13 Jun 2012

Liquids Batch Manufacturing & Storage

Application Notes No Comments

Project: Liquids Batch Manufacturing & Storage
Industry: Consumer Products
Application: Liquid Batching/Material Handling

Overview
A leading manufacturer recently of consumer healthcare products needed to expand production at an existing facility to respond to changes in the marketplace. The plant expansion included the addition of a new manufacturing area to provide additional capacity for existing products as well as new products that were being developed to respond to consumer demands.

The manufacturing area consisted of the following:
• Staging areas for storing pre-weighed manual additions.
• Two redundant charging suites where the concentrated slurry is mixed.
• Five batch tanks where the concentrated slurry from either charge suite is combined with bulk materials to produce the product.
• Two storage tanks each capable of being fed from any batch tank. The storage tanks are capable of providing finished product to any combination of seven high-speed packaging lines.

The requirements for the control system in the new manufacturing area included:
• A Flexible Batching System compliant with ISA S88 standards.
• Process visualization, electronic work instructions and alarm management.
• Generation of Electronic Batch Records (EBR).
• Compliance to 21 CFR Part 11 for electronic records and electronic signatures.
• Interface to multiple plant systems including the plant MES.
• Integration to the site’s weigh and dispense system using wireless bar code scanners.
• Generation of IOQ documents and validation support.

Highlights
The challenge was to design, implement and install a large-scale sophisticated system in a regulated industry under a tight schedule and budget without compromising high corporate standards. The design and development process closely followed GAMP 4 guidelines, relied heavily on the ISA-S88 model, and used EZSoft’s ControlBuilder®, a software development toolset. The ISA S88 model applied to all aspects of the project including gathering of information for the specifications, system design, documentation, testing, commissioning and validation. Key to the success of the project was ControlBuilder®, a data-centric software toolset that facilitated the collection of information gathered during each stage of design and development.

Technologies Used:
EZSoft ControlBuilder® as a system development tool.
Intellution iBatch for Batch Control.
Intellution iFix for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.
Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers for real time control.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 as the secure, compliant data warehouse to store batch data, audit trail information, and alarm log.
Symbol wireless bar code scanners.
Crystal Reports reporting engine on the corporate network via ASP.NET web applications.

13 Jun 2012

Cake Bakery Control System

Application Notes No Comments

Project: Cake Bakery Control System
Industry: Food – Baked Goods
Application: S88 Batching System

Overview:
This project demonstrates the full capabilities of the software suite EZSoft can provide. The development for this project relied heavily on EZSoft’s ControlBuilder® to automatically generate much of the code and documentation for this project. This system consisted of 6 cake mixers as well as bulk ingredient storage. EZSoft’s Recipe Manager and Inventory Manager from ProductionSuite™ were included to allow the plant management to easily add and edit recipes as needed as well as track ingredient inventory throughout the plant.

The system consisted of over 350 devices controlled by a ControlLogix PLC using an S-88 compliant batch engine developed with EZSoft’s ControlBuilder®. The HMI consisted of a FTView SE application configured for each of 7 stations located throughout the manufacturing area. A batch and SQL database server was installed to allow the site to save and display all process data. Historical trending, batch reports and ingredient usage reports are all available in the FTView SE application as well as through a remote web application. Test documents and design specifications were generated by ControlBuilder® for a consistent, easy to follow layout.

Technologies Used:
• EZSoft ProductionSuite™ including:
- Recipe Manager
- Schedule Manager
- Inventory Manager
- Report Manager

• EZSoft ControlSuite™ including:
- Batch Manager
- Phase Manager
- Device Manager
- Alarm Manager
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 w/ Reporting Services for data storage and reporting.
Rockwell Software FT TransactionManager for data acquisition from the PLC.
Rockwell Software FTViewSE for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.
Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers for real time control.

