Job scheduling/planning system integration yields profitable unattended operations

As manufacturers automate more of their processes, the payoff can be huge—both in cost savings and employee morale. That’s exactly the case for San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor, where employees once used pencil and paper to schedule jobs, says Rob Price, data warehouse manager for the San Jose, Calif.-based maker of computer chips and semiconductors used in data communications, telecommunications, computation, consumer products, and industrial control products.

08/01/2008


As manufacturers automate more of their processes, the payoff can be huge—both in cost savings and employee morale. That’s exactly the case for San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor, where employees once used pencil and paper to schedule jobs, says Rob Price, data warehouse manager for the San Jose, Calif.-based maker of computer chips and semiconductors used in data communications, telecommunications, computation, consumer products, and industrial control products.
Price says what made the situation particularly vexing was the sheer number of products, and all the possible configurations.
Cypress company management realized the need for a more refined scheduling system, but first looked to make better use of the planning system in use from i2 Technologies.
“To make optimal use of the i2 system, we needed a job scheduling solution,” Price says. “Not doing anything was out of the question—as was developing our own solution, which would have taken a number of programmers a long time to create.”
After reviewing some of the leading scheduling systems, Cypress selected ActiveBatch, an enterprise job scheduling solution from Advanced Systems Concepts said to be 10 times cheaper than others.
ActiveBatch is a cross-platform solution that structures tasks and applications into organized, integrated workflows. The result is reliable, unattended operations that trigger workflows based on date and time, events, or completion status.
Cypress is using ActiveBatch to orchestrate and coordinate jobs, Price says.
“As manufacturers become more sophisticated and global competition heats up, they need to automate as much as they can,” says Jim Manias, VP of Advanced Systems Concepts. “There’s a lot to be gained by eliminating manual hand-offs because that allows a company to reduce errors, production time, and operations costs. Those reductions can make a company more competitive.”
The problem is that automation by itself isn’t enough—particularly when more processes are being scheduled more frequently, Manias adds.
“In today’s world, events happen frequently and they can trigger subsequent events,” he says. “So the goal becomes not only to schedule across disparate systems, but also to know what to do when things don’t go right so operations don’t come to a standstill.”
That level of capability has become crucial for Cypress Semiconductor, whereby the company may chain together 100 jobs with numerous interdependencies, Price says. When one job is finished, its completion triggers the next job. A failure, on the other hand, might cause ActiveBatch to do something different or trigger an alarm, he says.
Additional benefits stem from knowing how long each job should take, Price says. That way, if a job takes too long, or is even completed too soon, ActiveBatch can send the correct alert or alarm, he says.
“Information about a job’s run time is documented for process improvement, along with data about all other jobs,” Price says. “That way we can go back and look at jobs based on run time and other factors to determine what went wrong and what went right—and make corresponding improvements to ensure jobs go right more frequently.”
The combination of the i2 planning system and the ActiveBatch solution for production planning and scheduling has driven significant improvements at Cypress, including the ability to cut its planning department by half, reduce inventory by 30 percent, and cut cycle time by 10 percent, Manias reports.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Big plans for small nuclear reactors: Simpler, safer control designs; Smarter manufacturing; Industrial cloud; Mobile HMI; Controls convergence
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.