ABB automation increases capacity 10x for Tate & Lyle food additive plant

When Tate & Lyle acquired Biovelop, a Swedish manufacturer of oat based food ingredients in 2013, the factory in Kimstad, Sweden was modernized and expanded by installing automation systems, variable speed drives, motors, motor control cabinets  and valve positioners from ABB Automation. In 2016 the remodeled plant celebrated the first anniversary of operations with the new systems and significantly increased production capacity.

The global market for specialty food ingredients, including health and wellness products, is growing, with annual sales of $51 billion and annual growth rate of 4-5%. Oat ingredients have been actively involved with this trend as they offer some key nutritional and functional benefits. In particular, oat contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce post prandial glycaemic response – claims that have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In fact, it was these properties of the grain that made the sector an attractive one to Tate & Lyle, and triggered the decision to diversify its portfolio into this sector.

“We have seen a more than tenfold increase in capacity with the same number of shift operators compared to four years ago,” said Annika Werneman, Tate & Lyle plant manager. “It’s a huge change in such a short time, and it means that we’ve gone from a low-level facility to one that can deliver high quality product to our customers globally.”

Advanced automation technologies in the plant run critical food processing equipment -including pumps and decanters: material handling machinery is also used to transport the dry food products. ABB delivered automation equipment that included 85 variable speed drives (VSDs), with power ratings ranging from 0.37 kW to 55 kW, as well as ABB MNS 3.0 motor control cabinets and low voltage motors. ABB also delivered 44 Digital Electro pneumatic positioners (TZID-C) , which use the Hart protocol to communicate with the control valves.

“We needed a process that was highly automated and could run 24 hours, seven days a week, all year long,” Werneman continued. This meant building a system that enabled Tate & Lyle engineers to digitally interact with the system, commission (start) devices, and diagnose performance deviations or failures from anywhere in the world. This not only helps ensure operational consistency, but also reduce the total cost of ownership by enabling staff to manage the processes without being physically present at each site.

Such interactivity was enabled by the ABB fieldbus automation for the drive controls, providing flexibility as well as remote monitoring of the plant performance. “I like that ABB designed the system so that the fieldbus responsible for device control is split from the fieldbus used for asset management,” explained Leo Dijkstra, power & controls team leader Europe at Tate & Lyle. “This ensures that I can make any changes to the configuration of the devices without the risk of the whole network going down.”

At Tate & Lyle, they place great importance not just on what they do, but how they do it. “We are working continuously wherever we can to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations,” said Dijkstra. ABB was well placed to help as it has developed a portfolio of products and solutions that improve industrial energy efficiency.

“In our pump applications alone, we are using up to 50 percent less energy thanks to the variable speed drives, and these have been running non-stop for the last two years without a single failure,” Dijkstra continued. “What’s more, ABB was so quick to deliver products that we even had the first VSD delivered in just a few days.”

Although the nearest ABB support is only a ten-minute drive away from the Kimstad factory, the fieldbus flexibilities in the drives enable Tate & Lyle to rely on its own staff to handle the ABB equipment remotely. “Our work with Tate & Lyle illustrates the benefits of digitization, which can yield immense productivity and output gains from existing facilities,” said Petter Hollertz, area sales manager at ABB. “The improvements at this plant also show what great teamwork between the equipment supplier and the user can accomplish, as we worked together as true partners on this project.”

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UK Danfoss and Vacon businesses

John Martin, a long-time employee of Danfoss with an enviable track record of successes in the variable speed drives market, has been appointed to head up Danfoss Drives UK, the new combined business of Danfoss and Vacon. In his role as UK Country Manager for Danfoss Drives UK, John Martin will oversee the merging of Danfoss and Vacon operations to form the UK’s largest dedicated drives team, which will provide an unsurpassed level of customer service.

Danfoss“Combining the Danfoss and Vacon businesses in the UK will undoubtedly be challenging,” said John, “but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to, particularly as I can see that it also creates an incredible opportunity to establish Danfoss Drives UK as the undisputed leader in the UK drives sector. Currently, I’m fortunate enough to have two strong teams and my key objective is to develop individual staff competencies so that I create one even stronger team that will make it possible for us to achieve our ambitious objectives.”

In addition to the provision of unsurpassed levels of customer support, other goals that he has set for the new Danfoss Drives UK organisation include gaining specification as preferred supplier for VSDs with major organisations by delivering outstanding customer value, and becoming a renowned provider of system solutions for applications ranging from the simplest and most cost sensitive to the most complex and demanding.

John joined Danfoss in 1995, initially working as HVAC Manager for Ireland and Scotland. His notable achievements in this and successive roles with the company led to the continual expansion of his responsibilities until, in 2009, he was appointed UK Sales Director. In his time with Danfoss, John has been a key contributor to a 300% growth in sales, and to boosting Danfoss sales in the HVAC sector from an initially modest level to become 50% of the company’s UK business.