It is the goal of most batch oriented production facilities to be able to expose the scheduling and order information that has been entered into a corporate database to a downstream manufacturing control system. The truckloads of materials that have been received are normally lot tracked as they arrive and are verified against purchase orders and specifications. Meanwhile, production orders that require these materials are entered into the database.
The ability to follow these materials through the manufacturing process as they are distributed to one or more hoppers, tanks or other type of containers and then further metered into operations that require the materials to fulfill production orders is fundamental to having a sound material tracking system.
Using Production Order Numbers for the Batch ID
Rockwell's batch engine (FTBATCH) executes batches based on a batch list. There is a standard interface screen to create the batches based on a recipe, batch amount, and other parameters as defined by the user's recipe. It is also possible to provide a user supplied Batch ID. In many cases a batch is part of a campaign of similar batches for a production order. This Batch ID can be defined as the production order with a suffix for the sequence number. As an example, if the production order is NVX5864 and it needs 8 batches of the formulation, the batches could be NVX5864_001 through NVX5864_008. Using the production order information as the lot number makes it is easier to query the batch history later to get lot tracking information. As you might expect, it is paramount that the production order not be double entered.
One approach that we have used is to read the production database and enter batches automatically for the operator. The FactoryTalk Batch Server API (BATCH-RM111C-EN-P–November 2014), defines how custom interfaces can be written for the Batch server. It is possible to get properties called items from the batch server and/or execute commands to perform on the batch server.
Using an ADODB interface to the client's production database and interrogating the batch list it is possible to programmatically add batches based on the company's production orders and make sure they are not duplicated. This greatly simplifies the upfront interface to the batch system and reduces the opportunity for error.
Retrieving Information from the Batch System
Each time a batch is loaded to the batch production list for execution there are database records created and later updated in a MS SQL database. Three databases in particular provide information about the batch operations than may be useful in reconciling materials and lot information.
Provides detailed records of batch execution. This file can be used to gather information on the timing of batches, parameters of the batch, and equipment usage.
Details on the S88 recipes for the system. It is this database that is first used in setting up a new batch to run.
If Rockwell's Material Manager is being used this database provides information of materials on hand as well as containers of the materials.
After batches have been executed, these databases provide valuable lot tracking information. To make this lookup process more efficient, the production order information can be used for the Batch ID as described earlier. By using a fairly straight-forward Batch ID naming system and an automated batch loader the goal of closing the loop from production order systems through manufacturing can be achieved.
Hope to see you at PSUG November 7-8!