Surviving the Great Resignation
A rapidly decreasing number of technical personnel are available who can install and maintain the higher-end equipment used in manufacturing today. “The great resignation and/or retirement” movement, along with changes associated with the recent pandemic landscape, has sent many highly qualified workers to the exits in search of new and often altogether different opportunities. The stage has been set for decades with the wave of baby boomer retirements churning towards manufacturers. Parallel to this has been the increased reliance on high-tech manufacturing machines and processes. These two situations pair well with the idea of future-proofing low-to-mid complexity manufacturing but, in an interesting juxtaposition, amplify the core problem. (more…)
Batch Forensics: Additional Report Parameters Enhance Process Performance
Understanding your process performance starts with having unambiguous data that is contextualized. This data provides information that quantifies and qualifies the different aspects that provide insight into the overall system performance. This data ends up in a repository and gets analyzed to produce actionable information and these reports may look at different aspects of the activities required to make products or to clean the equipment. By looking at the process from the ISA 88 and ISA95 point of view, we are able to provide additional context to the information for which the basic activities are reporting.
Additional information may be added to provide more insight into the activities related to:
- Quality – (amounts, tolerances, durations, temperatures, lethality, etc.)
- Cost- (materials, energy, personnel, equipment, etc.)
- Material information – (lot ID, material properties, storage locations, etc.)
- Personnel – (who is performing tasks, signoffs, etc.)
- Energy – (transport, heat/cool, mix, etc.)
- Equipment – (raw material source, equipment utilization, portable equipment information.)
– as well as other aspects that can be used to make informed decisions. (more…)
Batch Forensics by ECS Solutions
The term forensics refers to the application of scientific knowledge to problems, especially scientific analysis, and data analysis of physical evidence. In a plant environment, data and scientific analysis can be the key to discovering opportunities to improve the automation solution that exists, forensic tools can be implemented in all phases of the life cycle of a system, but ideally, they should be considered during the design phase.
Dosing Materials Based On Their Properties
Improving Product Quality
Often the quantities of materials required to manufacture a product are specified by weight or by volume. Recipes and procedures are created to specify the activities that need to be performed and the number of materials required.
The Setpoints for these quantities are set in the recipes based on the materials that are being used, if the material properties change significantly then these recipe quantities need to be updated once the new materials enter the production stream. This often requires tracking the material consumptions and updating the recipes at the appropriate time. i.e. late at night on Saturday once the new material is introduced to the production environment.
These new formula quantities are calculated after a lab analysis is performed of each Lot sample. The timing to introduce these new recipe parameter values can be critical to the Quality and the Cost of the product.
Documenting Your Manufacturing Ecosystem
Understanding your manufacturing ecosystem is one thing, but documenting it is just as important. Having extensive documentation of the manufacturing ecosystem, helps those who aren’t involved in daily, plant-floor operations make informed decisions. Your manufacturing ecosystem is the system you use for making your product(s), and fully documenting and understanding this ecosystem will help the decision-making process of your organization.
Material Dosing Geneology
The Food industry uses batch manufacturing extensively and therefore requires traceability for material ingredients, i.e. the ability to follow the movement of a food product and its’ constituents all through the production process.
This capability not only largely prevents unsafe foods from reaching the consumer but also improves product quality and efficiency in the event of a recall.
The Benefits of Off-The-Shelf SOP Management Software
Being able to keep track of every step and every bit of data is a major necessity for every organization. An off-the-shelf standard operating procedure software is one way to implement new processes and keep track of business operating standards.
Tracking manual operations in discrete, batch, and continuous manufacturing processes can greatly benefit from off-the-shelf products. Clearly specifying your procedures, enforcing their execution, and capturing pertinent data are all major benefits that can be quickly and easily be obtained by implementing off-the-shelf, procedure management software.
Securing your Intellectual Property
Production procedures and formula values property
How secure is the intellectual property of your products?
Many degrees of automation exist in manufacturing plants, but they all have a common requirement– specifying the activities and the order in which they need to occur as well as the key setpoints such as materials, amounts, tolerances, temperatures, durations, etc.
The Importance of Material Tracing
Traceability on a processing or production line is incredibly important, especially when it comes to food products, where having the ability to track every ingredient down to the source is crucial to the health and safety of the consumers.
As parts of the country begin to move out of COVID-19 shutdowns, we have been hearing about “contact tracing” as a tool for containing a secondary spread of the disease. Material, lot tracing, or traceability has been part of producing safe food products for a long time. The concepts behind contact tracing and material tracing are similar.
Materials and Lot ID Traceability
In the event of a recall can you find everything you need to know in an expeditious way.
As per Wikipedia, “Traceability” is the capability to trace something. In some cases, it is interpreted as the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification.
In the process industry, we are required to know the whereabouts of the raw and intermediate materials as well as the finished products. This is paramount since recalls can be impactful to the safety of the consumer as well as financially to the producers.