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Cybertrol Engineering wins Sustainability Award for automation implementation at Meati Foods

Oct. 31, 2023
How system integrator Cybertrol Engineering earned Rockwell Automation's PartnerNetwork award for sustainability

Cybertrol Engineering, which earned the Sustainability Award at Rockwell Automation’s PartnerNetwork Conference earlier this year in Los Angeles, delivers system-integration expertise focused on programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), industrial networking and control panels.

Cybertrol, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will exhibit its automation know-how, as well as its experience with PlantPAx, FactoryTalk Batch and FactoryTalk VantagePoint integration projects, at Automation Fair 2023 in Boston, November 6-9.

“Several decades of partnering with Rockwell Automation and the Rockwell PartnerNetwork has allowed Cybertrol to offer our customers truly best practice solutions, combining Cybertrol’s extensive knowledge of processing equipment and systems with Rockwell Automation equipment and software to deliver solutions that maximize manufacturing performance,” says Cybertrol CEO Ben Durbin. “Maximizing manufacturing performance is part of our mission statement at Cybertrol. It is our promise to our customers.”

The Sustainability Award was earned by Cybertrol for its work at a new factory for Meati Foods, which produces a meat alternative in Thornton, Colorado. “Cybertrol integrated a Rockwell Automation PlantPAx distributed control system (DCS),” explains Tim Barthel, executive vice president at Cybertrol. “The new PlantPAx controllers were utilized to integrate large and complex process areas into single controllers for a reduced footprint and simplified architecture. Meati’s products are the first of their kind to the market, and Meati partnered with Cybertrol Engineering to deliver functioning software very quickly, which is another benefit of PlantPAx—streamlined workflows allowing development time savings along with extended operator functionality.”

Cybertrol Engineering and Meati partnered to deliver a system that produces a mushroom-root protein, also known as mycelium, to create delicious and nutritious cutlets and steaks, introducing a new food group that aims to be the next American staple. Meati has differentiated itself from the congested alternative-protein category by creating a product that mimics whole cuts of meat. Meati’s mushroom-root protein products could play a meaningful role in addressing the challenges of climate change and food security (Figure 1).

The technology used in this process is controlled by utilizing a PlantPAx 5.0 system that includes multiple 1756-L8xEP, L8xE and L8xES processors, a distributed FactoryTalk View SE system, Historian SE for data collection and AssetCentre provided by Rockwell Automation technology partners.

The control system allows for deeper and continuous visibility into the data required to optimize water, energy and time within the processes. These efficiency gains can further enhance the sustainability attributes of the final product.

As an additional protein choice complementary to cows and chickens, Meati products require fewer resources—water, energy, land—to produce and eliminate the need for antibiotics and growth hormones. Furthermore, Meati products are providing additional options for consumers looking to consume less traditional forms of meat for environmental, social or dietary reasons.

“Cybertrol Engineering’s strength is our partnership commitment to our customers for all of their needs, not just the large capital project, but for everything in between,” explains Barthel. “Along with our project delivery services, we offer 24/7 support, ongoing infrastructure and application-as-a-service maintenance/support, service-level project work and front-end engineering/consulting. Also, for the industries we serve, we understand our customers’ operational and business challenges, and we deliver solutions that offer more than a standard control system.”

As Cybertrol’s customers run leaner operations and face workforce challenges, they need a partner that can help with those additional services, as they are just as important as the successful execution of large capital projects, emphasizes Durbin. "Customers are looking for smarter, more tightly integrated systems that can run more autonomously and address their complex challenges across the enterprise, with ongoing support,” he explains. “Customers are looking for partners that can deliver on that. Cybertrol Engineering is investing heavily in modularity and standardization across our OT and control-layer hardware and software solutions. We also continue to evolve our as-a-service offerings to support the needs of manufacturers. After a project is deployed, we maintain that partnership with the customer to offer ongoing support. The day-to-day work with our customers is just as important as the large capital project work.”

Meati results

At Meati, the control system allows for deeper and continuous visibility into the data required to optimize water, energy and time within the processes. These efficiency gains can further enhance the sustainability attributes of the final product. Achieving efficiency through automation involves looking at each process, considering the available technologies and knowing how to apply them.

A variety of sustainability metrics were identified and obtained, and engagement from plant employees allow for teams to be armed with the data needed to make continuous improvements in processes to drive optimization when and where it’s needed.

Cybertrol Engineering scaled up a proven research-and-development process facility to enable production of Meati products. The Cybertrol-designed control system optimizes the process and the data collected to allow for controls modifications to conserve water, energy and time. As Meati is ramping up and beginning to collect data to set sustainability goals and commitments, the visibility of this information from the Cybertrol-designed control system with Rockwell Automation products allows for the setting meaningful targets.

Meati is working to change the way people eat by democratizing access to delicious, nutrient-rich, complete protein in a way that protects and preserves the planet's water, land and air. Eat Meati is the debut product line, featuring whole-food cutlets and steaks made from mushroom root via natural processes in a toxicity-free environment with no heavy metals, pesticides or antibiotics.

Look for Cybertrol Engineering in Booth 256 at Automation Fair 2023.

About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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