Case Study: Proprietary Replacement
For many years, a large nutrition company used a Proprietary program that was developed in-house, to manage the recipe database and to calculate the mass balances of the ingredients to meet the nutritional profile of each product. The application/program has become difficult to support and maintain. The customer approached ECS Solutions to undertake a review of the Proprietary application and recommend how it may be replaced or rewritten.
ECS engineers quickly recognized that Proprietary was a custom application, written in Microsoft access with a significant amount of custom VBA code incorporated into FactoryTalkView. The problem became how to obtain the functionality of the Proprietary application in something that was more manageable, accessible for troubleshooting, and ideally “off-the-shelf”. ECS engineers recommended that since the client was running FactoryTalkBatch in their operations, simply adding the Material Manager feature, which is a free add-on with FactoryTalkBatch, the required functions would be obtained. The customer’s management felt that ECS had to dig in and truly understand the very complicated Proprietary application and how critical it was to their operations.
Batch Forensics: The Case for Link Groups – Class based Unit Synchronization
To coordinate activities between units, take advantage of product functionality to greatly reduce controller code. Programing and unit coordination are used during activities such as material transfer from one unit to another and may be used to coordinate recipe pause points in a unit while the recipe of another unit reaches the desired step, or may be used to transfer process data from one unit to another for further evaluation, etc.
Using product functionality to create a class-based solution while minimizing programming greatly simplifies the complexity of the code. The product functionality consists of link groups and Phase logic phase requests (PXRQ for phase manager phases and RQ for classic OPC phases).
To better understand its usability, we will use a sample process consisting of units capable of transfer material with each other, One to Many, Many to One, Many to Many. In any of these examples, keeping track of who the groups involved in a synchronization can be as simple as specifying the required pairs (more than two concurrent can be done as well) in the procedural (recipe) model.
Let’s look at several scenarios:
Batch Forensics: The Case of the FactoryTalk Batch Timers
Frequently, we hear new and seasoned engineers say they do not use the Rockwell FactoryTalk Batch (FTBatch) Standard timers ($timer) because they cannot interact with them or can’t tell what the timer’s status is, as they do with controller-based timers. However, our Batch Forensic experts explain that this is not the case.
Standard Recipe timers require no design, implementation, testing, commissioning nor validation as required by timer Phases implemented in the controllers. Standard recipe $timers can be applied at all levels of the procedural model (Procedures, Unit Procedures, and Operations) Standard $timers can be used in as many placed as required, each instance of the timer is given a name defined by the recipe author that can be associated with the activity at hand. Timers are automatically added to the units configured on the area model just like the $Null Phase.
Boosting Batch Performance at a Salad Dressing Plant
A well-known line of salad dressings was recently acquired by a major food manufacturer with the plan to establish a fully automated, paperless manufacturing process for the production. To do this efficiently and cost-effectively
represented a significant challenge.
Material Storage Management
Managing the reception of materials and its distribution throughout all the storage locations can be a daunting task. Automating this with off-the-shelf products simplifies tremendously the implementation of such a solution. Factory Talk Batch has a component called Material Manager that enables such implementation.
This solution seamlessly integrates the reception of materials into the Plant with the production process. Setting up this solution consist of defining the materials capabilities in Factory Talk Batch. These capabilities are defined by containers, or locations where material can reside, possible materials that can exist in the plant and the possible means of moving material from a source to a destination called Phases.