Utilizing Ignition Platform to Provide Organization-Wide Access to Quality Data

E Tech Group helped Prima Frutta increase productivity by 50% without hiring extra personnel by using the Ignition platform, which allowed remote operation of the production line and real-time data access from any smart device.

The Project: Ignite Increased Productivity with the Right Automation Platform

Manufacturers are facing costly workforce challenges. Between the labor shortage and the costs associated with employee turnover, companies are finding it difficult to increase productivity on their current automation system designs.

Prima Frutta, a cherry packaging facility in Linden, California, was struggling to maintain its production levels, but did not have the scope to add a lot of extra personnel to reach those levels. E Tech Group was called to help overhaul their control system, and under a tight timeline.

The Solution: Divide & Conquer Material Handling Automation

This control system upgrade was divided into three phases:

  • Phase One: Project Planning and Documentation
    • In the project’s first phase, the E Tech Group and Prima Frutta teams collaborated on planning, budgeting and documentation. They used CSIA methodologies and standards, created a detailed budget, and documented all OEM hardware into schematics that were approved before proceeding to Phase 2. This ensured the project remained on track and within budget.
  • Phase Two: Wireless Network Set-Up
    • The E Tech Group team successfully established a wireless network, which enabled ten tablets to remotely operate the production line through the Ignition industrial application platform from Inductive Automation. Ignition was chosen because of its flexibility, affordability and fast setup. The applications can be entirely customized quickly and easily, and data can be accessed from any smart device, including tablets, desktops, or any other smart device to allow real-time data access from anywhere the user is located.

In this project, the tablets enabled a change in process flow from anywhere in the plant, providing full SCADA control, unlike a static location. The installation process of Ignition on the tablets was seamless and took less than two hours. The Ignition software also ran on more than 120 screens throughout the plant, providing real-time data and color-coded information to employees for quick and efficient reactions.

  • Phase Three: Development, Testing and Implementation  
    • E Tech Group used Prima Frutta’s existing server to develop modular software and PLC codes, allowing for quick deployment through component, template and user-defined type reuse.

The Result: Reaping the Fruits of a Well-Designed, Fully-Integrated Control System

The project resulted in a 50% increase in production with no additional personnel, helping Prima Frutta become the world’s largest cherry production line. The Ignition platform reduced downtime and enabled the facility to respond to changing conditions.

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