Raise your glasses

In 2018, Gallo Glass celebrates its 60th anniversary and looks back with pride on its development. Siemens has also contributed to the success story with its process control system.

A company’s successes are often better understood in retrospect, and anniversaries can be an excellent opportunity for a company to review its history. When North American glass facility Gallo Glass celebrates its 60th year, there are sure to be many milestones that contributed to making this famous manufacturer of wine and spirit bottles what it is today. When it was founded in 1958 by Ernest and Julio Gallo in Modesto, California, a new era in bottle making was launched. From the very start, Gallo Glass was able to meet production needs while minimizing the impact on the environment. As early as 1961, the company commissioned a second melting furnace, which continued to be supplied by only one batch plant. When Gallo Glass needed a third furnace in 1970, the batch house had almost reached its limits. When a fourth furnace was added in 1972, a second batch house was finally acquired.

Growing environmental awareness

In the 1980s, society experienced a renewed awareness of environmental matters, which led Gallo Glass to make its processes even more efficient and resource-saving. At that time, the company invested in triple gob coolers, designed smaller bottles, and converted from mechanical to machine-aided time control. The next milestone occurred in the 1990s, when Gallo Glass became one of the first glass packaging companies to install natural gas / oxygen furnaces to minimize NOx emissions. An automated electrostatic filter unit was installed to significantly reduce particulate emissions.

At full capacity

The lack of redundancy was problematic for Gallo, because high availability with a simultaneous increase in capacity was essential. Operating the two batch plants also required a relatively high deployment of staff. The first immediate action on the part of the company was to consolidate its two raw-material silos. Then, in 2014, Gallo Glass commissioned EME GmbH to plan and upgrade the batch plant and parts of the cullet-return system so as to guarantee maximum redundancy and enable predictive maintenance. At the same time, Gallo ordered new melting furnaces from EME’s sister company Nikolaus Sorg, meaning that the core technology was supplied from a single source – with all the advantages in terms of quality and interfaces. Gallo Glass also decided to use melting furnaces with the latest oxy-fuel technology.

 

Thanks to the integrated solution and the expertise of the batch systems engineering company, the Simatic PCS 7 process control system also found its way to Gallo Glass.
Mo Mashinchi, project manager at Gallo Glass

Premiere of Simatic PCS 7

“Thanks to the integrated solution and the expertise of the batch systems engineering company, the Simatic PCS 7 process control system also found its way to Gallo Glass,” recalls Mo Mashinchi, project manager for the bottle maker. This was no small feat, given that it was the U.S. market. Another first: The control system’s standards, standardized libraries, comprehensive functionalities, and modular engineering enabled EME to implement an end-to-end automation solution at the hot end.

Complex upgrade phase

The recent 18-month upgrade also proved to be a complex task. In addition to a cold furnace repair, it involved expanding and integrating the cullet plant, including the belt loading station. The cullet plant was integrated into the batch-house controller during operation. “It was sort of like open-heart surgery in which additional controllers were embedded,” says Mashinchi. “There were no major interruptions during the upgrade. We were able to continue producing millions of bottles a day. And now, for the first time, we’ll be able to prevent future failures through predictive maintenance – that was extremely important for us.”

The desired effect

“We’re extremely satisfied with Siemens and have excellent relationships with our colleagues there,” Mashinchi adds. “The implemented solution is environmentally sustainable and has given us the desired increase in efficiency and availability. And thanks to system redundancy, we were also able to expand our capacities. As an added bonus, the technologies were developed in such a way that it’s theoretically possible to add two more melting furnaces.” Meanwhile, Gallo Glass was able to achieve higher annual production volume – with no end in sight. So everything’s ready for the anniversary. Raise your glasses!

2018-10-05

Picture credits: Siemens AG

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