Congalsa successfully orients its business towards a 4.0 model by interconnecting production and management processes, which places it as a benchmark for smart factories within the Galician food industry

Presentación de los resultados del proyecto Congals4.0 de Gradiant y Congalsa hacia la fábrica inteligente

Gradiant, technological partner of the Galician company to implement its smart factory

This morning the results of the Congals4.0 project have been presented, which has mobilized a total of 4.8 million euros in the last three years: an initiative co-financed with ERDF funds and supported by the Xunta de Galicia, through GAIN

During the presentation, the general manager of Congalsa pointed out that all the technological improvements implemented in the company will be at the service of people


Moving towards an increasingly intelligent and interconnected food industry model has been the main objective of an R&D&I project developed by the company Congalsa in collaboration with Gradiant, which has just concluded with relevant results. The initiative, co-financed with ERDF funds, has mobilized a total of 4.8 million euros and has had the support of the Xunta de Galicia, through the Axencia Galega de Innovación-GAIN.

To highlight the results of this project, called Congals4.0, an event was held this morning at the company’s facilities in A Pobra do Caramiñal, with the participation of Congalsa’s general manager, Luis Miguel Simarro, and the company’s director of Innovation and R&D, Monica Cascallar. On the part of Gradiant, its general manager, Luis Pérez Freire, and its director of Intelligent Systems, Daniel García, took part in the presentation.


Interconnection of production and management processes

The main objective of the initiative has been to develop a 4.0 business model for Congalsa, interconnecting production and management processes. To achieve this, a large part of the plant has been sensorized and systems have been developed to monitor different company process data in real time, integrating this information with other information from suppliers and customers in order to digitize the company’s value chain and automate different work routines: from maintenance management to production planning.

“Congals4.0 has allowed us to perfect our data analysis methodologies to estimate and predict the price behavior of raw materials, product sales and processes,” said Daniel García, Director of Intelligent Systems at Gradiant. “In addition, we have incorporated other technologies that will help the company in preventing potential cyber-attacks, optimizing the security and privacy of the plant” he added.


Quality, automation and people

During the presentation of the project, the company’s general manager stressed that the technology implemented as part of the Congals4.0 project “will not replace people, but will be at the service of them, of all the company’s workers”. “We are committed to automation, but quality and people are still the hallmarks of our company,” said Simarro.

In this regard, he indicated that the implementation of intelligent vision systems for different products will help, for example, operators to perform their work more efficiently. In addition, the augmented reality technologies implemented are already proving particularly useful in staff-oriented training and the incorporation of 3D printing is already a daily work tool in the company, very useful for technicians to carry out their work with greater precision, reducing costs and improving development time.

In parallel, Congals4.0 and the development of the smart factory is also structured around the premise of sustainability, “since it will promote the reduction of energy consumption by improving the performance of refrigeration compressors depending on the weather and workload, thanks to the development of a system called intelligent refrigeration”.


More than 60 people

For its part, the director of Innovation and R & D of Congalsa, Monica Cascallar, stressed that the initiative has directly mobilized for its implementation to more than 60 people, only between Congalsa and Gradiant. We can say, in any case, that practically all our staff has participated in the development of the project, in a more or less active or punctual way, as well as several technological partners, without whom the fulfillment of the objectives set would not have been possible”, she added.

Mónica Cascallar has stressed the importance of achieving results in a context that has not been easy, since the initiative was launched at the end of 2019, shortly before the pandemic and the health crisis resulting from Covid-19 hindered its development at first.


Reaching a common goal

Along these lines, Luis Miguel Simarro wanted to highlight the attitude of the company’s entire workforce, which has been key in driving this project forward. “Training in Industry 4.0. has been given to all our workers, so that the change towards the smart factory was as smooth as possible,” he pointed out.

“At Congalsa we already practiced innovation when it was not yet called R&D+i. We have always had this culture in our DNA. But, undoubtedly, with the implementation of this project we have gone a step further, since its results are going to allow us to position ourselves as a benchmark of smart factory model within the Galician food industry,” Simarro emphasized.

“This alliance with Congalsa shows that technology centers are key allies in the innovation processes of the business sector, facilitating the adoption of enabling technologies of the new paradigm of smart industry thanks to our advanced positioning in them. The growth and consolidation of Gradiant in recent years is a reflection of the growth of our environment” concluded Luis Pérez Freire, CEO of Gradiant.


A living project

Finally, Monica Cascallar pointed out that Congals4.0 is a project that is still alive. “We are already working with practically all the tools developed within the framework of the initiative, thinking about how to industrialize some of the validated pilots to continue growing in a sustainable way, generating new knowledge and taking advantage of accessible and emerging technologies in the industry”, she concluded.