Chobani was established in 2005 with a mission to make better food for more people. The company was founded on the belief that people have great taste, they just need better options. It’s this belief that led to the creation of Chobani, an authentic strained Greek yogurt made using a centuries old technique.
Within five years of entering the market, yogurt lovers made Chobani Greek Yogurt the number one selling yogurt brand in America. Based on this success the company decided to expand to Australia.
Chobani purchased a local Victorian dairy company in 2011 and invested in a new greenfield facility to manufacture their yogurt in Australia.
With a strong focus on automation, Chobani called on Metromotion Controls, a leading systems integrator specialising in control and automation systems, to facilitate the design, management and implementation of the new $30 million facility.
Chobani yogurt is made in this new state of the art manufacturing facility in Dandenong South, using fresh Australian milk sourced from across Victoria. The yogurt is made using a centuries-old straining technique to remove excess liquid. The result is a naturally thick and creamy yogurt that’s packed with protein.
Chobani’s commitment to the local Australian market to provide high-quality, fresh yogurt relies on the maintaining a smoothly operating manufacturing plant.
To help increase uptime, reduce overall costs and optimise inventory levels, Chobani called on the expertise of Rockwell Automation and their Authorised Distributor, NHP Electrical Engineering Products (NHP).
Chobani’s New State of the Art Manufacturing Plant
The purpose built manufacturing plant is fully automated, utilising the latest control technologies from Rockwell Automation. Metromotion Controls has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Rockwell Automation and with extensive knowledge of their offering, was confident that their products and services were the most appropriate choice for Chobani’s plant.
“We provided ‘on the ground’ automation and resources to facilitate the site power upgrade, building services and process power distribution, integration of factory wide automation including process, packaging and site services and final commissioning,” said Andrew Sprigg, control systems engineer at Metromotion Controls.
The new manufacturing plant meets all of Chobani’s manufacturing requirements and is operating well.
According to Merome Dean, food & beverage account manager at Rockwell Automation, “It was important to meet project deadlines and have the plant up and running but good local support from Metromotion helped achieve this with project timelines being met.”
Assuring Yogurt Production Keeps Flowing
With global supply agreements in place, Chobani’s Australian manufacturing plant needs to maintain production rates to meet these requirements both within Australia and around the world. Any unplanned downtime can have catastrophic consequences on delivery of product, resulting in significant penalties.
To help keep yogurt production flowing, Rockwell Automation together with NHP, conducted an Installed Base Evaluation™ (IBE) to assess Chobani’s service requirements. The IBE was used to identify any risks involved at the site to minimise downtime. These findings were then used to baseline a strategic maintenance program to help optimise assets and maintain operating efficiency within maintenance budgets.
The IBE at Chobani showed that there was a shortage of spare parts onsite so if a failure was to occur at the plant, there was a high risk that the associated downtime would impact yogurt production.
“Discussions with Chobani together with the IBE findings made it clear that the plant would benefit from the peace of mind that our ‘Assurance Contract’ delivers. This is a comprehensive services agreement designed to minimise downtime and maximise reliability through effective asset management,” said Peter Benifer, automation – business development, NHP.
Assurance Integrated Support provides a guaranteed response time for on-site emergency services and replenishment parts and helps to stabilise the annual service spend by providing fixed fee service agreements. It also includes unlimited, premium access to TechConnect™ Support from Rockwell Automation which provides software maintenance, real time phone support and comprehensive online support, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Chobani’s operation reflects the Connected Enterprise model to maximise asset utilisation, reduce overall costs and minimise downtime at the plant.
Spare Parts on Hand
According to Peter Tripp, contracts manager at NHP, “The Assurance Agreement guarantees urgent access to service engineers as well as onsite and remote service so to complete the package we wanted to make sure the plant could house the required number of spare parts onsite so that in the case of a failure, the plant could be up and running again quickly.”
“As a result of the IBE and presentation, Chobani determined that the Parts Management Agreement (PMA) was able to provide them with the spare parts required without the large capital outlay,” explained Tripp.
The PMA provides quick access to Rockwell Automation spare parts while reducing the internal operating costs associated with maintaining an independent spare parts inventory. Through the PMA, Rockwell Automation owns and manages the spare parts inventory for a fixed cost, providing an attractive alternative to purchasing spare parts. Any spare parts that are consumed are replenished within 48 hours and the cost is covered as part of the fixed price agreement.
“The PMA provides the availability of parts that match the install base 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so when a part is required, it is there ready to go. If you consider the costs involved per minute of downtime, by having the spares ready to go this is significantly reduced. Having the Assurance Contract with PMA and TechConnect in place, Chobani knows exactly what their maintenance budget is for the year which allows better value and management of their budget,” said Merome.
Service Agreement Pays for Itself
Yogurt manufacturing is a continuous process and if the process was to be affected by an unplanned downtime, the whole production process would halt, the plant would need to be cleaned and then restarted.
“Having the parts on site provides a comfort level for any breakdowns. In addition, if we were to purchase the stock outright, the cost would be higher than the service agreement,” explained Roger Forster, reliability manager at Chobani.
“The service agreement also provides the latest software, which is important to Chobani because our business revolves around integrating the latest technology,” he said.