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A recipe for success

The continued commitment of the Beretta family, united by a love of tradition and authentic tastes, has created a brand recognized worldwide as a leader in the production of sausages and cured meat. Today, after nearly two hundred years in business, Fratelli Beretta has maintained its dedication to high-quality production and the constant pursuit of innovation. This is shown in the search for new products designed for markets that are becoming increasingly large and complex while never losing sight of the importance of attention to detail.

Two centuries of tradition

Fratelli Beretta S.p.A. was founded in 1812 as a small butcher shop in Brianza, near Milan. Over the years, they took on the responsibilities of cattle herding while establishing 16 new locations around the world, including one in China and two in the USA. By developing new technologies, improving production processes and adding a wider range of service companies, Fratelli Beretta was able to make an enormous qualitative leap.

"Despite the importance and number of business graduates, Beretta Group companies still rely on Beretta family members," explains Stefano Giovannoni. "They are still present today holding active roles in production management as well as in the decision-making process for new product development." From selecting raw materials to inspecting the final packaged product, family members are involved in every step of the way. Giovannoni explains further, "This constant presence at the forefront of our operations has allowed us to not only pass down the requisite expertise from generation to generation, but also the culture of our products as well. This includes high-quality workmanship and precision while pursuing the modernization of our production system by streamlining the production chain. It is the goal of the Beretta Group to manufacture innovative products with our traditional brand and style while maintaining our high quality standards."

Wuber: Quality and craftsmanship

The Wuber company is a division of Fratelli Beretta S.p.A. that specializes in manufacturing sausages, hams and snacks that cover a wide range of food tastes and follow the latest market trends. "Wuber's flagship product is a sausage that enjoys a greater share of the market than any of our competitors," explains Giovannoni. "The main customers for Wuber's products are large retailers who require a constant high level of product quality at an acceptable cost all the way down to the end customer. We achieve this through a strategic manufacturing policy and efficiency that is shaped by our long experience and know-how in the area of foodstuff production."

Continuous optimization of a product's manufacturing process is not an easy task, especially when the high quality standards of the Beretta Group are on the line. One reason for this is that quality and efficiency sometimes represent conflicting goals. Market success is therefore determined by a company's ability to balance a consistent level of quality with increased efficiency.

Solid partnerships are the key to success

The Beretta Group has established close partnerships with several suppliers over the years. In order to keep this tradition going, Beretta makes sure to perform a thorough analysis before a new supplier is chosen. "For us, choosing a supplier means choosing a long-term partner," states Giovannoni. "We are basically choosing to establish a relationship that goes beyond the mere provision of goods and services. Our suppliers assist us in implementing a wide range of different projects. This cooperation therefore extends anywhere from introducing a new product to developing new methods of production. In any case, collaboration never ends after delivery; it continues over many years. This approach might mean a drawn out selection process, but it ensures that the right decision is made in the end."

Maximum reliability with the most modern PC technology

In recent years, the Beretta Group has sought to change the methodology used to manufacture their products. "Particularly in the food industry, the manufacturing process also involves the need to monitor production costs and efficiency standards," says Giovannoni. "It must be possible to collect a range of real-time data from every part of the system. This includes important information about feedback strategies, 'dashboard' control efficiency standards and quality requirements."

The resulting data provides essential information that can be used to establish a standard that can be repeated, along with the ability to adjust productivity according to constantly changing customer demands. The question then arises as to the tools best suited to reach this goal. "In the foodstuffs industry, about 70% of all downtime is related to electric or electronic problems," says Giovannoni. "This percentage is growing with the increasing presence of control elements based more on electronics than mechanical components."

This fact led directly to the selection of a PC solution with a maximum degree of reliability as being the best option for collecting essential data for analysis. Nonetheless, it was still an important requirement for the production analysis that no new control elements be introduced that would cause downtime in either the plant or the production line itself.

B&R as a strategic choice

When the Beretta Group decided to implement a production data collection system at Medolago, they had some essential requirements for the PC solution to be used. The most important factor had to do with reliability; introducing weak elements into the production system was to be avoided by all means. A second requirement demanded that the PC be able to provide the versatility needed by the application. "The choice of an industrial PC from B&R was not based on its price," says Giovannoni, "but mainly on its technical features, such as remote monitoring over long distances, fan-free and disk-free systems, and the ability to use displays with compact, rugged front and back covers with IP65 protection." In addition, he emphasizes the importance of having a customized product with the Beretta logo, which emits the feeling of being "home". This avoids giving an impression of invasion or interference by other companies in the production cycle. "This customization is not limited to the use of our logo and corporate colors, however. B&R was also able to mount a stainless steel add-on keyboard that can be used by the operator to enter data into the PC."

Application for controlling production

Medolago currently has about 60 PCs located in rooms with a controlled temperature environment; they are remotely connected to control panels from the Automation Panel series. The stainless steel 15" and 19" panels meet the stringent hygiene regulations of the food industry and are distributed across all lines and departments. Customized Beretta controllers are located throughout the plant, from the loading and storage of raw materials to palletization, along every step of the way: grinding, mixing, cooking, quality control, packaging, marking and final testing. Every PC runs software for monitoring specific data, which is exchanged over a fiber optic Ethernet network. All data is then transmitted to the data center.

"We especially appreciate the strength of these panels," says Giovannoni. "The machines are constructed in such a way that they can be used in our often damp environments where we use high-pressure water jets for cleaning. This is a significant advantage, especially because a hygienic environment is our absolute first priority! With B&R, we have achieved objectives not just limited to the Medolago location, but which we will be able to implement at other locations as well – both in Italy as well as abroad."

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