ANA provides batch manufacturers with a new way to produce their products efficiently and reliably, enabling both manufacturer and customer to enjoy greater profitability.
From automated control of tanks that ensure every batch is perfectly reproducible and reproducibly perfect;
to analytics that QC the batch during the entire manufacturing process and can even shorten production times;
to Cloud-based data and measurement sharing that instantly connects the factory floor to factory managers and to clients; whatever combination needed to resolve problems work together with real-time audio, video and measurement data.
… ANA’s New Way technology is not a next generation advance – it is a quantum leap forward.
It costs less to automate with ANA’s New Way than with Old Way products - the familiar conventional methods, introduced decades ago. Installation is simpler, training is almost completely unnecessary and trouble-shooting is addressable immediatey, reducing down time.
Both the first time adopter and the experienced user will find ANA’s New Way products to be a direct and intuitively straightforward way to optimize batch production. With payback times measured in weeks, the New Way products optimize batch manufacturing, ushering in a new era of productivity.
ANA's New Way Automation facilitates batch optimization, end-to-end QC, and creates an IIoT platform.
Delivers profitability through:
Automation gives you flawlessly consistent products. Make batches correctly every time using our controller or yours, operating your Recipes written in a game-like format. Eliminating waste and rework optimizes time and resources.
Quantitation gives your customers more confidence in your products. Sensors that constantly measure, record and display the evolution of your batches from raw ingredients to finished products guarantee that your batches are of the highest possible quality. Customers have a certified product.
Customized projects tailored to
individual needs. Odds are we can help. Virtually every one of ANA’s products started as a seemingly impossible problem.
ANA realized from its inception that the challenges batch manufacturers face require more than a small improvement here or a new measurement there. Breakthrough advances in productivity require a re-vision, a New Way of addressing the system of problems.
We started with a single question – “Using our skill set, what technology can we develop that will modernize old factories, making them fully competitive in the global marketplace?” Given our expertise is where matter and energy comes together and physics is the descriptor, the choice was straightforward. Our focus was on the procedures that come after ingredients are taken from inventory and before packaging: manufacturing the batch.
Once manufacturing was selected, we addressed the commercial opportunities two ways:
the manufacturer’s perspective – “How high is the quality of the batch? How much rework and waste is there? How much does this part of the manufacturing cost?”
the factory’s customers’ perspective – “How dependable is the quality of the manufacturedproducts? Can this factory easily adjust to making new products, responsive to consumer wishes? How certain is it that manufactured products will stay acceptable throughout the shelf-life of the product?”
Of course, the manufacturer is directly concerned with the customer’s perspective. Together this suite of challenges became the problem set for the New Way.
The guiding principle in the New Way, is to develop products that are not only effective at what they do – automate, quantitate, communicate – but also simple to learn and use. Unsurprisingly, this approach suits new construction equally well. Ultimately, the starting question is: How can ANA help all batch manufacturers – large and small, old and new - to optimize production?
And that “skill set” referenced earlier … From the oil patch to clean-air emissions; from defense in nuclear war to civilian laser applications; from laboratory instruments to medical diagnostic devices, our breadth of experience has exposed us to a range of problem-solving methods unlike any other. ANA New Way technology is not only different from the conventional methods, but better because we have re-solved, re-imaged, re-juvenated batch manufacturing from the ground up.
Designed from the ground up to be 21CFR11 compliant, ANA expects certification in the near future.
Migrating from manual to automated status is often the most cost-effective upgrade possible. Aside from addition of ingredients, absolutely every operation is handled under computer control. Motor speeds, times and temperatures known to produce an optimum batch can be depended on. Under tight control, processes are dependable; errors are minimized; yield is maximized.
ANA’s New Way controller, called the DART, consists of a hardware controller operated by software on a PC. This PC can be thought of as an intermediary. On the one hand the user inputs a Recipe and observes the batch progress on the PC screen; on the other, the tanks are actuated by the hardware controller that acts according to the directions of the Recipe. The tanks controlled by DART must be automation-enabled, meaning they need valves, thermal probes and variable frequency drives that are able to be interfaced with electronics.
But what really separates DART from old way methods is how the controller gets its instructions. DART software frees the operator from the necessity of manual inputs on an HMI screen near the production tank. The DART’s New Way advances the manufacturing process automatically with an interruption just for adding ingredients. Operators can now handle multiple tanks. Indeed, a typical DART can handle up to four tanks.
Building the Recipe is merely a matter of clicking icons – and confirmation of each step is immediately visible since each one is written out in plain English. The Recipe can be created on any PC and uploaded to the Cloud for a subsequent download to the run-time PC that operates together with the DART controller.
All the devices operated by the Recipe – steam control, variable frequency drives, temperature probes, pH meters and more – record their set points and actual values in a database. From the db the data can be located, retrieved and downloaded for verification, comparison or investigational purposes.
During a run, the set points and current values of the parameters are visible on the screen
Once automation is implemented – either with ANA’s DART or with conventional PLCs - the next step toward full control of batch production is measurement and analysis. At the most basic level, conveniently retrievable measurements enable users to verify that the automation procedures were executed as intended. But using ANA’s New Way turns mere measurements into actionable information. The New Way does not stop at measurement; it analyzes.
