Displaying items by tag: COPADATA

It’s estimated that for every kilogram of drug made in the pharmaceutical industry, 100kg of waste is produced. Manufacturing faces the need to become more efficient, flexible, and sustainable, and waste production is one area where industry could improve. Optimising a pharmaceutical production line for waste reduction can improve operational efficiency and provide significant financial savings. Here, Alexandra Hughes, Industry Sales Manager at automation software supplier COPA-DATA UK, explains how pharmaceutical manufacturers can use automation to improve production line processes with sustainability in mind.

The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry generates large amounts of waste from perishable or expired materials, scrapped products, non-compliant materials or by-products. Using data to identify areas for improvement in a pharmaceutical production line can allow manufacturers to drive sustainability in their operations, reduce the risk of scrappage and save time, money and energy.

Pharmaceutical operations are often non-circular, meaning that discarded products or materials frequently are unable to be reused or repurposed. The management process itself even incurs energy and financial costs — chemical or hazardous pharmaceutical waste often needs to be sterilised and transported to specialist facilities for disposal. Appropriate pharmaceutical waste disposal procedures are important for safety and regulatory compliance, but reducing the need for these processes in the first place can improve sustainability.

Issues in product quality can also contribute to waste. Pharmaceuticals should be manufactured in line with good manufacturing practice (GMP). Part of this is conducting in-process monitoring and investigation of any out of specification (OOS) results that come up during the testing process. If a product does not meet the stringent requirements set out by the regulatory bodies, it must be disposed of. Production line issues can also increase material loss. Operations must comply with stringent regulations, and thus any faults or interruptions in production mean that the entire batch must be discarded. This highlights the importance of effective monitoring in manufacturing — interpreting production data to determine areas of risk can help to predict and prevent unplanned downtime.

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Data driven waste reduction

To reduce pharmaceutical waste, manufacturers should also consider production line optimisation to reduce the input of raw materials against the product output. Using a data-driven approach to manufacturing can support this by identifying unseen issues and faults which may accumulate and result in reduced yield. Analysing production data can highlight areas where downtime may occur or where most waste is produced to allow manufacturers to make adjustments and avoid breakdowns, batch scrappage and unnecessary energy consumption.

Using an automation system designed to optimise manufacturing can be a valuable addition to a pharmaceutical operation. COPA-DATA’s zenon platform can gather production data from every step of the process and identify areas where efficiency is lost or where there is potential for failure, allowing manufacturers to perform predictive maintenance.

This can reduce energy costs and make production more efficient and sustainable. It is also fully compliant with local and international regulations and allows manufacturers to combine production with quality control, minimising the risk of OOS batches.

There is also demand for increased flexibility in pharma as the need for precision medicine and novel therapies grows. However, modifying a monolithic production line to produce different therapies or smaller batches can be inefficient.

COPA-DATAs Module Type Package (MTP) can help to address this. It can easily reconfigure existing machinery or production units to create different products or adjust recipes. Modularising production means that different units can be connected for a plug-and-produce solution that offers flexibility and agility, reducing cost and improving efficiency, energy usage and wastage levels.

Waste in the pharmaceutical industry is not only a financial issue but a sustainability one too. Batch scrappage, waste management and disposal all have associated risks and energy costs which are only increased by avoidable production issues. Along with more careful planning, using digitalisation in a pharmaceutical plant to identify wastages can tackle this issue and improve plant flexibility and sustainability.

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

www.copadata.com

Published in Chemicals
Tagged under

The 2021 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR) revealed that there was a 300 per cent increase in cyberattacks during 2020. The growing cyber threat puts energy grids more at risk than ever before, yet some of the cyber security protocols in this sector are often lacking in sophistication. Here, Reinhard Mayr, head of information security and research operations at automation software supplier, COPA-DATA, explains why a secure internet gateway is crucial for industry to combat rising cyber threats.

A secure internet gateway is an essential component when building a safe entry point into a critical infrastructure. It helps to protect OT infrastructure from online threats by filtering internet bound traffic and is therefore embedded in security standards. All security related standards, such as the IEC 62443, the BSI or the NIST SP 800 series, demand access to critical operational technology (OT) infrastructure is secure.

These standards do not only suggest a secure web gateway or connection, but for a company to implement a demilitarized zone (DMZ) for more OT protection. Simply put, a DMZ is a physical or logical component that separates a local area network (LAN) from other untrusted networks, acting as a buffer zone between the public internet and the private network. All inbound network packets are screened using a firewall, or other security appliance, before they arrive at the servers hosted in the DMZ.

