Biscuit production optimised after oven and cooling system upgrade

Tim Tam Conveyor.jpg

With expansion into international markets and a subsequent demand to improve production at its Adelaide facility, Arnott’s required greater flexibility and speed of changeovers in their production lines. They wanted to be able to run any product in any line with ease. ‘Project Flex’ was their answer.

Part of the solution was in updating the outdated oven conveyor’s PLC hardware and HMI. An updated HMI system would improve the way operators could load new production orders, including a feature that allows different recipes to be stored, selected and produced on the same line. A Recipe Management Page would enable each oven to store recipes with pre-programmed conveyor path, line speed set points and variables – thus allowing faster changeover and reduced margin for human error.

Arnott’s contracted SAGE Automation to complete the control systems upgrade which included removing obsolete PLC hardware and optimising the HMI according to Arnott’s specifications.

Specifically the upgrade included: an oven controls system upgrade for PLC and HMI and the installation of two new cooling systems for conveyors including reprogramming of PLC and HMI.

SAGE delivered the project under a tight schedule over four phases:

1st phase: PLC hardware update

  • SAGE kept SLC IO and installed a Rockwell Control Logix processor using their conversion tool
  • Added user data types (UDT’s) and Add on instructions (AOI) in place for recipe management at the next phase

2nd phase: installation of new cooling systems (x2) and consolidation of existing system (x1)

  • Control of systems centralised to one panel so effectively all cooling systems are monitored and controlled from a centralised PLC

3rd phase: new HMI programmed and installed

  • Improved HMI design and functionality according to Arnott’s specifications
  • Removal of old HMI and reconfiguration of new HMI - including four individual screens for each oven

4th phase: commissioning

  • New conveyor PLC programing and equipment
  • Manufacture and supply of control panel
  • Installation of variable speed drives (VSDs) and new flex I-O drops
  • Interface and communication for existing drives, PLC’s and HMI’s

    "SAGE upgraded our PLC and HMI with no loss in production and no downtime. It's a great result for us considering it was such a big upgrade." Matt Bickle, Arnott's Biscuits
Project Highlights
  • No production loss and no downtime for upgrades completed during production time
  • The PLC hardware removed was used as spares for other systems
  • SAGE determined that the processors needed replacing but the IO cards were still suitable, meaning Arnott’s could perform an incremental change
  • Arnott’s is now using the HMI that SAGE developed in new projects. SAGE is currently doing another Arnott’s project using similar HMI layout.

Capabilities Demonstrated

Project Management:

  • Estimation and Cost Planning
  • Procurement
  • Safety assessment, risk mitigation planning and management
  • Changeover plan


  • CAD Drafting
  • Low/medium voltage electrical design
  • Certified safety system assessment and design – Updating onsite safety systems.
  • PLC system design


  • Control Panel manufacture/wiring
  • PLC networking
  • HMI
  • System Integration


  • Installation
  • Commissioning
  • Low/medium voltage electrical installation
  • FAT and SAT testing
  • Provision of final, as built, documentation

SAGE Service:

  • Ongoing SAGE Service support

Technology Utilised

  • Hardwired
  • Pliz
  • Allen Bradley ControlLogix PLC
  • Rockwell PLC
  • Rockwell SLC to Control Logix conversion tool
  • Devicenet communication
  • Ethernet communication
Sector Manufacturing; Projects
Capabilities PLC and HMI upgrade, recipe management system with pre-programmed conveyor path, control systems upgrade
Client Arnott's Biscuits
Locations South Australia

"SAGE upgraded our PLC and HMI with no loss in production and no downtime. It's a great result for us considering it was such a big upgrade."

Matt Bickle, Arnott's Biscuits