Module Guide - A Deeper Dive!

Releasing formulations from product development laboratories to commercial production can be a complex and daunting process.

V5 Traceability allows formulations to be industrialized with simplicity. Processes involving whole bag staging and remainder scale-up, step sequencing, container handling, scale control, submix assembly, operator instructions, and so on.

Once formulations are setup within V5 Traceability, management can control batch sizes, min and max size parameters, default scheduling quantities, labeling etc.

This module guide will focus on the creation of formulas within the V5 Control Center. For assistance with scheduling and producing these formulas, please see the scheduling module guide.

In this guide, we will address the creation of formulas, covering:

Formula creation is done in the ‘Formulas’ section of Control Center, under the ‘My Factory’ header. Formulas can also be imported using the SG Gateway in Control Center, or integrated via the use of an external ERP application.

We would start formula creation by opening the ‘Formulas’ tab (1), enabling the ability to ‘Edit Tables’ (2 – requires the correct permissions for the logged in user) and finally by hitting the green ‘+’ in the top panel. This will add a salmon-colored row to the formula list in the top panel.

The minimum information we need to add to be able to save this new formula is the first column ‘CODE’. Once this has been entered we will be able to save the formula, but obviously we may want to enter more information against the formula. For a full rundown on what each field is for in this panel, check the ‘Formulas’ Control Center guide.

For this example, we will create a new formula called ‘Saffron Kulfi’.

Once our formula has been created in the top panel, we can then use the bottom panel to add steps against the formula. Again, editing tables must be enabled (1) and then we can use the green ‘+’ in the bottom panel (2) to add a new step to the formula (3).

For these rows to be able to be saved, we need to select a commodity (if a weight step type), or select a question/message (if a question or message step type). We can then add more steps, or enter more information against our existing steps. For a full rundown on what each field is for, check the ‘Formulas’ Control Center guide.

We can then keep adding steps and commodities to complete our formula.

As we can see above, the most common type of step type for a batch formula would be ‘weigh’, but there are other types, which we can take a look at now.

This is the default type for batch formula steps. When this option is selected for a step, the Terminal operator will use the Terminal’s weigh screen and attached scales to weigh out the correct quantity of a commodity.

Using this step type allows for the Terminal operator to manually enter quantities of commodities used. This is useful for non-weighed commodities such as packaging, or for commodities that are pre-weighed elsewhere.

Choosing either of these will allow us to select a question or message from a drop-down menu in the ‘Message’ column. This will show all of our question/message options that we can choose from. Questions and messages can also be set up to trigger at every batch start, for specific formulas or commodities, for when a batch completes, and other options. For more information on how this works see our ‘Q&A’ module guide.

Using this step type will prompt the operator to switch the container on the scales before the next step.

This will prompt the user to add a submix formula to the current batch. More information on submixes and how these work is detailed below.

Used internally, and should not be selected when entering a formula step. More information on this can be found in the batching module guide.

This option allows communication with a bulk dispensing system to allow for the addition of bulk items. For further information on how this works please see our module guide on the topic.

Allows us to define optional steps for a particular formula step. This can allow a Terminal operator to choose between different types of the same commodity (as in the example illustrated here with different types of flour), or allow us to define different processes for a single step, using any of the step types discussed here.

We would set this up by adding a step and setting it as ‘Optional’ (1). Once this is done, the branching icon will become active when this step is highlighted (2). If we hit this it will bring up the optional step window where we can right click ‘Optional Step’ (3) which will create as many optional steps as we like (these can be renamed by long left clicking them). Once these are set up, we can then add (4) formula steps for each optional routine. When the operator hits this step on Terminal, they will be presented with the option of which flour to use. Messages (set up in Q&A) can also be added against this step to help direct the operator further.

Optional steps can be combined with the Linked Step functionality to produce optional mixing routines.

Similar to key entry, but with a scan instead, this allows the Terminal operator to scan a commodity against this step. Again, this is useful for things such as packaging etc.

