Industry 4.0’s firm hold on iconic Australian brand

Aeroplane Jelly is a national treasure. Created in a bathtub in 1927 in Sydney, it was once one of Australia’s largest family-operated food manufacturers. Even today, hearing the old jingle, “I like Aeroplane Jelly, Aeroplane Jelly for me, I like it for dinner, I like it for tea, A little each day is a good recipe” creates a strong feeling of nostalgia.

Acquired by what was McCormick Foods in 1994, today, more than 20 million packets of Aeroplane Jelly are consumed each year. Now incorporated as McCormick & Company, the nostalgic jelly brand’s owner is no stranger to large-scale food production, as it is a global flavour company that manufactures, markets and distributes an extensive range of spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavourful products to the food industry.

McCormick & Company’s enthusiasm and appetite for innovation is now taking its operations into the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0.

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The teams at McCormick & Company and Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions have commenced an Industry 4.0 pilot project in conjunction with Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited (AMTIL) and Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), which will start at the McCormick facility in Clayton South. As the lead technical partner, Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions is responsible for implementing the project across the three existing Aeroplane Jelly automatic packaging lines.

“Instead of interfacing with McCormick’s existing machines, we are strategically placing sensors onto the line that can detect the parts going past. With this simple and cost-effective solution, these sensors are counting parts going into and out of machines,” said Bradley Trewin, national sales and business development manager at Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions.

“This simple solution will eliminate McCormick’s existing manual data collection process, and by doing so, will remove possible errors in data collection and give them real-time insights into what is happening on their lines. Now, instead of collecting manual data, they can focus on analysing this precise cloud-based data to make improvements to their production,” continued Bradley.

Currently, McCormick’s factory is similar to many other manufacturing facilities across Australia – there are multiple operational shifts, with different operators manning each shift. Under the existing system, if there is a machine breakdown on one shift, incoming operators have no knowledge about the reason behind the break and whether there have been solutions implemented. With the Industry 4.0 project, the factory will now centrally control all machine data, providing a fault tree of reasons, which will also include a finite set of solutions for technicians to reference as they troubleshoot.

With this pilot programme in place, McCormick & Company has begun to add transformation to its local operations.

With successful implementation underway, the company continues to seek future implementation for Industry 4.0 practices to solve other pain points.

“Through this first level Industry 4.0 pilot project, McCormick & Company will see the benefits of real-time visibility of accurate, reliable data. This allows them to identify where there might be problems and solve them, quickly and easily,” said Bradley.

For Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions, the recipe for success is combining the best data and machines, with people being the secret ingredient. The solution created for McCormick is the perfect example – by recording and providing meaningful data and insights, the solution enables the company’s people to make critical decisions and actions required to improve production.

“Through our ‘Journey to Excellence’, reliable production performance data plays a critical role in supporting loss analysis and continuous improvement,” said Stewart Dwelly, operations manager McCormick Foods.

“The production team needs real-time information to enable this at the shop floor level. This project is a fantastic opportunity to showcase how a simple solution can improve operating efficiencies.”

Aeroplane Jelly has a special place in the hearts of all Australians. By embracing digital transformation and paying attention to the trends leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it will remain competitive long into the future.