IIoT in chocolate production 

At Orkla’s Finish chocolate plant, MindSphere helps to automate the data collection, remove manual registrations, and bring transparency to the production.

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In Orkla's Finish chocolate plant, the Christmas production has already started at the end of June. The production is very hectic with around 3 million kilos annually, so there is no room for mistakes. So Orkla looked for a solution to make production in its factory in Vaajakoski, Jyväskylä, transparent.


“We wanted to improve data collection, get rid of manual logging and better understand cause-and-effect relationships," says Arto Liimatainen, technical development manager, Orkla. 


In the factory 270 kilometers north of Helsinki, the banquet table confectionery and other Panda sweets loved by Finns are manufactured. The plant produces approximately three million confectionery boxes a year.


Over the past decade, the factory's machine base has been renewed and the automation rate has increased considerably. "As the processes changed, we noticed that there were problems in our production, the root causes of which we did not immediately find out. We wanted to improve data collection, get rid of manual logging and better understand cause-and-effect relationships." 

Reporting tool for chocolate production

Siemens' leading industrial IoT as a service solution, MindSphere, was chosen as the technology platform, on top of which an application tailored to Orkla's needs was developed. The most important features of the first phase of the application are the driving record and the reporting tool. 


The automation solution for the Chocostar line has been built using Siemens' technology solutions. Components can be connected to the MindSphere environment regardless of the manufacturer. 


"MindSphere's positive surprise was the ease of connecting it to an existing system and the MindSphere platform's readiness for customized solutions," Arto Liimatainen describes,  

Traceability improved

"Our Christmas begins in the summer. Due to shelf life and packing speeds, production is critical and there is no room for error. The period before Easter is its own wrinkle, after which Christmas is already starting to press on." Arto Liimatainen describes the everyday life of the factory. 


The introduction of the driving record was an important part of the cultural change in knowledge management, which aims at foresight and proactive work.   


"We will now receive much more information about the process, which will help to avoid possible quality errors in the future. If necessary, we can quickly return to the moment when the disturbance occurred. Through traceability, we can learn to avoid the same mistakes in the future." 

We are now getting much more information about the process, which will help us avoid mistakes in the future.  
Arto Liimatainen, technical manager at the Orkla factory

The application is in versatile use in production as well as in product development and quality control. The work of operators has become easier when you no longer need to search for information in paper templates and handwritten memos, for example. The data is automatically saved, freeing up the time previously spent manually on other tasks. 


"Of course, the information provided by the application also helps us avoid mistakes that result in waste and improve the energy efficiency of the process," Arto Liimatainen says. 


Improving productivity with digitalization  

"Digitalization offers a lot of opportunities to develop operations," says Arto Liimatainen. He wants to give weight to investments and competence development. He would also like to duplicate the achievements of the joint project in other parts of the plant.


Liimatainen has outlined in his mind a vision in which the digital twin and simulation would be used both to test production and to familiarize new experts. "Siemens is already an important supplier to us in terms of automation and electrical components. I believe that with the pilot, the role will focus on being a partner also in the field of digitalization."



August 2022 

Orkla is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the consumer, out of home and bakery markets in the Nordics, the Baltics and selected markets in Central Europe and India. Orkla has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, employs 21,400 employees, had a turnover of 50.4 million Norwegian krones (NOK) (5 million euros) in FY2021, and produces 300 brands. The company operates in 28 countries and 114 factories.