13 Jun 2012

Multi-Axis Tube Bending Machine

Application Notes No Comments

Project: Multi-Axis Tube Bending Machine
Industry: Electronics
Application: Motion Control

Overview
A manufacturer of cooling equipment for the electronics, computer and telecommunication industries contracted EZSoft to replace the controls on a critical piece of production equipment. The customer was having significant quality and downtime issues with the original control system on their tube-bending machine. The machine has 3 axes that move and shape copper tubing into specific shapes based on requirements. EZSoft proposed a full replacement of control software. The original recipe syntax was cumbersome and hard to understand and therefore presented a training issue for the customer. Before the controls replacement, there was only one employee who could reliably operate the machine. After the replacement, that employee was able to train operators to run the machine, and engineers to edit recipes thereby freeing him up to better manage the day-to-day operations on the plant floor.

Highlights
The existing control system consisted of proprietary hardware that was hard to maintain and difficult to replace. Additionally, the old system relied on Assembly Language programs for the real time control and a custom VB application for operator interface which presented a challenge for the plant in terms of debug and support.
These controls were replaced with standard “off-the-shelf” components which included an Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controller, motion cards and associated I/O. The assembly programs and custom applications were replaced with ladder logic using standard components from EZSoft’s ControlSuite™, web based Recipe Manager and Report Manager from EZSoft’s ProductionSuite™, and Allen Bradley FTViewSE displays for operator interface.

A truly unique feature of the new system was the use of ISA S88 model for motion control.

S88 Motion Control
A Phase was implemented for each motion axis to execute a motion instruction. Super-Phases were implemented that executed the simpler axis moves in a fixed sequence, in some cases executing the atomic motions in parallel which allowed the machine to make parts faster. The EZSoft batch engine was utilized in the ControlLogix PLC to sequence the machine through super-phases and phases as well.

S88 Motion Recipes
This project demonstrates the versatility of the EZSoft batch engine. The fact that motions could be represented as S88 recipes allowed for the use of EZSoft’s Recipe Manager web application for recipe editing and storage. This feature meant that engineering and R&D departments could edit tube recipes from web browsers on their desktops, which simplified their jobs and saved them time. The recipes or “programmes” from the original controls system were translated into the Recipe Manager format and then automatically inserted into the Recipe Manager database.

Technologies Used:
• EZSoft ProductionSuite™ including:
- Recipe Manager
- Report Manager

• EZSoft ControlSuite™ including:
- Batch Manager
- Phase Manager
- Device Manager
- Alarm Manager
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 w/ Reporting Services for data storage and reporting.
Rockwell Software FTViewSE for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.
Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers for real time control.
Allen Bradley MO2AE Motion Cards for servo motor control.

13 Jun 2012

Granulation and Kettle Control

Application Notes No Comments

Project: Granulation and Kettle Control
Industry: Pharmaceutical
Application: Granulation

Overview
A leading pharmaceutical manufacturer upgraded their controls for a Fluid Bed Granulator and associated Starch Kettles with an S88 Component Based Control Systems. The process consists of preparation of starch solution in one of two (2) Starch Kettles and discharging into the Fluid Bed Granulator at a designated flow rate.

The Starch Kettles are used to prepare solutions for the granulation process. Each Starch Kettle Solution tank is mounted on load cells and equipped with a two-speed mixer, USP PW supply valve with full and dribble flow control, hot water supply valve, variable speed solution pump and an automatic discharge valve. The tank is also jacketed to allow heating the solution. Batch and CIP functions are sequenced automatically and operator prompts are configurable in the recipe to confirm operator actions.

The Fluid Bed Granulator includes a fluidizing air handling unit with variable inlet valve and air heater, product bowl pressure seals, solution spray nozzle with atomizing air; bag filters with shake function, variable exhaust damper and exhaust fan. The batch and CIP functions are sequenced automatically and operator prompts are configurable in the recipe to confirm operator actions. Moisture data is collected during the spray phases and graphed against target and operational limits. Critical process parameters such as air flow, air temperature, product temperature, moisture and solution flow rate are prominently displayed on the operator display for monitoring. The system includes a data collection and reporting sub-system for producing batch reports, alarm reports and an audit trail that complies with Title 21, Part 11, Subpart B – Electronic Records, section 11.10 for closed systems.

