Manual weighing and dispensing tracked electronically.
Automating the dosing of Minor and Micro ingredients is often cost-prohibitive. These tasks are often performed manually by operators that weigh the required materials then dose them to the required destination at the appropriate time. These procedures are typically guided by Paper Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) that are used to track progress and capture required information manually.
These activities can be conducive to errors that are captured downstream after additional value has been added to the raw materials, some of these errors cause batches to be reprocessed or rejected.
Some of the issues that may cause out of spec runs may be weighing out material that are out of tolerance, yet considered close enough by the operator, not keeping track of previously weighed out materials and re-weighing a second amount of the same ingredient, recording incorrect amounts on the batch record, not recording the material information such as lot ID. Additionally, there is the potential for selecting erroneously the wrong ingredient to be weighed.
Creating an electronic tracking system that walks the operators step by step through the required steps while automatically recording all pertinent information not only minimizes the potential for errors but also provides instant operational visibility to other actors in the production ecosystem.
These activities are tied to a downstream process, where they are dispensed into the proper processing equipment units. Combining these activities reduce the risk of adding the incorrect ingredient into the units. These manual activities can be combined into a procedure that coordinates all the manual processing activities with the automated ones. These procedures clearly specify what needs to be done and when they enforce their execution as required and capture detailed information to confirm how each product was manufactured.
The following operator display is used to track the activities that need to be performed as well as the ones completed. Once the required materials for a batch are weighed out a label is printed and attached to the container used to transfer these materials to the area where they will be used.
The system allows weighing out all the materials for a batch but can also be performed by dosing one ingredient for multiple batches then repeat for remaining materials.
The amount required can be dynamically adjusted to compensate for material properties and displayed to the operator as a weight required.
The progress bar clearly indicates to the operator the amount of material being weighed and indicated to the operator when the amount is within the required tolerance.
The system records partial amounts and lots if the required amount is made up of different lots of the same material.
The system displays and prioritizes the available lots based on business rules such as the expiration date.
Once all required ingredients are weighed out a label is assigned to the tote, this label can be a printed bar code an RFID tag or a manual label. At the time of consumption of the totes, the required label is crosschecked to ensure the correct kit is dosed to the correct batch.
Operating a paperless system that clearly specifies the required materials to be used, enforces the execution of weighing and dispensing and captures information to track and trace all materials, provides all actors of the manufacturing ecosystem the information to optimize the operation with confidence.
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