Windhoek, Namibia – Optimal utilities management contributes to a greener environment and a healthier bottom line at Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) where the AVEVA Process Historian helps to generate daily, weekly and monthly consumption reports for water, electricity, chemicals, thermal energy, solar generation, carbon dioxide, and air, then compare these results with KPI targets. Linking Historian tags to the company’s production system has also led to faster and more accurate problem detection.
With regard to renewable energy, NBL has put into practice what others only talk about. The company has a 1MW roof-mounted solar plant with more than 4,000 panels, 66 inverters and four cluster controllers. The whole system is connected to three of the company’s generator sections. When it was installed in 2013, it was the largest hybrid system in the world and it also made NBL completely self-sufficient regarding electrical power.
But this was only the start. Electricity, though a major component, is only one factor in the complex world of utilities which, today, are highly significant contributors to product costs, competitiveness and profitability. There’s also more to effective utilities management than simply watching the meter.
A Manufacturing Operations Management Survey conducted by LNS Research showed that the top two operational challenges for meeting strategic manufacturing objectives were that companies had to deal with disparate systems and the lack of cooperation across their different departments.
“In our case, we have the brewing, packaging, and distribution departments,” said André Engelbrecht, Manager, Industrial Control Systems, NBL. “Each of them focuses on doing their job to the best of their ability, but without necessarily much concern for the common denominator that makes it all possible – utilities.”
NBL decided to unify its various departments into a cohesive entity that could make real-time business decisions with regard to utility usage based on a single version of the facts.
The scope of the implementation would include access to the CO2 plant, NH3 Ammonia cooling, boiler house, water treatment plant, sterile air plant, and power meters.
The project was started in February 2015 and changeover to the new system was done after a two-week parallel operation during January and February 2016. But according to Engelbrecht, this is not the end as it is a “living” system designed to grow and supply the company’s information needs well into the future.
NBL has a central DCS which controls the beer-making process from start to finish, but achieving NBL’s goals of accurate decision support based on reality and real-time production information, there was a need for more data collection and collation resources.
AVEVA Software's Agnosticism and Third-Party Integration
“It was vitally important that we got the buy-in from all stakeholders regarding the value of doing this, after which we decided to use the power of Historian and the scripting capabilities of Historian Client,” says Engelbrecht. “We also installed Software Toolbox’s TOP Server to retrieve data from our utility plants and systems and used the DCS to build a SCADA system. We then developed a web-reporting system for production personnel and a dashboard system for management. Most of our physical servers are now hosted in a virtual environment and this has made things a lot easier, such as time synchronization between the old Historian and the OPC server.”
100 PLCs and More
NBL configured a virtual enterprise consisting of two TOP Servers (to balance the load of more than 100 PLCs and systems), one DataHub Server, Historian, the main historian data warehouse and a web server. A secure https dashboard server enables management to view daily and monthly sales, as well as operational KPIs from anywhere. Weekly real-time stock volumes are sent to NBL’s advanced planning system using Historian Client queries, and SAP files are imported daily regarding sales, production, logistics, and depot information.
The system lets qualified personnel view various utility consumption and production information at the same time wherever they may be. They’re also able to view daily, weekly, and monthly consumption information on the same platform. In the future, NBL will be able to switch off non-critical plant equipment to ensure that their maximum demand remains below target.
AVEVA Scalability and Extensibility
“It is great to see what can be done with technology and data when you use the right tools such as the AVEVA products we implemented in this project. It was also a great learning experience to combine the products we chose to enable us to make our end results and user experience better and more effective,” said Annemarie Kruger, MES/MIS Specialist, NBL.
“In my opinion, some of the most outstanding features of the system include its open standards, the wide range of drivers available, scalability to go as big as we want to go, as well as its ease of use, customisation, and integration with other initiatives,” added Engelbrecht
- CO2 sales targets are met by optimising sales vs. storage capacity and usage.
- Help with meeting water savings regulations as required by the city of Windhoek and NamWater.
- Electricity savings with maximum demand implementation.
- Improved solar plant operational effectiveness.
- Improved fault-finding with Historian Client and video playback functionality on the central DCS.
- Improved decision making regarding plant requirements including the availability of historical thermal energy data, which allowed NBL to reduce their new BioMass boiler requirement from 8MW to 5MW.
- Better loss control by being able to view consumption data in conjunction with production information.
- Historian Client is critical to NBL’s business and is used to verify the KPIs of new plant and equipment.
- More accurate calculation and reconciliation of project KPIs and ROIs.