An international wine company wanted to expand and improve their Wine Packaging Centre…


Manufacturing: Food & Beverage


• Remotely hosted data centre provides greater security, reduces IT overhead
• Client can pinpoint causes of downtime, apply targeted improvement programs based on data
• Software platform fully integrated across business
• Future proofed vendor software system: flexible, modular architecture solution


Manufacturing execution system (MES) upgrade, remote data hosting


Barossa Valley, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

“Change management is just as important as the technology itself. No digital transformation of business can succeed without your people.”
Damian Jolly, Principal Consultant, Nukon


An Australian wine company with more than 70 wine brands and an international portfolio wanted to expand and improve their Wine Packaging Centre, located in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. The company’s core focus is in grape selecting and growing, wine-making and wine marketing. It operates across national and international markets including Italy and the USA. The Barossa Wine Packaging Centre bottles, labels and packages more than 300 wine products and is essential to the company’s success.

This project sought to address five key challenges:

1. Expand output. Expand from three to four high speed packaging lines each of which include: A depalletiser, filter and closure, labeller, robot packer and palletiser.

2. Legacy issues. Replace 12 year old bespoke MES software to manage all packaging lines.

3. Software upgrade path. Use vanilla modular solutions, AKA an off-the-shelf vendor software product with as little customisation as possible to future proof the solution.

4. Timeframe. Do it all quickly. The project needed to fall into place in less than 12 months to enable other dependent projects to begin.

5. Remote data hosting. Move the solution from on-site data servers to a remotely hosted data centre over 750kms away in Melbourne.


After thorough scoping, research and consultation, Rockwell Automation Factory Talk was chosen for the MES upgrade. This platform was configured to achieve desired functionality and ensure future flexibility and modular extendibility. The new MES was integrated with operational equipment (packaging line PLCs and robot packers) to allow precise operational control and data insights to be gleaned in real-time.

The remote data centre proved to be the most challenging component of the project. Here, close consultation with the vendor and client’s IT department was vital in getting the system to run reliably across the WAN network.

Finally, change management was included at every step of the way. This included bringing together the vendor, key stakeholders, staff and IT and operations departments at regular intervals.

Solution timeline

Nukon successfully delivered an initial pilot packaging line in six months.

The process included tender, scope, design, construction, system testing, training, user acceptance and ‘go live’. Following the pilot’s success, Nukon completed the other three packaging lines over the next six months.

The project drew from six Nukon engineers and project managers in Melbourne and Adelaide, four MESTECH engineers in India, and two Rockwell engineers in the USA.


The project was completed within 10 months – a testament to Nukon’s agile delivery mode and comfortability with the software and hardware systems required.

The platform can control and monitor the following in real-time:

• downtime events performance manager

• order management and validation

• line status overview

• dry goods consumption

• pallet completions

• inventory management

• work order overview

• wine bottle filler speed trend

• shift summary report - including shift times, times of producing duration, filler downtime, changeover duration and output of filled bottles


• Remotely hosted data centre provides greater security, reduces IT overhead

• Client can pinpoint causes of downtime, apply targeted improvement programs based on data

• Software platform fully integrated across business

• Future proofed system: flexible, modular architecture solution


• Microsoft SQL 2012 Database

• Dundas Reports

• Rockwell Automation Factory Talk, including:Production Centre CPG Suite (FTPC CPG), Performance Manager (FTPC PM), Vantage Point (FTVP) • Historian (FTH), Vaadin Rapid Application Design Framework

• Rockwell Automation Control Systems

• ControlLogix PLC

• CompactLogix PLC

• Ethernet

• Robot Packers



Advice for similar MES upgrade projects

  • Be careful about running the solution across a WAN
  • Understand your network traffic
  • Listen to vendor advice
  • Use the right manufacturing software solution for your business case
  • Include scale in your risk mitigation activities
  • Build a strong team with the right skills
  • Establish support channels and escalation processes all the way up to risk analysis developers and managers
  • Have a good role back plan with clear triggers as to when to use it.

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