In its simplest form, a process control system is a combination of one or several computers, which sends and receives information from multiple sensors and has the ability to record or adjust settings in real-time. dsm-firmenich uses advanced process control systems (PCS) at our facilities to not only plan, prepare and produce premixes but also to monitor and improve our product quality over time. Our process control systems use intelligent sensors that provide a continuous feedback loop that tracks and stores data from the time a raw material is received, through the mixing process and down to packaging. There are many advantages to using these modern systems in our manufacturing facilities but let’s look at some of the key quality roles the PCS is involved in:
Automation: Arguably the biggest advantage to any advanced process control system is the automation of equipment and data recording. The PCS significantly reduces the margin of error during ingredient dosing, product transfer/mixing, and record keeping. Removing human input from the process allows for increased product quality, accuracy of information, and optimized efficiency. This means our customers can always expect to receive high-quality products that consistently meet our high standards for nutrition.
Dosing Accuracy: Automating dosing is an important factor in ensuring our customers receive the exact combination of nutritional solutions their animals require. The PCS manages ingredient requirements for each batch based on the specified formula to ensure all of the required ingredients are added to each batch. Our systems not only make sure the dosed ingredient is within the tolerance of the targeted weight but also learns and optimizes dosing accuracy over time.
Bar Code Scanning: Bar code scanning is integral to our success in being able to provide safe, reliable products for our customers. All products are bar coded at receival and scanning is required for any material transfers and at all points of addition. The barcode contains unique inventory identification data which is confirmed by the PCS for positive identification of products throughout the entire production flow.
Traceability: Traceability is at the core of any sound quality program and is essential for swift action in the event of a product investigation or recall. dsm-firmenich’s best-in-class traceability is built on our advanced bar code scanning which tracks and records all scans for complete forward & backward traceability down to the individual bag level. Ingredient product ID, lot numbers and weights are all automatically recorded by the PCS during dosing which increases data accuracy & reliability.
Inventory Control: The PCS can lock or quarantine materials at the click of a button at any point throughout the process if a product issue is identified. Once a lock has been placed on a material it is immediately unable to be scanned in production rendering it unusable until an investigation can be performed. This feature is critical for incoming ingredients which automatically remain locked by the PCS until all quality inspection activities have been completed and the product is approved for use. The PCS will also automatically monitor and lock ingredients that have exceeded their manufacturer recommended best before date, ensuring that all products being used in our premixes are at their optimal potency.
Contamination Control: The animal food industry is unique in that there are specific risk considerations for each specie involved. When manufacturing premix for multiple species at the same facility, the utmost care must be taken to limit product carryover and cross-contamination within the production system. dsm-firmenich’s process control system maximizes product safety not only through monitoring of the equipment for complete product transfer but also through specialized contamination control. The PCS has built in features to control the sequence of production to proactively prevent the carryover of unwanted ingredients. The system’s ability to apply a full block ensures batches are sequenced appropriately based on risk. Contamination control gives our customers peace of mind knowing our product safety is always on, all the time.
Equipment Monitoring & Support: A key element in supplying our customers with high quality products is the reliability of our equipment. To fulfill our orders On-Time-In-Full, we rely on constant monitoring of our equipment through the PCS. A large network of equipment sensors, gauges, and controllers continuously relays data to the PCS to ensure our equipment is running efficiently and within the set parameters. The PCS will alarm if a malfunction or fault occurs so it can be addressed immediately and limit the impact on our products. Equipment monitoring data is essential for continuous improvement efforts to proactively address issues before they happen. Additionally, 24/7 technical support is also available should a technical issue arise to minimize downtime.
If you would like to learn more about dsm-firmenich’s Quality programs, including our process control systems, please contact your account manager for more information.
17 October 2022
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