This harmonises the entire production process – from the delivery of raw materials to shipping. BHS Control Systems has been Interquell’s partner in control technology for ten years.
Since 1765, the traditional family-owned company Interquell has been producing high-quality food products as well as animal feed at various sites. Their headquarters is in Wehringen, Germany, where feed is now produced on five production lines. Interquell produces food in Grossaitingen and mainly conducts tests at the Bobingen site.
Its product portfolio has grown steadily – and the machine landscape along with it. Ten years ago, the company decided to partner with BHS Control Systems to gain the ability to produce according to modern standards. After the first joint successes, it was clear that Interquell also wanted BHS Control Systems to help modernise the entire plant control system one step at a time.
Whether extruders, mills, packaging machines or goods receiving, every process step and machine at Interquell had different control systems due to the company’s long history. A new, homogeneous system had to meet the customer’s high demands in terms of future viability.
Werner Bobach, production manager at Interquell, sums it all up: “When we were choosing a partner for the control system, the most important thing for us was good and ongoing cooperation. Our systems must always be up to date to ensure modern, effective production processes and to meet our strict, proprietary quality assurance requirements.”
After ten years of cooperation with BHS-Sonthofen, a major milestone has now been reached. In September 2021, the last two older control systems were replaced. Now the entire plant in Wehringen has a consistent operating system. “Each control system had to be operated differently, so this final switch to a uniform operating concept represents a reduction in workload for our employees – they can now be put to work anywhere, and initial training for new colleagues has become easier,” explains Bobach.
Three more projects with BHS Control Systems are lined up for the coming months. Interquell also plans to connect new machinery to the BHS control system and retrofit older machinery at both the Bobingen and Grossaitingen sites, as well as at the main plant in Wehringen. In doing so, BHS Control Systems is to be fully integrated into the entire process – receiving raw materials, grinding, screening, conveying, extrusion, drying, coating and packaging. This is essential to the traceability of the manufacturing process and, in addition to identifying a faulty batch, opens up many other options for process optimisation.
Ulrich Leinauer, software engineer at BHS Control Systems, explains the new possibilities: “If a problem occurs with the final product, each individual work step is traceable, including the machine and the parameters used. This makes it possible for errors to be identified, corrected and avoided in the long term.”
For the mills’ control systems, BHS Control Systems uses industry-specific solutions based on programmable logic controllers (PLC) to deliver transparent process visualisation and an intuitive operating concept. The base technology is the open and scalable WinCC OA software from Siemens, which is supplemented by numerous libraries for feed production or mill operation. Thanks to these libraries, things such as the compatibility of ingredients can also be ensured in addition to traceability.
Whether it be regular updates or quick and straightforward help with spontaneously occurring problems, the ongoing support of the control system provider is just as important as the software being used. Solutions must be found quickly in order to keep operations running as smoothly as possible. As the scope of the project has increased, so have the demands on the project management team and support staff. “We and our customer are growing together, allowing us to contribute to their success in the long term,” says Leinauer.