One of the things I’d like to do more in future posts, is to “hand over the keys” to this blog to one of our experts and “let them drive.” Today’s post is from Joanne Salazar, a member of the Data Management Services team. For those of you who use Twitter, Joanne is @perspective21. Joanne’s subject is that area historically defined as manufacturing execution systems (MES). I’ll not indent in a quote box for space considerations, but I hope you enjoy Joanne’s words below:
The promise of MES has been difficult to achieve over the years, partly due to limited product functionality. MES is broadly defined as an information technology (IT) solution that supports the primary production processes in a production plant. These applications close the gap between ERP systems and production equipment control, distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC), and/or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) applications.
MES applications have become essential to support real-time production control, as well as data collection and reporting that is required in order to improve production performance; however, the practical implementation of these systems can be overwhelming and expensive. The challenge of MES solutions lies in the fact that it is broadly defined and impacts virtually every manufacturing function.
Product functionality that enables a batch recipe to span manual workflow and automated processes, provides a consistent operator interface, and generates a comprehensive batch record without custom coding has not been available until now. In this post, I would like to address the benefits of having a SINGLE batch recipe, developed in a SINGLE engineering environment, using ISA S88 and S95 STANDARDS.
SINGLE RECIPE. In all manufacturing facilities, manual and automated processes need to be coordinated. Manual operations may include filter changes, equipment cleaning, and material weigh dispense. Automated processes involve reading instruments and sequencing values, including steps such as heating, agitation, and material transfers.
Manual operations have historically been addressed via SOP‘s and paper-based procedures. Automation is commonly addressed using a control system. Therefore, a recipe needs to span across both manual and automated systems to be comprehensive. If the manual and automation systems are not addressed by the recipe, coordination and synchronization of activities needs to be forced, requiring additional resources and reducing efficiency.
One comprehensive recipe that spans manual and automated processes can provide:
- links to reference documents (SOPs, MSDS, P&IDs, etc)
- easy, intuitive interface that walks the operator through work instructions
- transparent access to automated activities with easy views of current process status
- ability to capture data from both manual and automated processes
- synchronization of manual and automated steps to ensure right-first-time manufacturing
SINGLE ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENT. To support a single recipe, it is important to have a single engineering environment to create, modify, and maintain the recipes. A single recipe definition reduces development time, minimizes custom interface software, and enables the process experts to define the recipe. This engineering environment can provide:
- ability to write a “library” of modular operations and steps that can be used multiple times within multiple recipes
- ability to initiate sequencing from one system to the other
- authorization and security functions that are defined once and used throughout the manufacturing facility
- easy, intuitive interface that graphically shows the recipe sequence including both manual and automated processes
- seamless, transparent passing of information between the recipe and the automation systems ensuring synchronization of process steps without the need to write custom code
- comprehensive capture of both manual and automated information, including seamless, transparent capture of automation system data to the recipe electronic batch record
ISA S88 and S95 STANDARDS The use of standards to define and implement recipes improves implementation efficiency and reduces the cost to maintain the solution over its life cycle. ISA-95 (S95) Standard, Enterprise-Control System Integration, is the industry standard for information exchange between enterprise and manufacturing control activities and their supporting IT systems. S95 is oriented toward the definition of data models, work activity, and information exchange.
ISA-88 (S88) Standard, Batch Control, provides guidelines for the design and specifications of batch control systems. S88 is oriented toward physical work execution. S88 is based on a well-defined equipment-oriented conceptual structure and a hierarchy of control functions that acknowledge manufacturing management functions and extend all the way to the manufacturing equipment itself.
Products that adhere to these standards provide easier implementation of recipes by using common terminology, providing a structure that allows process experts to define the recipe, enabling software module libraries for common functions, and predefined integration to other software applications. The use of standards also makes it easier to maintain the solution over its life cycle, ensuring that new product software versions will continue to function and communicate properly with other software applications.