The modular, further developed Innoline MES production system from KHS gives beverage bottlers greater transparency in line monitoring and order management. But not just that: in addition to monitoring and documentation the tried-and-tested IT solution from the Dortmund systems supplier is increasingly taking on various control functions on the line, right up to issuing concrete travel commands to laser-guided, driverless transportation vehicles (LGVs) responsible for the automated material and product flow between filling and packaging lines and the logistics setup.
What’s new in the software, which has been specially customized for the beverage industry, are the track-and-trace module for the detailed tracking and tracing of materials and analysis of their consumption and expansions in the line monitoring and order management modules. The extended system will be presented at the world’s leading drinktec trade show in Munich, Germany.
“In further developing Innoline MES we've been chiefly guided by the requirements of the brewing industry. As here the complexity of production is also growing with the rise in the number of items to be filled, permanently transmitting the current production situation to the ERP system* is becoming increasingly important,” says Wolfgang Heßelmann, the product expert responsible for Innoline MES at KHS. As Innoline MES records production processes in real time and reports any changes to the ERP system, material availability and the punctual ordering of materials can be accurately planned in the system. In light of ever more extensive product ranges and smaller batch sizes, this means that the material shortages threatened during product changeovers can be avoided.
“Innoline MES is a powerful IT system which is second to none in our branch of industry.”
Modules and functions
With its various modules and interfaces Innoline MES closes the gap in the automation pyramid between the corporate level (ERP), with its enterprise resource planning, and the control level (Control), with its machine, unit and conveyor system controllers. KHS’ IT system includes six modules with various functions which can either operate as stand-alone units or be used in combination.
1. Quick summary
The line monitoring module shows the status of the line by logging and documenting key performance indicators, such as the level of efficiency or product loss, in real time – also retrospectively and in comparison with past data. Configurable limits and OPIs* can be stored for each separate line. At all times the operator sees which results are later included in the line reports.
2. Transparent order processing
The order execution module assigns the relevant production data to each individual order and provides extensive information related to the order which can be filtered by item, filling batch or container format, such as the comparison of target/actual values between the amount already produced and the overall order quantity. The order bill of materials (with regard to the beverage, container, lid/cap and label, for example) is also processed here.
3. Proper use of materials
The correct use of the materials from the bill of materials is logged by the order material tracking module which at the same time also checks their plausibility: Does the material match the order? Is the amount used correct? Additional information, such as supplier batch numbers, can be scanned and stored, allowing an order to be tracked and traced in the event of any production errors.
4. Optimum order sequence
In the order scheduling module the best possible order sequence is stipulated automatically or manually, taking all setup times and any earliest start and latest end specifications into account. This ensures that lines run at optimum capacity, increases organizational efficiency and improves adherence to deadlines. Flexibility is also boosted, enabling bottlers to react to spontaneous customer requests.
5. Consistent quality
The critical process parameters are stored in a central database in the recipe management module. The adherence to these is constantly checked automatically and an alarm triggered accordingly should any limits be exceeded. This cuts down on product loss and keeps product quality at a constantly high level.
6. Full analysis
Condensed information for company managers and controllers is provided by the production analysis module. Web-based analysis of consolidated data across all steps in the process permits objectives to be monitored using defined performance indicators. The result is standardized reports relevant to the decision-making process which can be retrieved for all lines worldwide in real time.
*OPI = operational performance indicator.
The basic KHS software comes from strategic partner and MES solutions provider MPDV Mikrolab; its HYDRA product, a leading MES system, is marketed exclusively worldwide in the beverage industry by KHS. With over 1,000 installations to date it gives its users long-term security of investment – especially as it permanently updates operating system and database versions and also continuously adapts to take into account current IT trends, such as cloud computing or the use of mobile devices. “Our recipe for success is that MPDV's IT expertise is combined with our knowledge of machines and processes,” explains Heßelmann. “And this results in a unique and powerful IT system which is second to none in our branch of industry.”
Users of Innoline MES also profit from the many proven standard functions which are used in various sectors. The extended functions include support for VMWare or Citrix visualization, over 60 different ERP system drivers and a high-end SAP interface based on SAP standards.
With the help of this fully revised standard interface Innoline MES is particularly flexible and can also be integrated into existing plant technology. This interface is based on IDoc, a standard data exchange format from SAP systems, and enables production orders to be downloaded and also feedback on production orders, changes to planning and material consumption to be given. It’s been developed in cooperation with another KHS partner, the consultancy firm Workline Consulting, so that it doesn't have to be reprogrammed for each individual customer adaptation but merely parameterized – which saves time, effort and money.
New, optimized modules
The revised version of Innoline MES includes the new order material tracking module which includes functions for the movement, recording and tracking of raw materials, supplies and operating materials. With the help of mobile scanners, for example, materials which go onto the line and leave it are logged. "With this, through the lot and batch number line operators can always track which material has been used in production," explains Heßelmann. Thanks to an interface to the customer's logistics software materials can be requested and recorded based on the bill of materials for the current order. Drivers of material handling vehicles can scan a pallet of new glass bottles, for example, in order to check immediately whether this is the right material for the relevant order.
Other important innovations concentrate on the line monitoring and order execution modules. The improved line monitoring module graphically displays production data and key performance indicators on the system’s screens so that operators can read this off quickly. In combination with the order execution module the progress of the order can also be visualized on the operator panels on the machines. Faults can also be classified – either automatically by the system or manually by the operator on the filler. The order execution module now also permits material to be manually requested through a website on the machine operator panel. The material required for the current or next order is displayed in the logistics system through direct transfer to screens at the infeed and discharge points there. The website is generated in the data collector controller for the relevant line and passes on the necessary signals to the control units involved.
Heßelmann is very pleased with the next generation of Innoline MES. “MES is no longer merely a reporting tool but an instrument of control for major functions on the line,” he smiles. “It’s thus good that we’re using a proven system such as HYDRA; this is also used in the automobile industry which is somewhat ahead of the beverage industry regarding its automation requirements.” He’s also convinced by the system’s flexibility which is being further developed in practical operation in big projects for customers such as Paulaner Brewery. “Any number of other modules can be added to the basic module and configured as required depending on the project.” In any event Heßelmann has no doubt as to the market’s need for intelligent monitoring and control systems. “Material logistics is becoming more and more important for beverage producers in the face of the growing number of items. Our digitized systems which are already making a move towards the smart factory are thus very much in demand.”