Arla Foods:
A Software Standardization Case Study

An in depth look at how software standardization impacts the profitability of OEMs using data from Arla Foods

Arla Foods

Arla Foods is a large food and beverage manufacturing company that works with OEMs on a global scale

70 Production Sites

Arla Foods has 70 production sites in Europe, the United States and China

19,000+ Colleagues

Arla Foods employees more than 19,000 people around the world

€10 Billion Revenue

Arla Foods generates more than 10 billion euro in revenue annually

Machine Integration

Arla Foods does not have a technology centre - they purchase machines from many suppliers around the world and integrate them into a production/packaging line system.

Their challenge is to work with OEMs to create machines which can be integrated into lines easier and faster.

Packaging Line Example

A typical packaging line at Arla Foods is made up of 9 machines from 7 suppliers located in 4 countries.

All of these machines have to be integrated into a production line horizontally and vertically using special purpose interfaces for each OEM.


Arla Foods frequently faced these challenges when integrating machines into their lines

Software Consistency

There was no consistency in the automation software of different machines.

This includes different machines provided by the same OEM.

Integration Issues

Each machine had a bespoke horizontal and vertical interface.

This made it difficult to integrate new machines in a line.


Each machine had a unique operating and reporting concept.

This meant that operator and technician training had to be provided for each machine.

The Solution

Software Standardization with PackML and Make2Pack

Arla Foods worked with OEMs to create a standard software architecture.

This architecture was based on PackML for the interface between machines and the SCADA system and Make2Pack for the automation software architecture.

Updated Packaging Line

Thanks to PackML, machines had a standard interface with the Line Controller and could be integrated into a line faster. This reduced the overall project length and meant that Arla Foods could get more value out of their machine faster.

Since the status reporting and control concept of each machine was the same, training time for operators was reduced dramatically. Thanks to this standardization, Arla Foods expects productivity to increase by 5 - 20%.

The Results:
End User Benefits of Software Standardization

End User benefits of software standardization


Reduction in Integration Costs

The standardized interface is easy to test with a pre-defined and reusable test plan.


Reduction in Specification Costs

Use case and technical specifications can be reused reducing the workload involved in creating specifications for new machines.


Reduction in Commissioning Time

Standardized architecture is easy to troubleshoot and software quality increased thanks to the standard architecture.

The Results:
OEM Benefits of Software Standardization

OEM Benefits of software standardization

Value Added Machines

Machines which are PackML and Make2Pack compliant are more valuable to end users, increasing revenue

Faster Development Time

Standard software architecture means less bespoke programming is required for each machine

Greater Reusability

Code modules are reusable across machines leading to increased quality and decreased cost

Fewer Custom Interfaces

Interfaces don't have to be defined per client when everyone is using a standard interface

Reduced Training

Standardized training material can be used to train end users in operating and maintaining machines

Easier Debugging

Standardized software is easier to navigate and understand while troubleshooting and debugging

Standardization Simplifies Automation Software

A detailed look at the affects of standardization on a PLC Program

Become More Profitable

Book a free consultation call with our automation consultants to see how KB Controls can help your business to become more profitable through standardization.

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This case study is made up of data from the following sources

PackML -
The Science of Machine Software

Presentation by Adal Tecleab of Procter & Gamble in 2015

Value Proposition of Standardized Automation

Presentation by Sesam World

Industry 4.0 / PackML @
Arla Foods

Webinar by Arne Svendson of Arla Foods in 2016