Operators require appropriate software to follow these cybersecurity measures — but where do they start?

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Revamping existing systems

A secure internet gateway can be implemented without negatively impacting existing systems, such as human machine interfaces (HMIs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). This is particularly relevant to users in a brownfield environment, where they need to implement new software to existing — and often ageing — infrastructure without causing interference.

A web gateway, such an DMZ, also needs to support other commonly accepted security standards, like transport layer security (TLS) encryption, and digital authentication methods. It also must be integrated seamlessly into the existing infrastructure, while also being able to support different ways of deployments, from a native local installation to a containerizes option.

Containerization simplifies administration and is another step to making systems secure. Here, containerization implements tools and policies to ensure that container infrastructure, apps and other container components are protected. Applications run in isolated user spaces, called containers, using the same shared operating system (OS).

With software like COPA-DATA’s zenon Service Grid, it is easy to implement on brownfield applications. Its design allows access to data without impacting existing infrastructure. This is particularly crucial for energy grids and infrastructures that contain legacy equipment.

This method can help to prevent any unwanted denial of service (DoS) blocking an operator’s path, access information systems, devices or other network resources due to a malicious cyber threat.

Up to the standard

Scenarios like this are recognized in the security industry standards and must be supported by software.

Continuing with our aforementioned example, COPA-DATA’s zenon Service Grid communicates using certificate-based TLS connections, ensuring secure transmission of information, even over public networks. Here, the software’s Identity Service handles data flows and access rights over the web, which is crucial for a secure web gateway.

The Identity Services does this by providing high project specific security standards and checking all connection requests from all Service Grid connections. This service also includes a web bases interface to configure access clients, user roles and access rights.

Greater protection and a higher level of sophistication is a necessity in cybersecurity measures for the energy sector. And with the right software, adhering to industry standards and providing a more secure internet gateway, users can protect their critical OT infrastructure to significantly reduce the number of cyber security attacks.

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently. The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2021, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 64 million.

Published in Technology News
Tagged under
Wednesday, 09 March 2022 12:35

Edge computing and its role in the smart factory

~ Making sense of the edge ~

According to Google Trends data, worldwide searches for ‘edge computing’ have increased tenfold in the last five years. Google alone boasts 340 million search results for the phrase — hardly simple revision for those curious about the technology. Among the noise — and the varying definitions of edge computing — the technology has become somewhat misunderstood. Martyn Williams, Managing Director of industrial software expert, COPA-DATA UK examines the role of edge computing in smart factories.  

Edge computing describes a distributed version of computation that brings data analysis closer to the source of data. In a factory setting, this could see data processing take place at the machine level. Unlike centralised models, where information would be sent to a data centre or the cloud, edge computing allows data capture, analysis, and action to be performed on the edge of a process — hence the name.

Despite its capabilities, edge computing is not a replacement for centralised data storage methods, or an alternative to other data processing and management technologies. In fact, these architectures must work together to be truly beneficial.

So, are edge devices just a new brand of the same technology? Not exactly.  

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Latency reduction

Edge devices are unique in the sense that they provide first-stage processing of data before sending this information elsewhere. Edge devices can also act on this data within the realms of the device itself, thanks to their intelligent capabilities. This can be achieved using forms of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help in decision making.

Because everything is taking place on the device, this method can significantly reduce latency, removing the time spent between sharing this information with distant data centres and awaiting feedback.

In practice, this could help a manufacturer to avoid critical failures and downtime. In an oil and gas application, for example, an edge device could detect dangerously high pressure in pipes. Rather than waiting for this data to be processed elsewhere and sent back to a site manager, the device could trigger instant shut offs or adaptations to avoid a disaster. Similarly, this same method can be used to make automated adjustments to a process to improve the outcome — this could be related to energy efficiency, accuracy or productivity.

The ability to effect change based on real-time data does exist in current software platforms. COPA-DATA’s zenon, for instance, can be deployed across an entire facility to monitor operations. Compatible with most communication protocols, the software can pull data from a variety of equipment, sensors and vertical systems to provide operators with a real-time dashboard of facility-wide insights. Like our aforementioned example, this can alert users to disruptions in production and highlight potential problems.  

