Posts Tagged ‘Process Control’

Video: Paper on Glass and Electronic Batch Reports

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Paper on Glass’ is a very simple concept, with one main aim – to replace paper batch records with a mobile device. Pharma production is getting more and more complex. Watch this video to see how mobile devices powered with zenon reduce post batch analysis time and increase Right First Time (RFT).

The problem with paper

Paper is used a lot in pharmaceutical production environments; it drives the operator through the production sequence and records critical processes. It forms the base to prove each batch is of high quality and compliant to the regulations. But today’s Pharma production is becoming more and more complex, and in parallel the international regulations are increasing their demands.  Paper also needs to be printed and stored in secure environments for long periods of time. Using paper to drive production in Pharma, is like standing outside in a storm ripping up $100 bills:

  • Paper is manually intensive and RFT is less than 50% when using paper to drive production.
  • ⅔ of rejects are down to simple human failings: Missing entries and incorrect entries.
  • Collation of production data and analysis takes 15 to 40 days post batch

Paper on Glass: Putting automation in the hands of the operator

Using a batch engine gives you a consistent sequence in production, with clear instructions and safety information. Information is recorded from the operator directly into the historian. Missing entries are eliminated, and incorrect entries are also eliminated as far as possible. The collation of data is automatic and complete, batch recording and analysis documentation is instantly available.

Validation efficiency

No change to equipment or processes is needed. Production is being produced on exactly the same equipment, using the same workflow, with the same documentation.

Video: Paper on Glass and Electronic Batch Reports with zenon

Take a look at this Video to increase RFT, quality, and production efficiency with ‘Paper on Glass’.

In this video, you will see:

  • How to change your workflow without changing equipment or processes
  • Example applications in zenon
  • Batch Reporting possibilities

VIDEO: Break through the limits of your monitor with the Worldview in zenon

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Have you already come across the Worldview display in zenon? In this video you will see how the zenon Worldview can change the view of your production plant.

You can have an eye on your entire production on just one screen. Zoom and decluttering help you keep an overview. Here you can tailor the displayed level of detail to your own requirements. The zenon Worldview breaks through the limits of your monitor for the entire production.





The Pharma Challenges – Focus on Improvements

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

reporting quality alarmszenon’s ergonomic automation solutions are about bringing systems together to provide transparency across your facility, with a user-centric interface to the processes around them. This platform provides knowledge of the processes throughout the facility, at all management and operation levels, even direct at the machine level live KPI’s, such as OEE, can be presented for example. With high usability graphics, real-time data access, trending, reports, are all available through different interfaces such as workstation, server, tablet, machine HMI, SCADA terminal, web access. The operator is well informed, as is the manager, engineer, production management, senior management, etc. With transparent systems you can remove the requirement where operators need to continually walk up and down the machine – they can see all activity for a particular production line from each machine HMI terminal.

The zenon Product Family is configurable in nature with a significant library of functionality, providing a platform where entire solutions can be implemented in a configured environment, which reduces complexity, novelty, and risk, whilst increasing quality. Bespoke code can be accommodated, then encapsulated into this parameterization culture, whereby the code is validated once, then reused in a configurable fashion. Under the GAMP 5 guidelines, a software category 4 (configured product) significantly reduces risk and compliance requirements when compared to a programmed alternative. The zenon Product Family significantly reduces the validation and compliance efforts that need to be carried out. It also reduces the level of engineering required to design and support such a system.

We have a strong communication platform, which not only links into industrial networks, PLC’s and devices; but this continues up to the business and management layers to MES and ERP, with native interfaces to SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, and SQL; where bilateral transfer of information can take place in real-time. Our dynamic reporting server ‘zenon Analyzer’ brings information from the production environment and presents the information focused to the user’s need, i.e. with production batch reports, quality reports such as RBE, or engineering reports e.g. analyze alarm demographics. High visibility and transparency has positive influences on productivity and driving business goals. Giving real-time accurate data allows for closed loop control on business objectives, production initiatives, and engineering opportunities.

