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Food & Beverage, CPG

Digital Transformation at Copersucar


View of a Port Logistics Operation





Food & Beverage, CPG


iFIX, Proficy Plant Applications

Product Categories

Proficy HMI / SCADA, Proficy Historian, Proficy Smart Factory - MES Solutions


Copersucar is redesigning their processes, reformulating their operation and facilitating decision-making, to place the company in the map of Industry 4.0


Working within the sugar cane supply chain and uniting field and industry, Copersucar is the largest Brazilian exporter of sugar and ethanol with integrated logistics throughout the business value chain.


With a unique business model in this sector, Copersucar doesn’t count with production assets, but with sugar and ethanol acquisition contracts, supplied mainly by the member plants.



From the joint venture with Cargill, Alvean was created, which has accelerated the global expansion of the company.


Copersucar’s strategy for sugar is based on the investment in multimodal terminals for the storage and transport of sugar, like in Ribeirão Preto and São José do Rio Preto, and at the Sugar cane Terminal Copersucar, located at Porto de Santos (SP), with a capacity of movement of 10 million tons of product per year.


Crop of 5.3 million tons of sugar and 4.2 billion liters of ethanol are commercialized with a $254 million of consolidated liquid profit, at the end of the crop year. Copersucar owns the largest capacity of sugar and ethanol storage in Brazil.


For the products to reach their customers in tens of countries, it is necessary to have a complex logistics infrastructure, integrated by their own and contracted transshipment terminals and storage, in addition to an extensive outsourced road, rain and sea transport network.


With the new Industrial Automation project underway, Copersucar operates its regular activities at the same time as it manages the necessary changes, aiming at its modernization and increased efficiency as goals. This transition process is the most challenging point for the entire team of managers and operators.


Aiming for greater effectiveness, the team made the decision to restart and redesign processes and bring new technological solutions to overcome the challenges presented. It took nearly seven months within the Operational Control Center (CCO) to configure the systems.


The Engineering and Maintenance team is fully aligned with the corporate initiative, with the conviction that the project will increase Copersucar's competitive advantage. The current scenario is changing dramatically, however, with significant improvements at each stage.



Aquarius Software was the chosen partner for this project, acting as supplier of the systems and assisting Copersucar in the solution design, software training and support for the implementation of each system.


The overall idea of the solution includes the technological upgrade of the supervisory system with revision of the architecture used, upgrade of GE Digital's iFIX HMI/SCADA system, configuration of Hot / Stand-by redundancy, server virtualization and flexible access to client interfaces, operation via Terminal Services, with access management via ACP ThinManager. Proficy Webspace allows viewing of the HMI/SCADA screens anywhere, any time through a web browser.


In addition, increased operational safety, change management and automated backup in automation applications (PLC and SCADA programs) will be delivered by AuVersy's VersionDog software.


Finally, through the implementation of the PIMS and MES suite, also from GE Digital, it will be possible to have the entire shipment process digitized, through the ERP (SAP) connection to obtain the information on what is stored and what to ship in each ship, following the execution of the loading and returning consolidated information on each operation.

This project once again proved that it is possible to employ new software and services on existing technological bases, resulting in extraordinary results such as increased operational safety and greater integration between automation and corporate systems, with continuity of operation and investment greatly reduced.

Diogo Gomes - Aquarius Software

Critical points

Within the scope of automation, PLCs were already interconnected in a control network, but there was no digital storage of process history. The records were made on paper. It was necessary to adapt the PLCs’ ladder to the norms and to create new supervision system screens, processes that are in final phase of implementation.


The VersionDog deployment - has brought improvements in the dynamic of changes and access control of these programs. "Now it is possible to follow the changes / revisions in ladder diagrams, to know who performed them, when they were performed and, through the analysis of the data, to correct all the flaws and deviations,” explains Pateis.

Protect processes. This is one of the essential roles of Automation.

Marcelo Latrova - Maintenance and Engineering Management, Copersucar

The solution will be completed with the implementation of the PIMS and MES systems, consisting of GE Digital’s Proficy Historian, Proficy Plant Applications and Proficy Workflow software, which will allow the reading and analysis of the history and efficiency of the process, as well as integration with other Copersucar systems.


