Premium chocolate production perfected

Discover how chocolate producer Lindt uses EthonAI for root cause analysis in their factories in Europe and the US.

Industry

Food

Location

Europe & US

Product

Analyst

Background

The “Lindor” truffles from Lindt & Sprüngli are world-​renowned among chocolate lovers. These truffles have been sold since 1969, when they were introduced as a seasonal treat and they were used as actual decorations to hang on Christmas trees. Half a century later, billions of Lindor truffles are made every year. To produce at such a large scale while maintaining quality excellence, Lindt & Sprüngli runs several high-​end factories in Europe and the US.

Challenge

Producing Lindor truffles is a complex process that spans from ensuring the quality of the cocoa beans, through manufacturing, to logistics. The production of Lindor truffles involves multiple production steps such as molding, filling, and packaging. While the overall production setups are consistent across factories, local differences in factory infrastructure, product variants, and machine age create challenges in finding the optimal parameter settings for obtaining perfect Lindor truffles. Additionally, seasonal variations in conditions like air humidity and ambient temperature play critical roles in the production process. Therefore, understanding the interplay between process parameters and environmental factors is essential to ensure consistently high quality – and that’s where EthonAI comes in.

Lindt & Sprüngli has a strong commitment to excellence that goes beyond the quality and taste of their products. “Our employees have vast knowledge that we use to improve our production.“says Jessica Valli, Program Manager for Digital Transformation in Operations, “to support them, we must provide them relevant facts and information.” For this, Lindt & Sprüngli records a lot of process and quality data. “We were looking for new ways to leverage it,” explains Valli. “For example, a recurring problem was to identify and eliminate the root causes behind quality deviations and inefficiencies in production. We were happy to learn that EthonAI could help us solve this important problem.”

"A recurring problem was to identify and eliminate the root causes behind quality deviations and inefficiencies in production. We were happy that EthonAI could help us solve this important problem."

Jessica Valli

Program Manager for Digital Transformation in Operations

Solution

At Lindt & Sprüngli, the EthonAI Manufacturing Analytics System connects the process data from the Lindor production lines with the data from factory quality control systems. This gives the line managers and production teams a holistic overview of their production lines with their dozens of parameters and quality measurements. All these data matter for optimizing local production. In addition, it provides Lindt & Sprüngli a birds-​eye view on data and performance from several factories, enabling group-​level learning and standardization in quality management across countries in a simple format. EthonAI is live in Lindt & Sprüngli factories in three countries across two continents.

A screenshot of the EthonAI Analyst software tool
"Lindt's use of causal AI today beats the 2-5 year industry forecast."

Dr. Julian Senoner

Co-Founder & CEO EthonAI

Outcome

By understanding the complex interactions between the process parameters and negative quality outcomes the process experts at Lindt & Sprüngli are able to take action more quickly and decisively. Ultimately, the focus is on the prevention of production issues, and discovering root causes from the real-​time data fed into the EthonAI Manufacturing Analytics System is essential for going beyond reactive measures. For example, production experts use EthonAI’s software to fine-​tune machine temperatures or mold configurations to avoid quality losses proactively. This is possible because EthonAI’s tools rely on causal AI to go beyond mere correlations, and suggest improvement actions ranked by their overall impact on the final quality. In essence, EthonAI’s causal AI can simulate the effect of potential improvement actions, so it can be tried out before adjusting the physical production.

“It’s great to see an industry leader like Lindt & Sprüngli taking such strides to implement the latest developments in AI,” says Dr. Julian Senoner, Co-​founder of EthonAI. “Gartner, one of the most renowned market research firms in the technology sector, had predicted the rise of causal AI in 2-5 years. Yet, Lindt & Sprüngli is leveraging this technology already now.”


This use case has also been covered by the ETH Center. The link to the original article can be found here.

Impact

Digital operational excellence across production sites

Frontrunner

EthonAI is a key partner of the Digital Transformation in Operations program at Lindt & Sprüngli, which is ahead of industry forecasts by years.

Holistic Integration

EthonAI integrates real-time data from multiple Lindor production sites. It has become a trusted tool for production monitoring and analysis.

Continuous Improvement

Our proprietary causal AI algorithms support process experts in continuous improvement routines.