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Savoring Success: The Recipe Behind T. Marzetti’s Expansion

T. Marzetti Company are the culinary maestros behind hundreds of delicious dressings and sauces, leaving a lasting impression on dinner tables far and wide.  They whip up these culinary wonders not only for their own brands but also for national restaurant chains and other big-name foodies out there. Imagine the chaos if they couldn't keep up with the demand. 

For nearly two decades, our parent company Gray has been the trusty partner by T. Marzetti's side, delivering facilities and systems that keep the customer running strong. In 2005, Gray built T. Marzetti’s original dressing and sauce production facility in Horse Cave, KY, followed by a 100,000 s.f. bakery for subsidiary Sister Schubert’s, a cold storage expansion in 2011, and most recently, an expansion of the original facility to double its size. As the relationship deepened and the manufacturing campus grew, so too did Gray’s service offering—a fitting formula for an increasingly sophisticated operation.

Embracing the Unknowns

In our world, the recipe for success often begins with asking the right questions. That's why we make it a point to approach each project with a fresh perspective, leaving no room for old-school assumptions.  During our initial consultation, we stumbled upon some intriguing challenges around documentation and resources. 

While some might be phased by the unknowns, we see them as opportunities ripe for innovation.  So we quickly got to work and met with a variety of stakeholders throughout the plant including operations, the reliability team, maintenance, control engineering, and management. As we continued to craft the requirements for the new system, we refined this group into a core team of decision-makers and project reviewers. 

Once we had a firm grasp of the new system's requirements, our mission was clear. We embarked on a journey that involved the design, fabrication, and installation of local HMIs and remote I/O control panels, motor control centers (MCCs), variable-frequency drives (VFDs), and instrumentation. This translated to building about 30 separate panels and a redundant ControlLogix controller pair, using Inductive Automation’s Ignition software for the HMIs, and incorporating more than 1,000 I/O points. 

Enhancing Flexibility: Unleashing Kitchen Control

Expanding beyond their existing nine kitchens and numerous packaging lines, T. Marzetti came to us with some additional requirements for their fresh production equipment. First on the list:

they craved flexibility in their kitchen control systems.  They wanted the ability to send products from the new kitchens to any packaging line across the entire plant. This meant bridging the gap between the new culinary additions and the existing skids in the tank farm area, where products are held to wait for a packaging line. To do this, we used a valve matrix with a new type of valve that we had to figure out how to control. There were a few ideas T. Marzetti wanted to evaluate, so we developed a way to compare and contrast options. This included a cost analysis, ensuring T. Marzetti had all the ingredients for the most informed decision-making process.  

Similarly, the new kitchens needed to communicate with their existing bulk raw material systems and clean-in-place (CIP) skids. Our team of expert Solutioneers seamlessly connected all their new and existing equipment without breaking a sweat.  On the OT networking front, it was a heavier lift to bring everything together, but we were up for the challenge. We had a total of 230 Ethernet devices that needed to talk to our PLC alone. We specified two IDF cabinets which allowed all our new systems to connect upward to their manufacturing network. To keep things familiar, we used T. Marzetti's preferred switches, sparing them the need to decipher any new switching systems.

Simply meeting expectations is a bit boring, so we also added some new features and additional systems. To bolster their oil game, we seamlessly integrated five fresh soybean oil tanks into the mix, ensuring they could stockpile oil onsite, mitigating potential supply chain hiccups. It was all about streamlining and enhancing their culinary workflow.

Downtime Minimized, Excellence Maximized

Partnering with Gray Solutions for an automation and controls project is like securing a safety net for every phase of your journey.  Our Solutioneers, a collective of trailblazers at the top of their field, were well prepared to skillfully design, develop, and seamlessly integrate control systems that not only fulfill T. Marzetti's present requirements but are also primed for scalability, ready to adapt to their future needs.  

Our commitment to T. Marzetti Company was not just about avoiding those nail-biting moments and minimizing downtime during deployment; it was about keeping the show running smoothly long after the project wrapped up.