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Continuous Process Manufacturing

  • 1.  Continuous Process Manufacturing

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 10 days ago
    Hello Everyone,

    I am working with a company in the food industry that runs a 'continuous process manufacturing' environment.  What that means is that raw materials go in one side of the facility, and finished product comes out the other, and all of the processing is done with the product on a conveyor belt with no batching or segmenting of the product during the process.

    In this environment, it is very difficult to associate raw materials to a specific finished good as many of the additive ingredients (like salt or flavoring) is mixed in a tank and blended into the raw ingredient while it is flowing by on the conveyor belt.

    Traditional ERP manufacturing with NAV is not working well.  We need to consume and output by day/shift with consumption and output done via a custom inventory adjustment, or so this is our current idea.

    Has anyone heard of that or know of a NAV end user that has modified NAV in this way?

    Thanks and have a great week-end!

    Victor Diercksen

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    Victor Diercksen
    President, CIO/NOW Inc.
    Sandy UT
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  • 2.  RE: Continuous Process Manufacturing

    Posted 8 days ago
    Victor,

    In my opinion, the first question that needs to be addressed with the customer is risk:  What recall window is the customer willing to tolerate?  If they run a long period of time in this continuous mode, the entire run may need to be recalled.  This may influence the customer to consider defining batches and have a short cut-off within the context of continuous manufacturing.  Surely there is a sanitation cycle at some point which could facilitate a cut-off.

    I have seen environments where raw materials are accumulated in a bin but output is posted real-time.  Then when that eventual gap in continuous manufacturing occurs, raw materials are posted to the production order from the accumulation bin.  I think the "full bin consumption" concept may have been a customization.  This associates the lots used with the lots produced which maintains the recall integrity.  But it requires a reasonable cut-off (days) likely not weeks of continuous manufacturing.

    One environment was considering leveraging the PLC information within the dispensing equipment.  The equipment "knows" how much it is using and so raw material consumption could be automated.  This is somewhat complex to orchestrate and requires middleware to fire NAV web services to work the magic.  Plus it required knowledge of the order in which an item/lot/qty was added to the mixing tank.  But conceptually it can be done.

    I hope that helps!

    Alex.

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    Alex Scheler
    Carma Laboratories, Inc.
    Franklin WI
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