Dynamic Formulation Improves Quality
The science of formulating products requires an understanding of how material properties can affect the final product. Making changes to recipe set-points to accommodate for varying process conditions and material properties is commonly performed in the industry. The team or individual responsible for calculating the required amounts of material will be referred to as the ‘Formulator’. Often this aspect of the science can be described as a set of equations used by the Formulator to adjust the amount of material required. The following is a simple example to illustrate a common process to adjust the formula of a product. A Formulator has a Site-Recipe that requires a blend of:
The properties of each lot of material may come from the material supplier or may be derived by the end-user’s lab analysis. The material to be used in this example is moist (Material_Moist) and contains 20% moisture (Moisture_%).
Since the material is moist, the Formulator calculates the amount of moist material (Material_Moist) required and adjust the Water (H2O) required to obtain the desired ratios and specifies it on the Master Recipe.
Therefore, the Control-Recipe should call for 120 kg of moist Material to obtain the 100 kg of dry Material needed. Water introduced by the moist material (Material_H2O) is then factored into the amount required for a batch.
This scenario describes what is very common in the batching industry. The Formulator is required to modify the Master recipe to accommodate for changing raw material properties. There are many more factors that can be taken into consideration when adjusting the amount of material such as concentration, potency, percent fat, percent solids, sweetness, etc.
The automation solution can be constructed to allow the recipe author to specify the properties to be dosed (100 kg Dry material & 100 kg H2O) and allow the control system to perform these calculations by tying a material management system to the batching system. Dynamically adjusting the amount of material required becomes a very practical solution since the master recipe doesn’t have to be modified to adapt for changing raw material properties.
The experienced team at ECS Solutions takes a simple approach using an ISA-88 based standard commercially available off the shelf Software. A phase is created that provides the Formulator the ability to specify the amount of Dry Material to be added or the Amount of Moist material required. If the Amount of Dry Material is specified, then the control system will determine the amount of moist material required.
If a container runs out of material during the addition, and it is considered an incomplete feed, the Software will find another container with the required material, it will request the properties of that new lot ID, and complete the addition considering those new properties. The amounts, and lot IDs of materials used are automatically reported in the Batch journal. In addition to creating a master recipe that doesn’t have to be modified to accommodate for changing material properties, dynamic formulation is especially practical to accommodate for unplanned activities such as having to switch to a different material source. Dynamic Formulation eliminates the risk of having to perform manual calculations and recipe updates at the correct time, while allowing the Quality of the products to be improved.