The demand for different types of dairy products is growing. Koninklijke VIV Buisman in Zelhem knows all about that. The company is the second-largest producer of butter in the Netherlands and it is exporting more and more of its products to destinations all over the world. For the butter and milkfat producer, cream is the key resource.
The demand for different types of dairy products is growing. Koninklijke VIV Buisman in Zelhem knows all about that. The company is the second-largest producer of butter in the Netherlands and it is exporting more and more of its products to destinations all over the world.
Here is what Chris Memelink, manager Technical Department at VIV Buisman, has to say. “For years, our company could easily keep up with the increased production and storage needs and our organisation grew at a steady rate. However, this growth and the changing market have resulted in more and more bottlenecks in our production process. Likewise, stricter laws and regulations and software at the level of Windows XP did not make things any easier for us.” It was clear that something had to change. “One day, we were approached by Hellebrekers Industrial Automation and the topic of Visual Link Software (VLS|MES) came up; a proprietary Manufacturing Execution System (MES) developed by Hellebrekers IA. For us, it represented a solution to a number of pressing issues.”
Track and trace
“In the food industry, it is absolutely essential to have a proper track-and-trace system in place. We have to know exactly what was added to which end product at what point and where the products are stored. The diversity of raw materials on the one hand and end products on the other made it increasingly difficult to keep track of everything by hand. Now, the product and production data for each production run are automatically recorded in VLS|MES’ powerful database. This allows us to find out in real time exactly where raw materials and end products are located in the process.”
Due to VLS|MES’ modular structure, there is no need to implement the entire system all at once. Planning and Execution, i.e. the control of the production lines, will be tackled during the next phases of the implementation project.
“Having to store multiple raw materials and a wide range of end products made it more and more difficult to plan each new production run. VLS|MES’ planning module now allows us to utilise the available production lines in an optimally efficient manner. There is a direct link to the required resources, so it is clear at a glance what can be produced on what line at what time.”
Control of the process lines and uniformity in activities
“Many of our lines were operated manually, which required extensive knowledge and experience from our operators. When one of our people was out sick or left the organisation, we would lose access to that expertise. We also found that certain actions or settings were being performed in different ways, meaning there was no standardised way of doing things. VLS|MES automates the control process, allowing our operators to focus more on quality. Furthermore, all activities involved in the entire production process have now been standardised. This ensures no steps are overlooked, all activities are conducted in a standardised manner and the quality of our output is far more stable.”
Memelink is very positive about the collaboration with VLS’ software engineers: “We can work together in an effective and practical manner. They are experts who take their jobs seriously. A major and, I believe, unique advantage is the fact that the software was developed by Hellebrekers itself: an installation company with knowledge of the cabinets and the production process. They know what is important and how a production facility works. Due to their phased approach, our production site experienced virtually no downtime. It made for a smooth transition, which is only possible when you possess in-depth knowledge of what the production process looks like.”
Royal VIV Buisman is one of the leading experts in churned butter, textured butter, butter concentrate, water-free milkfat, deodorised milkfat (white AMF), fractioned milkfat (low-, middle- and high-melt fractions), milkfat preparations, butter melanges and partly skimmed milk powder. Every year, the company produces circa 15,000 tonnes of butter and 20,000 tons of butter oil. The dairy products produced by Royal VIV Buisman are used all over the world in high-quality bakery, ice cream and chocolate end products. The company operates continuously (24/7) and exports its products to more than fifty countries all over the world. It has a workforce of circa 130 people across two locations.