Alpiq in: Switzerland
Alpiq Group

Story: 11.04.2012

HACO AG relies on automation – and on Alpiq Prozessautomation AG

HACO Gümligen has commissioned Alpiq Prozessautomation AG to replace the control and management technology of its automatic dry-blending plant

HACO Gümligen has commissioned Alpiq Prozessautomation AG to replace the control and management technology of its automatic dry-blending plant.

HACO AG is a leading Swiss food production company with more than 800 employees around the world. At its Gümligen location, the company operates a dry-blending plant for soups and sauces. The plant is programmed with 300 recipes and can mix around 20 tonnes of ingredients a day. Its customers include well-known wholesalers such as Migros, as well as large-scale consumers and industrial customers. When it comes to the production of its approximately 1000 products, HACO relies on automation in order to ensure a consistently high product quality at all times.

HACO decided to replace the control and management technology of this dry-blending plant. Alpiq Prozessautomation AG in Strengelbach was commissioned to carry out this task. André Hunziker, head of the “Dosing and Mixing” team, took on the responsibility for this assignment. The task was a real challenge, as the more than 1000 elements of the blending plant, such as motors, valves and the 14 scales, all had to be included in the new controlling software. Together with his team, André Hunziker completed this important project in only 10 months.

A technical and logistical challenge

In order to generate a significant increase in production, an old Siemens S5 control system had to be replaced with a new S7 control system. As the first step, the existing process management system had to be replaced. For this, Alpiq used its standard solution for dosing/mixing, iQOS, which was fine-tuned to meet HACO’s requirements.

Every project starts out with an analysis. At HACO, there are around 10 preparation stations. The system prints out a preparation document for every order and weighs the ingredients, which are then prepared by hand. The required amounts range from 20 grams to 30 or 40 kilograms. The management system indicates which pre-mixtures are needed for the finished mixture. Once these pre-mixtures have been identified and scanned, the system continues. This process can pass through several stages.

Thanks to the professional planning and precise knowledge of the individual processes, the time plan for the new plant could be adhered to almost exactly to the day. “Despite their great complexity, all the procedures flowed smoothly,” comments André Hunziker with great satisfaction. The objective of a requested increase in production of around 30 per cent was also met.

Michael Joss, production manager at HACO, is satisfied with the system: “The plant is running flawlessly. And if a problem should ever arise, a specialist from Alpiq is right at hand.” Stefan Gertsch, project manager at HACO, emphasises the solid preparation, the introduction and training: “It formed the basis of the flawless commissioning of the plant and an undisturbed production so far.”

Services offered by Alpiq Prozessautomation AG:

  • Concept and planning
  • Delivery of SPS and process-management-system hardware
  • Adaptation of the electric scheme
  • Programming of the SPS control system
  • Parameterisation and programming of the iQOS process management system
  • Commissioning
  • Training

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