How upgrading from manual batching to automated batching and recipe tracking improved throughput, cycle times, and product tracking.
A personal care manufacturing client needed to improve throughput, mixing accuracy, and recipe management in their sanitary shampoo batching plant. EPIC was able to provide both an automated batching strategy and process system design and fabrication to significantly improve plant operations.
Scope on the project included:
- Bulk liquid materials and minor ingredient storage, including some hazardous/flammable ingredients
- Integration and automation of several batching systems that create products on demand at multiple locations in the plant
- A centralized product holding and distribution area for formulation storage before filling
- Piping and automatic product routing from the holding tanks t the packaging lines for filling into various sized bottles
- Tracking of 100+ recipes throughout all stages of this mixing, holding and filling process
EPIC’s automation solution improved plant operations in several ways. Since the process was previously manual, the new automation system was able to eliminate human error during the making process with automatic mixing and ingredient additions, and reduce cycle times simultaneously. This system also allowed for the making and tracking of many small batches throughout the plant, ensuring products were not accidentally mixed in holding tanks and allowing for more flexibility on batch sizes and creation windows.
To achieve these benefits, EPIC worked with the client to put in a controls system that manages:
- The batch making process and transfer of raw materials and minors into mix tanks
- Pumping of 100+ formulations to the holding areas with recipe tracking
- And monitor fill levels on the packaging lines to ensure there is enough product for each run
The new process systems and controls strategy allowed the plant to:
- Increased production capacity
- Eliminate human error during batching formulation and reduce cycle times for each batch through automated ingredient addition and management
- Precisely manage inventory
- Achieve greater flexibility with lean manufacturing practices by allowing batches of any size to be made on demand and tracked throughout the plant
In addition, by working with the EPIC team who was able to provide a full-plant solution under one roof, the client benefited from our expertise in not only the process and automation fields, but our 25+ years of project management experience. This project was completed during peak demand, and required careful planning of project stages to prevent production shortages. EPIC was able to ensure this did not happen on the project through carefully coordinated project management including:
- Condensing installs and equipment moves down to the smallest window of transition possible
- Pre-programming and testing of controls before installation
- Pre-assembling and testing process equipment at EPIC before delivery
- Having a local project manager onsite coordinating with other onsite contractors
- Followed product priority set by the client during the system design and rollout stages
All of these benefits were achieved using EPIC’s risk-reducing thorough front-end loading planning process. To learn more about EPIC or inquire about a similar system for your plant, contact us or call 314-714-1580.