Streamlining data

IIoT technologies have resulted in a huge increase in data across the industry. Today, it is not unusual for manufacturers to produce data on everything from energy efficiency and productivity, right through to operational insights and predictive maintenance. In fact, research suggests that the average smart factory produces five petabytes of data every week — that’s five million gigabytes, or the equivalent of more than 300,000 16 gigabyte iPhones.

Manufacturing’s big data has quickly become colossal, and edge computing provides a way to reduce the volume of data being sent to a centralised space.

For industries that rely on data integrity for compliance, deploying edge computing to manage some data analysis can become a vital part of a data management strategy. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, for example, must comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 21 CFR part 11 regulation. This standard applies to drug manufacturers and bio tech companies and requires these organisations to keep an accurate audit trail and electronic records. EU GMP Annex 11 is the European equivalent.

In these industries, on-edge analysis of some data can reduce the volume of information being sent to the cloud or data centre. Crucially, this ensures that time sensitive data is not lost in the flood of information.

Scaling the edge

While some processes do benefit from instant data analysis, smart factories cannot work in silos. The rise of the edge does not mark the downfall of other data management technologies. In fact, it reinforces their necessity.

Software platforms that can communicate with edge devices are essential for making edge technology scalable. Moreover, platforms that can collect, analyse, and visualise data from the edge — while compiling this with a variety of other types of equipment — are essential for constructing a holistic view of a factory’s operations.

Realistically, most manufacturing facilities are not in a position for the widespread deployment of edge devices, or edge platforms to converge these technologies. Instead, manufacturers need scalable options in their journey to digitalisation — and independent software can be the glue that makes this possible.

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.

The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

Published in Technology News
Tagged under

In manufacturing operations, ensuring efficient output and product quality is key. However, due to the nature of traditional production lines, these processes can be error-prone and inefficient. Using a dedicated line execution system to monitor and visualize production data at every stage of the process can help to identify areas for improvement and optimize operations. Here, Giuseppe Menin, Pharmaceutical Industry Manager at automation software supplier, COPA-DATA, discusses manufacturing line solutions using zenon as a line execution system.

The concept of an assembly line was patented in 1901 and now, over a century later, production lines are a mainstay in modern manufacturing.  Consisting of a series of workstations or machines, they are scalable and ensure some degree of uniformity and consistency of production. However, this can often be at the expense of quality and efficiency.

Manufacturers looking to achieve higher levels of quality and to improve production line output could consider using automation in their manufacturing operations. COPA-DATA’s zenon software can be used as a line execution system — an integrated software solution that can give operators the power to visualize, oversee and control entire production processes from batch opening to final batch report from one convenient platform.

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Production line challenges

The typical configuration of a production line involves a number of isolated machines working as standalone equipment. Operating several isolated machines is time consuming for an operator when he needs to setup the product recipe, start the production and monitor each individual machine by a local HMI panel. By implementing a line execution system, these machines can all be connected and offer a single point of access from which the whole line can be visualized and managed, simplifying the process overall.

Introducing a line execution system is beneficial for data collection and gathering. When equipment is operating as a standalone unit, it collects its own data in a specific format, making collection and analysis of this information time consuming and prone to issues. An automated system provides central data storage for easy access to all relevant information and good manufacturing practice (GMP) records, improving Data Integrity compliance and saving time during monitoring and quality control.

The potential quality issues that arise during line manufacturing are especially significant in industries such as pharmaceutical production, where strict regulations mean compliance is of the utmost importance. Failure to comply can have severe consequences, including risks to health from unsafe products, heavy fines and even criminal charges.

Automating a production line allows end-to-end transparency and traceability at every stage and can even detect and notify operators of GMP deviations, giving manufacturers more control over quality and reducing the margin for error.

Integrated production solutions

COPA-DATA’s automation software zenon offers an integrated platform for production line control and execution. Fully scalable, the software platform can be implemented from small batch operations through to mass production, and can easily upgrade existing legacy equipment for inclusion in the automated line, allowing manufacturers to keep their current machinery and preserve their investments. New standard operating procedures can be directly implemented, reducing changeover time and cost and, in the long-term, increasing plant output.

A line execution system can save plant managers time and resources. Moreover, increased visibility and accessibility of data means can help to improve overall efficiency. It can also monitor machine status and production parameters and alert a supervisor in the event of any issues, giving them better operational awareness and supporting them in decision making. 

zenon is an adaptable out-of-the-box approach, providing the first level of plant digitalization, including historian audit trails, reporting, recipe and process management and preparation of the production line for higher level digital integration.