The PIMS and MES systems will also be instrumental in bringing relevant information to operational decision making. Latrova points out that from the implementation of these systems it will be possible to detect with more clarity and objectivity the causes of various types of outages and improve the process in general, including those related to the definition of specific training for operators.


Project Highlights:

  • Implementation of a modern CCO, with digitalized and centralized process information, available in real time through intelligent and reliable systems, allowing the decision making with greater speed and assertiveness


  • Implementation of MES / MOM project (GE Digital’s Proficy Plant Applications and Proficy Workflow software), enabling the control of ship loading efficiency and integration of process data with the ERP (SAP) system


  • Installation of change management system in automation and automatic backup systems (Auvesy VersionDog software


  • Virtualization of Automation Technology systems in IT (Information Technology) servers to increase the availability and robustness of the applications


  • Improved security and reliability of the system, with the implementation of a physical network backbone with intelligent redundancy and ring topology


  • Investment in the Lean Manufacturing methodology to make the whole operation more efficient, making the correct integration of Industrial Automation with each person involved in the operation of the terminal


This new control philosophy also brought the need to create an Operational Manual that is in the process of being elaborated and a final training for the operators.


Technology employed

  • iFIX; Supervision and Control (SCADA)
  • Proficy Webspace: Viewing iFIX through a web browser, anywhere, anytime
  • Proficy Historian: Process Historian (PIMS)
  • Proficy Workflow: System Integration (including SAP), eSOP and process automation
  • Proficy Plant Applications: Efficiency management of the operation (MES/MOM)
  • VersionDog: automatic change management, SCADA backup and PLC programs
  • ThinManager: Remote access management via remote desktop (thin clients)



At the current stage, some major results have been obtained:


  • With the advances in the implementation, it is notable that the number of overtime necessary has been reduced drastically, which is reflected in a higher quality of life for all those involved in the operation and in economics for the company


  • Several reports that help make decisions are now available. These reports are critical for process adjustments, as well as assist in the planning of activities, resulting in higher productivity


  • An automatic collection of historical data and the integration of the systems made the teams use their time in a more efficient way, since, with the direct and assertive visualization of the processes, the terminal operators could focus on the guarantee of operational efficiency, instead of spending their time collecting and analyzing manual data as previously required


  • Operators now work in much more organized and logical physical and operational environment. This also increases productivity and quality of life at work, in addition to increasing operational safety

If you solve your problems faster and more definitively, you gain operational agility. This is critical for our business.

Marcelo Latrova - Maintenance and Engineering Management, Copersucar

Next Steps

One of the next steps is the standardization of the operating interface. There will be similarity of processes and screens of the Supervisory System. This means that the operator working in one position may work in another, or in different shifts, with parity of procedures.


Another clear perspective is the continuous integration and collaboration between the Industrial Automation and IT teams. At Copersucar there is a reconciliation of the goals of continuous improvement of the two teams. This creates an extremely positive scenario for the company to follow its Digital Transformation journey and obtain solid results, in line with Industry 4.0's propositions.

My practical view of Industry 4.0 is to reduce costs and search for operational efficiency through IIoT and the use of advanced technologies. I also see the autonomous systems, tracing routes and performing autocorrections.

Eduardo Pateis - Copersucar Industrial Automation Specialist

Partnership with Aquarius Software

Copersucar had been a long-time user of the SCADA system distributed by Aquarius, GE Digital’s iFIX, and planned the version upgrade when it entered the search process for partners for its new Industrial Automation projects. Analyzing the Aquarius portfolio, he was surprised to realize that he could solve all his challenges through a single partner, in an objective and integrated way.


Aquarius offered support beyond expectations, including expert advice for project management. One of the highlights was support in integration with IT, a subject dominated by the Aquarius team, with experience in other projects.


Download the Copersucar story.

The experience and dedication of Aquarius' team of professionals generated a relationship of trust between companies. Our teams worked together throughout the project.

Eduardo Pateis - Copersucar Industrial Automation Specialist

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