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Winner: Process Partners for five:am

PACE Zenith Awards

Food & Beverage category (sponsored by Siemens)

Winner: Process Partners

Project: five:am

(Pictured alongside is Michael Francis of Process Partners.)

Melbourne-based process engineering group, Process Partners have taken out this award for the work they did with five:am, an organic yoghurt manufacturer.

five:am secured a contract with a leading supermarket retailer before it had the capability to produce its organic yoghurt product on a large scale. To accomplish the task, they teamed up with Process Partners and Schneider Electric.

Working to a strict time frame of just eight months, Process Partners conducted a detailed audit of five:am's requirements, taking into account the need to produce more variations of the product than was initially required. From this, Process Partners developed a manufacturing strategy for the plant and worked with five:am to amend and evolve the strategy based on its budget and business objectives. 

Entrepreneur David Prior from five:am wanted to get the project off the ground as he not only had a tight time frame but also wanted to ensure every aspect of five:am's production and operation processes was environmentally sustainable.

"When the contract was signed to produce and distribute our yoghurt within an eight month timeframe, all we had was a 35,000 square foot site located just south of Melbourne," explained Prior. "Our site had no manufacturing system in place, inadequate air flow and water supply, and none of the technology needed to produce organic yoghurt."

Michael Francis (L) of Process Partners accepts the award from Steven Kemeridis of Siemens, sponsor of the Food & Beverage category.

Michael Francis (L) of Process Partners accepts the award from Steven Kemeridis of Siemens, sponsor of the Food & Beverage category.

A crucial element of the plant design and strategy proposed by Process Partners was its project partnership approach with Schneider Electric to provide a full suite of automation and control technology. Michael Francis, Director of Process Partners recognised that timing was a crucial element of the unique project.

"The time taken from ordering components to delivery was just a matter of weeks. Schneider Electric was the only organisation that could meet this timeframe," said Francis. "The deployment of the SCADA package was very quick as the solution could be configured offsite and then downloaded at the plant."

Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure architecture was leveraged to provide an integrated solution comprising automation and power technologies. The suite of solutions included an integrated SCADA package and motor control solutions to ensure motors and drives run in the most efficient way possible. The SCADA package was implemented to provide operators with complete visibility of plant operations.

"Inefficiencies, such as motors running unnecessarily when systems malfunction, can easily be identified through the SCADA system deployed in five:am's plant. This insight is most valuable when fed into the SCADA management system that presents information in an easy-to-digest dashboard. It allows plant managers to have complete visibility of the plant systems and identifies and isolates problems before they have an impact on the product," explained Francis. 

The judges were impressed with the design and fulfilment of the project. "This is a well designed and executed project given the tight time frames involved to get a new production plant up and running. The solution helped deliver sustainable manufacturing processes by reducing wastage and enabling significant time savings."

Francis said that the new interface is convenient and simple for five:am to operate and help grow the burgeoning business. "Now five:am has one interface for the whole plant – this gives visualisation of everything such as batch, recipes, mixing, pasteurising and fermenting," explained Francis.

"The automation technologies helped us achieve sustainable manufacturing processes by reducing wastage, and ensuring a smooth running of the plant, enabling significant time savings from not having to manually operate and clean machines," added Prior.

The Food & Beverage category is sponsored by Siemens.PACE Zenith Awards 2012: Food & Beverage category is proudly sponsored by Siemens
Siemens Ltd
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