Highlights
The previous system was operated by manually setting loop set points per SOPs and was prone to operator error. The new system includes the Batch Manager component from EZSoft ControlSuite™ allowing flexible recipes and consistent and reliable automatic batch execution. The Report Manager component from EZSoft ProductionSuite™ provides accurate data collection to support investigations and process improvement initiatives. The recipe configuration on the new controls allows each of the phases to be executed in any order either individually or in parallel with other phases. This flexibility enables the production of new products within the physical capability of the equipment without changing software. The recipe storage and the batch engine reside in the PLC. The reporting system captures all recipe changes and provides an audit trail of operator actions.

EZSoft provided detailed design specifications and generated test protocols for system qualification. During the factory tests, EZSoft engineers used the simulation capabilities of Device Manager to perform comprehensive tests of all graphic objects, phase and unit operations. This quality testing significantly reduced startup and commissioning time and enabled the Factory Acceptance Tests to be referenced in the Operational Qualification Protocol saving time and validation costs.

Products Used:
• EZSoft ProductionSuite™ including:
- Report Manager

• EZSoft ControlSuite™ including:
- Batch Manager
- Phase Manager
- Device Manager
- Alarm Manager
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 w/ Reporting Services for data storage and reporting.
Rockwell Software FT Transaction Manager for data acquisition from the PLC
Allen Bradley PanelView Plus Operator Interface terminals.
Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers for real time control

13 Jun 2012

Bread and Muffin Bakery Control System

Application Notes No Comments

Project: Bread and Muffin Bakery Control System
Industry: Food – Baked Goods
Application: S88 Batching System

Overview
A leading manufacturer of baked goods contracted EZSoft to implement a Component Based Control System (CBCS) to monitor and control critical plant processes in the new plant including ingredient handling and batching control.

The new system controls (2) production lines associated with muffins and one (1) line associated with bread products. Both the muffin and bread areas share the common bulk storage silos for flour. The bread and muffin lines each have a minor ingredients system consisting of up to twenty (20) minor bin hoppers for storage and delivery of minor ingredients. Each area also has its own liquids storage and delivery system. The Ingredient Handling/Batch Control System coordinates the delivery of multiple ingredients (flour, minors, liquids and hand-adds) from the different sources to multiple mixers in a specific order as determined by the production schedule for specific recipes. The new system consists of 15 individual units, 242 phases and over 2000 field I/O points.

Highlights
Unlike traditional Distributed Control System (DCS) solutions, Component Based Control Systems (CBCS) utilize “best of breed” components and applications that provide a powerful and cost effective solution for automated systems. For this project, EZSoft’s ProductionSuite™ was used to provide managers and supervisors with the tools needed for production scheduling, recipe management, inventory management, lot tracking and reporting. ProductionSuite™ components are web-based which provides the plant with a powerful deployment tool over the plant’s intranet. Additionally, the ProductionSuite™ components are tightly integrated with the manufacturing control layer which uses Allen Bradley’s ControlLogix programmable logic controllers. ControlLogix PLC’s are used for the Ingredient Handling/Batch Control System and are used extensively throughout the rest of the plant. The ControlLogix programmable logic controllers are programmed using EZSoft’s ControlBuilder® for real time control. ControlBuilder® provides the real time control layer that is compliant with ISA 88 standards and is tightly integrated with ProductionSuite™.

By using an innovative system and competitive software development tools, expanding upon well-established standards and providing a more efficient means of recipe monitoring and reporting, EZSoft, Inc. provided the new plant a system for ingredient handling and batching that supports production demands. Because the system strictly adheres to the ISA 88 batch standard, recipe additions and changes are made with minimal effort.

Technologies Used:
EZSoft ProductionSuite™ including:
- Schedule Manager
- Recipe Manager
- Inventory Manager
- Report Manager

EZSoft ControlSuite™ including:
- Batch Manager
- Phase Manager
- Device Manager
- Alarm Manager
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 w/ Reporting Services for data storage and reporting.
Rockwell Software FT TransactionManager for data acquisition from the PLC.
Rockwell Software FTViewSE for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.
Allen Bradley PanelView Plus Operator Interface terminals.
Allen Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers for real time control.