Symphony MES: Production Scheduling with Serialized PLU Printing

Having complete control over the production floor is essential when it comes to high volume-meat and poultry processing. Symphony MES gives management the ability to schedule production orders and control which production lines fill which orders. As production orders are filled, order progress and line efficiency can be monitored with Symphony MES dashboards.

Automation quickly provides ROI in a high-volume production environment. Symphony MES simplifies difficult tasks like accurately identifying, weighing, and labeling mixed inbound product. Serialized PLU printing with Symphony MES allows extremely accurate inbound product identification. Symphony MES’ Serialized PLU printing combined with iCap M5’s outbound case label verification ensures the correct case label is applied to each box every time.

This product description explains the functionality of Symphony MES’ Production Scheduling with Serialized PLU Printing solution. This solution combines multiple hardware and software components that have been designed to streamline the complex process of high-speed mixed product weighing and labeling.

Solution Overview

The Production Scheduling module of Symphony MES is a server-side production management tool. It consists of the following applications:

  • Order Creation
  • PLU Label Printing
  • Assign Orders to Stations
  • iCap In-motion weighing/Print-and-apply system
  • Production Order Dashboards

Orders are created ahead of time based on sales to customers as well as expected demand (as far ahead as required). On the day of production, the orders are assigned to the different production lines by a Supervisor using a tablet or other device that supports a web browser on the local network.

When an order is enabled by the Supervisor, the label printer for that production line will begin printing serialized PLU labels, which operators apply to boxes as they are filled.  The filled boxes are then sent to the iCap in-motion system, which scans the PLU label to automatically identify, weigh, and label each box or tote.  As these events are happening the Supervisor will see real-time status updates on their order dashboard. The orders can be configured to pause printing when the required quantity is met, allowing the Supervisor to decide whether to end the order or to continue producing (overfilling the order).

Schedule Production Orders

The User selects a Production Date and can create or edit the Production Orders for that Date. Orders are assigned a Work Centre to allow for multiple locations. The current status of the orders is shown by a coloured background:   Green order lines are those in progress; Yellow order lines have been paused; Red order lines are no longer active. The sequence # sets the order they will appear to the floor supervisor in the Assign Order application.

Schedule Production Orders Screen
Production Scheduling

Assign Orders

The Production supervisor can use a mobile device (typically a tablet) to control the orders assigned to the production lines. They will select a packing line to assign a new order, or to edit the status of a previously assigned order. The same colour coding is used on all screens. In the example below, it shows Lines 1 through 4 currently running orders and Line 5 waiting for an order.

Assign Production Orders

Selecting a line will bring up the “Assign to Station” screen. On this screen a list of available orders is shown. The current order can be paused/resumed or made inactive (meaning no more production is required for that order).

Assign Order to Station

iCap M5: Automated Weighing and Labeling Station

On the Automated Weighing and Labeling line, a touch screen workstation running iCap M5-Advanced Software will scan the incoming PLUs to identify the product being weighed. A detailed production record is created, and a label is printed and automatically applied. Mixed cartons and totes can be sorted to separate print and apply systems or to a manual labelling lane for items with detected errors such as “under-weight”.

iCap M5 Advanced Software – Activity and Status Screen
iCap M5 Screen

Symphony MES Production Dashboard

The Symphony MES Production Dashboard shows the work remaining for the day, station activity and order efficiency. These dashboards can also be run on wall mounted monitors.

Production Orders Dashboard

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