Arla meets audit requirements with Endress+Hauser contract
Arla is a European dairy cooperative with a global reach. It’s owned by 12,000 dairy farmers, around 2,500 of whom are in the UK. The farmer owners take an active part in deciding how the business grows and develops. Arla took over full ownership of Westbury Dairies in Wiltshire in 2016, having been involved with the skimmed milk powder and bulk butter production facility since 2010.
Engineers at Arla’s Westbury Dairies are required to have a reliable calibration system in place to meet demanding audit obligations. Every process at the dairy relies on instrumentation to monitor parameters such as temperature, flow, pressure and conductivity, and those readings have to be accurate.
“Our customers and the food industry always look seriously at calibration compliance,” states Process Automation Engineer Matthew Tribick. “We have over 210 separate calibrations for over 130 plant locations each year. It isn’t a small task and, as with most manufacturers, gone are the days of lengthy plant shutdowns to carry out the work. We can’t bring a team in here to calibrate all the instruments in one go because we’re unable to remove the equipment from the line for long enough, and we don’t have the facilities or the time to do our own calibrations.”
Arla decided to purchase a second instrument for each calibration point so they can send their devices to Endress+Hauser’s lab for calibration and hold replacements on site to keep the process running. The devices are always returned within Arla’s KPI of 14 days. “We’ve just had a batch of 69 devices sent away, which in the past might have taken three weeks to calibrate. They were all done in five or six days and back on the shelf in 12, which is really good,” confirms Matthew.
“We’re over the moon with the service.”Matthew Tribick, Process Automation Engineer, Arla
Being able to rely on a quick service is crucial for Arla. “We have to be able to show that we have a robust system in place to minimise the turnaround. Due to the contract we have with Endress+Hauser, it’s become much easier to prove that to the auditors, which our quality department are really happy with. We can say exactly when something is going to be sent away and exactly when it’s going to return.”
After calibration, Arla’s engineers and QEHS department can download their certificates and access reports directly from the W@M Portal, Endress+Hauser’s asset management tool.
Reliable calibration helps Arla to comply with regulations by ensuring its processes run smoothly and its products are safe. “The temperature measurements in particular have to be very, very accurate, otherwise the cream or milk isn’t legally pasteurised,” explains Matthew. “For all of our butter and spreads production there are critical temperatures, and if the accuracy of these readings cannot be proven, a failed audit could result in disastrous order cancellations.”
The partnership with Endress+Hauser saves valuable time for Arla’s engineers. “We’re over the moon with the service. We have a contract manager now, so if I have any problems, I can quite confidently pass them off to him and he gets them resolved without me having to chase.”
“We have a contract manager now, so if I have any problems, I can quite confidently pass them off to him and he gets them resolved without me having to chase.”Matthew Tribick, Process Automation Engineer, Arla
For more information on our calibration services, visit www.uk.endress.com or call 0161 286 5050 to talk to the Service team.