Southwest Baking was restricted by an outdated, proprietary batch system that only ran one batch every eight minutes. This kept the factory at only 85 to 90 percent capacity, based on the production power of their machinery.
Additionally, the company was experiencing five to six hours of downtime per month at a cost of thousands per hour. Sometimes a downtime event would last up to a full day or more while a lone programmer tried to fix the problem.
“When the programmer left the company, knowledge of the system left with him,” said Robert Wroblewski, plant engineer, Southwest Baking Company. “Our employees didn’t know how to operate, leaving us to wait hours for outside support when issues occurred.”
The proprietary platform was not scalable, so Southwest Baking couldn’t expand process lines for future growth.
“Beyond scalability, we’d continuously run into situations when new equipment needed to be added or the procedures in our batch process had changed, causing us valuable time re-programming, starting up and testing before run time,” said Wroblewski.
In addition, the company’s outdated platform had limited reporting capabilities.
Reports were restricted to pulling in data from raw materials receiving. The reports were not consistently collected or accurate.
Operators had to manually gather the data at various intervals in the process, leaving room for human error. The system also could only store a few days of data.
Southwest Baking required an easily supported batch solution that was sustainable over the long term and could accurately track and report critical process data.
Southwest Baking collaborated with ECS Solutions Inc. – a Recognized System Integrator in the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™ program – to help design and implement a replacement for the limited legacy system.