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.
Case Study: Upgrades for a Large Taste & Nutrition Company
A large taste and nutrition company that produces flavored breadcrumbs requested assistance from ECS Solutions to install and upgrade a mixer associated with their breadcrumb line 1. The company had purchased the same type of mixer that is presently used in production but wanted the controls to operate in the same way as those in the existing mixer. Assistance was also requested to reconfigure two lines; the aforementioned breadcrumb line 1 & an additional bread crumb line.
The company had purchased a new mixer from Peerless Food Equipment and required assistance with its’ installation into the breadcrumb 1 line and modification to the controls. The mixer was the same type as that being operated in the line, but the company wanted the controls to operate in the same way as those for the existing mixer 2. The new mixer was equipped with an HMI which ECS decommissioned and then programmed the existing mixer 2 HMI to operate both mixers. The operator interface terminal was also programmed to switch between the two mixers. The large taste and nutrition company had determined that these changes could significantly reduce the downtime being experienced by the line.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
Case Study: 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…)
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!