Reduce Variability to Improve Capacity and Quality

Reduce Variability to Improve Capacity and Quality

All manufacturing processes have variability.

How you handle variability can make it much easier to achieve your goals – from increased capacity and quality to decreased scrap and downtime.

Reducing the variability of key process parameters enables you to drive to your plant’s processing constraints and specification limits. There are a lot of ways to decrease variability — I’ve found that one of the most efficient and cost effective is through a Model Predictive Control (MPC) solution.

MPC makes your processes more stable – and predictable – so you can consistently get as close as possible to your targets and maintain optimal control.

There are four types of scalable analytics:

  1. Descriptive: What happened?
  2. Diagnostic: Why did it happen?
  3. Predictive: What will happen and when?
  4. Prescriptive: What should I do about it?

MPC is an example of a prescriptive analytic, correct for the process disturbance before it affects your product quality.

With MPC you build a mathematically defined multi-variable model built upon steady state and dynamic relationships. Process control utilizing the multi-variable model is able to predict future process values and coordinate setpoint changes for optimal performance while rejecting disturbances.

Evolving technology has moved the discussion from how to collect the data to what to do with it; as a result, some analytics companies are entering this space while others — like us — have been delivering the highest level of data analytics on manufacturing floors for 20-plus years.

Why History Matters

Most companies, and especially in the food and beverage industry, are under increased pressure to reduce costs and scrap while increasing yield. So it’s important to take this data journey with a partner that knows MPC and process, and has a proven record not just in analytics, but in analytics for manufacturing.

Generating Value Through MPC

MPC, proven to be one of the best ways to address common manufacturing challenges, is ubiquitous in industries like oil and gas. And there’s good reason: With MPC, it’s fairly easy to show ROI quickly and build a business case.

Typical MPC benefits for the food and beverage industry include:

  • Increase throughput up to 9%
  • Reduce energy per unit of product up to 9%
  • Reduce off-spec product up to 75%
  • Improve yield up to 1%
  • Reduce variability in quality up to 60%

So if you’re making whiskey, you can get more yield from the same amount of grain with greater consistency. If you are making French fries you can get more capacity on existing assets while also producing a product with more consistent quality.

In the end, that’s what everyone wants – a consistent quality product for consumers, a predictable profitable process for manufacturing.

Kirk Aubertine
Posted 9 July 2018 By Kirk Aubertine, Technical Consultant, Rockwell Automation
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