A revise step allows for a batch to be suspended pending the results of tests on elements of the batch and the potential adjustment of the formula makeup. More information on this can be found here.

When we are adding formula steps, the first column of each step is ‘Sequence’. This can either be set to ‘Sequenced’ or ‘Non-Sequential’ (1).

Sequenced steps force the Terminal operator to handle commodities in the sequence they are arranged in in this panel. Selecting Non-Sequential as a formula step allows the operator the choice of adding a commodity to a formula in production, and can also allow the operator to specify the required quantity if no target quantity is set against this step.

Effectively, None Sequential steps are useful for batch additions when the order in which ingredients are added is not critical, or is best left to the Terminal operator to decide. These non-sequenced steps will be presented to the operator after sequenced steps have been completed.

Once we have set up our formula and the sequenced steps within it, if we then need to rearrange any of these sequenced steps, we can use the up and down arrows (2) to rearrange as needed.

As we can see above, the default ‘Base Size’ value is set at 1 when the formula is created. When scheduling formulas, the system looks at the ‘Batch Size’ that has been scheduled and calculates how much of each ingredient is required based on our ‘Base Size’.

So, how does this work?

If we use our created Saffron Kulfi formula as an example, we can see that 32 has been entered as its base size. In this case, and as we can see from the steps added above, the base size of the formula is an accumulation of all of our formula step’s target weights, so we’re basically saying that 32lbs is the weights of the mix at 100% standard size.

In later versions of Control Center, an auto calulation feature is available and can be used by right clicking the formula header line and selecting ‘Calculate Base Size’.

So, when we come to schedule this formula, this base size will be carried over as the default batch size.

This size can then be altered here in order to produce bigger mixes. For example, if we were to schedule a batch at 96lbs, our target weights for all commodities will be multiplied by 3 as we are making a batch that is 3 times the standard base size.

Another element that controls the size of batches that can be produced when scheduling jobs is the minimum and maximum products fields in the formula header.

These figures effectively tell the system the lower and upper limits of how much of the formula can be produced at once, usually determined by the physical capacity of the equipment being used in production.

So based on the figures entered in these fields above, if we try and schedule a mix size less than 34lbs, the system will not allow it, and if we try and schedule a mix size over 340lbs, the scheduling module will split this mix into multiple batches to bring the mix size under 340.

To learn more about how this works in practice please click here.

One final element that can play a part in batch sizes when a formula is scheduled is the ‘Equalize Max Products’ checkbox, which is again found in the formula header.

This function is used mainly when dealing with multiple submix formulas being consumed into another ‘master’ formula. This works by taking the batch number calculation for the ‘master’ formula and applying the resulting number of batches to the component submixes. This therefore allows for the same number of submixes to be produced for the appropriate number of ‘master’ batches, so if 4 batches of the ‘master’ formula are scheduled, then the system will also schedule 4 batches of each of the component submixes, even if their min/max sizes might allow the same amount of the submix to be made in 1 batch.

If the system cannot split the submixes into the same number of batches, then it will schedule a divisible amount, i.e. in this case, 8 rather than 4.

Note that all formulas that this needs applying to much have min/max product sizes entered, and all must have the above box checked.

Scale tolerance refers to how far above or below our target weight Terminal operators will be allowed to weigh ingredients in order to proceed with batch production. Tolerances will automatically populate from ‘Commodities’ (if set), but can be inputted manually/changed in the formula step panel if required.

We can see in our example formula that 5lbs of Pistachios are required for step 2, and that this has an upper and lower tolerance of 0.1.

This means that when we come to batching, our operator will only be permitted to proceed to the next step if they weigh up between 4.9 and 5.1lbs of Pistachios.

Tolerances will increase as our batch size goes up. This is controlled via the ‘Scale Tolerance’ checkbox against the formula step, which is enabled by default when a step is created.

If we use the example from base size above and schedule 96lbs of our formula, since this is 3x the base size, our tolerances will also increase by a factor of 3. 15lbs of Pistachios would then be required with upper and lower tolerances of 0.3.

