What is Batch Management Software?

By Janice Abel

Industry Trends

Batch Management Software Key Components

Batch Management Software executes the Production Management functions specified in the ANSI/ISA-95 (IEC 62264) and ANSI/ISA-88 (IEC 61512) standards for the batch processes except for the Maintenance Operations Management. Batch management software plays a supervisory role to direct process control functions. All current suppliers of batch management software surveyed assume an underlying controller architecture. None of these suppliers directly executes the batch management software in the underlying control system, although this may be possible in the future. The typical arrangement is for the BMS to execute in a workstation or a server and interact with the control system running phase logic or regulatory control manipulating field devices. Basic control software is part of DCS, PLC, or other controllers.

The batch management software includes the server or workstation batch management software and the services to implement the overall batch project. The batch services include services needed to configure the batch management software, configure the batch phase logic and batch related regulatory controls, configure any required batch displays, configure the batch historian, and to set up communication interfaces needed for batch control or distribution of batch data to other applications. Services category may include software license renewal for the batch management software or periodic maintenance of batch related application software (not including any hardware). Software components that are specifically used for the batch process control are also included. This would include separately licensed software items, such as any drivers, communications interfaces, batch historians, or batch related MES applications used for batch control.

Batch Software and Services

The following five major categories reflect the common ways the software packages for batch management functions are offered by the suppliers. This batch study is focused on the software that is involved in batch production and execution and only those suppliers that meet the requirements of #2 or #3 below are included. This is a slight change from the previous ARC batch study as it cuts out the software suppliers that provide only supporting parts of the solution. For example, some ERP applications can provide master recipes and maybe identify assets to be used, but they do not directly manage the production at the manufacturing. There are software packages that collect production data, but unless they are directly managing the production, they have been excluded. This should provide a more concise study that limits the batch software suppliers to direct competitors in the automation of batch processes.

Batch Management Software Architecture

Batch Recipe Management, Execution, and Tracking

The five functions listed below are typically part of the automation of batch processes. More than one software supplier may be involved. Those functions include:

1. Managing batch recipes

2. Managing production of batches as per schedule

3. Executing top-level recipe functions

4. Collecting batch production data

5. Tracking batch execution

Managing recipes includes functions that create, store, and maintain general, site, and master recipes. Execution and tracking of batches are carried out by the process cell management function, which creates control recipes from master recipes and initiate batches based on the scheduling information and operator inputs. Most, but not all batch software uses the ISA S88 batch process model. With ISA S88 the batch execution uses SFC (Sequential Function Chart) methodology. The batch management software supervises the execution of the batches. The following capabilities are typically included in that function:

  • Creating a control recipe from a master recipe
  • Assigning unique batch identification (batch ID) to each batch and to the associated control recipe
  • Sizing the control recipe to meet the batch quantity needed
  • Maintaining all the current control recipes until the batches are completed
  • Modifying any part of a control recipe that has not been executed
  • Monitoring and controlling the execution of control recipe(s)
  • Maintaining batch status information
  • Recording event information on batches

Batch automation can include inventory management of raw materials and finished products. Batch automation can include material or path management tracking functions. In some applications, the software allocates, or reserves (books) process units and other equipment. Such applications provide mechanisms for maintaining the status of allocated and unallocated equipment and may completely automate material transfer or clean-in-place operations.

Batch Production Scheduling

Batch production scheduling includes generating short-term production schedules and generating batch production dispatching data.

Short-term production schedule is a collection of activities that take the longer-term production schedule to generate short-term scheduling requirements based on the optimal use of local resources. This may include ordering the requests for minimal equipment setup or cleaning, merging requests for optimal use of equipment, and splitting requests when required because of batch sizes or limited production rates. It takes into account the local situations and resource availability.

Production dispatching data is a collection of activities that manage the flow of production by dispatching production to equipment and personnel. This may involve:

  • Scheduling the start of the batches
  • Scheduling production runs
  • Specifying standard operating condition targets in production units
  • Sending work orders to work centers
  • Issuing work orders for manual operations

Batch Historian and Reporting

This function includes storing and maintaining batch histories, generating reports based on event (batch, phase etc.) and time, and generating batch performance analysis reports. The actual collection of batch production data is usually carried out by batch recipe management, execution, and tracking function. Data stored in the batch event historian can be collected and recorded as a transaction by higher level ERP programs or applications.

Batch Quality Management

Batch quality management function includes testing and verifying the quality of materials, measuring and reporting the capability of the equipment to meet quality goals, certifying product quality, and setting quality standards. Batch quality management function includes:

  • Testing and verifying the quality of materials (raw, final, and intermediates)
  • Measuring and reporting the capability of the equipment to meet quality goals
  • Certifying product quality
  • Setting standards for quality
  • Setting standards for quality personnel certification and training
  • Setting standards for control of quality

Batch quality can be sampled and analyzed in a lab. Batch management software may have a communication link to a LIMS system in order to associate quality measurements with the batch. Batch quality can be directly measured with on-line analysis. Batch quality can also be assured

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