The Benefits of Batch Recipe Lifecycle Management
ECS President Tim Matheny is back and talking about the benefits of batch recipe lifecycle management on the AutomationWorld blog. Read to learn how a batch management package can reduce risk and help get products to market much quicker. #blog #automationworld #batchexperts #batchmanufacturing

Click here to read more!

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Tim Matheny Talks “Cooking to Kill” on AutomationWorld.com

In a recent article on AutomationWorld.com, ECS Solutions’ President & CSIA guest blogger, Tim Matheny shared his insights into the best manufacturing process for cooking.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Many of the ready-to-eat products that we consume today are cooked. Cooking kills pathogenic bacteria in food products. Cooking properly makes food safer to consume. The best manufacturing process for cooking a certain ingredient or product is the process that produces lethality as quickly as possible without adverse effect to the product.

Check out the full article HERE!

Nice work, Tim!

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ECS Helps O.Z. Tyler Modernizes Bourbon Production & Expand Distillery

ECS Solutions is proud to announce that customer,  O.Z. Tyler, is growing quickly with 2019 expansion plans that include 10 new bourbon storage facilities to be built in Ohio County and an additional warehouse at their Owensboro distillery.

Every process throughout the distillery is run through a more than $1 million touch-screen operating system installed by ECS Solutions. One touch can open a grain bin, turn on the hammer mill, control the bourbon recipe and operate the cooker where grain is mashed.

Congratulations to this successful company! You can read more about this exciting expansion HERE!

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Options for Dosing Genealogy

The following, written by ECS Solutions President Tim Matheny, was published in Automation World in April of 2019. The article can be seen HERE.

Batch manufacturing in Food and Pharmaceuticals requires knowing the genealogy, or history, of any ingredient materials. When the source container or vessel contains several lots of the ingredient material, the Control System Engineer must make some assumptions and do some math.

One choice, often referred to as plug flow, is to assume that there is no mixing between the lots—that they are stacked on top of each other in the vessel as if there were an invisible membrane between each consecutive lot. The control system assumes that until the volume or weight of lot “a” is dosed out, that lot, and only lot “a”, is being dosed. When lot “a” is gone, the control system assumes only lot “b” is being dosed. At most there will be one product batch with some of lot “a” and some of lot “b”. Risked recall cost, when this assumption is used, is very high because a significant number of batches/lots of product must be included due to the ridiculous underlying assumption. Generally, a plug flow assumption should not be used today.

Dosing genealogy might be determined by modifying the plug flow approach, assuming a band of mixing between consecutive ingredient material. Factors that affect the thickness of the mixing band include: how material is loaded into the vessel, the viscosity of the material, the shape of the vessel, time the lots have resided in the vessel, etc. Recall costs are appropriate because, in the case of a recall on ingredient lot “b”, only batches dosed from bands “a-b”, “b” and “b-c” need be recalled. This approach can be appropriate when ingredient mixing tendencies are well known.

A third approach assumes that the ingredient materials are fully mixed. Until the vessel is drained and cleaned, any dosing genealogy is assumed to include some of all ingredient material lots introduced into the vessel. When there is a long duration between drain-clean cycles, ingredient lot “a” is assumed to be in many product batches/lots, risking very high recall costs. Maintaining a short duration between drain-clean cycles is also expensive. Producers can be driven to designing a system utilizing single-ingredient-lot vessels or containers. This is a very safe approach that is often dictated.

A combination approach to determining dosing genealogy also assumes complete mixing of all ingredient lots in the source vessel. The dosing genealogy is assumed to be the percentage of each ingredient lot remaining in the vessel. Volumes removed for each ingredient lot are accumulated, much as with plug flow. At some small remaining amount, the ingredient lot is assumed to be completely removed from the vessel. This approach offers reasonable recall cost risk without necessitating drain-clean cycles, making it an attractive approach when the extremely safe third approach, above, is not dictated.

With only slightly more math, the Control System Engineer can determine dosing genealogy with any of these approaches while a new ingredient lot is being added to the vessel. Allowing material to enter and leave the vessel concurrently increases equipment availability and, often, overall system OEE.

A risk analysis process is used to choose how dosing genealogy should be determined in a specific situation. Factors mentioned above, and others, must be carefully considered. Producers who determine dosing genealogy appropriately balance risk and cost using engineering analysis to make the right assumptions and do the right math.

