TMA Special: Connecting Taza Chocolate’s Legacy Equipment to the Cloud
As a “bean to bar” chocolate manufacturer, Taza Chocolate uses traditional stone ground mills for the production of its famous chocolate discs. The analog, mid-century machines that the company imported from Central America were never built to connect to the cloud.
Along comes Tulip Interfaces, an AWS Industrial Software Competency Partner that makes the human and machine interaction easier by replacing paper processes with digital automation. Tulip retrofitted Taza’s legacy equipment with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and connected it back to the AWS cloud.
Taza’s AWS cloud integration begins with Tulip’s own physical gateway that connects systems and machinery on the plant floor. Tulip then deploys IoT sensors to the machinery and passes outputs to the AWS cloud using an encrypted web socket where Tulip’s Kubernetes workers, managed by Kops, automatically schedule services across highly available instances and processes requests.
All job completion data is then fed to an Amazon RDS Multi-AZ PostgreSQL database that allows Taza to run visualizations and analytics for more insight using Prometheus and Garfana. In addition, all of the application definition metadata is contained in a MongoDB database service running on Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances, which in return is VPC-peered with Kubernetes clusters. On top of this backend, Tulip uses a player application to stream metrics in near real-time that are displayed on the dashboard down on the shop floor and can be easily examined in order to help guide their operations and foster continuous improvements efforts to manufacturing operations.
Taza has realized many benefits from monitoring machine availability, performance, ambient conditions as well as overall process enhancements.
In this special, on-site This is My Architecture video, AWS Solutions Architect Evangelist Todd Escalona takes us on his journey through the Taza Chocolate factory where he meets with Taza’s Director of Manufacturing, Rich Moran, and Tulip’s DevOps lead, John Defreitas, to further explore how Tulip enables Taza Chocolate’s legacy equipment for cloud-based plant automation.
*Check out more This Is My Architecture video series.