QA made easy

The SitePilot Laboratory Management – a practical tool for organised planning of sampling routines, and for processing and analysing the samples taken

As is the case at Krones, consistently high levels of quality in the production operation play a crucial role for our clients as well – something that has to be assured throughout all steps of the work sequence. From incoming-goods reception right through to assessing the finished products, the perceived importance played by laboratories for food and beverage production is steadily increasing, as are the administrative, coordinatory and legal requirements posed for recording and evaluating the requisite data, as well as for documenting the analytical results.

Rigorous monitoring makes for early detection of quality deviations, so that these can be swiftly corrected. But if all values are in the standard range desired, further processing can go on as planned. You see, only when a finished batch of products exhibits analytical results lying safely within the tolerance band can it be released for dispatch. Prompt documentation is therefore the basis for successful quality assurance and legal conformity. This is precisely where the SitePilot Laboratory Management software package comes in: as a practical tool for organising the processing of samples, and for recording, structuring and evaluating analytical data offering evidential cogency.

Extension to the established Manufacturing Execution System at Krones

Krones had in fact started addressing the topic of digitalisation even before buzzwords like “Industry 4.0”, “Smart Factory” or the “Internet of Things” seemed to be on everyone’s lips. Quite definitely so.

Over the past few years, Krones has already succeeded in establishing on the market a holistically conceived solution comprising efficaciously harmonised interaction of the Manufacturing Execution System (MES), the Process Control System (PCS) and the Warehouse Management System (WMS), under the SitePilot umbrella brand. The IT portfolio concerned is composed of various individually selectable modules, all of which together cover a beverage or food plant’s entire value added chain – from production to intralogistics.

The SitePilot Laboratory Management is one of these modules. This is because Krones has realised that highly specialised know-how is indispensable for successful quality assurance and sustainable laboratory management. For this purpose, Krones has brought on board one of the leading experts in this field.

In the shape of GQM, Krones is partnering with an industry leader that has been addressing the issue of quality optimisation for 25 years, and whose origins are rooted in the development of a successful laboratory management system. Together, GQM and Krones have set themselves to offer our clients an added value of the sort they rightfully expect from their vendors in the long term.

Advantages and functions of the SitePilot Laboratory Management

Irrespective of the version our clients opt for, they will definitely benefit from the same advantages. As already mentioned, continuous and concurrent monitoring is of crucial importance if the quality of both raw materials and products is to be checked on a permanent basis. This is why the Laboratory Management takes its measurements uninterruptedly and in real time – during the actual production operation. In this, the client’s staff are supported by means of automated procedures: computer-aided planning can be used for all sampling routines, which can be conducted by automatically incorporated measuring instruments. To this end, our system is completely integrated into the client’s production sequences and IT infrastructure.

The “Starter Package” includes the following functions:

  • flexible depiction of all relevant processes from a quality-assurance viewpoint
  • individually settable access authorisations
  • user-selectable definition of all data-recording forms (tables) and masks
  • updating of
    • plant structures
    • articles and materials
    • analyses and characteristic features
    • inspection and test plans
    • scope of inspection and testing
    • inspection and test intervals
    • limit values
    • limit value versions for the time axis
  • planning of batches and samples, plus series of samples
  • interfacing with order acceptance
  • organisation of retention samples in sample lists with status data
  • organisation of tests by means of flexible status assignment
  • result history
  • depiction of limit-value violations
  • assessment of results
  • standard evaluations

As an alternative to this Starter Package, clients can opt for the “Comfort Package”, which in addition to the functions of the “Starter Package” also includes some other features, such as:

  • standard reports and demand-driven design and extension for reports
  • user-selectable report compilation
  • flexible link to a variety of analytical equipment
  • mail dispatch
  • barcode organisation of laboratory and production samples/analyses
  • option for linking up ERP systems, e.g. for block-release procedures in the warehouse

Needless to say, we will likewise be taking into account any further requirements or expectations our clients pose for the system. This means that for each specific project, my colleagues and I will talk to the client concerned to clarify how his needs can best be met.