Production lines revolutionized industry over 100 years ago, but the evolution of automation and digitalization can unlock new possibilities for traditional processes to keep up with modern demands. Manufacturers can use the software as the first step on their digitalization journey and grow from there, avoiding pilot project purgatory on the way to their digital plant.

Published in Chemicals
Tagged under
Monday, 10 January 2022 11:03

IEC 61850 and the road to renewables

~ Standards for the smart grid ~

The United Nations (UN) climate declaration, announced at COP26, has called for governments to accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels in favour of renewable technologies. In light of these new commitments, digitalization of the world’s energy grids becomes even more essential. Here, Jurgen Resch, Energy Industry Manager at COPA-DATA, examines the state of digitalization in the energy sector and the standards required to make net-zero possible.   

The energy sector has always been an early adopter of digital technologies. In fact, in the 1970s, utility providers deployed emerging technologies to facilitate grid management. Similarly, oil and gas organisations have long used technology to improve decision making and for exploration of new assets. Despite this early adoption, the sector is continuing to face challenges related to communication.

Developed countries in particular face a complex juxtaposition; they have the technology available to digitize their networks, but their infrastructure is often aging, making it difficult to integrate new technologies with existing propriety systems. As such, networks are often compromised of a huge number of assets communicating via numerous protocols.

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Setting the standards
IEC 61850 is the defining standard for intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) at electrical substations. Explained simply, it allows protection, control, measurement, and electronic devices in substations to communicate, without the complications caused by proprietary protocols. The standard was intended to provide a basis for integrating substation equipment by using an open vendor approach.

That said, the standard is much more than an outline for communication mechanisms. When used correctly, IEC 61850 can help energy companies use digitalization to make their processes simpler and their equipment more flexible. Importantly, IEC 61850 is a vital step for the low carbon energy transition and for the management of distributed energy resources (DERs).

Concepts of IEC 61850
A key concept of IEC 61850 is data specification. Communication across all network devices enables the detailed mapping of every characteristic value, every function and all inference parameters within a network. This is achieved through the distribution of functional units — sometimes referred to as logical nodes.

An essential outcome of this function is the carrying of a Protection, Automation and Control (PAC) solution and an IED. This would ensure that if a protection device signals a ground fault, a control device can immediately instruct the circuit breaker to take action to prevent errors. With IEC 61850, this communication is done on the network, removing the need for tons of separate copper wires.

For energy grids integrating renewable power — which, at the moment, is all of them — this level of communication is essential. Let’s imagine that an electricity grid has integrated power from a wind farm, for instance. The fluctuating nature of wind power exposes the system to greater swings in power generation. Because energy is so difficult to store and many grids do not have sufficient storage, difficulties balancing supply and demand can easily cause faults.  

For modern grids integrating an array of renewable technologies, ensuring seam free communication between devices can help to avoid catastrophic failures like this. In fact, to support the integration of renewable energy, IEC 61850 includes some specific standards for certain power generation types. This includes IEC 61850-7-420, which deals with the logical nodes required for hydroelectric power plants which, while this isn’t a fluctuating energy source, has its communication challenges of its own.

Modernizing the grid
IEC 61850 already helps the energy industry meets the main requirements of smart grids — improving reliability, efficiency, flexibility and interoperability. However, as electrical grids need to continue to change and evolve due to an increasing reliance on renewables, the digitization of energy networks must also continue.

We are already seeing significant changes in the types of energy used worldwide. Consider the UK as an example. Wind power provided over 40 per cent of the UK’s power in 2019, following a 96 per cent decrease in the use of coal the year prior. While this has been a great success for the environment, it is a wildly dramatic change for the grid.  

To achieve the environmental goals set out at the UN Climate Change Conference, which should see all countries increasing the percentage of renewable energy in their total consumption, the grid still requires significant digitalization — both in the UK and in almost every other country with their own environmental goals.

COPA-DATA developed zenon Energy Edition, an automation platform for the energy industry, with this digitalization in mind. The software is certified against IEC 61850 to ensure it supports energy grids to standardize communication. Crucially, zenon uses a wide range of communication protocols to ensure it enables communication between a whole host of different devices — regardless of its age, manufacturer or protocol.

More information on zenon Energy Edition — and COPA-DATA’s advice and gudience on IEC 61850 can be found in the recently published whitepaper: Successful digitalization in energy projects with IEC 61850: An executive overview. You can download the guide here and find more information at www.copadata.com.

About COPA-DATA
COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.

