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Batch Processing Desk

March 02, 2015 | By Stephanie Neil
The Connected Smart Bottle Is Calling
Thinfilm and Diageo plc partner on a prototype that uses printed sensor tags and near field communication to deliver personalized messages from a bottle on the store shelf to consumers’ smartphones.

A guy walks into a liquor store, heads to the whiskey aisle and stops for a second to contemplate which of the many brands on the shelf he will buy. Suddenly, his smartphone pings him with a message: “Johnnie Walker Blue Label has layers of big flavor and a deep richness that has a smoky smooth finish.”

He nods, puts his phone back in his pocket, and grabs a Blue Label bottle. At home, as he uncaps the beverage, his smartphone alerts him of another new message. “Start by serving the Blue Label neat in a tumbler, nosing the whiskey carefully.”

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February 22, 2015 | By Stephanie Neil
Pharmaceutical Plants in Flux
As the industry struggles with new competitive pressure, the move is on from batch to continuous processing in an effort to increase manufacturing agility, improve product quality, and lower operational costs.

The pharmaceutical space is an industry in transition. To be successful in the past meant coming up with the next blockbuster drug. But with generic versions, the emerging customized drug market, and elevated cost and quality pressures, there’s a lot more to do these days. And all eyes are on the batch processes on the plant floor which, to date, have been the tried-and-true approach to regulatory compliance. But now batch appears to be the bottleneck to manufacturing innovation.

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FILED IN:Life Sciences
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February 18, 2015 | By Stephanie Neil
The Many Sides of Cybersecurity
Manufacturers are waking up to the fact that a control system breach is inevitable if the plant network is not protected.

What are the daunting—perhaps haunting—aspects of manufacturing that keep plant managers awake at night? Not cybersecurity, believe it or not. Rather, it’s cost pressure, an aging infrastructure, productivity improvement, workforce attrition, and operational excellence. Cybersecurity didn’t even make the top 10, according to research presented by ABB at the ARC Industry forum in Orlando last week. That is surprising, considering employee safety ranked number seven on the list, and, the threat of death and destruction is real if a hacker takes over an industrial control system.

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February 13, 2015 | By Stephanie Neil
Securing Devices By Design
Mentor Graphics and Icon Labs make security a native component of the embedded operating system

Automation and industrial control system vendors have an opportunity to leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for remote diagnostics and data analytics, which could lead to new revenue opportunities. But with reward comes risk. Opening the lines of communication between a control system and a far-flung field device could also introduce a security threat.

Indeed, IIoT security can’t be an afterthought, which is why electronic design automation provider Mentor Graphics is teaming up with Icon Labs, a supplier of embedded networking and security technology.

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February 06, 2015 | By Stephanie Neil
Organic Food Producer Uses ERP for Supply Chain Management
Wholesum Family Farms will roll out the supply chain ERP software across four facilities.

Wholesum Family Farms, based in Nogales, Ariz., is one of North America’s fastest growing organic fruit and vegetable producers dedicated to natural, safe, and sustainable farming. Considering that organic is a heavily-regulated food system—as it guarantees no toxic synthetic pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers—it is no surprise that this is a business based on best practices and standard procedures. For that reason, the company has turned to technology for help in the form of enterprise resource planning (ERP).

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