Customer story: data acquisition solution for Puratos - Factry
Frederik Van Leeckwyck on
“The bakery industry is a fascinating world. You would be surprised if you knew how much technology, knowledge and expertise is required to make a bread”, says Klaas Dobbelaere, Solution Architect for Production Operations at Puratos group.
Since its founding in 1919, Puratos has built a solid reputation for itself as a developer of ingredients and solutions for bakers, pâtissiers and chocolatiers around the world. As Puratos is present in over 70 countries, a network of 463 technical advisors in 81 Innovation Centers are committed to supporting their customers. With over 9,000 employees and over 2 billion euros in revenue, Puratos is a true innovation stronghold.
Your biggest challenges?
“As a Solution Architect for Production Operations at Puratos group worldwide, I am responsible for all applications within our production. It is my job to ensure that the puzzle pieces of all applications that we use throughout our sites fit together.”
“On big sites, we use classic automation tools, with skilled people on-site to support them. However, these tools come at a price. The challenge we face is to also enable data acquisition for smaller sites with less resources and time.”
“We take a diversified approach. Puratos has 65 sites, 40 of which are small to medium-sized. For those sites, we really need a data capturing solution that is both affordable and easily scalable, and can also be implemented quickly.”
With each Historian implementation, we know exactly how much it will cost, what the implementation looks like, and how long it will take.
Why Factry Historian?
“We mainly use Factry’s Historian tool to capture data, to look back into the past and to do causal analysis. But more and more we see that people start using it for real-time dashboarding, and integrate it into their daily operations.”
“Factry Historian is built on open source technology, so a lot of useful documentation is available online. But in the end, the tool is so user-friendly that anybody with a basic understanding of a computer can configure it.”
“In my opinion, the biggest power of Factry Historian lies in its ability to unlock existing data towards a broader user community. It allows people to work together on data more easily, and to get those insights quicker.”
What was life like before?
“A typical automation layer is shielded from the network for security reasons. It is not straightforward for people from the R&D or the Quality departments to access the data and create their own graphs or visualisations. The data does not flow that easily.”
“Before Factry entered our world, an automation engineer, operator or supervisor had to manually pull the data out of the production layer, enter it into a spreadsheet, export it to another format and share it through email.”
“Alternatively, we had to work with fixed dashboards – if available. Now, things are easy. On my laptop, I can see the data of any site worldwide through the software, anywhere when connected to the corporate network.”
Since we started working together two years ago, we have rolled out Factry Historian in ten of our sites worldwide.
What is most important to you?
“With our applications, we enable people to use and explore the tools themselves, rather than having to rely on IT or an external supplier for support. This high level of self-service is essential to us.”
“We rely on the principle of the key user, i.e. someone who acts as the expert for the local site and answers questions from colleagues. We make sure we have one key user in place on every site. Only in case that one of those key users has a question, he gets in touch with us.”
“Factry Historian’s user-friendly interface allows them to easily create custom dashboards, display them inside the plant and see what is going on in realtime. Limited activities alone require us to reach out for support.”
What convinced you?
“The proof of the pudding was in the eating. How would Factry tackle the user adoption process? Is the tool as user-friendly as we expected it to be? How are we going to connect the automation system to the Historian? And is it safe?”
“To answer these questions and to truly experience all aspects of the product, we set up a pilot in Pennsauken, USA. What are its strengths and weaknesses, where does it fit in our organisation? In the end, the whole process went smoothly. We learned a lot from this, which was our goal from the beginning.”
“Based on their previous experiences, Factry had a good understanding of what works and what does not in terms of enabling these tools for people working in production. Therefore, the pilot project went smooth and we experienced no major issues.”
What happens after the pilot?
“Together with the people at Factry, we created a robust software architecture as well as a service framework, making it possible to quickly roll out to new sites around the world. In less than a week, a new site was up and running.”
“Based on our pilot project, this framework agreement enabled us to speed up implementation, to put good governance around it in place, and to set up functionalities without any difficulty at an increasing number of sites.”
“This framework allows us to easily and transparently communicate to any of our sites: if you install Factry Historian, it will cost you this much, this is what the implementation looks like, and this is how long it will take.”
Factry enables our sites to do something with their existing data, within their capabilities and at a cost burn they can bear.
Your final judgement?
“Factry is what I would call a company with a proactive mindset. It is very pragmatic and adapts itself easily and quickly to any situation. Like always, you have to look out for the right supplier for the right job. And I think Factry is a really good match in this case.”
“’Fit-for-purpose’ is the name of the game here. Factry Historian really fulfills the need that most of our sites have, as it enables them to really engage with existing data, within their capabilities and at a cost they can bear.”
“Without a shadow of a doubt, the tool brings enormous value to our sites. I think the best way to showcase our satisfaction is that, in a mere two years’ time, we have rolled out Factry Historian in over ten sites, with many yet to come.”