Collaboration Brings Unified Platform for New Food-Production Plant

6 min video  /  4 minute read

Project Scope

  • 216,000 tags
  • 28 screens
  • 30+ clients
  • 100 Alarms
  • Redundant Ignition Architecture
  • 5 Databases
  • 18 million rows/month

Project Overview

This project by ECS Solutions and Blentech Corporation is an excellent example of the collaboration that can result from Inductive Automation’s emphasis on the community related to Ignition.

JTM Food Group challenged ECS Solutions and Blentech to create a SCADA system that included the full spectrum of process automation for its new state-of-the-art production facility. This Ignition application includes material management, formulation control, batch processing, and process control. The application encompasses the entire ISA-95 and ISA-88 models.


JTM wanted to expand its production capability with a new state-of-the art facility featuring a process-automated kitchen. JTM wanted to track its process from the receipt of material to a finished product. There were multiple solutions for each of the key aspects via different islands of software. JTM operates efficiently with a very lean, experienced workforce — but it didn’t want operators to be experts in multiple technology platforms. JTM’s goal was to have one unified process that could provide all required solutions and features. JTM’s primary objectives were flexibility, ease of use, and sustainability. JTM wanted to be able to make modifications in-house with minimal expertise, without having to rely on a third-party integrator to modify, adjust parameters, fine-tune the process, modify PLC logic, or add new products and recipes.  


Ignition allowed ECS and Blentech to bridge all the software islands together into one cohesive application. The following departments at JTM’s new facility are using Ignition as a platform to collaborate, increase productivity, troubleshoot issues, and develop new products.

Research and Development
Formulation management and recipe control: authorized personnel can make product changes, formulation changes, and add recipes from their office and plant floor.

Integrated with existing and other management systems to effectively schedule, issue production orders, work orders, and manage inventory.

Material Managers
Weigh and track ingredients, provide traceability.

Supervisors and Maintenance
View and troubleshoot historical information about the process to minimize downtime and increase productivity.

Process Operators
Control the equipment confidently, efficiently, and safely.

Quality Assurance
Obtain relevant trend data to support children nutrition label declarations, nutrient profiles, and government agency submissions.

The solution for JTM includes:

  • Modified audit log, displaying operator actions in real time across all clients
  • Custom-scripted DVR model that allows users to play back the process as it was originally viewed
  • Configurable scalable security on every object and button
  • Alerts to problems, and driving the operator to an area for correction
  • A full model of ISA-88 faceplates, including advanced faceplates for units, equipment modules, control modules, and instruments
  • An interface to FactoryTalk Batch View using Ignition templates and a WebAPI
  • All pipes are animated with color and flow using Ignition’s standard pipe component
  • Interface into customer ERP system that allows selection of material lots
  • Formulation management interface that allows users to audit and edit advanced process recipes
  • CIP automation and historical trend reporting

For this project, Ignition brought more than software capabilities. It brought together two companies, ECS and Blentech, to combine a tremendous amount of process knowledge with automation experience. Inductive Automation encourages a community experience. In utilizing the Ignition platform to create an innovative process automation solution, an OEM and a system integrator have found harmony with a software platform.


With its new state-of-the-art process automation kitchen, JTM can make great products even better and enhance the quality of its mac & cheese and pasta products. The collaborative efforts between the OEM, the integrator, and the customer provided an innovative solution that utilized a variety of new technology to control the ratios of sauce and pasta added to each bag of product. The real-time data collection and historical trends provided by one cohesive platform enables speed-to-market improvements and new products, better troubleshooting, and supporting data for nutritional label declarations.

JTM is a family-owned business with a very collaborative culture. The Ignition-based cohesive platform provides data that can be viewed by all key managers and employees to make better decisions to meet their common goals. With everyone seeing the same information and analyzing the same data, communication, productivity, and efficiency have improved significantly. Supervisors are helping R&D with new formulations, material managers are helping schedulers understand order and inventory, and everyone is helping solve problems. In just a few months of production, JTM has created, controlled, and tracked hundreds of batches and dozens of products.

Project Information

Created By:   ECS Solutions & Blentech Corporation

ECS Solutions is a CSIA Certified control systems integration firm that works with manufacturers to deliver robust automation solutions that minimize outages and downtime. Drawing on a 40-year history and completion of more than 3,500 projects, ECS integrates controls into new processes, improves existing lines, and migrates obsolete control systems for companies in a variety of industries across a wide range of processes, base control systems, and technologies.

Blentech Corporation is an industry-leading manufacturer of food-processing systems headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif. Combining innovation and decades of experience, Blentech has developed robust operational programs for its full line of equipment on numerous platforms. Blentech’s custom designs creatively blend simplicity with technology that encompasses durability, sanitary design, safety, and performance. In 2017, Blentech won the People’s Choice Award in the Innovations Showcase at the Food Processing Suppliers Association Process Expo for its CookerCloud™, a cost-effective, cloud-based historian that remotely monitors and collects secure data from food and beverage operations.

Websites: /

Project For:   JTM Food Group

JTM is a family-owned/operated business based in Harrison, Ohio. With over 400 employees helping to produce hundreds of different food products, JTM expanded its operations in 2018 with a fully automated 100,000 square-foot facility. From participation-boosting marketing programs and graphic support to a suite of culinary resources that include recipe development and training, JTM provides 360-degree support to K-12 educational customers. In addition to schools, JTM serves restaurants, amusement parks, healthcare facilities, the military, and many other industries in food service.

Posted on September 1, 2018