All of this increases the technical and communication capabilities of your facility, which can be integrated to your existing infrastructure without changing anything on a running system. Providing holistic knowledge and control of your processes which improve consistency to increase productivity.

The Pharma Challenges – The demands and difficulties in pharmaceutical automation

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Challenge: About 15 years ago, the emphasis in pharma production was all on validation. Because of that, automation engineers in pharma were really good at paperwork and change procedures. In a lot of cases they never learned how to be true engineers to make their processes run better and find improvement opportunities.

In the past, Engineering has had significant focus on compliance and validation issues, in a ‘validate all’ culture which instilled fear for all people concerned. But the world keeps turning, things evolve; zenon Process Overview in Pharmaceutical Productionhas a lot of integral functionality which is brought to life through parameterization, which brings the product to a GAMP software category 4. With this you have complete solutions created in a validation efficient environment. The FDA is also evolving from this ‘validate all’ culture, in-line with the ISPE GAMP 5 guidelines, applying risk analysis to find and focus the validation activities on the regions of the automation which affect product quality and security. The zenon Pharma Edition looks to aid this design stage with automated documentation tools, project versioning, and project comparison, which highlight which changes have been made to a project, clearly stating what has been affected by the change, and so focus the attention of validation to only critical areas, thus reducing the uncertainty and bringing higher quality as a whole.

Challenge: More than one fourth of the errors could probably be avoided by implementing automation.

Following the GAMP 5 risk assessment, non-conformity or risk of quality failure is assessed through a risk matrix, where Severity and Probability of failure determine a risk class, which is assessed with Detectability to determine the probability of failure. The task of the automation system in concept and operation is to make aware Severity, Probability, and Detectability. Through highly visible processes these three markers can be determined and qualified through clear understanding and identified as Critical Quality Attributes. High levels of visibility and reporting bring certainty to detecting determinable errors. COPA-DATA has a strict Quality Control structure, with procedures and documentation tracing development of each module in our product range. This library of functionality is enabled through parameterization. This means projects built on zenon technology, have a high level of quality and reliability, all pushing down the risk of non-compliance.

Challenge: Automation engineers should start thinking about a holistic change that will eliminate problems and issues.

Regulations in the recent past have segregated automation, in order to put boundaries on processes. The lack of simple communication mechanisms created isolated non-deterministic production environments. zenon offers simple to configure networks, and simple to configure automation solutions, which can control, acquire, communicate, and present information. Individual machines can now be lifted in to processes, and process-wide assessment carried out, with process audit-trail, alarm, and reporting. Holistic solutions for holistic operation.

Challenge: People in automation need to improve their way of translating their work into business value for Managers.

The zenon Product Family aims to touch on all operations in the control pyramid, linking layers, accessing all areas of production and automation, bringing systems and people together. Real time information can be processed and focused to a specific person’s usage. This puts automation into all operations within the production environment, translating production operations into: Business measurable data, Operation management efficiency, Operator productivity and motivation. All from the automation and engineering backbone.

(Source: Management’s View of Automation – Impressions of Automation Performance)

The Pharma Challenges – Investment value and pharmaceutical automation demands

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Challenge: Automation in the pharmaceutical industry has more requirements than other manufacturing. Especially requirements concerning safety, quality, and regulatory compliance increase production costs.

Indeed, the pharmaceutical industry requires that many key elements come together in each automation action, with strict quality and compliance measures adhered to. Quality isn’t finally designed in to a solution, it must be there from the core. This why COPA-DATA has strict Quality Control within its company culture, with a dedicated product for the life-science industries, embracing these unique challenges and demands head-on.

Automation in PharmaChallenge: People believe that there is a huge gap between the technologoy they use at home and the technology in automation at the plants.

