Integrating data with ERP at acetate, yarn plant

The original block diagram was daunting: multiple plants, numerous business lines, a wide mix of control systems from a variety of vendors, and countless custom legacy applications. The overall goal was to tie it all together in an "available-to-promise" architecture that would let customers confirm product availability, pricing, manufacturing, and delivery with one phone call.

10/01/1999


The original block diagram was daunting: multiple plants, numerous business lines, a wide mix of control systems from a variety of vendors, and countless custom legacy applications. The overall goal was to tie it all together in an 'available-to-promise' architecture that would let customers confirm product availability, pricing, manufacturing, and delivery with one phone call.

This was the problem facing Celanese Acetate's (Charlotte, N.C.) order fulfillment team. The company produces acetate filament and yarn for the fashion and home furnishing industries.

Coordinating information flow

The order fulfillment team first redrew the block diagram by implementing a system that links several remote plants and consolidates real-time plant information, for decision makers. The team used SAP's (Newtown Square, Pa.; Walldorf, Germany) SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to standardize technology and business processes at the enterprise level. It then added Hewlett-Packard's (Palo Alto, Calif.) Enterprise Link production integration software-with 'ELX' extensions by Osprey Systems (also Charlotte, N.C.)-to integrate production-related data flowing between the central ERP system and the automation systems in remote plants.

'Our order fulfillment application is highly dependent on real-time manufacturing information flow,' says Jim Sayrs, Celanese Acetate's business systems manager for order fulfillment manufacturing systems.

Celanese Acetate's SAP R/3 application server platform services six or more business lines at three manufacturing plants. Each plant has a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 server running HP Enterprise Link. At the plant, the production-integration system connects to a plant-wide database populated by data collection devices, such as barcode readers and scales.


Two-way data street

Within the data center, integration of each plant with SAP R/3 occurs in real time. Daily communication volumes customarily exceed 2,000 messages flowing from R/3 to each plant, and 7,000 to 10,000 messages from each plant back to R/3. This message flow includes a variety of transaction types:

  • Process order downloads with a large number of automatic value assignments;

  • Remotely triggered process order confirmations;

  • Goods receipts;

  • Transfer orders; and

  • Batch classifications.

The system doesn't provide any new information to plant- or enterprise-level users. However, it automatically consolidates real-time information from disparate and dispersed sources:

  • View quality of material, material classification, inventory quality, and finished goods inventory in real time;

  • Get accurate assessments of inventory and raw material level; and

  • Maintain a running view of process efficiency in conversion rate form.

The system's production-integration architecture insulates it from changes in the plants. In this case, Celanese Acetate's move to a new ERP system didn't require it to simultaneously revamp all its plant systems. In the future, Celanese Acetate can easily changeplant systems and that change will be transparent at the enterprise level.

For more information, visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .





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