Accelerating Product Deployment with Inter-Enterprise Recipe Management

Explore the challenges and benefits of managing corporate information to accelerate time to market for new product introductions.


A ccelerating time-to-market and time-to-full production have become requirements in mod-ern manufacturing companies. This means the information discovered in R&D and pilot plant operations must be quickly and correctly sent to manufacturing facilities, and those facilities must quickly turn the information into manufacturing instructions. This requirement exists for internal (captive) manufacturing and outsourced manufacturing facilities. The ANSI/ISA S88.01 Batch Control Standard defines General Recipes as repositories of production informa-tion for batch industries.

General recipes contain the information needed for the production of a product, independent of specific equipment. Automated translation of general recipes to equipment specific Master Recipes using tools, such as Seqencia's processPoint, means that production of new products can be accomplished in a matter of hours, instead of weeks or months. General recipes, combined with automated master recipe generation, also simplify outsourcing of production as an-other way to accelerate time-to-market.

Challenges of time to market

Time to market has never been more important than it is today. A delay of 2 to 6 months in getting a new product to market can mean the difference between profit and loss. Decreased time to market can increase unit sales, increase product margins, capture market share, and pro-vide a quicker return on investment.

The 'Time to Market Impact on Volume and Price' diagram illustrates the potential impact of sales volume and price by reducing time to market. These benefits can come from specific factors, such as additional shelf space and less competition. These benefits also occur inde-pendent of the product and have been measured in consumer products, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and specialty chemical production.

General Recipes: a tool for time to market

Accelerating time-to-market and time-to-volume production in the process industries means products developed in R&D labs must be rapidly and correctly introduced into manufacturing.

The typical development cycle includes a pilot operation, where the bench scale process is scaled up to full production size using pilot plants or actual production facilities, and results are sent to manufacturing plants for full production.

In process industries, this information should be maintained in general recipes. The ANSI/ISA S88.01 Batch Control Standard, and the international equivalent IEC 61512-01, de-fine general recipes as the repositories of production information for batch industries. General recipes are the top level in the recipe hierarchy defined in the batch standard, and there is usu-ally one general recipe for each specific product manufactured. The diagram 'ISA S88.01 rec-ipe types' shows the general and other recipe types defined in the batch control standards. This diagram also indicates the geometric explosion of the number of recipes at each level of the hi-erarchy.

General recipes contain the information needed for the production of a product, independent of specific production equipment. General recipes identify raw materials, their relative quanti-ties, and required processing, but without specific regard to a particular site or the equipment available at that site. The general recipe is created by people with knowledge of product chem-istry and processing requirements, and it defines manufacturing information, not just R&D in-formation.

A general recipe is not specific to equipment or to a particular site. However, the technology for manufacturing a product is usually sufficiently developed so equipment requirements can be described. These define the type of equipment needed at a particular site or in a particular set of batch plant equipment. For example, a general recipe may require that a specific stage requires a reaction chamber that is glass lined so it does not react with the product, or it may require that the containing vessel must be able to withstand 40 PSI (31.03 bar) overpressure.

Well-structured general recipe authoring tools provide recipe version control, support multi-ple variants of a recipe, and multiple simultaneous users in a distributed network environment.

The general recipe provides a means for communicating processing requirements to multi-ple manufacturing locations. It does this in an unambiguous method, defining the specific stages of production, the order of material additions, the ordering of process operations in a stage, and the ordering of process actions within a process operation. The diagram 'General recipe process stages' illustrates the top-level structure of a general recipe, using a Sequencia gRecipe editor screen, showing the first level of processing definition, process stages, and their ordering.

General recipes are control system independent definitions of manufacturing instructions. In fact, there is no need to even have a control system for execution. Manufacturing may be per-formed entirely manually, or different parts of the general recipe may be performed in different systems. Despite these differences in execution environment, a general recipe provides the sin-gle product definition needed by manufacturing.

