With Plant Batch iT it is possible to implement the procedural, physical and recipe model as well as manage resources in accordance with ISA-88 in combination with an additional functionality resulting from our extensive experiences in automating recipe-controlled processes. Next to the availability of the production line as a structural element of a plant, three plant section types have been defined and implemented in the physical model. The use of
- Storage units,
- Processing units and
- Transfer units
considers the fact that pure storage locations, “real” plant sections and pure transportation equipment, e.g. pipe systems, must be treated quite differently within the context of a batch system.
The strict interpretation of the ISA-88 recipe model would lead to unnecessary administration effort for many applications without achieving significantly enhanced process transparency. Plant Batch iT therefore simplifies the recipe model in several layers depending on the application requirements. The partial or complete breakup of the plant section into a structural element simplifies the master recipes with regard to their structure. For further simplification, the number of recipes to be administered can be reduced considerably through a special recipe model of Plant Batch iT.
Plant Batch iT can process so-called procedure descriptions while adhering to the separation of master and control recipes. In principle, they are master recipes which contain variables instead of precise product-related values. The generation of a control recipe then takes place during runtime via an order-related, dynamic combination of a procedure description with a bill of materials which can also include complex sets of recipe parameters besides a list of ingredients and quantities. This extended type of the recipe model has two main advantages:
- When producing a wide variety of products according to the same procedure, only a few procedure descriptions are required, i.e. the effort for maintaining the master recipes is reduced significantly.
- The possibility of the BOM-based processing of production orders provides the ideal basis for efficient cooperation of Plant Batch iT and numerous ERP systems, as these systems usually "think" in bills of materials.
The central element for controlling and monitoring production is the order management of Plant Batch iT, which provides the production staff with three detailing levels:
- Order list
- Batch matrix
- Batch list
The order list offers an overview of all dispatched orders and – if this option is used – of the individual batches of the order. All relevant order data and the current status are displayed online. Orders can be dispatched manually via the user interface of Plant Batch iT or via the standard interfaces of Plant iT from a higher-order system (e.g. SAP PP).
The batch matrix shows an online status overview table of all the batches being processed from the active orders, right down to the operation. The batch list provides a detailed overview of a single batch currently being processed and direct access to the operation-internal functionality, represented by an object of the Phase Controller class.
Interventions at order or batch level (e.g. start, stop, continue, cancel) are possible at any of the described levels. The batch list additionally allows the modification of all the recipe and order parameters for the operations which have not yet been started by the system.
These types of intervention are recorded in the event log with reference to the order, batch and user.
Plant Batch iT records all order and batch-relevant data and summarises it in an Electronic Batch Record (EBR). The batch record contains all the relevant header data of the production order to which the respective batch belongs and a detailed image of all the data similar to how it is displayed in the batch list at that time, as the batch is correctly completed or cancelled. The batch record can also be extended by:
- Step records of the Phase Controllers (operation-internal sequences),
- Graphical views of order-related production data and
- Order-related message lists.
The batch records are available online for a freely definable period, but can also be exported or archived.
Raw materials, semi-finished products or finished products are the actual core resources of any process. The transaction-accurate tracing and precise allocation to individual orders and batches are essential for batch processes. In order to meet this requirement, Plant Batch iT is intrinsically tied to the process-related materials management Plant iT material. The generation of the booking records required for inventory management and batch tracing is, whenever possible, carried out automatically by Plant Batch iT and in close coordination with the order and batch ID. To enable consistent and comfortable batch tracing, the evaluations carried out in Plant iT material allow direct branching to a batch record of Plant Batch iT and vice versa.