Sylvan, the world’s largest producer of mushroom spawn, decided late 2015 to start a project to automate the 2 process lines at the Dutch plant in Horst, which is the largest fungal based large scale solid-state fermentation plant of Sylvan Europe using the “blender process”. In these “blenders” fully integrated processes take place, which includes mixing, cooking, sterilizing, cooling, inoculating, homogenizing and bagging under aseptic conditions in ISO 5 cleanrooms. This results in consistent and high quality spawn products that are supplied all over the world.
Objective of the project was to develop a Blender Control System (BCS) that would increase and simplify the control of the processes and training of new operators, further increase product consistency and enable Sylvans staff to program processes by themselves.
To achieve this objective, the choice of a good system integrator was considered key. After a thorough selection procedure, HG Industrial (HGI) was chosen to become the system integrator for this project.
Charles Huijbers, Plant Manager of Sylvan Horst: “There were several system integrators participating in the selection procedure who all met basic requirements to execute automation projects successfully, including HGI. The point at which HGI clearly distinguished itself from the competitors was that their team was very good at scanning the needs of Sylvan and translated our desired toolbox concept into a functional design showing that they had developed a very good understanding of the complexity of our integrated process. That’s why we selected HGI above the other competitors. It was a good choice. The cooperation and collaboration with the team was very good, on all levels.”
HGI delivered all stainless steel cabinets, which were built in-house, dismantled the old system, removed all old wiring, installed and tested all hard- and software, final commissioned the installations and delivered all necessary technical drawings and user manuals. All components and wiring were made and installed according to food standards and SIL2 safety category. Programming took place with a Siemens Tia Portal v14. HGI also provided support to the Sylvan staff in learning to program with the custom made process programming toolbox. Via the HMI authorized staff is able to execute and monitor the whole process from loading of raw materials until cleaning the installation after bagging. By the end of June 2017, both blenders were equipped with the new Blender Control System which makes Sylvan Horst ready for the future.