One of the biggest revolutions in personal technology has been the intuitive interface on our smart phones. This type of user centric operating system has been dynamic and opened the way to bring technology to everybody. In this regard, zenon has pioneered with the first multi-touch HMI/SCADA technology, which is a window to our ergonomic user-centric environment. It embraces all our technology benefits to any user, directly through intuitive multi-touch interfaces.

Challenge: There are a number of projects initiated to maintain systems rather than adding new functions.

A significant advantage of having one product family for the entire scope of automation functionality for a facility which easily integrates to others systems, it that expansion of that project or adding other projects is performed in easy stages. Existing functionality can be easily expanded with integral functionality, simple configuration affords an efficient validation of added functionality; and communication brings the systems together. Design once and used many times, allows efficient reused and modular construction using pre-validated blocks.

Challenge: Very often, automation people are disconnected from the process. If automation is a separate function in organizations, most of the time it is not part of the decision process. This makes the problem even more complicated.

Employing high levels of technology brings people together – as technology advances the traditional boundaries are getting blurred. For example with the zenon Product Family you can access all production equipment and facility management processes, bringing these into the business domain through the zenon Analyzer and ERP interfaces. Link production operations to business measurable data, of cost, productivity, efficiency, energy usage, media usage. All of this through configuration, all of this in real time.
In this way, engineering affects operation efficiency. An integrated system can reduce the need for engineering interventions. The two become aligned and efficient through a common goal, with interfaces focused to their individual needs originating from the same data.

Challenge: A major problem is that operations very often does not talk to Automation.

Through my experience in LEAN and Quality Circles, progressive evolution is only possible through a task force of multi-discipline personnel. In my experience the problem was always getting the accurate data – to create measurable milestones they collectively must hit. zenon has a high level of connectivity to natively communicate with industrial networks, PLC’s, and devices, thus bringing systems together, providing real-time accurate data.

(Source: Management’s View of Automation – Impressions of Automation Performance)

The Pharma Challenges – Level of Automation and Automation Value

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Pharma_AutomationAutomation has a very good opinion in the eyes of the Operations Manager in the Pharmaceutical Industry. They believe automation contributes positively to achieving key performance goals such as improving safety, improving quality, improving regulatory compliance, and improving production capacity.

This is the motivation to use new technology. Then comes the challenge and reality to implement the solution. And this is not easy!

zenon is a configurable system, making it very efficient on validation effort. The zenon product family touches on all production operations, embracing People-Process-Equipment-Management.

Level of automation and Automation value


Challenge: A big barrier to adding automation in a pharmaceutical production facility is the need for plant shutdown.

Having an environment which aids commissioning would reduce the plant inactivity during shutdown. As a progressive, scalable and modular concept zenon can realize projects stage by stage to massage evolution around retro-fit evolution. zenon hot-reload is efficient when commissioning to keep the project updated with the needs of the process, not waiting until the end of the day to make changes, other software may be inflexible to online commissioning – but not zenon. Repeatable modules promote the concept of ‘design once and reuse’, in the pharmaceutical industry this has the distinct advantage that risk is reduced, and with that validation is reduced. Either use the same project and apply it to different areas, or use the individual modules in unique arrangements. Design once and reuse.

Challenge: Managers are positive about the value automation brings to their plants. They believe that automation contributes to achieving the goals of improving safety, product quality, production capacity, and regulatory compliance. Still, there are lacks in implementing.

zenon is a one stop product providing all functionality within one integrated product family. The education on how to overcome current problems or risk in pharmaceutical automation is well documented on our Pharmaceutical section on our website. This is just the first stage, because zenon is more than just survive and succeed. It allows transformation, and opens the way to put your vision of the future into reality. This reality can be Optimization, Quality, Performance OEE, Operational Excellence, Energy Management & Optimization, including for example the ISO 50001 certification.

Ergonomic automation engineering believes in achieving goals in all areas. Ergonomics – particularly with zenon – is making information transparent. Production affects more than just production personnel. Its figures and progress touch directly on business and management needs, quality has a clear need for actual and historic data, and it goes without saying that Operations management and Engineering departments require direct knowledge of production status. All of this requires the same information, but focused and aligned with the specific needs of the user. Putting the user centric to the processes operating around him or her, bring clear and instant understanding.

