Major in automation and information technologies are making inroads in food processing and packaging operations according to an analysis by Swiss-based InTechno Consulting.
The company said it has developed new modules for its WinCoS process control system for those handling supplies of grains. The new modules expand the software's ability to directly linkadministration computers and production control systems.
This allows managers to handle production jobs from the point of job registration with feedback when the process has been finished. Other new WinCoS modules allow accurate calculation and logging of the yield and automatic sampling.
The new modules offer full control of all processing lines. It draws samples on the basis of defined patterns, manages laboratory and quality parameters, and saves the data necessary for ensuringcomplete retraceability.
It monitors the condition of the equipment and the maintenance intervals. If necessary, it prompts maintenance, reports possible trouble directly by text messages and supplies all the relevantproduction data to the administration computer when the production process has been completed.
For example a new "WinTrace" module ensures retraceability. In combination with laboratory and quality data management, the software allows managers to meet the latest EU directives requiringthe tracking of food ingredients along the supply chain, Buhler claims.
The "WinEnergy" module can be used for making energy consumption more efficient. Another new addition to the range of modules is "PlantCare" for managing plant maintenance.
The "Remote- Access" module allows managers to intervene in control and servicing operations via the Internet.
"The secret behind the success of WinCoS lies in the utilisation of tried and tested, off-the-shelf hardware and software components and the development of add-on modules tailored to thespecific process technology," stated Marcel Scherrer, head of automation in Buhler's milling and bakery unit.