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The Magazine

Glass bottle production

Successfully entering new territory

Gallo Glass was the first place that the Sorg Group implemented a solution for plant-wide automation based on Simatic PCS 7, and their initial experiences with Simit were excellent.

The total package tipped the balance: To modernize its plant during operation, the US glass manufacturer, Gallo Glass commissioned EME Maschinenfabrik Clasen GmbH to plan and upgrade the batch plant and parts of the cullet return system at its glass bottle production facilities. Because these projects are always accompanied by an automation system, Siemens also participated as a longtime supplier for the Sorg Group. “What was probably decisive was that, with the batch plant from EME and the melting tanks from its sister company Nikolaus Sorg, we were able to supply core technology from a single source,” explains Roger Knüttel, Manager of the Control Engineering Department at EME. “This meant one interface less and a seamless automation concept.” 

Gallo Glass implements solution for plant-wide automation for the first time with Siemens

With the now completed upgrade of the batch plant at the glass production facilities located in Modesto, California, EME was able to go one step further on behalf of its customer and implement an end-to-end, cross-supplier automation system based on the Simatic PCS 7 process control system. “The switch to Siemens was new territory for Gallo Glass,” says Knüttel, stressing the importance of the project. It was a complex task, especially since there are several hundred different combinations and transportation routes that the batch can follow within the batch plant and on its way to the melting tanks. With the Siemens Siwarex U and Siwarex FTC weighing modules, it was also possible to integrate weighing applications directly into the automation system.

Redundancy for greater flexibility and operating reliability

Originally, the four melting tanks in operation were supplied by two batch plants, with the tanks assigned to a specific plant. This meant a relatively high deployment of staff to operate the two plants. With the new solution, the demand on the operators is significantly reduced because the new system, including the control system, is fully redundant: weighing, mixing, and transport to the tanks. The result is a tremendous increase in flexibility and operating reliability at Gallo Glass.

Virtual commissioning with Simit

In addition to its first-time use of Simatic PCS 7, EME also successfully premiered Simit. “The Gallo Glass plant is so complex that Simit was essential for us for conducting tests and evaluations. It optimized our engineering and substantially shortened the commissioning time,” says Knüttel. “We’re positively astounded by the simulation platform.” 

Praise from all sides

Gallo Glass’s converted plant has now been in operation since August of 2015, and the company has been impressed by EME’s consulting, project planning, and implementation services. The excellent support throughout all project phases was especially important to the plant operators, a compliment that EME gladly passes on to Siemens: “Siemens’ products and especially its support are exemplary; there isn’t a competitor that comes anywhere close,” says Knüttel.

Picture credits: Rumans Photography