Ross ERP Integrated Composite Batch Weighing System Advanced Composites. SG Systems networked 9 Terminal implementation.
Advanced Composites is the leading supplier of Thermoplastic Olefins and Polypropylene Compounds to the North American Automotive Industry. Their innovative line of products consists of proprietary formulations designed to meet specific OEM applications. The company operates several North American facilities and is owned by Mitsui Chemicals.
Advanced Composites has an unequaled reputation for developing PP/TPO Compounds that provide high-quality, lower-cost alternatives to more expensive engineered thermoplastics such as ABS, PC, PC/ABS, and SMA. Advanced Composites leads the industry in the development and manufacture of Scratch-Resistant, Mold-In-Color TPO compounds for Automotive Instrument Panels. Since they introduced the first materials in 2000, Advanced Composites has acquired nearly 90% of the North American market.
To ensure maximum quality and repeatability of batches, Advanced Composites decided to invest in the Composite Batch Weighing System from SG Systems LLC. Advanced Composites needed to take their manual batching process with paper-based lot verification to the next level and automate the shop floor weighing operations without losing flexibility in the weighing room and dispensary areas.
Typically, operator errors in the weighing process and inaccuracies in lot control are usually not reflected in the paper trail – this can cause problems with accounting, inventory and purchasing in addition to the quality of the product from batch to batch. Batch weighing inaccuracy causes color concentrates to be different shades. Advanced Composites required formulations to be 100% accurate – every time. They reached out to SG Systems for a proven solution
Once a manufacturing order has been created in the company’s ERP System (Ross ERP – Manufacturing ERP company owned by Aptean) The complete XML job file with Bills of Materials (BOM) is exported into the SG Systems Composite Batch Weighing System Management Software.
The Job (number of batches, required batch size and production locations) and the BOM containing the recipe steps, weighing sequence and target weights is available at the operator workstations located throughout the Ohio facility. The 9 workstation consists of a Composite Batch Weighing System Touch Screen User Interface, Label Printers and a variety of platform scales and A&D / Sartorius high resolution balances.
The Touch Screen User Interface allows the area specific Production Plan to be displayed using easy to follow screens. This eliminates paper schedules and prevents operators making incorrect or out of sequence formulations. After selecting the required formula, the operator follows simple screens which prompt for lot number of each color pigment. A speedometer display ensures the weighed items are portioned correctly and within tight, management set tolerances. The operator cannot weigh up too much or too little as the system will not accept out of tolerance weighing. This has a big impact on improving batch consistency and overall product quality – something that Advanced Composites business model is dependent on.
(For customers operating an hazardous areas, SG Systems provides a software only solution allowing customers to select their own Class 1, division 1 or class 1, division 2 tablet pc’s / weighing scales to allow a fully certified intrinsically safe solution).
Electronic reports detailing which operator has weighed up the respective steps are available at the main PC, detailing the lot number and scaled amount. The Recipe Batch Report (COA) allows this visibility, detailing the exact amounts of each of the compound weighed into the batch. The SG Systems Software has automated this process to ensure fast and accurate batch sign off of composite formulations.
As the jobs can consist of thousands of batches, small changes in the formula take place to adjust for the strength of the color compounds which vary between lots. The changes are made in Ross ERP and then exported into the SG Systems database. This allows current jobs to be edited in real time ‘mid-flight’.
To provide paperless lot traceability, the Composite Batch Weighing System creates inventory usage data in real time (after each batch is complete) which are in turn used to deduct inventory. This improves inventory visibility, reduces man hours spend on data entry and saves time double handling data. In addition, the System provides actual usage based on the scaling weights, instead of theoretical usage based on target weights. This allows accurate yields to be calculated which provides visibility for supplier inventory accuracy.
Matt Ambos, Production Manager at Advanced Composites comments “We initially piloted just one SG15 Terminal at our Ohio facility while our IT Support Team established the link between Ross and the SG Systems Scale Systems. Following great results, we ordered and installed another 8 terminals to complete the Composite Batch Weighing System project at the Ohio location. We are very pleased with the control that the system provides”