 

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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.

That challenge was met and surpassed by the ECS approach to boosting batch performance, which focuses upon providing value at every stage of the process system life-cycle. Thus, it was possible to construct a solution that consistently delivered high-quality products at the lowest possible cost.

Download the Full Salad Dressing Case Study HERE

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ECS Solutions Participated in the 15th Annual UE Engineering Forum

ECS Systems Engineer, Nick Schuetz, a 2016 graduate of the University of Evansville, served on a panel at their 15th Annual Engineering Forum.

As with previous forums, this activity is an ideal way for alumni and employers to meet students and provide important career information and professional advice. Professional attendees enjoyed a light dinner with student leaders and faculty from the College of Engineering and Computer Science and informally networked with students during the reception.

ECS is proud to support UE’s efforts and is proud of Nick for sharing his knowledge of the Engineering world with eager students.

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ECS Hosts University Professionals

On November 1, 2018, ECS hosted an impressive group of Engineering Professors from the University of Evansville’s Electrical Engineering Department. As ECS is guided by the principles of excellence in all we undertake and trust that we both earn and extend to others, aligning with the University is of the utmost importance as we grow. ECS is always promoting the training and growth of University students so that we may continue to have the best engineering candidates for employment.

Our distinguished guests included Dr. Ying Shang, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and Professor of Electrical Engineering. Dr. Shang’s impressive bio even includes automation controls which synergizes well with our business and gives her a deeper understanding of the work we do here. Along with her other colleagues, Dr. Dick Blandford, Dept. Chair, Electrical & Computer Science, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Tony Richardson, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Lotfalian, Professor of Electrical Engineering, the meeting centered around continuing to grow our partnership with the University. The afternoon concluded with a guided facilities tour and a reception. The afternoon was informative, fun and we look forward to working with these fine academics to continue to foster growth in their Engineering students.

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ECS President Featured in Automation World
ECS President Tim Matheny was published in Automation World with an article entitled, ” The Clash of Manufacturing Digitalization”. The article discusses whether you decide on a single-source or best-of-breed approach, your digitalization system should be your own, providing the ability to expand and optimize.

Way to go, Tim! Check out the full article HERE!

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Collaboration and Ratio Control

Mixing and blending of materials is a frequent, important process in the food industry and other industries, often with the final mixture required to contain a critical specific ratio of the components. The approach most often adopted is to control the flow rate of each component into the mixing tank to realize the specified ratio, a pre-defined flow rate ratio (i.e. 5:1)

In our experience, The Batch Brothers have noticed this approach can lead to problems, in that inevitable variations in the established flowrates will result in a ratio of the components in the final blend other than that specified.  By only implementing the flow rate ratios the system may reach the end of the blending process and end up with material that was not blended in.

The Batch Brother’s solution is to monitor the weight of each component remaining and provide a homogeneous blend based on the remaining weight ratios, this way the system is constantly correcting for ratio errors based on materials remaining and not just instantaneous flow rate. The flowrates Ratio setpoints are constantly calculated to maintain a ratio based on the ratio of materials remaining. This approach is particularly beneficial if the individual materials are not homogeneous, perhaps containing particles clumped together which may lead to instant flow errors.

The Batch Brothers also advocate a collaborative work culture so that information is available to all stakeholders. This collaboration implies that opportunities for improvement identified by any employees or provider should be expressed to the team and evaluated.

Batching Across America,
-The Batch Brothers

 

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ECS Solutions Receives Firebrand Award
ECS Solutions is proud to announce that we, alongside partner Blentech, have been presented the Ignition Firebrand Award.

“We’re pleased to present ECS Solutions and its partner on this project, Blentech Corporation, an Ignition Firebrand Award,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “This project really showed how two companies can come together to help a customer improve its efficiency and productivity. ECS and Blentech created a comprehensive solution, getting everything the customer needed onto one, easy-to-use platform.”

The Ignition Firebrand Awards recognize system integrators and industrial organizations that use the Ignition software platform to create innovative new projects. The awards are presented each September at the Ignition Community Conference (ICC), which was created by Inductive Automation, maker of the Ignition software platform.

Ignition by Inductive Automation® is an industrial application platform with tools for the rapid development of solutions in human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Ignition is used in virtually every industry, in more than 100 countries.

 

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