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J.J. Albarracín’s spice mills and its new control station using Simatic IFP Multitouch industrial monitors and process visualization with Simatic WinCC Professional

TIA Portal 

Automated craft makes for really great paprika

Juan José Albarracín S.A., the Spanish spice manufacturer, has optimized its paprika production with help from the TIA Portal. The production lines can now be better controlled, visualization allows for intuitive operation, and the quality control and documentation are much easier than in the past.

“Our business involves spices in all their variety,” says Cristina Vela, Head of Production and Development at Juan José Albarracín S.A. She adds proudly, “People say, Put some of our spices on your food. It will taste better!”

Top quality and customer service have turned the company based in Murcia, Spain, into the market leader. J.J. Albarracín was founded in 1854. “It’s about time we joined the digital age,” Vela remarks.

Whenever J.J. Albarracín changes its production processes, its goal is always to maintain high product quality. “We can only achieve our proven quality using traditional manufacturing methods,” Vela says. “Modernization must therefore involve a perfect blend of craft and automation.”

J.J. Albarracín’s spice mills and its new control station using Simatic IFP Multitouch industrial monitors and process visualization with Simatic WinCC Professional

Installation during operation

Above all, the company needed a new control and visualization system, which was to be integrated into the existing plant without interrupting production. The new system also had to simplify operations, detect production faults before they occurred, and ensure a consistently high paprika quality. Finally, to improve quality control and documentation, the company needed its production data to flow into an existing MES solution.

The company hired Industrias Eléctricas Lomegón S.C.L. to modernize its paprika production lines, and the company turned to the TIA Portal from Siemens. The automation concept includes all the necessary Siemens control and visualization products. 

“The benefit of the TIA Portal is that you can very easily integrate the entire automation system,” says Diego Saura, a Project Manager with Lomegón. “For example, I’m an electrical engineer, not a computer scientist. But Simatic WinCC Professional made it very easy to create the visualization function. We were able to very precisely and easily represent our customer’s processes graphically. This allowed us to reduce the vast amount of data so that the operators receive the specific information they need.”

Satisfied with Simatic WinCC Professional (from left): Francisco Javier Valverde, Plant Manager at J.J. Albarracín; Cristina Vela, Head of Production and Development at J.J. Albarracín; and Diego Saura, Project Manager at Lomegón

Short learning curve for employees

The system’s user-friendliness also won Vela over. “The visualization is clear and intuitive, which meant that the employees needed little training,” says the head of Research and Development. “We need a high degree of flexibility in our production because we have to make very quick decisions about our production processes.” In summing up, she sounds convinced: “Automation with Siemens was a good decision. Everything works together perfectly.”

Cristina Vela, Head of Production and Development at J.J. Albarracín

Well prepared for the digital future

One important goal of the modernization project was to equip the production process for the future. When requirements change, it has to be possible to effortlessly adapt the processes to the new conditions. The customer feels that they’ve achieved this goal as well. “Changes and upgrades are very easy now,” Vela says. “We’re now flexible and prepared for the future. The next step is to upgrade our energy management system.” Chuckling, she adds, “Our spices may not be digital, but I think they taste just a bit better now.”

Diego Saura, Project Manager at Lomegón