Some formulas will contain other formulas as a submix. These submixes could be weighed up earlier in the day, or at another Terminal elsewhere in the facility, to then be added to the main formula later. If we take our Saffron Kulfi formula from earlier, we can now see that ‘Chocolate Toppings’ has now been added.

If we set the submix up as indicated above, when producing this formula in Terminal and we get to step 5, we will be asked to weigh up 2lbs of the Chocolate Toppings and add it to the previously weighed ingredients.

This is ideal if our Chocolate Toppings are being made elsewhere in the production facility, but what if we want to produce the submix at this same Terminal? This can be achieved by changing the step type to ‘Submix’ and by the use of the ‘Schedule’ checkbox.

Before looking at ‘Schedule’, if we only swap the type to ‘Submix’, and come back to step 5 in Terminal, the station will assume that a completed single lot of this mix is ready to go and ask us for a key input for step 5, after which the batch will be complete.

For both of these different formula configurations using the Chocolate Toppings, it is worth noting that when we schedule a batch, we are only scheduling the Saffron Kulfi to be produced, as the system is assuming that, from the way the formula has been set up to this point, that we have the Chocolate Toppings already in stock.

If we now go back to the formula and check the ‘Schedule’ box, and reschedule the formula, we can see that not only has a batch of the Saffron Kulfi been scheduled, but there is also a batch of the Chocolate Toppings scheduled for production in the same job.

If we then go to our production Terminal, we can see the 2 formulas ready to be produced.

We can then proceed to make our batch of Chocolate Toppings before we then move on and produce the Saffron Kulfi using the Chocolate Toppings we just produced here a moment ago. The system can also be set up to send these batches to different terminals if required.

V5 Traceability can be set up to process either ‘Batch’ or ‘Product’ formulas. Our Saffron Kulfi example we’ve been looking at so far is an example of a batch formula, consisting of different raw ingredients that are mixed together to produce the batch.

We can also produce product formulas that will give us finished good that can then be sold via sales orders. Let’s take a look at this now by creating a new product formula for ‘Saffron Kulfi 12 pack’, making sure that we set this up as a ‘Product’ (1) formula. We will also set a base size of 1 here (2), as we want to produce 1 product. Obviously if we wanted to produce more than 1 product at a time we can increase this to whatever we want.

It is worth noting that, with a product formula, our choice of step types (3) has been reduced in number. We no longer have ‘Weigh’, ‘Key Entry’, ‘Container Change’, Submix’, ‘Collation’, ‘Bulk Dispense’ and ‘Scan’; these have been replaced with ‘Component’ and ‘Packaging’. We will have our Saffron Kulfi batch as the component and the Plastic Dividers and Cardboard Box will be packaging.

We can also use the schedule button (4) as we have used it previously, so that, if checked, whenever we want to produce this product, the associated batch will also be scheduled for production. As mentioned above these can be produced at different Terminals.

We can then schedule and produce our product.

**Batch Formulas**

Marking a batch formula step as ‘auto consume’ will remove this step from the terminal screen during batching, automatically assuming the addition of the material in a FEFO/FIFO manner without operator interaction with the system. This can be useful in cases where an automatic addition (e.g. dispense valve) is made to a batch and an assumption can be made about the quantity added.

We can set this up using a combination of the ‘Key Entry’ step type (1) and the ‘Auto Consume’ checkbox (2).

Both of these settings need to be used together to make this functionality work. A Terminal configuration change is also required and can be applied by SG Support if desired.

With these 2 settings in place, and if we come to produce the above batch on our properly configured Terminal, we will essentially skip over the ‘Flour-A’ step (apart from any hazard or allergen warnings) and proceed straight to weighing up the butter in step 2.

As the name would imply, the flour step has been automatically consumed. The lot chosen here depends on the FEFO/FIFO settings of the individual Terminal.

