Gallo Glass Company
Food & Beverage, CPG
Proficy HMI / SCADA
Gallo Glass Company in Modesto, CA is one of the world’s largest glass container manufacturing and winemaking operations sites. The glass plant operates 24/7, utilizing 14 production lines.
A toast to high technology
At Gallo Glass Company, just-in-time delivery means the bottles are available when needed to help keep the wine flowing through the bottling and labeling operations, out to distribution, and into millions of homes each year. Additionally, the glass plant has to contribute more than fast, reliable bottle production—the team at the plant also needs to support E. & J. Gallo Winery parent company’s deep commitments to quality, consumer safety, and environmental protection. With one billion bottles being produced annually, a state-of-the-art production system, including monitoring and control software from GE Digital, helps Gallo Glass shine. And shining is exactly what Gallo is doing—after being named #1 in the prestigious InformationWeek Top 500.
The Gallo Glass plant manufactures to more than 100 different combinations of bottle shapes, sizes, and colors. In addition to being unique for its size—E. & J. Gallo Winery is one of the largest wineries in California—it is also unique for having its own glass plant. Ernest and Julio Gallo built the plant in 1958 on the company’s main campus in Modesto. By owning a glass plant, the company reduces freight costs for heavy glass but, most importantly, eliminates the possibility of production delays caused by outside bottle suppliers. And, that means a commitment to reliable production that Gallo Glass upholds every day.
Eliminating manufacturing production bottlenecks
Automation plays a key role at the plant and blends together the art of glassmaking with the high technology needed to meet production, quality, consumer safety, and environmental protection goals. At the heart of the plant’s automated Shop Floor Information System (SFIS) is iFIX from GE Digital. This integrated information system collects and presents data from all steps in bottle making—batch, furnace, forehearth, mold shop, forming, lehr, inspection, and packing. The system serves multiple users at Gallo Glass—from operators on the lines to maintenance managers to senior managers who need quick, graphical reports via the Web.
The glass plant operates 24/7, utilizing 14 production lines. Each line starts with hot molten glass and ends with inspection, followed by packing. iFIX presents data collected from all devices on the lines, and the beginning and end of each line has an iFIX node. With an open architecture, the software connects to the plant’s installed base of equipment, such as sensing and inspection devices, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), scales and timing systems, communicating over Ethernet TCP/IP. The plant uses a client-server database architecture for fast communication and lower costs, and operates on a server-based computing model, the iClientTS terminal server version of iFIX running on a CITRIX server farm, and dedicated Windows terminal devices as clients.
Conceptualized by Gallo, designed and implemented by integrator Saber Engineering with a team that included Brian Thomas, Dennis Hopkins, and Bob Sullivan, the iFIX system includes over 20 Human Machine Interface (HMI) screens and generates 30 reports for the glass plant production team. This easy-to-use web-based monitoring and control software works in conjunction with an Oracle database to consolidate the data from the plant’s devices, then transform that real-time data into dynamic text, alarm, and graphic displays. Information is presented on the terminals located on the lines for a quick, easy-to-view snapshot of production. Operators and managers can view key performance indicators (KPIs) such as percent pack, which displays the number of bottles successfully produced for every 100 attempts, defects, losses, production quantities, and more. Essential to success, the system provides timely notification of defects so that operators can correct production and boost quality.
As an example, by analyzing the data from the plant floor processes, the team was able to redesign the glass molds to engineer out defects and decrease cracking. This change has reduced scrap and improved yield. Additionally, the team has perfected wall thickness and distribution—a long-term improvement that affects the amount of liquid that goes into the bottles—using wall thickness run charts.
Setting the standard for efficient, environmentally friendly glass production
After the bottles are formed, automated bottle inspection has helped the plant become more agile if there is an error on a line. The company estimates a 25% decrease in defects through timely net inspection. On the lines, video cameras take pictures of the moving bottles, and the system analyzes for variances in shape or pattern, and light and dark spots. A defect could be a piece of unmelted sand, or could take the form of a bubble or blister, seen as a dark spot.
Another machine inserts a plastic dowel into each bottle to check for free, open, and unobstructed bottle necks—known as choked necks. Inspection also includes checks for cracks or chips at the top of threaded bottles, known as checks. Another inspection is to ensure a clean sealing surface, which can result in leakage in the case of filled product.
Defects can make a bottle weak, which can lead to breaks, chips, or cracks. Gallo Glass follows the automated inspection of 100% of the bottles with automated random sampling inspection methods as well as manual inspection to achieve the highest quality—which ensures the safest possible bottles for consumers. When defects are found, the operator can use the system to adjust machines properly, check calibrations, or perform additional tests.
Between the production and inspection, Gallo Glass collects more than 2.5 million packets of data per day in the glass plant. The system provides an Internet portal dashboard with global visibility into the information. The Thin Client system works on dial up for remote connections, and users can also access via Virtual Private Network (VPN) and the Internet.
In addition to production improvements, the data helps the plant maintain its ISO certification and archive information as part of a HACCP plan under the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices. Operators can document any issues by simply filling out an iFIX screen for a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).
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