Bühler’s relationship with Swiss chocolate wafer producer Kägi Söhne AG has been taken to “the next level”, the company reported, as it is supporting Kägi in the construction of its smart factory. By 2024, Kägi plans to have the entire machine park digitally networked with all process data visualised.
First steps towards the smart factory took place in 2019 when Bühler and Kägi teams conducted a Performance Assessment Workshop to find out where improvements could be made in the production process of the chocolate wafer manufacturer.
“Our vision is to produce the perfect Kägi every day, whether it is 30°C in summer or minus 10°C in winter,” explained Pascal Grin, Chief Operating Officer of Kägi Söhne AG.
Once factors in the production were analysed, both teams analysed areas for improvement and created plans to address them going forward. The aim was to ensure a high level of quality “without interruption and with fewer rejections”.
Connecting most of Kägi’s production to the Bühler Insights platform – a digital tool that connects devices, operational metrics and analytics – the level of transparency on process and machine data increased significantly.
“25 to 30 data points per machine connected to Bühler Insights enables both operating staff and management to take their decisions based on data, facts, and figures. This is of special interest for the Continuous Improvement Process at Kägi,” said Kristina Polic, Project Lead Smart Factory 2024, and Continuous Improvement Manager at Kägi.
“Connecting Kägi to Bühler Insights platform creates unique transparency on process and machine data. From raw materials, to baking and filling of wafer sheets, and to chocolate coating, data can now be recorded, analysed, and interpreted at any time,” added Judith Spreitzer, Project Manager Bühler Services.
All process-relevant data and KPIs for each production step are now visualised via dashboards, to allow each operator to see how well each process is performing and take necessary action when needed; resulting in higher performance and optimisation of processes.
Linking and visualising the data in Bühler Insights means Kägi expects to see an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) increase of 5 to 8%.
“We are already using the data in real time and our employees can react immediately to fluctuations in quality, thus preventing unplanned downtime. For us, this leads to cost savings and an uncomplicated overview of the process,” said Mr Grin.
In addition to the connection benefits from adopting Bühler Insights, Kägi adopted the company’s Environmental Quantification Service for its entire factory. The Service supports organisations in measuring their environmental footprint according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Based on the Performance Assessment Workshop and product tests in the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center, Kägi invested in a fully automatic BM-W 180-H batter mixing plant, a SWAKT-80 wafer baking oven and fully automatic WIS-EAGLE In-Line wafer sheet inspection system.
“We have a full range of new, innovative products planned. We have enough ideas. With this plant and Bühler at our side, we are now ready to scale up new products to high quality and large volumes,” commented Franziska Babst, Head of Quality & Development at Kägi.
“Bühler and Kägi have a fruitful and long-lasting relationship. With the journey to the smart factory project, we are bringing together the best of our digital services, our technical solutions as well as Bühler’s technological competence. Today both Kägi and Bühler drive product quality and innovations in a strong partnership,” concluded Thomas Kuenzli, Head of Sales for Consumer Foods Europe at Bühler.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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