Schneider Electric boosts dairy production worldwide

Schneider Electric’s food and beverage solutions are increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the industry and its dairy solutions allow users to seize new market and profit opportunities, thanks to zero waste and 100 per cent traceable production.


This is achieved through its EcoStruxure Hybrid DCS (formerly known as PlantStruxure PES), which helps customers manage their dairy processes in an easy, smart and energy-efficient way. The new platform improves the production monitoring and control system, while making provisions for the company’s future expansion.

Dynamic and competitive, the current dairy market reflects an increased demand for safe and nutritious products. Innovation and flexibility are critical when growth hinges on the ability to meet consumer requirements, while striving for zero waste.

South African case study

Schneider Electric has excellent case studies from dairies as far and wide as the UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and South Africa.

Woodlands Dairy, one of the largest manufacturers in South Africa in dairy farming plant, food and beverage, bought a second-hand powder plant from Denmark but its control system was outdated and not suitable for the modifications required to adapt the process to the company’s specifications.

Top of the agenda was a single platform that could integrate all the disparate plants on site, preserve past investments in expensive assets and legacy systems, while making provision for future expansion.

The ArchestrA System Platform, consisting of the Application Server, InTouch HMI, Historian and Historian Clients trending and reporting tool, was selected, as the company had previous experience with its products. Other reasons included:

  • Universal data connectivity – this would cope with Woodlands Dairy’s variety of PLCs
  • Object orientated technology – not only was this software more maintainable than its alternative but it also promoted standardisation
  • Distributed system
  • Easy to create reports and retrieve historical data
  • Full redundancy
  • Scalability
  • The level of support available in South Africa

The total implementation took about six months, half of which was spent on the new powder plant, which was commissioned first. While the powder plant was a Greenfields project, the processing plant upgrade and expansion was done live, during weekly shutdowns and the standards developed for the powder plant were rolled out for these projects.

Other process areas were also upgraded and these included a new Clean in Place (CIP) Station, a new cream pasteuriser/butter plant, an upgrade to the milk pasteuriser, new pasteurised milk silo and milk lines, new pasteurised cream silo and a new milk reception area with its own CIP station.

Solutions for dairy

As the dairy industry is facing an increasingly competitive environment, leading companies are seeking to improve with sustainability programmes. Quick results, with acceptable ROI, require strong methodology.

  • Energy performance

Schneider Electric’s solution delivers and sustains top line and bottom line improvement, addressing sustainability, energy purchasing strategies and utilities usage in production context. It improves environmental sustainability of operations and reduces energy bills per production unit by up to 30 per cent.

The group is the global specialist in energy management, delivering its software and services across the world. It has specific expertise in food and beverage and counts most of the global players of this industry as customers.

  • Manufacturing efficiency

In an increasingly competitive environment, product safety and quality during the production process are critical. Regulated milk prices require minimised production costs, including reduction of waste. Operations must be agile enough to respond to changing consumer demands.

Schneider Electric offers comprehensive automation solutions – encompassing steps from device to ERP integration, from process and machine to power management, from small site to multi-site management – are all designed for operational efficiency in a flexible production environment.

It strives for zero waste while increasing the flexibility on the plant floor.

Schneider Electric combines the strength of Wonderware, the leader in manufacturing software for the food and beverage industry; Pack drive, the specialist in packaging automation; Modicon, the inventor of PLC; a global delivery capacity and a strong partner ecosystem.

  • Smart power management

Dairy is a rapidly changing environment. Every year, the plants are modified to add processing lines or increase capacity. In such a context, and with limited local resources, maintaining power availability and safety is a central challenge. The need is to improve safety, availability and flexibility of power during the whole plant lifecycle, keeping power safe, available and green.

Schneider Electric’s solutions are based on a comprehensive portfolio of offers, supported by a strong service organisation and a wide network of partners. It designs and maintains smart power management solutions, fit for a flexible environment, delivering reliable, safe and green power for sustainable and efficient food and beverage operations.

Its value proposition is to implement fit-for-purpose power solutions and evolve them on the whole plant life-cycle; reduce by up to 30 per cent plant downtime, mitigate power quality issues and minimise occurrences of the first cause of injury in food and beverage, electrical shocks

  • Optimised supply chain

With increased complexity of supply chain networks and tremendous volatility of raw material prices, producers are looking for ways to improve operational and strategic decisions for better performance and profitability.

Schneider Electric’s cloud-based software solutions collect and manage information about the entire supply chain, to help decision-making process and performance improvement. It provides full visibility into the value chain, to increase end-to-end throughput and reduce logistic costs

It is a leader in dairy automation, commodity trading and risk management in supply chain simulation. It combines these strengths to propose unique solutions, based on expertise, proven methodology, reuse and a deep understanding of these markets and their challenges.

Meeting customers’ goals

The group is dedicated to maintaining and improving its customers’ reliability, productivity, comfort and efficiency. It provides comprehensive power, automation and control, and building life cycle service solutions. Its customer support services allow customers to select the level of expertise and resources they need to keep their processes and infrastructure at peak performance, anywhere and anytime.

Schneider Electric’s experts and partners help customers specify their installations and advise them on the best solutions. Its international teams coordinate the implementation of complex projects, increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the industry in charge of feeding the world.

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