Compound Weighing & Batching System by SG Systems LLC
OptiColor, Inc. was founded in 1995 on the premise of serving a portion of the colored plastic business that had been neglected by the industry for several years. When it comes to needing small volumes of colored materials that require close tolerances and uncompromised cleanliness it was previously near impossible to get the quality and service processors need to service their clients. Raw material manufacturers would reluctantly provide these services with long lead-times and exorbitant pricing. Color houses claimed they could provide these products but the quality and cleanliness were hit or miss at best.
The founder of OptiColor came from the executive level of a multi-billion dollar major raw material provider and saw the frustration of processors needing these services. The bureaucracy of big businesses made it impossible to serve these smaller but important demands. After several attempts to outsource this portion of his business, he found there were no processors that could consistently provide the level of quality and service these clients demanded. OptiColor was established to focus on the industries that demanded the highest quality of product and services in small volume colored plastic applications.
OptiColor found their specialties were quickly appreciated by both the lighting and eyewear industries. The manufacturers of these products longed for materials and services they could count on to provide them consistent quality on new and unique colored plastics. From the filtering and diffusion requirements in lighting applications to the flash and fashion requirements in the eyewear industry, OptiColor was perfectly suited to meet the needs of these manufacturers.
OptiColor has developed a customer base (eyeware, lighting, medical, sanitary ware, automotive) who has grown accustomed to consistent color, repeated from order to order. For this reason, OptiColor decided to invest in the V5 Compound Weighing & Batching Solution from SG Systems LLC. OptiColor needed to take their manual batching process with paper-based lot verification to the next level and automate the shop floor weighing operations without losing flexibility in the weighing room and dispensary.
Typically, operator errors in the weighing process and inaccuracies in lot control are usually not reflected in the paper trail – this can cause problems with accounting, inventory and purchasing in addition to the quality of the product from batch to batch. Batch weighing inaccuracy causes color concentrates to be different shades. OptiColor required color concentrates to be 100% accurate – every time. They reached out to SG Systems for a proven solution
Once a manufacturing order has been created in the SG Systems Compound Weighing & Batching Management Software the Production Plan
(number of batches, required batch size and production locations) and the BOM containing the recipe steps, weighing sequence and target weights is available at the operator workstation. The workstation consists of a V5 Compound Weighing & Batching Touch Screen User Interface, Label Printer and Sartorius High Resolution Digital Balance with Breeze Break.
The V5 Touch Screen User Interface allows the Production Plan to be displayed using easy to follow screens. This eliminates paper schedules and prevents operators making incorrect or out of sequence formulations. After selecting the required formula, the operator follows simple screens which prompt for lot number of each color pigment. A speedometer display ensures the weighed items are portioned correctly and within tight, management set tolerances. The operator cannot weigh up too much or too little as the system will not accept out of tolerance weighing. This has a big impact on improving batch consistency and overall product quality – something that OptiColor’s business model is dependent on.
Electronic reports detailing which operator has weighed up the respective steps are available at the main PC, detailing the lot number and scaled amount. The Recipe Batch Report (COA) allows this visibility, detailing the exact amounts of each of the color pigments weighed into the batch. The SG Systems Software has automated this process to ensure fast and accurate batch sign off of color concentrates.
To provide paperless lot traceability, the V5 Compound Weighing & Batching System creates inventory usage data in real time (after each batch is
complete) which are in turn used to deduct inventory. This improves inventory visibility, reduces man hours spend on data entry and saves time double handling data. In addition, the V5 System provides actual usage based on the scaling weights, instead of theoretical usage based on target weights. This allows accurate yields to be calculated which provides visibility for supplier inventory accuracy.
David VanTwist, Production Manager at OptiColor comments “We were impressed with the team at SG Systems and their ability to understand our concerns and issues with the previously used system. They’ve continued to impress us and have consistently exceeded our expectations”