system;
the other two manage the CIP (cleaning in place) systems and the storage systems.
Together they guarantee maximum security during the different production stages.
They also measure operational and chemical parameters, which are mainly
determined by temperature and the product's micro-organic profile.
The control system also includes a number of Movicon HMIs or graphical screen which
can display pages for every process within the plant, covering critical parameters for
quality, hygiene, productivity and maintenance. The HMI screen pages are all divided
into two frames, one containing operational statuses, the other containing operational
command sequences.
Perfect hygiene
The control system also runs an automatic Clean-In-Place CIP system, which is fully
integrated with the production processes and implements cleaning processes without
any disassembling of the plant or its parts.
The cleaning system ensures uniform treatment of surfaces that have direct contact
with product, while damage to mechanical parts is avoided. Further there is no risk of
contamination while the plant is disassembled. The cleaning is scheduled
automatically and all cleaning data is stored for traceability. The overall objective is for
efficient and effective cleaning and to fully meet the FDA and health and quality
The CIP system uses comprehensive detergent recovery to ensure product quality.
The recovered washing liquid is collected so that it can be regenerated and reused, a
critical principle for maintaining the highest environmental standards. Again, all data is
The main control room also accommodates two additional PC stations, which run
Windows 7 with Movicon 11 setup in a redundant configuration. Both PCs are
constantly updated and each backs up the other, including recording of all data for
track and trace requirements. This guarantees maximum availability and continuous 24
hour running of the creamery.
Thanks to the redundancy system, the operating personnel have two workstations.
These can be used independently; for instance, an operator may be using the first to
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monitor a cream collection tank and start a cleaning process, while his colleague
checks skimmer operations and prints out a product quality report.
Communication within the control system is based on Movicon S7-TCP communication
drivers, which collect and aggregate data in a Real Time Database residing on an MS
SQL server.
The production process is managed visually on the HMIs, from where instructions can
also be sent. These instructions are collected on the database, no matter which HMI
the come from.
A predictive alarm management programme follows trends within the accumulating
data to pre-empt malfunctions and provide step-by-step guidance on appropriate
corrective/maintenance procedures.
The system runs the plant in compliance to the FDA CFR21 part 11 regulations. These
are normally associated with pharmaceuticals production, but are also used for high
quality food operations. They are designed to control access to plant and product to
authorised personnel only.
Movicon has a simple but very sophisticated user and command access management
system explicitly designed to support the CFR21 Part 11 regulations. In addition to all
the requirements defined by the user privileges (area and access level), the system
manages 'electronic signatures' in reports and for historical data. This way, each
significant action executed in the plant, such as commands or target parameter
modifications can be traced back to an individual person. Audits are recorded in the
database with encrypted access and can be documented appropriately in reports.
The creamery continued to run throughout the whole installation process, which was
completed quickly and efficiently thanks to the I.T. Technologies technicians' vast
experience and the rapid design and configuration ability of the Movicon platform.
Parmareggio has achieved its target productivity rate and is set to maintain strong
growth well into the future.
About P4A
Products4Automation (P4A) is a specialist supplier of new and innovative software and
hardware solutions to the UK market. Product ranges available from P4A include the
latest touch-screen HMI's and flat panel PCs, SCADA software and plug-ins, a wide
range of SCADA enabled hardware, Alarm plug-in software for large automation
systems, and a full range of Production Intelligence software solutions.
Editor Contact
DMA Europa Ltd. : Selina Price
Tel: +44 (0)1562 751436
Fax: +44 (0)1562 745315
Email: [email protected]
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Reader Contact
Products4Automation : Paul Hurst
Tel: +44 (0)845 077 3858
Email: [email protected]
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