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Case Study | Food and Beverage

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Flexible Manufacturing Helps Food and Beverage OEM Ramp Up Production

Advanced, flexible manufacturing allows Clēan Works to shift production and ease pressure on N95 mask supply chain.

Challenge

  • Standardize on a scalable control solution across its product lineup

Solutions

  • Utilizing the Micro800™ control platform allows for a scalable, economic solution
  • PanelView™ 800 operator interface provides machine control, visualization of status and remote control/view of the HMI utilizing the built in VNC server
  • Standardized the design and controls, HMI, safety and industrial components

Results

  • By remotely connecting to the machine, Clēan Works can monitor critical machine data and offer remote support or system upgrades
  • Solution physically fits into the small constraints of the control panel, while offering increased control and flexibility for system enhancements
  • Partnership across the supply chain slashed lead and manufacturing times to produce record number of machines in eight weeks

Just a few short months ago, Clēan Works was known mostly throughout the food and beverage industry for its decontamination treatment.

The process, using ultraviolet light, vaporized hydrogen peroxide, and ozone, kills up to 99.99% of pathogens on fruits and vegetables through innovative waterless technology. The technology has been validated on food-borne pathogens and is also highly effective in killing viruses.

And now that technology can be applied to pathogens and viruses on materials and surfaces, including N95 masks and other personal protection equipment (PPE) used by healthcare and essential workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Clēan Works and its partners relied on advanced and flexible manufacturing technology to pivot production, and quickly ramp up and sustain supply chain and production to meet emerging and significant global needs.

The result: in just eight weeks Clēan Works produced 65 machines. International need continues to drive demand.

According to Joe Symons, Clēan Works general manager, “Through the flexibility of our partners, we were able to ramp up our production exponentially. The Rockwell Automation COVID-19 task force sourced materials quickly, in many cases cutting lead times in half. The support of Gerrie Electric, a Rockwell Automation authorized distributor, and our electrical engineering partners at Synchro Engineering, was invaluable. Key members of the team mobilized to provide around-the-clock support, answer questions and address challenges. I could not be more impressed."

Standardizing Machines Improves Efficiency

The Clēan Works team wanted to standardize on a scalable control solution across its product lineup. A single platform would allow standardization of system components, machine code, as well as simplify support and maintenance of the systems.

Rockwell Automation, with Authorized Distributor Gerrie Electric, has been involved with Clēan Works since their initial beta machines for sterilizing produce. The original design had a mix of components. Together, the team standardized the design and controls, HMI, safety and industrial components in the panels, and continued to add functionality and enhance the machines.

Increasing Mask Production

The result of this work is the automation system for Clēan Batch, Clēan Flow and Clēan Flow Mini systems. The new Clēan Flow Mini machine can sanitize 1,200 masks per hour or almost 30,000 per day.

Clēan Works technology has been certified by Health Canada and validated by the Food and Science Department at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. For sanitization of PPE and N95 masks, it’s been approved for use across Canada.

The solution needed to physically fit into the small constraints of the control panel, while at the same time offering the control and flexibility for system enhancements as the systems evolved.

Utilizing the Micro800™ control platform allows for a scalable, economic solution. The PanelView™ 800 operator interface provides machine control, visualization of status and remote control/view of the HMI utilizing the built in VNC server. By remotely connecting to the machine, Clēan Works can monitor critical machine data, as well as offer any remote support or system upgrades utilizing the VNC capabilities in the PanelView 800.

Added Joe, “With the technical support of Gerrie Electric, we were able to design our equipment around a cost effective and technically potent framework.”

Automation’s Role In Pandemic Response

“Our strong partnership with our distributor and their trusted advisor status with the customer made the flow of information and requirements seamless and effective,” said Mark Carmount, channel account manager, Rockwell Automation. “I am incredibly proud of how our team pulled together as one, to do what is right and take all necessary steps to combat this global pandemic.”

See what else Rockwell Automation is doing to support our employees, customers and communities in response to COVID-19.

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