**Product Formulas**

Auto consume can also be used in conjunction with the ‘Multi-Lot’ Op Mode that can be set against a product formula in Control Center, allowing managers to speed up production of finished goods by allowing lesser value items, such as packaging, to be automatically assigned to a production run, while still allowing for the manual assignment or scanning of higher value component items.

We can see an example of how we might set this up for a product formula below, where we are setting the packaging elements of this formula to be auto consumed:

This feature is designed to be used in conjunction with the multi lot autofill feature of Terminal, and as such, this function would need to be enabled for your Terminal. Under normal circumstances, this would autofill all items (packaging and components), but when used together with auto consume only the items marked for this, as above, will be autofilled.

Running this formula in Terminal we will be taken to the lot assignment screen, but we can see here that the items that were marked as auto consume have automatically been assigned.

These lots will be consumed in FEFO or FIFO order, depending on the system settings. The operator would then be able to scan in lots of the component and begin making products.

Formulas can be assigned to production locations when they are created. This is done by using the ‘Production Location’ menu dropdown when creating the formula.

Assigning a production location here will restrict which production Terminals (which can in turn be assigned to production locations) will be able to see the jobs, and serves to help separate the production of different formulas out to different locations in the production facility.

Both batch and product formulas can be set to be produced onto pallets. This is controlled by a checkbox at the formula header level.

More information on how this works when producing formulas can be found here.

Both Batch and Product formulas have several different options for ‘Op Modes’, ‘Tare Modes’ and ‘Production Styles’. These can be set per formula in the top panel of the ‘Formulas’ window.

To learn more about how these different modes work, please click here for Batch formula options, and here for options for Product formulas.

Rework is the process whereby we can correct or modify a batch by adding more of the same formula to a batch. V5 Traceability provides several ways to do this depending on how we want to add the rework, and how consistently this process will be used in production.

More information on these methods and how to set them up can be found in our rework guide here.

If we are going to consider factoring loss or growth into the equation then we will need to decide how it will be applied. We can set positive or negative loss, which can be expressed as a fixed value or as a percentile value.

For example, rice may grow in weight once it is cooked. The original addition may require 10lbs of rice, however the final weight after cooking could be 50lbs. In which case we would set a ‘-500%’ loss value against the formula step. We want this to apply to the final formula weight so we would set the type as ‘Produced’.

Now let’s take an example whereby we pour liquid from one container to another. Due to the viscosity, there is a transfer loss and some of the liquid gets left in the container, the container is then washed so the remaining quantity is waste. Here we would set a positive loss value and set the type to ‘Scaled’ under formula steps. For example, we add 10lbs of this liquid but there is 11lbs in the container, we would set a loss of ‘10%’.

The loss value that is set against the formula header in the top panel of ‘Formulas’ implies that when this formula is scheduled, it will reduce/grow by this amount. A good example here would be making dough batches for a list of required bread products. The dough is a submix of 5 different products. If we schedule these all at once, we may see a requirement of 100lbs of dough.

We know that we always test some of the dough at the start and some of it falls on the floor when we transfer containers and is wasted, and so to account for this we make more dough than is actually required. Lets say 5% of the dough does not get used going forward and is instead wasted on average. We would set 5% in the formula header and then when 100lbs of dough are required, 105lbs are actually scheduled to be made.

More information and examples can be found in our ‘Yield’ module guide here.

Each time we make an edit to a formula in the ‘Formulas’ window, a new formula version is created. The formula version number can be seen against the formula in its own column. New versions are also created when manipulating batches in ‘Production Plan’s’ ‘Step View‘, such as when we might want to add rework to a production run.

This doesn’t mean that older formula versions are gone, as they are all stored in the database after newer versions are created. Older versions can still be accessed and recalled by using the indicated ‘Revert’ button at the bottom left of the top panel. This will open a new window within Control Center that shows us all our previous formula versions. The Formulas page must be in editing mode to allow this window to appear.

From here we can browse our older formula versions and see the step differences for ourselves. If we wanted to recall an older formula, all we would need to do here is select our desired version and hit the OK button.

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