General recipes may be considered the equivalent of computer-aided design (CAD) draw-ings for the process industries. They are product manufacturing descriptions that describe eve-rything required to manufacture a product but do not include detailed manufacturing equipment specifics. Like CAD drawings, general recipes must be understandable by many people, in-cluding those not trained in chemistry or chemical engineering. General recipes must also in-clude all information needed by production, including comments, notes, supporting text, sup-porting pictures, and material properties. The information is also the basis for quality assurance tests, defining where in the production process quality tests must be done and what results are required.

General recipes should be managed under a configuration management system so changes may be traced and controlled. Because general recipes contain vital corporate information, they must be controlled and managed just as other vital corporate information would.

General recipe benefits

General recipes, when used to manage corporate product information, can significantly reduce the amount of information that must be managed.

For example, one chemical company currently offers approximately 1,100 products using 250 components and 500 raw materials. These products are manufactured in more than 100 production cells at over 30 sites around the world. The products require extensive performance approvals using multiple, customized testing programs. The company had managed over 33,000 different master recipes for the 1,100 product variants. Each master recipe is unique to an individual process cell and requires a high degree of local time and expense to maintain.

Prior to the use of general recipes, a large central engineering staff was required to ensure consistency among the 33,000 recipes. Applying the general-recipe model, the company was able to reduce the workload to 1,100 recipes, a 90% reduction in the information being man-aged at the corporate level.

As shown in the 'ISA S88.01 recipe types' diagram, changes to any single product could impact hundreds of recipes. These changes must be managed and distributed to production sites for implementation.

When changes to recipes and new product recipes are performed manually, it can take months to get them written, approved, and sent to production. Once there, they still have to be implemented on the local control system, or converted to manual instructions. During this time, the company is vulnerable to production mistakes caused by out-of-date recipes. Use of the general recipe model has reduced the time to days, cutting the time to complete volume pro-duction by months. Using a single general recipe per product also had direct immediate savings as shown in the table, 'Cost of managing 1,100 recipes at 30 sites.' Cost of managing 1,100 recipes at 30 sites

TABLE Products Recipes changed per year Sites Saved hours per year Dollars per hour Savings per year 1,100 50% 30 4 $50 = $3,300,000

Time saved in getting to volume production using general recipes as a product management tool is impressive, but there is still a large amount of work required to use these in production. General recipes must be transformed into master recipes to be used. The equipment independ-ent order of process actions and material additions must be converted into equipment specific commands, including transferring of materials between vessels, allocation and deallocation of resources, and controlling of specific equipment, such as motors, pumps, and valves.

Master recipe generation has been a manual process, requiring days or weeks of engineering time and multiple production runs of test batches. Creation of a master recipe usually required an engineer to determine the best way to implement each of the general recipe's process actions on the specific target equipment. This had to be repeated each time there was a change in the general recipe. An additional problem is there may not be a unique master recipe for each proc-ess cell. If there is flexible piping, or a network of connections between units, there may be multiple master recipes that can be generated for a process cell. Engineers would apply their experience and knowledge of the specific equipment to determine the optimal master recipe for each process cell.

Once the master recipe was created, it needed to be verified using an average of 3 to 4 test batches. Each test batch had to be analyzed and disposed of if there was a problem in the rec-ipe. The generation of master recipes, one per process cell, and requirement for test batches meant weeks or months of delay and added expenses before volume production was available.

Fortunately, solutions are available, using solutions such as Sequencia's processPoint and gRecipe, to automatically generate master recipes from general recipes, eliminating the engi-neering effort and delays in getting to volume production. Engineers can capture their best practices, of how to implement process actions in a process cell, and use these best practices in the generation of master recipes.

Gaining an accelerated time to market

General recipes are the means to accelerate time to market and time to volume production for the process industries. A single, comprehensive, product definition focused on manufacturing information provides the key. This definition lists all materials used to generate the product and all materials generated as a result of production. This information is the basis for the ERP (en-terprise resource planning) system's bill-of-material. General recipe management systems can electronically transmit recipes to sites using a company's ERP backbone, an intranet or even e-mail systems. New product recipes can be in the hands of site engineers within minutes of be-ing approved.

