Viterra

AVEVA Software Helps Viterra Remain on Top After 100 Years of Agricultural Excellence

Viterra

Viterra partners with farmers across Canada to market and move millions of tons of grain, oilseeds and pulses each year.

Goals

  • To operate at rated capacity across multiple geographically dispersed facilities. 
  • To expedite shipping efforts by adopting leaner, more efficient load-in practices. 
  • To establish scalable operational practices to meet increased demand for grain across global distribution channels.

Challenges

  • Lack of process standardisation across multiple facilities limited production visibility and quality assurance. 
  • As systems became dated, production requirements were outgrowing system capacity. 
  • Varying expertise required by operators increased the training time and learning curve for new workforce, and threatened consistent production quality across sites.

Results

  • 10% increase in shipping efficiency, shaving 45-60 seconds off load-in for each car. 
  • 40% decrease in rail receiving time by implementing standardised instrumentation and operator controls. 
  • System development cycle has been shortened from 4 months to 4 weeks.

AVEVA Software Helps Viterra Remain on Top After 100 Years of Agricultural Excellence

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada – as Canada’s grain industry leader, Viterra markets and moves millions of tons of grain, oilseeds and pulses to over fifty countries across the globe each year.

Viterra’s efficiency and subsequent rise in Canada’s grain handling industry can be partially attributed to a system upgrade implemented after Paul Bourlon, Manager of Automation Services, recognised suffering production at one particular facility.

“Struggling through that facility… knowing we had stretched it and the system as much as we could, we basically said we need to look at something else, something that’s got the size and the expandability. AVEVA was the product we settled on.”

– Paul Bourlon, Manager of Automation Services, Viterra

Enter AVEVA System Platform

Having the ability to migrate and re-use functionality regardless of the size of facility was critical to the success of the system, and that’s exactly what System Platform is built to do. Viterra picked AVEVA System Platform because of its repeatability. System Platform provides the complete functionality that a large, complex facility requires–but in a fully scalable package.

System Platform is an integrated, unifying platform that is integral to business processes and systems. It serves as the single source of actionable information for operational, engineering and corporate business users. For Viterra, System Platform delivers a core foundation for secure, geographically distributed supervisory SCADA applications, plant-wide control systems integration and connectivity of plant floor and remote intelligent sensors into the enterprise.

The solution that was developed by Viterra optimises both the development cycle and the overall operation of the facility the application is deployed to. Function block programming was developed to provide consistent and standard objects relative to control of equipment. The same philosophy was completed within the System Platform application. Both provide a highly reusable, consistent, and efficient result.

One Standardised System Across Multiple Sites

Through various mergers and acquisitions, Viterra is made up of a number of heritage companies. This brought a large variance in the installed systems. One of the challenges that Viterra addressed is integrating these various systems that used different manufacturers that are spread out across a wide number of sites into a single standardised solution. Viterra is geographically diverse, with many facilities in many locations, but they’re all meant to function quite similarly. By standardising its systems across all locations, Viterra can operate at system capacity, ultimately resulting in increased efficiency.

The scalability has allowed strong functionality to be deployed across many sizes of facility at a reasonable cost, providing the business with key information that enables Operations to maximise productivity using a common platform.

Harnessing Operation Data with Historian Clients

Now, Viterra can achieve much more comprehensive forensic investigations when troubleshooting problems. That’s in no small part due to Historian Clients. Historian Clients empowers Viterra to collect and interpret Big Data across geographical locations to identify opportunities for greater efficiency.

“Is [equipment] at rated capacity? Where do we need to place our capital? Why is a certain facility performing the way it is… Historian is feeding that information back up into the business so our leaders can make better decisions. They are going to be able to make the company more efficient.”

– Paul Bourlon, Manager of Automation Services, Viterra

By enabling Viterra to create a complete picture of the various aspects of the process which affect yield, Historian Clients is helping Operations understand where improvements need to be made. In fact, the data collected from Historian Clients is yielding benefits across Viterra’s organisation. Operations can capture time-based load data on equipment and blend that with transactional data to provide production dashboards, and log temperature data from hazard monitoring sensing on large rotating equipment such as belt conveyors and bucket elevators to ensure safe operation.

The level of understanding that Operations now has regarding the current and historical operation of their facilities has never been greater. Historical data provides maintenance staff with a significant troubleshooting tool to understand what occurred prior to a process upset or equipment failure and how to prevent a reoccurrence.

By understanding what occurred in the past, informed decisions can be made to reduce process upsets, thereby improving product quality and throughput. By historically logging key pieces of information, they can now relate equipment efficiencies directly to design capacities and the overall effectiveness that an operation has on the business bottom line.

Standardising Operator Excellence

Historian Clients and System Platform enables information sharing between OT and IT to gather insight into equipment effectiveness, and challenging Operations to maximise the throughput of the facility, and the results are speaking for themselves.

Taking it a step further, in the past, a given operator’s experience impacted the production of his facility. System Platform mitigates this variable, making production consistent.

“…We’ve placed the ‘best operator’ inside the system, so regardless of the experience of an operator, whether he’s got some grey hair or whether he’s brand new, the facility operates the way it’s intended to operate.”

– Paul Bourlon, Manager of Automation Services, Viterra

Ultimately, the scalability of System Platform has allowed functionality to be deployed across many different facility sizes at a reasonable cost, providing the business with key information that enables Operations to maximise productivity using a common platform.

By optimising equipment assets, enhancing operational processes and empowering its workforce to be more efficient, AVEVA has helped Viterra become a world leader in grain handling.

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