Challenge: Top Managers such as Site managers and Vice presidents don’t think that automation contributes to lower manufacturing costs.

Lowering manufacturing costs has many flavors. It requires a combination of exercises to be carried out to realize the full potential. For example, operational excellence looks to i) People, ii) Process, iii) Equipment, iv) Management. In most people’s eyes automation only attacks the third element ‘Equipment’, but this alone is not enough. Ergonomics focuses the automation and brings the four together, with holistic improvement that brings management initiatives into production processes, and forces the marriage between equipment and people. Then results are passed back up the line to management efficiently, where change can be acted upon. Process improvements can be incremental, or as clean as turning a page. zenon has many philosophies that fit here, scalable and modular technology applies solutions to the needs and possibilities of now. We never lose the focus that well managed technology gives positive results in reducing production cost, regulation compliance, product quality and safety.


(Source: Management’s View of Automation – Impressions of Automation Performance)

The Ergonomic Food & Beverage Factory – Application Engineering: cost-effective flexibility

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

FNB_Packaging_Line_OverviewThe automation and IT infrastructure of an ergonomic factory cannot remain “untouched” by the demands of the dynamic food & beverage market as well as internal improvement cycles, such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act. An energy data management system, for instance, needs to be adapted quickly to the realities of the plant: new equipment, new meters for various media (electricity, water, compressed air etc.). The energy manager and his colleagues can continually raise the requirements at different levels of the system. How to better involve the operator through local EnPIs? Which new analysis should be implemented through new energy reports? Which supplementary correlations between production and consumption indicators are needed?

A system which is the subject of such frequent changes should be, of course, based on a technology which is strongly built on principles such as: modularity, open communication in all directions, easy networking, extensibility scalability, and reusability. These characteristics are at the heart of zenon´s specialties, empowering the system integrator when using the zenon development environment. As a result, automation and IT specialists cannot fail to assure an always up-to-date and functional work environment for production people. In the ergonomic factory, reliable and secure systems can be integrated and maintained even under time pressure, and with far less stress.

zenon makes high technology available for easy and fast integration, through a standard and internationally-used software package. The result is that increased flexibility is no longer associated with constrictive business dependencies and high costs. The ergonomic factory is always ready to adapt to dynamic market requirements and is always in a leading position.

The Ergonomic Food & Beverage Factory – Continuous improvement: dominating complexity

Friday, September 26th, 2014

EDMS with zenonIn the food & beverage industry the efforts towards top performance are mainly based on the continuous improvement of the processes, for instance in the context of standards such as ISO 22000 and ISO 50001. Industry dynamism brings much variability in product design, packaging, process or production equipment. However, the plant managers, production supervisors, brew masters, packaging managers or process specialists are challenged to constantly keep alive the appetite for sustainable business, better performance and reduced costs.

How does zenon make the way to high performance easier? zenon´s core competencies are covering the complete information flow across the ergonomic factory. Valuable and complete visualization and analysis is possible only if data is collected from every relevant source. The time saved with less manual data input can be invested in optimization initiatives. Robust and fast data communication is the decisive base for real-time automatic calculation of key performance indicators such as OEE and Energy Performance Indicators (EnPI). Production teams with clear insight on current results can react quickly in order to ameliorate process issues. They are in control and confident with their decisions.

zenon offers much more. The archived plant production data is subject to further analysis to highlight improvement potential. Filter mechanisms and top-down interaction approaches ensure an always clearly contextualized focus on management information. Performance indicators aggregated in reports help to identify improvement measures. Where can we further improve the costs per mineral water bottle? What are the most important performance losses in our packaging area and how do we deal with them? Production management faces many such questions.

zenon processes the necessary amount of data in order to deliver business-relevant answers. In an ergonomics-based approach, this support for optimization has to be available any time for every involved team member, no matter where. PCs, panels, mobile devices or smartphones – all can become an access point to the plant optimization software tools, due to zenon’s software technologies such as Client-Server, Web Server, Message Control and zenon Everywhere.