Achieving these benefits requires a corporate commitment to three company wide standard definitions for the:

  • Materials required;

  • Process actions; and

  • Equipment characteristics.

Fortunately, many process companies have implemented corporate-wide material standards as part of ERP system implementations. The other two elements are specific information about the manufacturing capabilities of the company and usually not formally maintained, however commercially available general recipe management systems provide means to manage these in-formation sets.

Most companies implementing the general recipe model have identified between 20 to 40 basic processing actions available throughout their plants. Actions such as 'temperature con-trolled rate material addition,' 'ramped temperature control,' and 'variable speed mixing.' Most of these actions are generic to industries, with only a few specific to the product require-ments of the company.

The first task in implementing the general recipe model is the identification and documenta-tion of the company's available processing actions. All general recipes are built from these processing actions. The list of actions also becomes the documentation provided to plants. Each plant personnel must determine the best method for implementing the action on their specific equipment. Once completed, there is no uncertainty about the manufacturing instructions re-quired for a product.

The basic equipment characteristics available to the company must also be defined. These are usually specific to the class of products being produced, and are based on requirements for production, such as materials of construction, and heating, cooling, or mixing capabilities. Each plant must document equipment using the characteristics, to map the equipment requirements in a general recipe against the equipment capabilities of the local site.

These simple but important steps allow the use of general recipes and can reduce the time to volume production by months. The effort required to manage product definitions can be reduced by over 90%, with equivalent reductions in communication and transcription errors.

Outsourced engineering for process manufacturing

General recipes also provide the means to treat manufacturing as an outsourced capability. Be-cause general recipes are not equipment specific, they are independent of the level or type of automation at any particular facility. They are also independent of the particular processing capabilities available at any facility. This allows facilities to operate independently, upgrading capabilities and automation levels without impacting corporate-wide product definitions. After meeting the specifications of the processing actions, facilities can optimize how the actions are performed. New products can be developed and introduced without requiring major changes in the facilities.

This separation is critical because it allows manufacturing companies, not associated with product development companies, to 'build' products. The electronics and semiconductor in-dustries have long enjoyed the benefits of outsourced manufacturing. There are many 'fab-less' semiconductor manufacturing companies and many semiconductor companies with no manu-facturing capability. The same has occurred in electronics assembly, with a large fraction of electronic board assembly outsourced from the design companies.

This independence allows manufacturing companies to focus on effective and efficient manufacturing facilities, and allows brand-owning companies to focus on product development and marketing. Manufacturing companies can manage their inventory and workflow to maxi-mize profits, and brand-owning companies are not required to hold unused assets based on variable demand. General recipes provide the means for the process industries (specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and consumer-packaged goods) to enjoy the benefits of outsourced manufacturing.

Bringing it all together

General recipes are a means for process industries to accelerate their time to market and time to volume production for products. They provide equipment independent means to describe the specific manufacturing processing actions required to make a product. They are unambiguous definitions, based on corporate wide standards for materials, processing actions, and equipment capabilities. They are also the source of information for ERP bills-of-material and routing in-formation. Companies that have implemented the general recipe model have reduced their time to volume production from months to days. There is a reduction in the amount of engineering time required for production and in the number of test batches that must be run.

The reduction in time to volume production has meant that companies have been more re-sponsive to customer needs, more competitive with new products, and able to get faster returns on their manufacturing assets. The general recipe model, as defined in the ISA S88.01 Batch Control System standard, can provide significant corporate benefits to all process manufactur-ing companies.

For more information about Sequencia's processPoint or gRecipe, visit or . For more information about the ANSI/ISA S88 Batch Control standards, visit .

Dennis Brandl is senior director of marketing at Sequencia and an active participate in de-veloping the ISA S88 and S95 standards. -manufacturing excellence roadmap

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