October 21, 2020

User Story – The “Golden Batch”, Getting Closer and Closer…

The Blackbird solution is often used for batch manufacturing in pharma, food, and other batch-processing industries. The Blackbird application is designed for process optimization for manufacturing companies and some of the functions are especially useful for batch manufacturing in order to make continuous improvement.

One of our customers within the food industry is using the Blackbird system with several sensors on a production line. One of the sensors is counting the output at the end of the line, which gives important information to follow the overall batch performance. Additional sensors are added in order to analyze the parameters that must be optimized to produce more “golden batches” – meaning batches that are “as good as possible”.

The sensor that counts the output of the line is used for analyzing downtime and OEE, as well as the performance of each batch. Additional sensors are all analog sensors such as air pressure sensors and humidity sensors, which gives an insight into the process performance of the batches. As they are all industry standard sensors that are available in the market, it was very easy to get started: just purchased a standard sensor and asked the Blackbird team to connect it to a Factbird box to send the sensor data to the cloud server.

Collecting the data is not difficult but it is often hard to turn the data into useful information. However, the Blackbird application automates the whole process of collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data. It combines the data from various sources in one place, hence the customer can analyze the correlations among the data easily. They can for example analyze if the temperature of the oven unit and humidity of the mixer may have impact on the product output, or see if the temperature and humidity can be adjusted to increase productivity.

This has been a learning experience for the customer because they now have much more data and much better tools than they had before. Now the data are collected automatically and doesn’t have to be exported into a spreadsheet to analyze it. Instead, the customer can use just a few online tools on the Blackbird application from any computer, tablet and even from a smartphone. The more data the customer get, the more assumptions they can test and prove to be right or wrong. Getting data helps them to do things more fact-based, rather than gut-feel based.

The customer is getting closer and closer to their golden batches day by day, and they now know the power of having data and using it for improvement - turning their data into a goldmine of useful information toward the optimal production, and they can see how close they are to it. 

Multiple sensors view

Multiple sensors can be views on one graph

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