The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

Published in Technology News
Tagged under

The climate crisis requires urgent action as we need to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions to curb climate change and limit the average temperature increase to about 1.5°C. Here, Austrian ORF meteorologist, Marcus Wadsack writes: We are the first generation to feel climate change and the last to do something about it. We have the technology and the money, it would be negligent if we do nothing.

Nature itself provides climate-neutral energy in abundance. Year after year, the sun alone supplies more than 10,000 times the annual energy demand of the entire human race. The task of photovoltaic power plants is to convert the sun's rays into electricity. But the optimal management of the huge number of components like PV panels, converters or switchgear requires advanced techniques and methods.

Using the sun's energy with automation

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Whether small solar PV systems with an electrical output of 1MW or large ones with well over 100MW, they should all be operated as close as possible to the optimum and must therefore be monitored. In addition, when such large outputs are fed into the power grid, they must be continuously reported to the entity responsible for the grid. The feeding point is usually a substation with special features in terms of switching reliability and remote monitoring. But not only online monitoring and control is important, retrospective monitoring of key indicators should also be possible. After all, the operator wants to know what return his investment is delivering or where there is a need for optimization.

To meet all these requirements, COPA-DATA has developed the Solar PV Application Set based on its zenon software platform. An Application Set is an application template that helps integrators and operators alike to create a specific process visualization quickly and easily.

For solar PV systems, the Application Set offers the ideal overview, summarizes all relevant components such as PV modules and strings, combiner boxes and inverters and clearly displays their operating status. In a solar heat map, the service engineer can immediately see which parts of the system are shaded or dirty or have other deviations or errors. This allows continuous maintenance work to be carried out in a simple and targeted manner, but also with foresight.

2021 11 02 100316

Another great advantage lies in the integrated reporting functions of zenon. Meaningful statistics can be created based on value archives of any duration and pre-compression. Thus, for example, causes of alarms can be analyzed, or yield figures and benchmarks — for example, according to IEC 61724 — can be formed. The possibility of uncomplicated reporting in zenon, based on an integrated database, means an invaluable advantage in the strategic optimization of system operation.

Accurate forecasting and balancing of the yields in real time is another important aspect of the automation of solar power plants. Corresponding outputs or surpluses must be precisely coordinated with the grid operator. On the other hand, specifications must be received from the grid operators. The data exchange required for this can take place via various industry protocols such as IE C 60870, DNP3 or OPC-UA as well as via REST or MQTT-based web protocols (XML, JSON) and must in any case fulfill a sufficient degree of robustness as well as cyber security.

Switchgear or substations form the bridge between the local power plant and the next higher network level. Here, expensive high-voltage components must be reliably orchestrated and monitored. Several specialized switching and protection systems from different manufacturers are typically used here. Here, zenon provides a comprehensive overview by means of the topological real-time representation of the networks. Powerful functions for the safe execution, but also recording and playback of complex switching operations can be easily used with the zenon software platform.

The possibilities of modern solar PV operation management

The consistent use of renewable energies for the purpose of mitigating the negative consequences of climate change must be made a top priority, especially in view of the effects that are already being clearly felt. Photovoltaic power plants are a supporting pillar for a carbon neutral energy economy. Intelligent automation helps to fully exploit the potential of photovoltaic power plants and to optimize yields over many years. The zenon software platform covers a unique spectrum of tasks for the operational management of photovoltaic power plants as well as surrounding switchgear or substations. The Solar PV Application Set in zenon effectively combines important functions and thus creates the ideal prerequisite for the perfect use of the valuable energy that our sun offers us.

Visit the COPA-DATA website for more product information, or click here to contact  directly.

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

Published in Green Industry
Tagged under
Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:20

Let's not waste time and energy

~ How the operational management of photovoltaic power plants succeed at the first attempt ~

The climate crisis requires urgent action as we need to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions to curb climate change and limit the average temperature increase to about 1.5°C. Here, Austrian ORF meteorologist, Marcus Wadsack writes: We are the first generation to feel climate change and the last to do something about it. We have the technology and the money, it would be negligent if we do nothing.

Nature itself provides climate-neutral energy in abundance. Year after year, the sun alone supplies more than 10,000 times the annual energy demand of the entire human race. The task of photovoltaic power plants is to convert the sun's rays into electricity. But the optimal management of the huge number of components like PV panels, converters or switchgear requires advanced techniques and methods.

