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Integrating Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) Within An S88 Structure
An S88.01-aware automation system covers the control & management of activities carried out within plant equipment directly connected to it via hardwired, serial or fieldbus links. Batches begin and end within these confines. Plant managers see a wider picture; eg Process fluid, the batch with its ID, maybe transferred from conventional reactors to Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) and later returned to the piped plant. This application uses soft (PC) phases within the S88 operation to deal with transfers to & from IBCs. Rather than implementing sequence logic in a plant controller the soft phases interface with an SQL database which tracks the batch ID as process fluid is transferred ‘out of the piped plant’. The SQL server database interfaces in turn with radio barcode scanners, which identify IBCs, reactors, operators & IBC storage rooms used in each transfer. Batch ID is preserved between transfers and the operator view from the automation system is of a batch held in a unit (the IBC). The status of any IBC, eg clean, batch ID inside, may be instantly determined via the barcode scanner. The following benefits are realised: Cycle time reduction, Reduction in abnormal occurrences, Production capacity increase, Improved safety
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