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Post at 26 Jul 2017

Stone Technologies addresses data management needs with PlantPAx modern DCS solution from Rockwell Automation

Making a Glass Bottle

Chances are if you’ve sipped a bottled iced tea on a hot summer night, cracked open a bottle of beer with friends, or poured from a bottle of wine, the bottle has come from Anchor Glass.

In addition to serving the beverage industry with a variety of shapes, colors and sizes of glass bottles, Anchor Glass also produces glass containers for jams, sauces and salsa for food and beverage companies around the world.

Its Shakopee, Minnesota, facility is one of six food-grade manufacturing facilities for the company. Here, Anchor Glass takes raw material into the facility – mixing, melting, conditioning and forming it into a finished glass container – producing up to 600 bottles per minute.

The crushed recycled glass and other raw materials arrive by truck or rail, and are offloaded into holding silos. Once the necessary chemicals are added, the glass and other ingredients are sent to a 27-by-46-foot furnace for melting.

Here the glass is heated to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit to melt it into a molten lava state. This lava is then distributed to different forehearths to be formed, conditioned and cooled.

After these vast fluctuations in temperature, the glass’s chemical compound has not stabilized and must be reheated to do so. Once the formed glass has reached 1,000 degrees, it is cooled very slowly to stabilize the chemicals in the glass.

This finished product is then inspected for blemishes and inconsistencies before being shipped to one of 55 customers Anchor Glass serves per year.

Losing Control of Temperature

Producing 300 million bottles per year is no small task and the Shakopee facility was relying on two aging furnaces that were running 24/7. The larger of the two furnaces was 17 years old and in dire need of being re-bricked.

The aging bricks meant poor insulation. The furnaces were not retaining proper temperatures, which is vital for the glass manufacturing process.

Anchor Glass was wasting energy and money trying to maintain temperatures and keep furnaces efficient. With these unstable temperatures, Anchor Glass was also risking lower-quality glass.

The need for improved thermal control was most evident in the furnace reversal process. This process relies on the regenerative furnace to maximize as much energy (heat) as possible.One side of the furnace captures heat then the entire process is reversed and the captured heat is reused by injecting it back into the furnace.

This temperature fluctuation is repeated throughout the day and without tight control during the process, Anchor Glass was losing heat, which in turn was lost revenue

Additionally, the old thermal monitoring system was not user-friendly and required manual adjustments and charting, which was a time-consuming process for operators. The old system only stored two weeks’ worth of data.

This lack of visibility into data made monitoring and trending difficult. The limited exposure to historical data and trends prevented valuable analysis to occur

Operators were also relying on an old, analog alarm system with only 12 alarms for the facility.

With so many variables, including furnace pressure, air-to-fuel ratio and controller stability, Anchor Glass knew it needed a new control system to better manage furnace operations and regain control of energy costs.

Challenge
  • An aging furnace was causing energy inefficiencies and threating productivity at a Minnesota Anchor Glass facility
  • The inability to see more than two weeks’ worth of production data limited monitoring and trending capabilities
Results
  • Improved Energy Efficiency
  • Improved operator flexibility and ability to monitor temperature variables through PlantPAx system
  • Better handle 18 changeovers each month
  • Estimated reduced energy costs of over $1 million
Category: Fiber & Textiles