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Jul 06, 2012

Automation solution increases sugar factories’ productivity

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Motors|Rockwell Automation|Switchgear|Mauritius|Motors|Trade Protocol|Sahara|Colin Morris|Motors|Process Control|Trade Protocol
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Industrial automation company Rockwell Automation reports that its Integrated Architecture solution has assisted two sugar factories in Mauritius to increase productivity.

“The Allen-Bradley Control-Logix programmable automation controllers (PACs) and standard RSLogix 5000 software provide the mills with improved process control and visualisation, as well as higher levels of availability,” the company states.

It adds that the factories are now able to maintain their motors better, experience improved predictive maintenance levels, which has led to a decrease in downtime, and monitor their processes more effectively.

“After the European Union terminated the trade protocol in terms of which it imported sugar from Mauritius at a guaranteed price, the sugar cane industry was forced into drastic reform. The island centralised its sugar mills into four flexi-factories and undertook to modernise facilities,” says Rockwell Automation sub-Sahara export branch manager Colin Morris.

He adds that to ensure sustainability, the focus shifted from producing mainly brown sugar to producing more white and special sugars, as well as to the delivery of by-products used to generate power and alternative energy sources such as ethanol.

The two flexi-factories were already using Allen-Bradley PLC5s in their existing plants.

“This, coupled with their process and control demands, which entails a seamless switchover between its white and brown sugar processes, made the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PACs and standard RSLogix 5000 software the right choice for this application,” says Morris.

To enable direct communication and visualisation with the automation layer in the factories, the Allen-Bradley E3 + switchgear was connected to DeviceNet and ControlNet.

“These systems do not require hard-wiring as they are connected directly to the network, providing cost and time savings. They facilitate enhanced communications and provide device-level diagnostics not easily accessible through hard-wired input-output interfaces,” he notes.

Rockwell Automation will provide continuous training, support and maintenance to the two factories.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
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