Thursday, June 9, 2011

World Batch Forum 2011 Recap

I had the privilege of presenting at WBF this year.  There were a lot of good presentations this year.  For those who didn’t get to go, I’ll give a couple one-liner recaps of the most memorable parts (aka the parts I can still remember!).
I presented on a project we completed a little while ago.  It’s a 10,000 foot overview of the facility, the MES system, and the ties to the ERP system.  It was a great project to be on from a programmer’s point of view.  There were LOTS of cool problems to come up with even cooler solutions to.
I thought both keynote speakers were very good.  I won’t recap their presentations because they’re actually posted on the web.  If you get a chance, their well worth a listen (see links below).
Dennis Brandl got dressed up in a #88 race car driver suit.  His presentation was on an S88 implementation for a pharma packaging line.
The Honeywell guys had a lot of interesting thoughts on visualization of the future & good UIs.  They tossed out there the possibility of using the Xbox Kinect as an operator interface.  They focused on the face that (A) it’s a pretty darn cool UI device & (B) it’s really cheap for what it can do.  They also tossed out there using an iPad as a tablet HMI.  The catch is that it would use the camera to scan a barcode on the equipment or recognize the equipment itself & automatically load the right screen.
A British company presented on their PAT software.  In short, it analyzes mounds of multi-variable historical data and present it to the operator to make decisions on at run time.  Seemed like a cool piece of software at any rate.
A guy from AB had a presentation on how they implement S88 from a spreadsheet.  Each “task” is a bit in a step.  Each step does one or more “tasks” in parallel.  While the concept is really cool, it still doesn’t escape from the fact that the logic hasn’t been simplified.  What it does buy you is a structure that is much easier to reconfigure for new products.
Dave Chappell had a good presentation how to apply the GAMP V-model to a project to help reduce & mitigate risks during various types of projects (i.e. pure implementation vs R&D and the spectrum in between).
Finally, WBF is coming out with a series of books that looked well put together.  I didn’t get a chance to even skim through them, but they should be pretty good.  You can check it out here.

[ Original Post by David Goodman]