La Tortilla Factory

Goals

  • To control and reduce overall process operating costs.
  • To enable staff to access real-time data for immediate decision making.
  • To effectively link all disparate systems within a single operations platform.

Challenges

  • A wide range of disparate systems which previously did not work together had to be able to provide accurate performance data.
  • The operations team was unable to successfully achieve day-to-day performance
    improvements since critical information was not available in real-time.
  • Manual reporting was hindering access to key data metrics.

Results

  • La Tortilla Factory has achieved a 5% improvement in yield.
  • Company-wide visualization of operations data has improved teamwork and reaction times.
  • AVEVA software has made the company’s culture of continuous improvement much easier to achieve.

“There are so many shop floor systems out there today that basically force companies to comply with how the system wants to show you your data. This really is a recipe for disaster since not all manufacturing operations and processes are the same. With AVEVA, we’ve been able to access specific data and develop custom reports that our team wants to see, enabling us to continue to maintain and improve the quality of our product.” - Katie Evans, Vice President of Operations

La Tortilla Factory Achieves Realtime Monitoring and Reporting of Tortilla Manufacturing with AVEVA

SANTA ROSA, California, USA – At the heart of every Mexican meal is the tortilla, be it corn or flour. When Mary and Jose Tomayo opened their hometown restaurant in northern California wine country in 1977, they never imagined that the popularity of their homemade tortillas would launch them into a “tortilla empire,” eventually producing more than 1.5 million tortillas each day.

The Tomayos first started with a single tortilla maker at the back of their restaurant, making homemade corn tortillas for their delicious Mexican food entrees. As the popularity of their restaurant grew, so did demand for the restaurant’s tasty tortillas. Eventually, the staff was overwhelmed by all the restaurant patrons, including customers who had come to buy the tortillas just as they were.

From these humble beginnings, La Tortilla Factory has grown to be one of the largest and most popular tortilla brands in existence, with tortillas distributed nationwide at most major retailers.

As with any business, La Tortilla Factory continually searches for ways to drive down operating costs. After an evaluation of its factory operations, the company quickly found its traditional manual way of doing things was no longer a viable option if they want to remain competitive. Automation was key to their ongoing and future success.

The manufacturing management team chose to implement AVEVA software from to manage operations and provide key metrics to ensure product safety and quality.

Combining existing factory floor systems into one cohesive view

La Tortilla Factory implemented a customised solution using AVEVA to successfully address its operations and reporting requirements. At the time, the facility used a wide range of technologies, equipment brands and processes
which were not effectively working together. It was important to implement a software solution that could easily integrate with and manage the existing equipment and processes.

To provide a cohesive technology foundation which all subsequent applications could easily connect to, La Tortilla Factory implemented AVEVA System Platform. Functioning as an “Industrial Operating System,” System Platform provides a collection of integrated common services including visualisation, configuration, deployment, communication, security, data connectivity, data storage and management, people collaboration and more.

These services enabled La Tortilla Factory to build a single, unified plant model that represents processes, physical equipment, industrial systems and even legacy equipment, making the design and maintenance of these systems more flexible and efficient.

Operating as System Platform’s visualization tool, InTouch Edge HMI provides La Tortilla Factory’s shop floor team real-time visibility into their processes. As an open and extensible supervisory HMI and SCADA solution, InTouch Edge HMI enables the rapid creation of standardised, reusable visualisation applications and deployment across the entire enterprise from a single control center.

InTouch Edge HMI offers advanced engineering tools that deliver faster time to value, more effective HMI design, better trouble shooting, and ease of application maintenance. It also includes visual enhancements to improve the ability to identify and address abnormal situations before they impact La Tortilla Factory operations.

Transitioning from manual to automated reporting

Another important feature of System Platform was the ability for the La Tortilla Factory manufacturing team to create custom reports detailing specific information.

With increased operational visibility provided by AVEVA, La Tortilla Factory is able to run a more efficient and profitable operation. Longterm historical data trending and analysis from disparate systems, combined with long-term network analysis, makes it possible for the company to more accurately verify customer usage and future needs. It also enables the management team to better asses areas for improvement.

Real-time process information key to success at La Tortilla Factory

Having access to real-time information available at the click of a button is critical to running a successful manufacturing enterprise.

“Before AVEVA, everything was done manually with people writing things on paper and then filing it away. Then eventually, that information was transferred to Excel reports which allowed us to trace the inputted data back to the operators. Most of the time we were trying to chase things that happened in the past in order to view the future. While these were fairly advanced reports, they were still being done by hand.” - Pablo Vigil, Shift Production Manager