Products / Online Product Tracking
The Online Product Tracking system (OPT) collects data from machines on the production line to track the items, boxes and pallets that are produced.
It has been designed and built from the ground up for contract manufacturers that produce infant formula on there canning production lines. It shows the latest tracking data down at the production line, providing immediate information about the product tracking process, including warnings and alarms.
From within the site network the data can be searched through and exported.
Automatic batch reports are created to log the tracking information.
The system is scalable when new products are introduced to the market.
The OPT system typically runs on a pair of identical, redundant server computers.
These can be supplied by the customer or IAL, to suit the customer’s IT requirements.
The OPT servers can sit anywhere on site provided they can share a network connection with the PLCs on the production line. Often the production line PLCs will be on one network, and the “remote clients” will be on another network, with OPT connecting in the middle.
Remote clients include all the user interfaces, such as:
Case Packer and Palletiser screens
2 identical servers run in parallel at all times.
Each server is capable of running all aspects of the OPT system by itself, and both monitor each other to determine which is the master and which is the backup.
Each server has a full copy of the database containing the recorded data, and if one system drops offline then it can resynchronise when it comes back online.
All critical data pathways have a backup option which will be switched to automatically if needed.
OPT System Architecture Example
Shows the product moving through the production line, item by item, case by case, pallet by pallet. Good product is on the left side, rejects are on the right. Colour coding and descriptive status labels, i.e. yellow “Weight Reject” status on the latest case reject. General status of the OPT system, such as alarms for intermittent connection issues, slow network causing the data buffers to fill up, etc.
Reports that are automatically emailed or stored in a shared folder. Reports are generated at a specified time of day, at the end of each shift, at the end of a batch, or under whatever conditions suit the customer’s process. Typically the reports will be generated at the item unit level, then scale up to the box/case, then to pallet, then to shipment, etc. Excel friendly CSV format is the most popular, but there many formatting options for the reports. Optionally other reports can also be generated, such as reject statistics for the production team
A more advanced tool for team leaders and managers. Runs on any Windows, Apple or Linux PC. Usually self-installs in under a minute when used for the first time. Provides a quick way to filter and browse the raw data, e.g. all cases packed last week, product no 3, that failed due to missing barcodes. Charts displaying the proportion of different reject types to help managers focus on leading causes of rejected product.
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