Ghent-based scale-up Factry revolutionalises process monitoring at Agristo

Factry Historian promotes transparency and efficiency at four sites of global player

Ghent, 6 June 2024 - Wanting to increase transparency in its production processes, Agristo, a global player in frozen potato products, called on Ghent-based scale-up Factry. The IIoT specialist set up a uniform data structure at four production sites, using its open data management platform Factry Historian. The result is a significant improvement in efficiency. Moreover, as an accessible and user-friendly solution, Factry Historian promotes Agristo's self-reliance as a digital factory and nurtures a culture of continuous improvement on the production floor.

With 680 customers in 145 countries and a production of nearly 875,000 tonnes in 2023, Agristo is a global player in frozen potato products that strives for operational excellence. Therefore, transparency in the various production processes is crucial. To increase this transparency and further promote efficiency, there was a growing need for optimal data collection and dashboarding. For this, Agristo relied on the Ghent-based scale-up Factry.

“Before we used Factry Historian, data visualisation was limited to SCADA systems, which complicated the analysis of our data across different production phases, production lines and equipment,” remembers Nathan Van der Eecken, Process Engineer at Agristo. “Operational decision-making was mainly based on personal intuition and experience, rather than data-driven insights. This increased the risk of downtime, inconsistencies in product quality or sub-optimal production yields. Production data were also not integrated, requiring a lot of manual work to correlate information from different sources and systems.”

Analysis and quality management

Today, Factry Historian integrates real-time data from every data source on the production floor, providing Agristo with a comprehensive overview of operations. The platform integrates seamlessly with the existing systems, making process data analysis frictionless, visually appealing and interactive. 

The dashboards, which are prominently visible in the production area, prove invaluable. “The dashboards, developed with the open visualisation tool Grafana, provide instant insights into equipment operation, indicating whether machines are active, inactive or stopped,” states Frederik Van Leeckwyck of Factry. “Operators can easily monitor the production or see how much premixed product is needed to run a batch, thus avoiding downtime or unnecessary work. In addition, the tool is very useful to perform root cause analysis by correlating real-time and historical data across different production phases. This allows process issues to be resolved faster. Thanks to Historian, access to historical data for quality management has also been significantly improved. Previously, in the case of a complaint or audit, it was cumbersome to retrieve relevant data over a long period of time, as this involved many applications. Now the process is streamlined, allowing both quick analysis and detailed investigation.”

Self-reliant

The user-friendliness and accessibility of Factry Historian also allow Agristo to start deploying the platform for new use cases. This eliminates the wait for input from a developer.

“Some time ago, we noticed that we needed to replenish oil continuously, totalling about 29 tonnes. So I quickly created a dashboard myself that monitors the oil level in our tanks and furnaces. It turned out that one furnace was consuming 40% more than expected. By mapping this, we can discover what caused this faster, and it took me barely an hour and a half to build the dashboard. The days when we had to rely on intuition are behind us. Now our team leaders can make decisions based on robust data, allowing them to anticipate and address problems before they become serious,” Nathan Van der Eecken says.

Continuous improvement

The various teams at the four production sites immediately saw the value of Factry Historian once the platform was fully implemented.

“This illustrates how important it is to ensure that new tools are fully operational and user-friendly before they are rolled out. Teams even asked for minor improvements, showing their support. This has led to a culture of continuous improvement across all sites. Factry is very responsive to our needs. When we face a challenge, we brainstorm solutions together. They distinguish themselves by really listening, without imposing their own agenda. The decisive factor in engaging with them was their practical approach, without making things too complicated,” concludes Silke Govaert, data analyst at Agristo.

About Factry
Factry provides process industry companies with open software for monitoring, analyzing and optimizing their operations. Our solutions make actionable data insights accessible to every role, from operator to CFO. With a strong focus on usability, Factry brings users closer to their process data so they can learn from it, make smarter decisions, avoid downtime and continuously improve the quality of products and processes. With Factry, manufacturers join forces with a team dedicated to the future of their plant, fostering a culture of continuous innovation - critical to gaining a competitive advantage in Industry 4.0.

Contact Factry
​Frederik Van Leeckwyck, M: +32 474 888 573, E: frederik.vanleeckwyck@factry.io

Jesse Huybrechts

Jesse Huybrechts

Copywriter, Evoke

 

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