By Mark Nagely
By Mark Nagely, Product Manager Process Controls
An investment with high return on investment is updating process controls systems. In plants throughout North America, there are functional controls systems which have been in place for 40+ years. Although proven reliable, they’ve been modified and updated so many times that accurate documentation is no longer available for the system. The manufacturing plant essentially runs on islands of automation, each with its own process controls system.
Companies with outdated process controls are vulnerable to the consequences of system failure and are unable to analyze total flow and effect of their processes. Why settle for productivity reports about each individual process? With today’s controls capabilities integrated into MES and ERP systems; it makes significantly better business sense to understand how all processes affect the others in real-time.
A well designed control system increases production efficiency. Updating process controls systems allows companies to integrate process with business systems.
New technology allows access through both laptops and smart devices, which means that team members can get a quick picture of productivity and make adjustments in real-time from anywhere in the world. By fine-tuning sequencing, timing and other parameters, companies can squeeze out an extra measure of productivity that turns into extra profits and saves production time, labor, operating expense and wasted material with less scrap.
Streamlining recipe management with updated process controls eliminates the need to re-enter recipes both at a business level and again at the plant level. A tightly-coupled interface between the MES software and the control
system not only minimizes labor costs and time wasted between campaigns but—more importantly—drastically reduces the possibility for costly data entry error.
Six Things to Consider Before Upgrading Existing or Buying New Process Controls: