Another element of the networked software suite, PlantMetrics, provides users with a set of tools to build on the reporting, analysis and management capabilities of the RSBizWare framework. Our system solution also included RSBizWare Historian, a trending tool that captures time series data, and RSBizWare RSSQL, a tool used to commit data to user-defined database tables via event driven transactions. RSSQL is especially useful when collecting a single record composed of several pieces of related data, such as the time, date, storage bin and quality factors for a received load of potatoes.
The RSBizWare suite includes a set of tools for generating reports that can include elements such as charts, graphs, and tables. We used the QuickWeb feature of RSBizWare to distribute the reports throughout the organization via a company intranet. QuickWeb allows users to interact with the reports via a web browser without need for additional software on their PC. Using the Web application package, users can call up any of the reports and select the desired time/date range or shift to suit their information needs (See Figure 2).
FIGURE 2: WEB REPORT SCREEN
A typical report screen, available via web browser, can be customized for the user's information needs.
THE KETTLE FOODS
batch processing requires that the installation use PlantMetrics in a non-conventional way. Rather than monitoring the equipment to calculate OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) values, they employ an event-driven data collection scheme to log the process data only when it changes. This method is well suited to a process where individual batch tracking is crucial, the data changes slowly, and it collects operator-modified setpoint values. Using the software to configure this event-based data collection provides the company’s engineers with a simple interface for making additions and revisions to the collection settings.
The results seen so far by Kettle Foods have been impressive. Production staff can now track near-real-time processing performance in both the cooking and packaging areas. This drives the quality and efficiency goals down to the operator level where real changes can be effected. Engineering can track trends and match production data with quality data to determine root causes of production and quality problems and to determine the impact of process improvements. Downtime between shifts and batches, packaging changeovers, and product has been reduced. Combined, the data acquisition and reporting tools have allowed Kettle Foods to increase its effective production capacity by 10-15%, thereby delaying costly capital expansion.
Scott VanDelinder is a process engineer with system integrator Concept Systems Inc., in Albany, Ore., with experience in the food processing industry. He can be reached at 541/791-8140.