The Background.

Our Client was building a new production facility which incorporates two manufacturing streams as well as process, automation and utility support facilities.

One of the project requirement was to provide material and component tracking system, fully integrated with PCS7 and BATCH system, which would collect data entered by a verified person in accurate, legible and contemporaneous manner.

Material handling specification detailed:

Raw material tracking
Component tracking
Equipment usage
Environmental monitoring plate tracking
Environmental monitoring locations sampling
Finished product tracking

Barcode scanners

Loctations tagged with barcodes

Different scanner operations

Unique barcodes used for operations

The Client

Our client is amongst World's largest global pharmaceutical companies with thousands of employees and multiple operating sites across the world.

The Solution.

The solution provided by Booth Welsh included software design, development, testing and commissioning.

The system is built of:

  • 8 handheld, cordless 1D/2D barcode scanners,
  • 1 handheld, cordless 1D barcode scanner to work in hazardous area,
  • 1 tablet with Android application developed to work in hazardous area,
  • 1 barcode printer.

Each scanner is equipped with keypad and LCD for ease of use. While keypad allows non-barcode data entries like User password or option selection, the LCD helps to guide the Operator through
the steps of the operation without the need for access to HMI. It will display prompts, messages, alerts and scanned/entered data.

To collect and record data from remote locations, especially from hazardous areas outside a normal scanners’ range, an ATEX tablet running Android OS was introduced. The application was developed so it receives data collection tasks from the PCS7 system and stores them locally making it possible for the device to work offline. It displays step-by-step instructions for the Operator and records necessary data by scanning barcodes using the built-in camera. For the collected data, reports are generated, or data is sent to the Manufacturing Execution System for incorporation into the electronic batch record.

As part of the project, there was a need of design and print customised labels for the final product containers, This was achieved by installing a barcode printer and developing an interface which allows label content configuration to math the Client’s requirements.

Both scanners and a tablet require Operators to log in prior execution of any operation and some actions may require additional confirmation signature from the Operator. This makes sure that only verified Users can run the process sequence. There are 21 different scanner operations configured using more than 300 unique barcodes that were generated for equipment, components and locations across the facility. Some of the operations required actions to be aligned with third party units or equipment. There is also more than 20 types of materials’ barcodes that are recognised by the system and which can be verified for allowed part number, unique ID and expiry date.

Dedicated HMI graphics were developed for more complex operations like Environmental Monitoring plates tracking or equipment integrity and sterility status tracking. For every component, a separate faceplate was created in the OCS with essential information and status provided.

The Benefits.

Complete and fully integrated barcode tracking solution for PCS7 and BATCH

Accurate, legible, contemporaneous data collection by a verified User

Time efficient and fully paperless solution for data capture with confirmation signatures and data being reported to MES

Number 4 encased in dark blue hexagon

Elimination of possible human error (data entry) and reduced training time for operators with easy to follow, on the screen procedures.