The challenges associated with establishing a seamless production flow are hardly unfamiliar to the many seasoned plant production managers, processing engineers, and machine operators working in today’s increasingly complex manufacturing sectors.
Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are demonstrably reliable and essential solutions for many aspects of well-executed production flow. But most manufacturing facilities lack the appropriate equipment for recipe management, particularly when it comes to recipe body management and version tracking and recipe download and selection.
In the absence of these capabilities, recipe management is relegated to a complex set of manual procedures, subject to accuracy issues that are primarily attributable to human error. In direct response to this problem, food production facility owners have sought out automated solutions for their recipe management to increase accuracy, efficiency, and process controls. Process accuracy is paramount, especially for semiconductor foundries where integrity and confidentially are crucial and visibility into data is essential to meet strict compliance requirements.
Recipe management for manufacturing
Before delving deeper, let’s establish the basics of recipe management. Whenever a recipe manager generates a production order for a given product, the outcome of that product is a set of specific process steps completed in series.
This is also known as a “production flow.” During each phase of the process, specific machines align with a particular step in the process flow. These steps are contained within the instruction set, or what is known as the “recipe,” that gives equipment-specific settings, previously inputted into the recipe management software.
A process step begins once a product is identified for processing and the equipment is configured for appropriate recipe specifications such as pressure, temperature, and processing time. Once the machinery and controls are set to spec, the product is placed on the equipment to enter the production flow in which the item is queued into its various required process steps.
What are the benefits of automating recipe management?
Recipe management software and the systems it controls simplify the work of manual operators, production managers, and process engineers through principally automated means. Automating recipe selection reduces equipment set-up times and simplifies maintenance and the storage and management of centralized recipe bodies in a single database. Here are a few more ways your facility will benefit after automating your recipe management system.
1. Increased accuracy
After implementing a recipe management system to automate the recipe selection process, the first noticeable benefit will be the elimination of misprocessing due to human error. Automated recipe managements systems precisely determine which materials to process based upon the equipment type, processing context, equipment capability.
Cloud-based recipe management solutions let manufacturers integrate the data processing capabilities of their equipment with concise processing rules to ensure that your production system continually functions at maximum capacity.
If, for instance, a multi-chamber tool is malfunctioning and ceases to operate at full capacity, automated recipe management allows you to make recipe adjustments to maximize the remaining usable chambers. You can similarly adjust for any chambers that display limited functionality. This capability helps avert unnecessary downtime because you don’t have to render the entire piece of equipment unusable as you work to amend the issue.
2. Improved product quality and yield
Manufacturing facilities profit after leveraging advanced process control (APC) systems for real-time data and automated process adjustments to render improved product outcomes and increase yield at every stage of the production flow.
These advanced process controls either supplement or replace your basic processes through automated solutions. They can be implemented over the course of several years to address any performance deficiencies and other vulnerabilities in your production flow to increase production efficiency and product yield.
3. Optimized equipment utilization and throughput
To determine the best fitting formula, automated recipe management systems deploy a set of rules that best meet the requirements of a given situation. For example, the system can avert intermediate equipment conditioning steps for any recipe groups you maintain that share similar ingredient and processing requirements.
Event-driven dispatching systems allow manufacturers to maximize their profits because they reduce equipment setup time while maximizing equipment utilization and throughput. These systems help manufacturers achieve production targets through more efficient work-in-progress assessment capabilities, from the point of order execution to the final delivery of the product.
4. Enhanced Quality Management Procedures
Better quality management procedures through automation let manufacturing companies remain that any recipe used in production has been adequately tested and reviewed to meet strict compliance measures. When this process was previously left to manual operators, there is considerably more time involved. Manual quality assurance is both tedious and resource-intensive. Automated recipe management software digitizes your recipe versioning and your recipe review and approval processes for more accurate and streamlined quality management.
5. Easier Recipe Maintenance
Recipe maintenance is made easier after implementing a cloud-based recipe management system through the following two ways:
Recipe Parameterization – In manufacturing, product variations aren’t uncommon, especially with the shifting state of supply chains. Manufacturers frequently utilize multiple recipes to yield variations of a single product.
Alternately, companies may reduce the overall number of recipes to a select group of them with a set of parameters that let specific values pass to render a particular recipe for the desired outcome. How does benefit production?
Your process is simplified because there is only one recipe to maintain for each product you produce while, at the same time, simplifying the process of modifying a recipe.
Centralized Recipe Storage – The ability to store your recipes in centralized data allows your production equipment to access the information seamlessly. A common scenario among manual operators is that they find themselves painstakingly modifying or maintaining recipes when they’re stored across multiple pieces of equipment.
When storage is decentralized, the recipe maintenance must be facilitated at each piece of the equipment, absorbing more time and resources than necessary. Global accessibility to your recipes erases this task.
EZSoft’s recipe management software controls
EZSoft provides customized recipe management control solutions for the manufacturing and process industries. To better understand how cloud based recipe management software solutions improve the production flow at your facility, dial (484) 568-5040 today.