Cheers to Corporate MES Standardization Carlsberg Chooses Siemens as its Global MES Supplier

Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

Looking to maximize the business benefits of its manufacturing execution systems (MES) while minimizing the costs of ownership, Carlsberg has chosen Simatic IT from Siemens as a corporate standard. Solution partner ATS commissioned the first installation in April 2009. Over the next four years Carlsberg plans to roll out Simatic IT to 15 plants.

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A view into the Carlsberg brewhouse (Pictures: Siemens)
A view into the Carlsberg brewhouse (Pictures: Siemens)
( Archiv: Vogel Business Media )

The Carlsberg Group is one of the largest brewers in the world, operating in over 50 countries. As well as the Carlsberg name, its portfolio of beers includes strong regional brands such as Tuborg, Baltika and Kronenbourg. In the past, Carlsberg’s approach to manufacturing execution systems (MES) was to choose solutions locally, developing them over the years with add-ons as required. This led to a fragmented landscape of unconnected IT systems, including legacy systems acquired through corporate takeovers.

Though these systems work, many of them are less than ideal. They may require extensive manual input, with a consequent risk of errors, and the lack of standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) makes it difficult to compare the performance of different plants. Accordingly, Carlsberg realized that it needed a corporate MES standard for the MES layer.


A consistent approach to MES is also in line with the group’s ongoing business standardization program at the enterprise resource planning (ERP) level. It is expected to optimize the benefits of MES at the lowest possible IT cost of ownership, and help Carlsberg achieve its strategic goals of lowering production costs, improving quality and responding rapidly to changing customer demand. The goal is complete integration of systems, with standard automated KPIs and reporting across multiple breweries.

Automated tracking and tracing

As well as automatically generating reports and KPI data, the standardized MES was required to provide real-time visibility throughout each brewery, resulting in reduced machine downtime; reduced energy costs; reduced overtime and labor costs; reduced manual data collection and report creation; reduced inventory; elimination of duplicate processes; improved equipment utilization; improved data accuracy for decision making; and dynamic response to production or quality issues.

The standardization and integration aspects of the project would help to limit the costs of software and hardware, simplify future changes, and allow technical support to be provided centrally.

Carlsberg chose a solution based on Siemens’ Simatic IT which includes order handling, management of downtime and asset utilization, tracking and genealogy, at-line quality management, and KPI reporting for three areas: filling and packaging; utilities; brewing and processing.

ATS was selected as the solution provider for the project. ATS provides products and services at all three levels of the automation pyramid: process control, manufacturing execution, and information.

The main factors Carlsberg took into account when selecting both Siemens and ATS as partners were reliability, business strategy and service offerings, experience in MES, knowledge of brewing and of the process industries generally, understanding of Carlsberg’s business goals, and the capability to translate these into the technical implementation.

Integration and reporting

In essence, the new system was designed to follow the production process. The full visibility of the production lines provides the manufacturing intelligence required to continually improve processes and intervene in a timely manner to avoid scrap. Integration with warehousing and ERP systems lets the system manage orders created by SAP in response to customer orders. At all times orders are available for real-time scheduling and progress tracking. Operators can also select and modify orders manually, and create orders to run independently of SAP.

At the process layer, the MES communicates with control systems including Siemens and Rockwell PLCs, process control systems from various suppliers, and SCADA systems such as WinCC and iFix. This integration allows the automatic capture of order, downtime and loss data when running orders on the packaging lines. Downtimes and downtime reasons are logged through the SCADA system. Detailed standard downtime and performance analysis reports are available, with multiple data filtering options.

Standard KPI reports for the packaging lines include utilization, line efficiency and scorecard, while KPIs for utilities include water and energy consumption, wastewater production, and CO2 consumption and recovery. Reports are fully aligned with the Carlsberg Group KPI manual and also include local KPI reporting to support lean manufacturing initiatives. Full traceability and genealogy helps to show at all times when and how the product was made, and what it is made of.

Modular solution

Simatic IT is a modular system, with a set of standard functions coordinated by a graphical workflow. This approach means that only the modules required by the application in question need to be deployed, and allows new modules to be introduced as required. Any remaining missing functions can be developed rapidly using a Client Application Builder. Simatic IT has an open architecture allowing third party applications to be integrated with the MES, and it offers strong connectivity to shop floor and SAP. Simatic IT is fully based on the ISA 95 standard for MESs, and ATS also used the ISA 95 MES model to translate the functional requirements set out by users at Carlsberg.

Components, models and rules are stored in a hierarchy of reusable libraries such as the Simatic libraries used in this project. The capability to re-use these libraries across plants cuts the time required for the project, as well as the costs and risks. ATS engineers were involved in developing the Simatic IT Brewing Industry Library and the Filling & Packaging Library.

Into the future

Following a first successful trial, Carlsberg plans to install the solution in at least 15 plants within the next four years. The phased roll-out gets the benefits of Simatic IT to individual breweries as rapidly as possible, while ensuring that the system continues to evolve as experience is gained.

The connectivity of the MES platform to a wide variety of existing systems and the re-usable character of the libraries guarantee that this solution will remain workable in the long term.

In the end, the project’s success will be measured on its ability to lower production costs, improve quality and ensure rapid response to demand changes. Implementing a complete and standardized MES solution helps to reduce automation and IT costs, while full integration ensures accurate planning and production status information.

“Though we have not yet started to measure the savings, we get feedback from the plant about real savings in system and paperwork costs and considerable enhancements in visibility of orders and actual production status,” says Carlsberg. “Together with clear downtime reporting, this empowers our people to make better decisions, almost on an hourly basis, resulting in improvements on production and quality levels.”