Control and MES Integration Project Advice and Benefits

As reported in my DeltaV News RSS feed, Emerson’s Michalle Adkins and Dawn Marruchella have written a great piece in the AIChE’s Chemical Engineering Progress Magazine entitled, Ask the Experts – Avoiding the Pains of Systems Integration.

In it, they recognize some of the issues process manufacturers have faced with manufacturing execution system (MES) integration projects and they share their expertise about how to reduce concerns about integrating existing batch process and achievable business benefits.

Their initial guidance is to analyze the integration needs and current business processes and develop a solution weighing the costs and risks against the sought benefits.

Functionality can overlap in both the MES and control system. If your control system has well integrated batch capabilities, Michalle and Dawn recommend using it to manage recipe execution and historical data collection around the batch. This reduces the complexity of the integration between the MES and control system and helps simplify the requirements for the MES. Then ease of MES and DCS integration and specifically capturing the information required for the electronic batch record would be the focus of the integration efforts.

Also, as mentioned in prior posts, they recommend that the solution have:

Support for web services, a service-oriented architecture, and the use of XML schemas, such as ISA-S95‘s business-to-manufacturing markup language (B2MML)

Their final recommendation is to review successful implementations to understand not only the software and integration, but also the experience of the project team who implemented the solution.

The benefits for these efforts must accomplish the highly sought after business objectives. If these objectives are to reduce the cycle time for product release, you can incorporate much of the current after-the-fact documentation into the running batch process. Examples cited include:

  • Manual setup, cleaning, and maintenance activities
  • Review and approval processes for master and batch documents
  • On-line data validity checks, electronic signatures, and completed calculations
  • Exception-based reporting tailored for intended audience

By executing these tasks during the production of the batch, process manufacturers can increase their right-first-time metrics and shorten the post-batch approval cycle time. The article cites other achievable benefits based on the identified business objectives such as reducing deviations, significantly decreasing manual data entries, and eliminating paper log books.

Leave a Reply