OPC Automates Tank Farms

Dec. 1, 2005
Tetra Pak Processing Systems relies on OPC servers from Siemens to handle large volumes of process data in its integrated automation solutions.

Tetra Pak Processing Systems provides integrated processing, packaging and distribution solutions for food market segments such as dairy, cheese, ice cream, beverages and prepared foods. Headquartered in Lund, Sweden, the company has 3,100 employees, with a little less than half of the workforce employed in back-office functions and the rest in market company positions. Tetra Pak Processing System is represented in 165 countries globally.

Within Tetra Pak Processing Systems, Plant Engineering is focused on delivering large-size projects with integrated processing and automation. The plant automation solutions, sold under the brand name of Tetra PlantMaster, include functionality from production control to various functions for Management Information Systems (MIS) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), as well as communication to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and other data systems.

Enter OPC

To be able to handle a large project and ensure impressive performance, it is essential that the system architecture be based on reliable software and hardware. The system also needs the capability to communicate with a variety of software solutions, without degrading performance and reliability.

The Tetra PlantMaster solutions are based on hardware and software from the industry’s market leading suppliers. And here’s where OPC comes into play. In order to be able to combine different brands of software solutions and have them communicate with the programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Tetra Pak made the decision to deploy the OPC standard protocols.

The central requirement for automation is data transfer and the processing of real-time data. OPC provides the key technology to transfer this process data from the fieldbus layer to the production control layer and enterprise layer, respectively. As a worldwide standard, OPC technology is used in more than 3,000 products from different global vendors.

Tetra Pak trusts Siemens AG as its technology partner, and selected the Siemens Simatic NET OPC server to use in its data processing applications. The latest version—Simatic NET OPC V6.2—supports the OPC Data Access (DA), OPC Alarm & Event, OPC Data eXchange and OPC XML-DA specifications for the Industrial Ethernet and PROFIBUS protocols, and is claimed to be one of the fastest OPC servers on the market.

For the automation of tanks with different content—so-called tank farms—the Simatic NET OPC server is used to help visualize the actual process data and process alarms. At the start of the project, the older version of Simatic NET OPC server, V6.0, was used and Tetra Pak was satisfied. Said Pontus Luedtke, of Tetra Pak Processing Systems, “We are running well with our projects with Simatic NET OPC server and Wonderware [software]. We have gained a lot of experience, and we have documented everything and made it a standard for these types of projects within our company.” However, the company recognized that with really high amounts of data, it had a processor load of 30 percent to 35 percent.

Tetra Pak decided to use the Simatic NET OPC technology in other tank farm projects, and choose the latest version—V6.2. With that, the system gained a significant performance boost, even with more real-time data than it had with the startup project. The processor load was almost stable at 4 percent, with some very short peaks of 25 percent, using the same hardware as before. The diagram shows a typical Tetra PlantMaster system configuration.

After updating one more plant, Tetra Pak remains impressed. “We are still very happy with the performance improvement,” Luedtke noted. The Simatic NET OPC server V6.2 is a very stable, multifunctional and powerful OPC server, especially in large environments such as tank farms.

For more information on Siemens OPC solutions, visit www.siemens.com/opc.

For more information on Tetra Pak Processing Systems, visit www.tetrapak.com.

Sponsored Recommendations

Measurement instrumentation for improving hydrogen storage and transport

Hydrogen provides a decarbonization opportunity. Learn more about maximizing the potential of hydrogen.

Learn About: Micro Motion™ 4700 Config I/O Coriolis Transmitter

An Advanced Transmitter that Expands Connectivity

Learn about: Micro Motion G-Series Coriolis Flow and Density Meters

The Micro Motion G-Series is designed to help you access the benefits of Coriolis technology even when available space is limited.

Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Configurable Inputs and Outputs Transmitter

The Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Transmitter offers a compact C1D1 (Zone 1) housing. Bluetooth and Smart Meter Verification are available.