Venezuelan brewery contributes interface to World Batch Forum

In a move said to accelerate users’ ability to improve business through plant-wide integration, a Venezuelan brewery has given its XSLT-based interface linking plant-floor production systems and its SAP R/3 business system to the World Batch Forum (WBF), which will make the code freely available at its Website.

07/15/2004



In a move said to accelerate users’ ability to improve business through plant-wide integration, a Venezuelan brewery has given its XSLT-based interface linking plant-floor production systems and its SAP R/3 business system to the World Batch Forum (WBF), which will make the code freely available at its Website.

Cervecería Polar and its system integrator, MPR de Venezuela, developed the interface for its four breweries using B2MML (business-to-manufacturing markup language), an XML schema set developed by WBF that lets manufacturers implement ANSI/ISA S95 standard for data exchange between business and manufacturing systems. Version 2 of B2MML was released last year and is also available on the WBF web site.

The interface resides in the SAP Business Connector and uses XSLT (XML Stylesheet Transformation Language) as an open method of converting formats among the SAP and production systems. The brewery uses the interface to integrate all production areas of the plant, deliver process orders to the plant floor online, report actual production in real time, and synchronize material inventory with SAP’s Production Planning (PP/PI) and Materials Management (MM) modules. The distributed code contains no Cervecería proprietary knowledge and can easily be adapted by other companies to convert SAP documents to B2MML format, said Francisco Ferrero, Cervecería Polar’s manager of automation.

Development of the interface took just five weeks and has been operating at the breweries since October 2003. Prior to undertaking the B2MML-based project, the brewery had tried to implement a smaller, custom interface with unsatisfactory results. “I think our experience points out the importance of developing open, standard interfaces that can be easily adapted and implemented on other projects,” says Ferrero. “Users should resist the temptation to develop custom interfaces, which are difficult and costly to develop, use, and support. For us, B2MML and WBF’s support for our project proved to be ideal.”

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering, jkatzel@reedbusiness.com





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