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February 16, 2017

Digitize Recipe Management for Increased Agility

Keith Chambers
Keith Chambers
keith.chambers@schneider-electric.com

Keith Chambers is responsible for the strategic direction, commercialization and development of the operations management portfolio globally. This includes our Wonderware MES, Wonderware InBatch, Wonderware Recipe Manger Plus and Wonderware Skelta BPM portfolio of products.


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In today's dynamic market, manufacturing companies are under increasing pressure to operate with greater agility by shifting business models and increasing the pace of product development. 

 
At the same time customers and regulators expect a continued commitment to the highest quality and transparency

This creates a delicate balance for manufacturers, as there is an obvious tension between consistent quality and increased agility, and increasingly dynamic operations can potentially threaten operational performance, asset utilization, quality and compliance.

Manufacturers have started to develop new business models based on digital transformation of product design and lifecycle management. Since the “recipe” is the core information set defining the production requirements for a specific product, digitalization of recipe management and information flow down to the physical production unit offers the same potential for increased competitive agility and new business opportunities.

(For reference, see some thoughts on product lifecycle management in process industries by Automation World editor Stefanie Neil)


The Recipe Information Gap - Slowing Down the New Product Introduction (NPI) Process


Recipe management in a plant is traditionally very automation system or equipment centric and primarily focused on helping operators change formula parameter settings or the recipe for execution. Existing software solutions help enforce repeatable quality and change products, but with the exception of the most sophisticated batch management systems, many of today’s plant recipe tools and applications are either dependent on a specific automation system or custom built for a specific line or machine.

As a result management across multiple plants and lines is inflexible and difficult. In today’s plants, taking a master recipe to production relies on process and automation engineers manually converting master recipe information into the format or settings required by each individual production system.

A MESA whitepaper confirms the industry need to improve the NPI process by using today’s available  technologies:  “It is vital to the long-term success of a manufacturing company to have an effective and efficient new Product Development and Introduction process; yet most process manufacturing companies rely on document and people-centric information and manual processes.” The whitepaper written by process industry insiders suggests establishing a framework for recipe information management to drive efficiency, productivity and speed to market:  “There is often no single central source of truth about a product. Managing the new product development and introduction processes then becomes a manual operation, with all the delays and errors associated with manual processes.”


 In this Automation World podcast Tom Troy discusses the benefits of an advanced, collaborative platform for integrating and managing operations from batch processing to the end of the packaging line


Closing the Gap Between Plant and Enterprise


In order to close the NPI gap, we have developed a new commercial, off the shelf, fully control system independent Recipe Management software offering. The software closes the gap below our batch management software offering and is offered scalable for single batch processes and formula management only solutions.

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Manufacturing Operations Transformation Infographic

Wonderware Recipe Manager Plus has been specifically designed for recipe management standardization in heterogeneous automation system landscapes. Central product formulations for use in multiple production locations are supported by the ability to manage formulas and procedures and equipment independent.

The software’s web-based user interface helps process engineers and recipe administrators, as well as plant operators, efficiently manage more product variations and execute product changeover processes securely and quickly to maximize production output.

To support standardization across the business and lower the cost of compliance the software comes with role-based security, automatic item versioning, approvals for production use, and electronic history records to provide governance to secure consistency of quality and processes. The software already contributes to our customers’ ability to securely manage more product variations; it automatically documents R&D recipe versions and provides increased agility to take new products to market faster.


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