The ergonomic factory doesn’t keep secrets from managers and production supervisors. Through openness and flexibility, zenon reduces routine work, encourages creativity in respect to improvement methodologies and secures a successful path towards top performance.

The Ergonomic Food & Beverage Factory – Powered by zenon

Friday, September 19th, 2014

FNB_Plant_OverviewDo you, from time to time, go shopping in food & beverages stores? For most of us, the answer is probably “yes”. Looking at the shelves of these stores, one always discovers new food products or drinks. For instance, this one is low calorie, this one is organic, this has better-looking packaging, this one is now lighter to carry. It is tempting to test and simply enjoy such new developments which claim to directly improve our lives.

More or less consciously, we all are making the food & beverage industry extremely dynamic. Despite the tough competition, innovative food & beverage suppliers are able to survive and grow. There are many aspects impacting both production plants and their suppliers of equipment and technology. A high level of the product quality is always a focus in the food & beverage industry. No matter if a plant is an independent one or part of an international group, from a financial perspective an increased return on investment and a reasonable cost of ownership are a must; therefore they face permanent pressure to increase productivity and optimize production costs.

Behind our often exciting discoveries on the shelves of the food & beverage stores, production teams are dealing with numerous challenges. They are continuously improving their plant and their processes. Exactly in the middle of this demanding production environment, industrial software in general and the entire zenon Product Family, in particular, are playing an essential role. Today, we find zenon fulfilling numerous and various tasks across the entire plant, being a powerful platform which makes life easier for every member of the production team. It is all about enabling stress-free top performance, in a working environment we like to call the ergonomic factory.

How does the zenon product philosophy empower the ergonomic factory? Let’s have a look at some examples, based on typical applications of zenon in the food & beverage industry.

Process control: simply reliable

In the automation puzzle of production equipment, zenon takes its role seriously: friendly in communicating with every kind of hardware; trusty in rapidly and accurately delivering any piece of information; robust and always available. A sophisticated Batch Control technology perfectly rounds off the rich toolbox that is zenon: prepared to fulfill industry-specific demands, from alarm and recipe management to complex real-time evaluation of process quality and integration with other software systems.

On the plant floor, the operator is the one challenged to ensure fast and error-free interaction with complex processes, regardless of his experience, level of education or age. How easy is it for him to contribute to plant performance? What about remaining motivated and healthy?

zenon addresses such critical topics by ensuring the equipment produces the technological power and the freedom to implement user-centered concepts. Clear, intuitive and modern user interfaces reduce learning time, bring comfort and safety. They are also pleasant to work with. Adequate reactions to any process events, supported by prioritized and localized information, reduce downtime and increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

In my upcoming blog entry, I will give you the answer to the question: How does zenon make the way to high performance easier?

“Life is Time, and Time is Gold” (Part 3): Paper on Glass

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Paper on Glass’ transforms a paper-based production system into something quite remarkable. Without change to any production equipment, automating the operator and production reporting means post-batch analysis is reduced to an absolute minimum; releasing stock to market weeks in advance of older paper-based systems. Quality is optimized and risk is mitigated as production flows are consistent between batches, execution is strict, no information is missing from the record, and errors in recording information are as far as humanly possible eliminated. Business management is happy on many fronts as costs are avoided, no paper needs to be generated, and there are no mountains of paper to store in secure locations. Instant batch analysis means instant revenue, production activities are aligned in real time to the gravity of business.

Visibility is more than knowing what is happening now. At all levels, across functions, people know what the processes are doing, they know the choices they can make when it matters, they know what is next in the OPEX initiative and, importantly, they know how they have made a difference.

The wind of change is now to your advantage: leverage technology to gain strength, remove the blindfold and realize optimum performance. Sail your own destiny!