Oleo-Fats in the Philippines is the number one supplier of specialty fats and oils to the country’s food industry. Their site is essentially a refining process for the feedstock, which comes as “crude” coconut oil as well as other vegetable oils. “Straight” oil is then sold as a frying product, or undergoes further processing to realize other products such as ice cream and soft candy, hamburger buns, and other baked products. Three years ago the company started to look at automation as a way of achieving improved ease of operation. Instead of staff going up and down the floors looking at gauges and opening valves, the company wanted to remotely monitor and control from a single location.
For some of Oleo-Fats plants, the decision was taken to use PROFIBUS PA devices for the process instruments and PROFINET controllers were deployed, with SCADA OS redundant servers and clients, and proxies for fieldbus integration. The extensive use of PROFIBUS PA for the likes of mass flowmeters, radar level transmitters, pressure transmitters and modulating valves makes the Oleo-Fats site one of the most significant PROFIBUS implementations in South East Asia. And while PROFIBUS PA instruments are more expensive Oleo-Fats believes that the lower installation costs and the longer-term asset management benefits are very well worth the investment.
Modernizing plant automation reduces risk of failure and standstill and PROFINET enables easy communication setup at higher performance with enhanced diagnostics. Operational functions now include automatic ratio control for more consistent product quality and lowered costs. There’s real-time monitoring of critical process parameters, such as pressure, temperature and flow rate, with alarms actuated automatically. As Oleo-Fats plant manager Gerry Guanlao articulates: “Now, if something is wrong, you know about it straight away just by looking at the operator screen. Having that information right before you has really been the number one benefit, I believe.”