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Wafer producer Kägi builds smart factory

Swiss chocolate wafer producer Kägi Söhne AG plans to have its entire machine park digitally networked and all process data visualized by 2024. The company is working with Bühler on this project, which started in 2019, when the two conducted a Performance Assessment Workshop to assess where production improvements could be made. “Our vision is to produce the perfect Kägi every day, whether it is 30°C in summer or minus 10°C in winter,” said Pascal Grin, Chief Operating Officer of Kägi Söhne AG.

One of the first steps was to connect most of Kägi’s production to the Bühler Insights platform, Bühler’s digital tool that connects devices, operational metrics, and analytics. Connecting around “25 to 30 data points per machine to Bühler Insights enables both operating staff and management to take their decisions based on data, facts, and figures. This is of special interest for the Continuous Improvement Process at Kägi,” said Kristina Polic, Project Lead Smart Factory 2024, and Continuous Improvement Manager at Kägi.

Judith Spreitzer, Project Manager Bühler Services, added: “Connecting Kägi to Bühler Insights platform creates unique transparency on process and machine data. From raw materials to baking and filling of wafer sheets, and to chocolate coating, data can now be recorded, analyzed, and interpreted at any time.”

By linking and visualizing the data in Bühler Insights, Kägi expects to see an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) increase of 5% to 8%. “We are already using the data in real-time and our employees can react immediately to fluctuations in quality, thus preventing unplanned downtime. For us, this leads to cost savings and an uncomplicated overview of the process,” says Pascal Grin.

Based on the outcome of the Performance Assessment Workshop and product tests in the Bühler Wafer Innovation Center, Kägi decided to invest in a fully automatic BM-W 180-H batter mixing plant, a highly efficient SWAKT-80 wafer baking oven, and a fully automatic WIS-EAGLE In-Line wafer sheet inspection system. Franziska Babst, Head of Quality & Development at Kägi, said: “We have a full range of new, innovative products planned. We have enough ideas. With this plant and Bühler at our side, we are now ready to scale up new products to high quality and large volumes.”

Photo: Bühler AG