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New control system - installed over the weekend

With a record effort, Buhler exchanged the entire control system of a feed production plant over two weekends.

February 4, 2004

With a record effort, Buhler exchanged the entire control system of a feed production plant over two weekends. This went almost unnoticed by the customer, the Lugitsch family in Gniebing in the Austrian province of Styria.

When you mention Styria, gourmands will immediately think of a special oil extracted from pumpkin seeds. In this southern province of Austria, the original home of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you will also find the Lugitsch family’s feed mill. Last year, the facility was to be updated by the installation of a state-of-the-art process control system. As on several occasions before, the Styrian family-run company again relied on proven Swiss know-how. The Lugitsch family are longstanding and satisfied customers of Buhler and have always been reliably supported. Herbert Lugitsch senior: “What Buhler starts, it then also completes.”

The challenge: cutting expensive downtime
The Lugitsch feed production plant in Gniebing wanted to replace its traditional relay-based control system by a state-of-the-art PLC
(programmable logic controller) system. In addition, the 25-year-old mixer was to yield to a new Speedmix unit. All this was accomplished within just a few days – over two weekends. Numerous highly qualified Buhler specialists were involved in this task before and during the entire rebuild, ensuring that the project would be completed to the customer’s entire satisfaction. Painstaking planning of the project and a huge round-the-clock effort in three shifts allowed the rebuilding time to be minimized as planned.
The new process control system manages materials, bins, scales, recipes, and production jobs and also records statistics and logs production data.
The PLC control system itself, which controls and monitors the process operations, registers production data, suppresses forbidden functions, and automatically executes control commands. The process visualization system displays all the process operations controlled and monitored by the PLC system.

Investments boost productivity
A pneumatic conveying system for minor ingredients that was installed at the same time ensures that no residues from one feed formula will contaminate the next one. The new Speedmix mixer achieves a product homogeneity of 1 to 100,000 within a mere 90 seconds. This means that it is capable of dispersing ten grams of an additive throughout a material blend of 1000 kilograms with absolute homogeneity. All these investments ensure maximum precision of the mill’s production processes and accelerate
the individual process operations appreciably.  “The new system documents everything much better than before,” says Herbert Lugitsch senior with pleasure. The control system allows all the raw materials and additives used to be reliably retraced, for example vitamins and trace elements. To include an additive in a product formula, it must be read in by a barcode scanner, ensuring both high product safety and proper documentation.

Buhler is a global Technology Group and System Partner for plant and equipment and for process expertise in the fields of Food Processing, Chemical Engineering, and Die Casting, with a worldwide payroll of about 6,000.