MICADO digitizes the distillation of natural oils
Revolutionary Industrie 4.0 application at Brüder Unterweger GmbH.
The company Brüder Unterweger GmbH is one of the most successful East Tyrolean traditional companies and has been working for over 100 years with the processing of essential oils and the production of natural cosmetics. The distillation of sensitive natural oils has been a core process in this traditional company since the beginning and requires very sensitive manual work, but above all, years of experience of the employees.
High-quality natural products are currently in trend, meaning the demand is constantly increasing. In order to cope with increasing demand, the company Unterweger has expanded its capacity with a new production building (investment sum of 4.0 million euros). In a record time of just 8 months, it has managed to construct a new production with 3 highly complex vacuum distillation plants. The domestic automation partner MICADO has played an important role in the implementation of the distillation process.
Andreas Dorer (Technical Manager MICADO AUTOMATION GmbH): "At the start of the project, external authorities predicted that it would be impossible to sustainably automate such a complex distillation process. Nevertheless, we did not let ourselves be intimidated and have proven what is possible with courage, planning and competence in the field of automation."
Since September 2018, all facilities have been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, completely autonomous. The production has increased more than tenfold, while the employees have been relieved.
The distillery experts at Unterweger specify important process parameters and monitor the quality of the natural oils. The system records all relevant process parameters and automatically generates production reports. The systems are controlled by a specially developed control centre with more than 10 screens. Using high-resolution camera systems, the process can be easily monitored from the control room, or even from home. In addition, the employees are informed at any time about the status of the systems via SMS. In order to control important parts of the systems on-site, the employees are equipped with state-of-the-art tablets.