May 17, 2020

ABB: Commissioning in the food industry

Brith Isaksson
Food and Beverage
Digital Twin
Brith Isaksson
3 min
Brith Isaksson explores the benefits and applications of the digital twin in the food and beverage industry.
When adding an extension to a house, an architect will often use computer assisted design (CAD) software to visualise what the extension will look like...

When adding an extension to a house, an architect will often use computer assisted design (CAD) software to visualise what the extension will look like. Similarly, commissioning a new system for a food manufacturing plant requires software assistance to plan effectively and with digital twinning, manufacturers can optimize its ongoing operations. Here, Brith Isaksson, of ABB’s food and beverage business, explains.

Planning can be time-consuming, but when adding to an existing building like a house, it could be the difference between a crumbling foundation and your dream home. To make the process smoother, architects employ specialist software that allows them to draw the designs and integrate the electrical and plumbing elements of the existing structure into the plan.

Architects can then review the plans to ensure compliance with regulations, the practicalities of the design and eliminate any potential issues. However, while CAD plans are often used for planning system installations in manufacturing plants, the software is often limited by the variables that arise during operation.

As a result, we’re seeing a shift towards virtual commissioning technology and other forms of simulation software in the industrial sector. 

Virtual commissioning allows manufacturers to build and run a new factory process line virtually, before building it in the physical world. This includes simulating an exact replica of the line with its current automation system and network in a virtual realm, which is then modified to add in any new equipment. Virtual commissioning allows plant engineers to program robots and automation systems in the virtual world. They then run virtual tests, and any discovered issues can be resolved in advance to significantly reduce costs and the system’s start-up time. 


For example, if a plant manager plans to install a new robotic cell to pick a product from a conveyor and place the product in a box at a certain rate per minute, the line can be choreographed and tested virtually. This ensures that the robot can perform the movements and required manoeuvres in conjunction with the flow of product and packaging. With a virtual process architecture, various scenarios can be run, and the automation software programmed without having to stop production on the physical line.

By using virtual commissioning, manufacturers can also eliminate operational inefficiencies in their existing lines to boost productivity. ABB’s Ability™ RobotStudio, can simulate the different processes in a food and beverage plant so that managers can identify what strategies should be revised to provide better quality and increase output.

For the ongoing support and maintenance of equipment, managers can also integrate other simulation software like digital twinning applications. A digital twin works by simulating an exact replica of an asset, subsystem or system and combines digital aspects of the equipment such as the design model with real-time aspects of how it operates and is maintained, to offer insights into the condition of equipment and the likelihood of any part failures.

While virtual commissioning creates a safe space for engineers to test and make sure the right mix of components are being used in their application, digital twinning offers managers further verification of the overall 3-D design. By using simulation software like ABB’s in the planning stages of this process, plant managers can calculate figures such as the optimum use of supply resources to meet consumption schedules, to make improvements in the whole supply chain.

The steps required to extend or adjust your factory are very similar to that of adding to your home. Disruptive delays or problems not identified in the initial stages can be costly, but with virtual commissioning, food and beverage manufacturers can review the final model before deployment to address any issues and avoid any unexpected costs.

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Jul 23, 2021

The Ultimate Procurement & Supply Chain Event

3 min
New sponsor and speakers announced for Procurement & Supply Chain Live, where innovation meets implementation, coming to you live from London

Global eProcurement leader JAGGAER has been announced as the latest sponsor for Procurement & Supply Chain Live. 

Recognised as a Leader by Gartner in both Strategic Sourcing and Procure-To-Pay, JAGGAER’s direct and indirect eProcurement solutions help over 1850 customers, connecting to a network of 4 million+ suppliers in 70 countries.

From September 28th-30th, Procurement & Supply Chain Live gives you the opportunity to network with C-level executives, gain insight from industry pioneers and walk away with actionable insights that accelerate your career. By the end of the week, we promise you’ll have the skills to solve the world’s most pressing supply chain and procurement challenges. 

Whether you attend virtually or in-person, you’ll strategise how to cope with global disruption, learn from industry pioneers - including newly announced speakers Chris Shanahan, VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific; Jim Townsend, Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance; and David Cho, CPO at University of Massachusetts - and walk away with tips, tactics, and tangible connections. 

How to Attend


In a COVID-disrupted era, we know that the majority of people would rather avoid travelling for events─why take the risk, right? In response to the continued disruption, BizClik Media Group has decided that Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will offer the best of both worlds through hybrid accessibility. 

That means you and your peers can attend the event in person or virtually ─ with no disadvantages for people who choose not to make the trip to the Tobacco Dock venue. 



Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will be held at the Tobacco Dock in London, an industry-leading venue that is renowned for delivering world-class events. For attendees’ peace of mind, the venue is working to the government-endorsed AEV All Secure Framework, alongside mia’s AIM Secure and ‘Good to Go’ accreditation, they will ensure that we achieve a COVID-secure environment to facilitate all of your networking needs. 


Our physical venue is both historic and stunning, but it has no bearing on the information that you and your peers can gain from the event. You can still absorb it all, interact with other attendees, and enjoy the conference experience on your alternative, virtual platform. 

The platform will feature live feeds from all of the stages, as well as virtual networking areas. So, if you want to avoid travel, it’s not a problem! You can still get involved and enjoy the entire experience from the comfort of your own home. 

New Speakers for Procurement & Supply Chain Live

Chris Shanahan
VP Global Procurement/CPO at Thermo Fisher Scientific


Shanahan is Vice President, Global Procurement/CPO for Thermo Fisher Scientific in Waltham, MA. He joined the company to lead efforts in leveraging scale in the marketplace, develop capability and processes across the company, while transforming the supply base. He co-authored the Procurement Leaders Handbook, and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Open University in the United Kingdom.

Jim Townsend
Chief Procurement Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance


Townsend leads Walgreens procurement (Goods and Services Not For Resale). Prior to joining Walgreens Boots Alliance, he worked for Anglo American and General Electric also within commercial procurement. He has worked overseas extensively, in both manufacturing and retail environments. He holds an MBA in Strategic Procurement from the University of Birmingham, UK and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. 


David Cho
CPO at University of Massachusetts

Cho is Chief Procurement Officer for the University of Massachusetts, Unified Procurement Services Team (UPST), comprising strategic sourcing, contracts, supplier management, procurement operations, accounts payable, travel services, and customer service that provide quality service to the UMass system. Cho has 25-plus years of strategy and operations management consulting and industry experience. He was formerly Global Head of Sourcing and Vendor Management at BlackRock.


CLICK HERE to order now and make the most of our early-bird offer. Ticket prices increase over 50% soon!

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