Analysis facilitates mid-process correction in the event of defective ingredients or electrical and mechanical malfunctions, saving precious time and batches. It provably demonstrates superior batch quality by performing continuous, in-process QC; the New Way transforms the continuous stream of measurements into status information. Remarkably, locating and then eliminating inefficiencies in the batch is now a practical reality with New Way analytics.
With three independent categories of data, the OMNI is ANA’s premier analytics product. Each of these comes in on its own processor; all data is uploaded to the Cloud for interactive processing. The data categories are:
Optical – a fiber-optic coupled analyzer measures spectral properties of the batch noninvasively with a flow cell. Measurements include intensity, color, color change and inhomogeneities.
Process Variables – an electronic coupler works jointly with installed PLCs, carefully grabbing the needed data without interfering with PLC operation. Measurements include pH, motor speeds, power used to drive motors and temperature.
Special events - a tablet is used to record the time of manually initiated procedures. Most notable among these is the time and type of ingredients. This is the BatchCom tablet described in the Communications section.
The OMNI optical analyzer is a fully portable system that can be installed in seconds at any tank. A fiber optic cable is inserted into a Teflon sleeve, supporting the optical probe against a site glass.
Data generated by the optical, process and special events processors is available after logging in to the secure database. Shown as an example is a suite of plots from a batch where all of the data were taken from 9:00 - 11:00 am.
As many as 20 variables can be plotted – all at once, one a time, or in small groups. The OMNI-Plot enables visualization of what is happening inside the tank at every moment of batch manufacture.
The ANA New Way of modernizing batch processing looks beyond what happens in the tank to the way decisions are made about how to handle problems that arise. Where the DART focuses on predictability, and the OMNI goes a step further to examine outcomes, TripSaver and BatchCom respond to the unpredictable.
Something unexpected happened. What do we do now?
The traditional, conventional, Old Way answer, is “Stop. Someone will be here to handle the problem.” The ANA New Way solution is to take advantage of the speed of Cloud-based communication and connect with whoever needs to know and … and can help. Regardless of where the supervisor or expert happens to be physically, they are only an Internet click away from virtual presence.
Familiar items such as a laptop, headphones, zoom camera and multi-meter, together with ANA’s intuitive software interface make virtual sessions a snap.
Sessions can be recorded, saved and retrieved for later review including teaching. To see how one client exploits the time savings inherent in TripSaver, check out by accessing the click here link at the bottom of http://www.kolmar.com/virtual-manufacturing.html
Where TripSaver is primarily used for communication between the factory site and the outside world, BatchCom, an app usable on any Android device, is intended for intra-site communication. The primary use of BatchCom is for manually recording events that are time-critical, such as addition of ingredients into a tank. Clicking SAVE EVENT uploads the information with a time stamp automatically provided by the server. The New Way enables supervisor’s to tap into the database in a few clicks on their Android device and, in real-time, learn the status of a batch in process.
But there is much more that BatchCom can do including sending an SMS message to the supervisor’s phone, supplementing text information with images – and even brief videos. The fact that each user logs in with an unique ID enables supervisors, equipped with text and images, to sign off on a procedure without needing to be present.
The ANA New Way examined batch manufacturing and made Recipe writing simple and flexible, avoiding the pitfalls of pseudo-automation that requires operators to manually press icons for each step. New Way approaches made ordinary process measurements into virtual analyzers by judiciously selecting combinations of parameters to add new information – not just numbers. And, of course, this same strategy went further, addressing time, more specifically how to compress it so the old way of travel can be supplanted by the New Way of Cloud communication.
Every one of these solutions came about because ANA saw – or was told! – that there is a need. Everything ANA does routinely now, was once someone’s wish.
Let us put that know-how to work on your tough-but-vital problem. Here are two examples that show how the core competencies ANA has developed in batch automation, together with the skill set ANA brings to the table, solve tough problems.
Project 1 - Specialty Chemicals Manufacturer
Problem: Refresh and modernize a dependable idea whose hardware is aging rapidly. The customer had a continuous process wastewater treatment system that had been custom engineered to exacting specifications many years ago. This project was made more challenging since the key controller needed to be replaced; the process could not be allowed to go off-line for more than a few hours before the new one would kick in; and all the prior specifications needed to be met rigorously at a minimum.
ANA’s solution modularized the continuous process, breaking it down into a series of steps, on each of which ANA imposed a traceability standard. Exactly what came in and what left needed to be known and recorded. As can be seen, there is a clear element of the DART batch methodology inside this solution. The result was an in-spec, modern, reliable replacement at a price that was a fraction of what a brand new installation would have cost.
Project 2 – Food Additives Manufacturer
Problem: A high-demand, profitable food additive was not being made fast enough to satisfy demand. The rate-limiting step was the particle size that needed to be able to be adjusted both quickly and predictably. Grinding too little always resulted in a need for re-work. Grinding too much was time intensive, producing no real benefit but costing more to manufacture.
ANA’s solution was to automate the speed with which raw material was fed, using an algorithm keyed to the speed of the drive. The result was a 25% increase in speed, and a project that paid for itself in a few weeks.