Recipe Management Software Bridges Gap in Batch Market

Sept. 21, 2015
When the limited recipe management capabilities of HMI/SCADA systems aren’t enough but full batch management systems are overkill, batch processes might call for a recipe management system that better fits the bill.

The inherent flexibility of batch manufacturing—common throughout the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, polymer, consumer packaged goods and biotechnology industries—makes it well suited to quick product mix adjustments. But it also brings with it particular challenges related to quality, batch-to-batch consistency, waste, cost, throughput and return on assets (ROA).

Mark Drochek will present Wonderware’s offerings for managing recipes and batch executions Tuesday afternoon at Schneider Electric’s 2015 Wonderware Conference in Dallas (OPS/INFO-06, Sept. 22, 4:30 p.m.). He’ll talk about Wonderware’s full batch management system, InBatch, but also a more scaled-down approach, Recipe Manager Plus.

Although recipe management is critical to batch manufacturing, not every operation requires a full-blown batch management and control package. Reviewing and evaluating your real needs, you might find that a standalone recipe management solution is not only more appropriate, but easier to use and more cost-effective.

Schneider Electric developed Wonderware Recipe Manager Plus as a standalone recipe management solution to help bridge the considerable gap between HMI/SCADA software packages and full batch management packages. It’s a standardized, platform-independent software designed to provide secure access to recipe and formula information.

As ARC Advisory Group’s Janice Abel and Craig Resnick explain in a white paper (“Bridging the Gap in the Batch Market”), the Wonderware software is designed to help operational teams collaborate to adopt recipes and optimize production and packaging automation. The software enables web-based recipe and formulation management and execution, as well as governance functionality such as configurable role-based security, automatic item versioning, and an electronic change and execution history.

The software can be used by plant operators, process engineers and recipe administrators to manage multiple product variations and execute product changeover processes to help maximize production output. It’s designed to standardize recipe management in automated manufacturing operations across a company’s businesses and across equipment, lines and plants to help speed time-to-market.

This bridges a gap between solutions offered by several automation suppliers, including Schneider Electric. On one end, Wonderware InTouch is an HMI/SCADA-based recipe parameter management tool that offers limited governance to manage editing rights, versioning, and history of recipes. On the other side of the spectrum are full batch management systems like Wonderware InBatch. Focused on managing high-value batch processes, they might be overkill for many recipe management applications.

Custom recipe management solutions can bridge the gap between the two, but are typically costly and unwieldy. Wonderware Recipe Manager Plus is a mostly off-the-shelf software that is scalable. It provides capabilities that can help improve innovation and reduce time-to-market for recipe changeovers and new product recipes or versions. According to Schneider Electric, one customer was able to improve engineering efficiency by an estimated 40 percent and production by 20-40 percent when introducing new products.

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