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Using the sun's energy with automation
Whether small solar PV systems with an electrical output of 1MW or large ones with well over 100MW, they should all be operated as close as possible to the optimum and must therefore be monitored. In addition, when such large outputs are fed into the power grid, they must be continuously reported to the entity responsible for the grid. The feeding point is usually a substation with special features in terms of switching reliability and remote monitoring. But not only online monitoring and control is important, retrospective monitoring of key indicators should also be possible. After all, the operator wants to know what return his investment is delivering or where there is a need for optimization.

To meet all these requirements, COPA-DATA has developed the Solar PV Application Set based on its zenon software platform. An Application Set is an application template that helps integrators and operators alike to create a specific process visualization quickly and easily.

For solar PV systems, the Application Set offers the ideal overview, summarizes all relevant components such as PV modules and strings, combiner boxes and inverters and clearly displays their operating status. In a solar heat map, the service engineer can immediately see which parts of the system are shaded or dirty or have other deviations or errors. This allows continuous maintenance work to be carried out in a simple and targeted manner, but also with foresight.

Another great advantage lies in the integrated reporting functions of zenon. Meaningful statistics can be created based on value archives of any duration and pre-compression. Thus, for example, causes of alarms can be analyzed, or yield figures and benchmarks — for example, according to IEC 61724 — can be formed. The possibility of uncomplicated reporting in zenon, based on an integrated database, means an invaluable advantage in the strategic optimization of system operation.

2021 10 14 101946

Accurate forecasting and balancing of the yields in real time is another important aspect of the automation of solar power plants. Corresponding outputs or surpluses must be precisely coordinated with the grid operator. On the other hand, specifications must be received from the grid operators. The data exchange required for this can take place via various industry protocols such as IE C 60870, DNP3 or OPC-UA as well as via REST or MQTT-based web protocols (XML, JSON) and must in any case fulfill a sufficient degree of robustness as well as cyber security.

Switchgear or substations form the bridge between the local power plant and the next higher network level. Here, expensive high-voltage components must be reliably orchestrated and monitored. Several specialized switching and protection systems from different manufacturers are typically used here. Here, zenon provides a comprehensive overview by means of the topological real-time representation of the networks. Powerful functions for the safe execution, but also recording and playback of complex switching operations can be easily used with the zenon software platform.

The possibilities of modern solar PV operation management
The consistent use of renewable energies for the purpose of mitigating the negative consequences of climate change must be made a top priority, especially in view of the effects that are already being clearly felt. Photovoltaic power plants are a supporting pillar for a carbon neutral energy economy.

Intelligent automation helps to fully exploit the potential of photovoltaic power plants and to optimize yields over many years. The zenon software platform covers a unique spectrum of tasks for the operational management of photovoltaic power plants as well as surrounding switchgear or substations. The Solar PV Application Set in zenon effectively combines important functions and thus creates the ideal prerequisite for the perfect use of the valuable energy that our sun offers us.

Visit the COPA-DATA website for more product information, or click here to contact  directly.

About COPA-DATA
COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million. www.copadata.com

Published in Power & water
Tagged under

Industrial software supplier COPA-DATA is launching a webinar series to offer practical advice and guidance on digital transformation for production and plant optimization in the food and beverage industry. The series will take place over three weeks in November, with one 30-minute power session taking place each week. COPA-DATA UK managing director, Martyn Williams will introduce the first webinar in the series on Thursday, November 11, 2021. To secure a place, register on the COPA-DATA website.

The webinars will explore areas of digital transformation in the food and beverage industry and discuss how businesses can use tools, like zenon, to optimize their production, with a focus on innovation, digitalization and sustainability. Led by COPA-DATA’s specialists, attendees can expect a valuable guide to transformation with industry insights, expert advice and customer case studies.

The power sessions will be delivered by COPA-DATA food and beverage industry manager Emilian Axinia, the COPA-DATA food and beverage industry manager. Emilian has over 20 years of experience in engineering and automation projects in the food and beverage industry. Since joining COPA-DATA in 2007, his focus has been to develop the business in this area using his comprehensive knowledge of the unique challenges it faces.

The first of the sessions will be held on Thursday, November 11 at 10:00am (GMT). The webinar, entitled “From Pilot to Rollout, for optimizing packaging processes” will introduce transformation in the industry, along with how the implementation of a line efficiency system has benefited brewery group, Molson Coors, in their operations. Attendees will learn the key areas for product and process innovation for fluid supply chains and how they can apply the processes used in the case studies to their own business.

