Easter egg manufacturer Kinnerton Confectionery has boosted production by simplifying production line processes in partnership with industrial solutions provider Siemens Industry.
The project, targeting Kinnerton’s Fakenham factory in Norfolk, included implementing new motion control technology that integrated the production process and succeeded in boosting productivity on one line by 15%, it claimed.
“The proven improvements on the production line are clear and easy to quantify,” said Lee Hunt, engineering manager at Kinnerton, which makes a range of chocolate and character-licensed confectionery products.
“The additional 15% efficiencies we have identified meant the capex investment we made for the new automation solution saw a swift payback. This is testament to the success of the new control system and we are extremely happy with how the line is performing.
“Other important elements such as much improved software mean we can maintain the line far more easily. In summary, our investment decision is allowing us to increase productivity and output which is leading to improved sales.”
Keith Thornhill, business manager – food and beverage at Siemens Industry, explained: “The existing production line was a combination of various vendor technologies and a number of machines, some of which were ageing and increasingly difficult to maintain.
“Such a complex operation invariably led to performance issues as parts of the production line were unreliable. This was creating challenges in maintaining product consistency, the efficiency of the line itself, and the need to support the overall automation platform going forward. Retrofitting to reverse the impact of such challenges lay at the centre of our approach.”
Simplified production process
Siemens Industry simplified the production line process under the auspices of Siemens’ Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) platform.
The innovation automates and controls all manufacturing tasks, from initial chocolate mould filling to product cooling and packaging, using Simotion D445, Sinamics S120 and 1FK7 motors.
“Where previously a number of machines combined to make up the production line, with the integration into a single motion control system across the line’s entire length, essentially one machine is now performing the overall production control,” said Thornhill.
“The solution is based on viewing the production line as a single entity and not a combination of individual machines.”