Crispy Innovation: Developing the new standard for automation systems.

A PlantPAx and Automation Consulting Case Study

Developing the New Standard for Systems with PlantPAx

As part of building a new greenfield plant, a global frozen potato supplier wanted to standardize its French fry process and packaging control through all of its facilities. It required a platform built on a core set of tools and objects and a system that would be easy to operate and maintain.

As a Solution Partner within the Rockwell Automation PartnerNework™, Concept leveraged the power of PlantPAx to meet this project’s needs.

The Problem: Expansion Pains

In the past, this frozen potato supplier relied on in-house control engineers. While each plant used the Rockwell Automation control platform, every control system was designed and programmed differently. The local control engineer, or the integrator, designed and developed the systems individually. As the plants expanded and upgraded, and as their own control engineers retired or moved on, it became clear that this model was not sustainable.

Additionally, it did not provide a consistent process in all facilities. For this greenfield plant, the company wanted a control platform built on a core set of tools and objects and one that could be supported by a third-party.

Automating Globally

That was the goal of one of the world’s leading frozen potato suppliers. With more than a dozen locations using a variety of hardware and software platforms, it wanted a new process control standard for its continuous-process French fry production facilities. Following up on a successful commissioning of a new facility in Louisiana, Concept Systems was selected to develop standards for the company’s process and packaging control systems, and implement them during the construction of a new facility. By using the MAC partnership model, the company now had a roadmap for its process control that would create consistent systems throughout the enterprise.

The Solution: Taking the Lead and Using PlantPAx

The new system was designed with the operator in mind; it’s easy to learn and operate. Concept leveraged the Rockwell Automation library of process objects to speed up programming and integration time saving development costs. The standard PlantPAx code allows for rapid configuration. Following a Main Automation Contractor (MAC) model, Concept designed and implemented a continuous-process automation system as an extension of the customer’s process engineering team. Concept’s MAC model includes thorough simulation and testing up front, working directly with plant engineers, managers, and operators to assure the control system is designed right the first time.

Leverage Rockwell’s PlantPAx system

Rockwell Automation PlantPAx offers a scalable, flexible and intuitive modern DCS solution for plant-wide control. Its pre-defined library of controller code, display elements and faceplates reduced programming and time to integration. The platform easily integrated with other equipment at the frozen potato facility, such as OEM packaging equipment, skids, CIP and filtration systems. Using the library literally saved hundreds of engineering hours. And, the company received a core set of tools and objects that was easily supported by a third-party, which was exactly what it wanted.

The Results

From day one of production, the operators were running the facility. There simply were no issues. Using Rockwell’s library of process objects saved hundreds of engineering hours during development. The intuitive system and simulation tools reduced time for engineering troubleshooting and operator training after production started. Then integrated production intelligence provides insight through real-time data.

Simulation tools ease operator onboarding and training

Simulation tools meant engineers could program and test the system before full implementation. The system was tested during factory acceptance and testing (FAT). In addition, operator onboard and training was done in advance. At start up, the operators were running the facility; there were no issues.

Gaining real-time information

System operators use real-time data to monitor the system and ensure it functions efficiently. Integrated Historian software gathers data related to system cleaning, production and downtown and archives the data for electronic reporting and troubleshooting. As a result, system operators receive data in real time through comprehensive reports generated by production intelligence software.

In addition, this data allows operators to predict issues that might occur. They can perform predictive maintenance procedures rather than be reactive to problems on the line. With a direct view into system granularities, operators can better manage bottlenecks and make decisions.

Running faster with PlantPAx

By using the new modern Rockwell Automation PlantPAx system, the plant was up and running in full production faster. That’s partly because the configuration tools made it easier to design, implement and roll out a new system. The plant automation tools saved design, implementation and training time. Once the project design and development started, the facility was in full-production within a year.

Learn More About Our Process Control Capabilities

Project Details

Project Duration

About 12 Months


Client: 20 engineers

Concept Systems: 18 engineers

Technology Used

PlantPAx® from Rockwell Automation, a scalable, flexible and intuitive modern DCS solution for plant-wide control.