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Session two, “A digitalization tree growing on production data humus”, will take place on Thursday, November 18. The webinar will also examine the benefits of leveraging manufacturing data through a case study about how drink and brewing company AB-InBev leverage plant floor data to improve processes, and the lessons in optimization that can be learned from this for other companies.

The series will conclude on Thursday, November 25 with “Why software frees up teams’ creativity for improvements”. This webinar will discuss how using platforms such as zenon can enable companies to dedicate their creativity and skill to driving growth. This session will cover the final stage of your transformation journey and the industries commitment to carbon-neutral operations, focusing on a study on how Carlsberg targeted CO2 neutrality in their operation. Sustainability is an increasing priority for many industries, and this case study will explore how food and beverage businesses can become more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Expert Insights

Each session will also include a Q&A, where attendees will have the opportunity to consult COPA-DAT’s experts on how zenon may support them on their journey. Martyn Williams will introduce the sessions, drawing on his years of experience in business management and his background in field sales and engineering to give attendees insight into how they can transform their business.

“These webinars offer a fantastic opportunity for food and beverage companies to learn more about successful digitalization. We use case studies focusing on real world success stories in this industry with proven results to illustrate the impact digital tools can make to a business,” explained Martyn. “The online platform also makes these sessions accessible to anyone working in the industry who might benefit”.

Industry COPA-DATA experts contributing to the webinar series include Alexander Fröhlich, a food and beverage industry, who has been with the company for over a decade, applying his skills in technical product management and application package creation. Also joining the sessions will be specialist Andreas Grün, to help attendees to plan and execute their transformation journey using his knowledge of the food and beverage industry. Finally, Head of key account management Bernhard Ebert will also be in attendance, offering advice and guidance on digitalization.

The Trail of Transformation webinar series offers a unique opportunity to learn more about key areas for digital transformation specifically aimed at food and beverage. Ready to learn more? Register for the webinar series here. The first event will take place on November 11, 10:00am (GMT).

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million. www.copadata.com

Published in Food & Materials
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Automation expert, COPA-DATA is expanding its technology offering to provide digitalisation software to small breweries. The software developer, which launched its automation platform zenon back in 1987, has long assisted in the digitalisation efforts of food and beverage manufacturers worldwide. Now, COPA-DATA UK will support the growing number of small and microbreweries in the UK with a bespoke technology offering for brewers.

Britain’s brewing industry has changed drastically in the last decade, with independent, small and micro-sized brewers enjoying sizable growth. According to the SIBA British Craft Beer Report 2020, this shift can be attributed to consumer demand for craft beers from independents rather than large and global manufacturers.

However, the small brewing market has begun to reach its saturation point. Of the 2,278 breweries recorded as active in the UK in 2018, 1,978 of these were microbreweries. According to data presented by Statistica, over 80 per cent of these microbreweries recorded falling sales in April 2020.

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To support small brewers in an increasingly saturated market, COPA-DATA’s zenon for breweries has been developed to help them compete in this arena and also solve some of the common challenges breweries face. Using COPA-DATA’s digitalisation and manufacturing expertise, these pain points focus on using data to manage operations, handle recipes and apply data to production.

“zenon is the ideal software choice for small brewers with big goals,” explained Martyn Williams, Managing Director of COPA-DATA UK. “The platform can be used to manage all data produced in a brewing environment, including energy management, security and recipe handling. As an intuitive platform, zenon allows users to create and execute new recipes, including beer types and new products, in a completely flexible way — without changes to hardware and machinery and no previous experiences or competencies required.

“Crucially, zenon allows maximum flexibility and can adapt to the needs of the brewery. As a fully scalable platform, zenon can support brewers with small projects, or grow with the business and form part of a complete software solution,” continued Williams.

“In the most highly scaled example, zenon can be deployed as a complete automation package for brewing and beer production, as well as the site’s enterprise technologies and even the building management system (BMS). In fact, this is exactly how zenon operates for users in largescale manufacturing facilities, of which we have long supported food and beverage, pharmaceutical and automotive manufacturing organisations.”

As part of the new offering, COPA-DATA promises to support small brewers to gain a competitive advantage. Using zenon, breweries can enjoy shortened time-to-market and insight on how to improve production through real-time data.

The platform’s data collection processes can also support with effective batch control, delivered in accordance with ISA-88, a standard for equipment and procedures related to batch production. Similarly, zenon’s real-time data collection and analysis allows brewers to identify problems in production as they occur, with a Process Recorder module available to review historical errors in production.

