Addressing today’s batch manufacturing challenges require a modern approach – leveraging the latest technologies to uncover new competitive advantages
The world is changing and as a result so is manufacturing. Today’s dynamic manufacturing industry presents multiple challenges: control costs, mitigate risks, and seize every opportunity to gain a competitive edge. For many companies, this means production areas must drive out inefficiencies that are holding them back with bold approaches. This requires informed decision making, data-driven exposure of inefficiencies, and a tremendous amount of collaboration. Indeed, organizations that embrace today’s rapidly advancing technologies stand to uncover new competitive advantages.
As companies tackle these challenges, they must review new and modern approaches to established processes traditionally used in batching applications. Facilities that are constrained by rigid systems cannot adapt to changing equipment conditions over time or take advantage of common workflows as they scale procedures from pilot areas to volume production.
Modern batch delivers value
Each producer has diverse batch processing needs from simple, single-vessel, single-product production to complex production systems. While batch processing needs differ between manufacturers, their focus remains the same – to make better informed business decisions.
Advancements in technology can add opportunity and risks from both internal and external sources that expand with each new connection of smart things. With each opportunity comes added threats capable of disrupting batch operations, safety, productivity, and the ability to help protect assets, machinery, and information. A modern batch system must utilize a design for security approach that secures production systems and intellectual property yet helps the plant meet uptime expectations.
The system must simultaneously make data available for continuous improvement analysis while protecting the integrity of data. This data can then be leveraged in regulatory and quality control reporting. The Connected Enterprise® fully incorporates the ability to both capitalize on opportunities and protect against risks through a modern batch system.
In fact, a modern batch solution is a key component of The Connected Enterprise®. It helps you view real-time data on manufacturing processes, compare performance across plants, quickly scale production up or down, and manage energy consumption. A Connected Enterprise promotes seamless collaboration and integration enabling the power of real-time data to help improve productivity.
Making it scalable
Scalability is not just about supporting technologies that possess the ability to control both small and large systems. It is about understanding the need and applying the right technology rather than starting with a product and trying to use it for all solutions. A scalable offering of solutions can result in more productive operations by lowering the engineering and maintenance costs.
In some instances, server and network infrastructure and their associated security needs are a barrier to apply batch software on small or standalone systems. In the absence of this infrastructure, users should still be able to implement established industry standard control through integrated state model and state propagation control. Conversely, to simply drive batch management models down to the controller, which may provide some benefit, may not be the right solution either.
The benefits of a supervisory batch management system for complex architectures cannot be overstated. When complex architectures result in control being distributed among several units in multiple controllers, a centralized system can provide the most logical and consistent coordination of the platform.
Advanced control technology
Control systems in a modern batch system must be designed so that the responsiveness can be maximized when the process calls for it. Making allowances for underperformance in areas such as the latency of a state transition ultimately costs time, product quality, and overall profitability. In many cases it is preferred to move the sequencing control closer to the physical equipment to better control sensitive steps, maintain security and improve the reliability of the system.
The processing power of today’s controllers provide unprecedented speed and functionality compared to their early predecessors. There are many applications that try to leverage these controller characteristics for rapid response or high available performance architectures in a batch process. A modern batch solution must be able to take advantage of these capabilities for phase and state transition control – without abandoning proven technologies and methods that were traditionally only available with server-class systems.