New control for the PROGRESSA line for mid-sized businesses
Who likes to read user manuals, really?
Who likes to read user manuals, really? And who has the time for long hours of training on new equipment?
In 2020, knowing the correct answer to these two questions – namely “nobody” – the development team at FRITSCH got to work on developing a new control system for the PROGRESSA series. This includes the LAMINATOR 700 built for the medium performance range.
The team of developers, software specialists and dough technologists led by Wolfgang Stegmaier, Project Manager for Digital Development, and Michael Gier, Head of the FRITSCH World of Bakery, have had a lot of contact and discussions with customers, and know what it comes down to when upgrading machinery.
Michael Gier, as a trained baker with a passion for dough, puts his experience from many years of interacting with customers into his developments. He knows how customers work with their machines, and what the lines must be capable of to process the sensitive as dough into the desired products.
Wolfgang Stegmaier, as an electrician and master of electrical design, has a strong technical understanding of FRITSCH machines. Several years ago, for example, he co-developed the pretzel twister and has been delving deeply into digitalisation of production lines since 2017.
Their objective: Through constant advancement of the control systems, digital services and remote maintenance of the machinery, for example, they want to support customers effectively and bring the advantages of the digital revolution into the bakery industry.
Three levels create more transparency
The biggest problem that customers have is finding enough people who can operate their lines expertly.
“The lack of skilled workers is leading to an increased risk of operating errors causing faults and unplanned downtimes of the lines,” says Michael Gier.
Two solutions presented themselves for avoiding this, both of which have now been implemented in the new control system. One is that the operation has been made as simple and intuitive as possible. The other is that the software has been programmed to recognise and prevent input errors. The line is then controlled according to target throughput.
„Say a customer wants to produce 5,000 croissants, for example; then they simply enter this amount into the display and the line will calculate all parameters necessary to achieve that quantity“
, Michael Gier explains.
The entire control of the line has been reduced to 3 levels, making it much easier to limit the settings to the right areas. The 1st level offers a general overview of the line. The 2nd level shows the various components in the line, which can be monitored and adjusted by the personnel during production runs. The 3rd level serves for fine tuning, and is mainly reserved for the dough technologists.
„Operation is done on a permanently installed 15 inch display on the LAMINATOR 700. The concept offers a clear overview of the individual components of the line“
, Wolfgang Stegmaier reports.
The visualisation on the display allows the user to switch quickly to the appropriate user level.
It also makes operating the LAMINATOR 700 or DOUGHLINER, and producing the end products on them, easier for the employees. Only if the right data are input for producing the dough sheet can the downstream MULTIFLEX L 700 or VARIOFLEX family processing lines produce the desired quantity and quality of stamped, twisted or coiled products.
So that not all parameters need to be readjusted upon every product change, the software developers and dough technologists have done the preparatory work, and predefined programs for producing dough sheets for specific products.
“This means,” Wolfgang Stegmaier explains, “that employees now only need to adjust certain settings such as line throughput, fold counts and rolling gap.” This considerably shortens the time spent on making settings for a new product. All the while, the software checks whether the desired performance change is even feasible.
Each to his own access rights
In addition to easier handling, the three-user-level configuration offers yet another advantage: targeted control of access rights to the line and to the production process. Each employee strictly receives only those access rights that they really need for their work. This avoids the risk of settings being changed by accident. “For the operators, the first and second level are particularly relevant; the third level is where our experts or the customer’s experts do the fine tuning to define which products can be produced on the line,” explains Michael Gier.
Baked goods producers can also grant their employees personalised access to the user levels and components via a login system. “In practice, we have even seen cases where everyone in the company knew the master passwords to a line,” Michael Gier says. “With the new control, users can log into the machine with their personal ID,” Gier continues. Users are assigned the necessary access rights while their ID is being created in the control system. In other words, the rights are permanently defined.
This makes the system safer, reduces user error and allows delicious products to be produced even more smoothly and efficiently on the PROGRESSA series.
A peek into the near future reveals that this user-friendly control system will soon be offered for all mid-sized and industrial machines and lines.
Wolfgang Stegmaier is a master electrician who has been working at FRITSCH for 25 years now. Currently, he is the Project Manager for Digitalisation. He loves applying the new possibilities of digitalisation for optimising the efficiency of the machines for our customers.
PROGRESSA – Lines for mid-sized companies