West Liberty Foods

Multiple Plants

At a major supplier of fully-cooked meat products, key data streams from two GEA Cookstar ovens were integrated into a common database for real-time SPC control charting and alarm response. This data was correlated with external testing of the internal temperature of the cooked product in order to ensure food safety while minimizing the loss of product due to overcooking. The data streams that were monitored included such items as conveyor speed, in-feed and out-feed temperatures and humidities, steam flow, and damper positions.

The data connection was made via Ethernet cable directly to the PLC controlling the oven (this could also have been done via wireless Ethernet bridge). A GEA OPC server application ran on an existing server computer, constantly requesting data from the PLC. A separate Sigma application monitors specific data tags and captures the current value on a user-defined frequency, repackaging the data and inserting it directly into the SPC database.

The end result is real-time control charts, customizable alarms, and instantaneous alerts from anywhere on the wide-area network. In addition, the customer is able to do long-term studies of the correlation of certain combinations of oven settings to the specific finished product’s internal, cooked temperature.