Bühler’s technology aids smart factory for Swiss chocolate producer

Published: 15-Nov-2022

By 2024, the company plans to have the entire machine park digitally networked and all process data visualised

Tech company Bühler is set to utilise its technology in order to build a smart factory for Swiss chocolate wafer producer Kägi Söhne. 

The first steps towards the smart factory started in 2019 when Kägi and Bühler teams conducted a Performance Assessment Workshop to discover where improvements could be made in the production process of the chocolate wafer manufacturer. “Our vision is to produce the perfect Kägi every day, whether it is 30°C in summer or minus 10°C in winter,” said Pascal Grin, Chief Operating Officer of Kägi Söhne. 

After all factors relevant to the production were analysed, the teams identified areas for improvement and defined plans to address them going forward. The quality of Kägi’s products has always been high, explains Grin, but the goal was to ensure a high level of quality without interruption and with fewer rejections.

One of the first actions of the team was to connect most of Kägi’s production to the Bühler Insights platform, Bühler’s digital tool that connects devices, operational metrics, and analytics. With that, the level of transparency on process and machine data has increased significantly. “25 to 30 data points per machine connected to Bühler Insights enables both operating staff and management to take their decisions based on data, facts, and figures. This is of special interest for the Continuous Improvement Process at Kägi,” said Kristina Polic, Project Lead Smart Factory 2024, and Continuous Improvement Manager at Kägi.

Judith Spreitzer, Project Manager Bühler Services, added: “Connecting Kägi to Bühler Insights platform creates unique transparency on process and machine data. From raw materials, to baking and filling of wafer sheets, and to chocolate coating, data can now be recorded, analysed, and interpreted at any time.”

 In addition, all process-relevant data and KPIs for each production step are visualised via dashboards. This allows each operator to see how well the respective process is performing and take the necessary action when needed. This results in higher performance and optimisation of processes. By linking and visualising the data in Bühler Insights, Kägi expects to see an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) increase of 5% to 8%. “We are already using the data in real time and our employees can react immediately to fluctuations in quality, thus preventing unplanned downtime. For us, this leads to cost savings and an uncomplicated overview of the process,” says Pascal Grin.

Bühler’s technology aids smart factory for Swiss chocolate producer

Another advantage of Bühler Insights is that, by connecting processes, devices, and data, it supports companies in addressing key issues related to sustainability, such as measuring their environmental impacts. Kägi adopted Bühler’s Environmental Quantification Service for its entire factory. Bühler’s Environmental Quantification Service supports organisations in measuring their environmental footprint according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Bühler experts analyse the performance of assets and optimise processes to avoid unnecessary CO2 emissions, improve resource efficiency, and reduce waste. With this, Kägi now understands its CO2e emissions and is able to prioritise actions to reduce its footprint along the whole value chain.

Based on the outcome of the performance assessment workshop (PAW) and product tests in the Bühler wafer innovation centre, Kägi decided to invest in a fully automatic BM-W 180-H batter mixing plant, a highly efficient SWAKT-80 wafer baking oven, and a fully automatic WIS-EAGLE In-Line wafer sheet inspection system.

Franziska Babst, Head of Quality & Development at Kägi, said: “We have a full range of new, innovative products planned. We have enough ideas. With this plant and Bühler at our side, we are now ready to scale up new products to high quality and large volumes.”

Thomas Kuenzli, Head of Sales for Consumer Foods Europe at Bühler, said: “Bühler and Kägi have a fruitful and long-lasting relationship. With the journey to the smart factory project, we are bringing together the best of our digital services, our technical solutions as well as Bühler’s technological competence. Today both Kägi and Bühler drive product quality and innovations in a strong partnership."

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