To find out more about COPA-DATA’s offering for brewing, download the brochure here.

About COPA-DATA

COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

Published in Food & Materials
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Wednesday, 22 September 2021 12:34

Brewing’s journey into automation

~ If craft brewers did software ~

Britain’s brewing industry has expanded from a modest 1,218 breweries in 2012 to a colossal 3,018 in 2020 – with small and microbreweries accounting for over 80 per cent of this figure. With the industry reaching a saturation point, Martyn Williams, managing director of COPA-DATA UK explains how digital tools can help small brewers compete in a bubbling market.

Small breweries face many challenges that reinforce their tendency to stay small — one of which is consistency. As with any consumable product, brewers must ensure there’s an accurate audit trail, ingredients are traceable, and that recipe management ensures every batch is the same.

Then, there is the challenge of achieving high enough throughput to yield a profit. According to data from Statistics Canada, a nation that has seen comparable growth to the UK’s craft beer explosion, just 50 per cent of Canadian breweries actually make a profit.

Automation is an obvious option to help small brewers raise their bar. However, unlike the AB InBev’s of the brewing world, most smaller brands cannot invest in expensive digitalization tools — or at least, they aren’t aware of the options accessible to them.

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Process control
Brewers taking their first steps into larger volume brewing do not need an all bells and whistles automation tool. Fundamentally, small brewers want to improve operations to a point at which profit becomes inevitable. To achieve this, process control is crucial.

Take the lautering process as an example. Before fermentation begins, the lauter tun is used to separate liquid from spent grain. The vessel continually filters the mash through a bed of malt grist, runs it through a sieve and, in some breweries, rotating blades cut through the grist to loosen it. The ultimate output of this process is the wort, the liquid that determines the taste of the beer — something that must remain consistent to keep quality checkers, buyers and ultimately, beer drinkers happy.

To control this process, digital software can be deployed across equipment to monitor its performance. Providing the software can communicate across several protocols — as are often present in brewing facilities — the operator can keep an eye on the operations of the sieve, blades and peripheral equipment, ensuring there are no discrepancies.

Advantages of automation
COPA-DATA’s zenon for small brewers can make this possible without the hefty investment typically associated with brewing software. The tool allows operators to visualize brewing and know what’s happening at all times. Using this system, they can react to emergencies and prevent errors before they occur. What’s more, this isn’t just possible on a single machine, but can be scaled across the entire brewery to ensure all aspects are controlled effectively, including timings, temperatures, and quantities.

Collecting real-time data not only allows brewers to create a historical record of production, but can also provide a tamper proof audit trail. In zenon, the module known as the Process Recorder allows operators to ‘play back’ a live process and identify errors, enabling them to identify root causes of issues and adjust processes accordingly. The ISA-88 complaint zenon batch module assists small brewers to meet the standards demanded for consistency and quality. These features also support small brewers achieve regulatory compliance, such as the Weights and Measures Regulations.

zenon is already used by many breweries, large and small. However, with many of Britain’s small and micro brewers taking their first steps into automation, how can they ensure investment is low risk, high reward?

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Keep it scalable
Automation is met with some tension in the small brewing world. This is somewhat related to the romanticism associated with brewing, but often there’s a misunderstanding of the degree of automation required to improve profitability.

Small breweries needn’t overhaul their existing processes or invest extensively to achieve good results. Instead, software can provide a way for brewers to dip their toes into automation in a scalable way. For instance, this might begin with automating the management of one production line and eventually scale to multi-line, energy management or even vertical integration with other areas of a facility, such as enterprise systems.

Like small breweries themselves, software for brewing processes should be able to expand and develop over time. However, to enable growth from the 15,000th barrel to the 150,000th — and to compete with the other 2,414 small and microbreweries in the UK — beginning the journey into automation is key.

About COPA-DATA
COPA-DATA is an independent software manufacturer that specializes in digitalization for the manufacturing industry and energy sector. Its zenon® software platform enables users worldwide to automate, manage, monitor, integrate and optimize machines, equipment, buildings and power grids. COPA-DATA combines decades of experience in automation with the potential of digital transformation. In this way, the company supports its customers to achieve their objectives more easily, faster and more efficiently.
The family-owned business was founded by Thomas Punzenberger in 1987 in Salzburg, Austria. In 2020, with more than 300 employees worldwide, it generated revenue of EUR 54 million.

Published in Food & Materials
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