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Campbell Soup’s Data Acquisition Journey

Tom Braydich, Campbell's director of controls and maintenance systems engineering, doesn't want to pound his PLCs full of code to enjoy the benefits of the automated data collection. So he found another way, and told attendees at The Automation Conference about it.
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'Hard core data trumps hearsay anytime.' That’s how Tom Braydich, director of controls and maintenance systems engineering at Campbell Soup Co., describes one of the benefits of the automated data collection and reporting software that his firm uses. Braydich talked about the software today at The Automation Conference, running May 14-15 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare and produced by Summit Media Group magazines Automation World and Packaging World.

Supplied by ZPI ( the software is an out-of-the-box solution, another thing that appealed greatly to Braydich. As he put it in his presentation, “The last thing we wanted to be doing is pounding the PLCs, adding more code.” In addition to being out of the box, two additional requirements were that it provide an enterprise-wide view and it be cost effective. Other notable comments from Braydich on the ZPI data acquisition tool:

The last thing we wanted to be doing is pounding the PLCs, adding more code.

• The data acquisition software delivers a 20 percent Internal Rate of Return and provides valuable data for things like new-project justification and design improvements. Braydich elaborated on the new-project justification by recounting how Campbell was able to tell an OEM that their projection for the speed capabilities of a machine headed for a Campbell plant were way off base. How? “We had the same machine running in another of our plants, and we had the ZPI data on its throughput,” said Braydich.

• The software is extremely versatile in that the data collected can be displayed in tables, charts or spread sheets.

• A Kepware solution makes the data connection between the PLCs and the ZPI tool. “It provides a conduit to allow the information to flow from the PLCs into the database," said Braydich.”

• Initially it was the efficiency of filling and packaging machines that was being measured when the ZPI product was installed. Subsequently, said Braydich, processing equipment has been measured as well, and more of this upstream processing equipment will be targeted in the future.

Another technology that Campbell Soup has implemented recently is IntelaTrac, a wireless Wonderware mobile workforce and decision-support system from Invensys Operations Management ( It includes configurable software and ruggedized mobile hardware solutions that enable workflow, data collection, and general task management for plant operations, maintenance management, and production tracking. “We wanted production operators to be more involved with what’s happening on the plant floor and let maintenance people do more demanding tasks,” said Braydich.

A plant intelligence tool, IntelaTrac provides much greater visibility into the performance of Campbell’s assets and has greatly improved the firm’s Total Preventive Maintenance program, said Braydich.

Pat Reynolds has been a packaging journalist since 1983. He was part of the small group who launched Packaging World in 1993, and he was named VP/Editor of the magazine in 2002. He covers automation applications in the packaging industry for Automation World. Pat's career has taken him to countless packaging operations, technical conferences, and converting plants, not only across the U.S., but internationally as well. Contact Pat at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @Packcentric.


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