News

News

Case Study: An Upgrade to Ignition Sepasoft “Perspective” OEE & Downtime Module

A global consumer goods manufacturer hired ECS Solutions to evaluate and install an upgrade of an Ignition Application from Version 7.9 to Version 8.1. Version 7.9 was originally installed by ECS Solutions.  The overall objective for the company was to have a web-based client application that was independent of Java and based on HTML5.  The upgrade included a reconfiguration of the MES software to improve its effectiveness.

The previous Ignition “Vision”-based Application did provide the functionality to monitor Equipment Downtime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), but the use of Java within the Ignition modules conflicted with other applications at the site and made it difficult to access throughout the organization.  Migration to the web-based Perspective Platform allowed ECS to significantly lighten the application and to focus on the most important data.  The new version of the Sepasoft OEE module also made it possible to simplify how the workstream was modeled within the Sepasoft Production module.  The company required this application be designed to work with both PCs and iPads.

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Read More | Posted In: Consumer Goods

Batch Forensics: The Case for Procedural Unit Tags

A Unit Tag is a class-based tag that identifies a characteristic of a unit.

The values of these tags are usually associated with information captured via the control systems analog and digital Input cards, signals like Temperature, Weight, Pressure, Level, Conductivity, pH, Level Switch, etc. Other unit tags can contain the status, state, material of construction, or any other user-defined attribute that can enhance the recipe editing capability and execution.

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Read More | Posted In: Bakery Industry, Beverage Industry, Distilleries, Food Industry

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:

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Read More | Posted In: Batch Boosters, FactoryTalk Batch

Strong Collaboration & Swift Implementation (Episodio en Español)

El presidente de ECS Solutions, Tim Matheny junto con Brad Logsdon, analista de negocios de Swedish Match se juntaron con Travis Cox el Codirector de ventas de ingeniería de Inductive Automation para una entrevista acerca del proceso de la implementación de Ignition para el análisis de sus negocios.

En este video, John Parraga nos resume en Español el contenido de esa reunión que explica como Swedish Match de Norte América llegó a utilizar la plataforma de Ignition para resolver problemas de negocios reales, y como el departamento de informática lideró la inversión inicial en su facilidad de Owensboro Kentucky.

Escucha el podcast aquí !

Read More | Posted In: Inductive Automation

ECS Solutions Named One of the Best Places to Work in Indiana for 2021

ECS Solutions was once again named as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. This 16th annual program was created by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the participating employers in Indiana with the leading workplace cultures. The list is made up of 125 companies.

“We have many tremendous employers in the state, so it’s great to see more and more companies take part in this effort to evaluate their workplace cultures and gain the recognition they deserve,” says Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. “These companies consistently demonstrate to their employees how much they value their contributions.”

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Read More | Posted In: News

Case Study: Repurposing a Tank Farm

A large US food manufacturing company planned to repurpose a tank farm, originally used in the manufacture of ice cream.  The repurposing of the tank farm could be considered a greenfield installation, providing various oils to a new fryer system. The new designs would allow the storage and transfer of (1) newly delivered oil, (2) flavored oil to be reused and (3) waste oil to be discarded.

ECS Solutions was hired to help evaluate the existing system which was controlled by five Allen-Bradley SLC 5/03 PLCs.  The ECS engineers determined the IO was sufficient for the planned changes as well as many of the existing valves. ECS redesigned the controls incorporating one new Allen Bradley CompactLogix controller to control the system and an Ethernet network to connect each of the existing SLC racks, which would be repurposed as remote IO racks. In addition, we provided new PowerFlex variable frequency drives to control the pumps that would move the oil from place to place.  An existing Inductive Automation Ignition operator interface application was expanded to incorporate the oil storage system.  In effect, the scope of the project was to evaluate the control systems available and to incorporate new controls where required.

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Read More | Posted In: Case Studies, Food Industry, PLCs

Product Life Expiration Automation

All the production processes carried out in a particular process cell within a large, national food manufacturing company, must adhere to certain time guidelines, a consequence of the relatively short shelf lives of some of the ingredients.

A batch process is monitored manually with operators following the batch through the stages and vessels involved.  The production times are recorded on paper by an operator and tracked to ensure the time guidelines are maintained. The batching process at the various stages should not exceed the specified maximum time. Failure to meet these criteria will result in the product being scrapped. It is both difficult and cumbersome to reliably record and track the batch process creating the possibility for errors to occur. The food company sought a more reliable way to track the product life of the batches as well as providing information for quality control and regulatory purposes.  The company requested ECS Solutions evaluate the possible automation of the time guidelines. ECS proposed a solution for the automation but limited it to the guidelines on the “in process batching” vessels. Automation of other vessels and guidelines could be carried out, but due to information available and a desire to minimize the scope, the project was limited to the in-process batching vessels. (more…)

Read More | Posted In: Case Studies, Food Industry, News

From Our Batch to Yours

We did not want to “Zoom” through the Holidays without wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday Season!

In lieu of corporate gifts this year, ECS Solutions will make a donation on behalf of our clients to the Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville, Indiana in association with Feeding America.

Thank you for helping to end hunger this holiday season!

Read More | Posted In: News

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…)

Read More | Posted In: Bakery Industry, Beverage Industry, Blogs, Chemical Industry, Food Industry, Life Science Industry, Metals

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.

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Read More | Posted In: Bakery Industry, Beverage Industry, Blogs, FactoryTalk Batch, Food Industry, Life Science Industry