Silo and Tank Management in the food and beverages Industry

Silo and Tank Management for the Food Industry

Target industry

Production planning in the chemical industry / food industry, especially in the beverage industry or in dairies, follows process-oriented parameters. Tanks or silos as intermediate storage are necessary. A distinction is made between single-product tanks, multi-product tanks (if several products can be stored in succession, these are referred to as multi-product or alternating tanks) and mixing tanks.

In production, it is also possible to use several source and destination tanks at the same time. The planning of such production is highly complex. By using an effective planning solution, existing storage capacities can be optimally utilized so that investments in tank and vessel capacities can be minimized.


Model and scope of functions

With the Tank Planning solution for ORSOFT Manufacturing Workbench, it is possible to interpret SAP ERP / SAP S/4HANA data in such a way that tank planning is mapped. For this purpose, inventory history (as known from the SAP transaction MD04) and storage bin resource are merged and visualized as a combination of polyline and operation bar for past and future. In particular, it is possible to create two interpretations for one tank:

  • A tank overview that is calculated exclusively from the BBL.
  • A tank overview calculated from the BBL and the current last measurement.

Both representations usually differ. In particular, such representations can be used for solving data reconsiliation tasks. Continuous inflows and outflows can be represented in the model and qualities can be calculated. The inflows to the tanks in the past (e.g. from the data object inspection lot) are evaluated in such a way that the qualities of the tank contents are calculated at any time. If the qualities of future inflows (e.g. from process orders) are known, the qualities at any future point in time are also calculated. If the quality of an output stream changes (due to inflows that have occurred before), the entire network is calculated if necessary. Sump quantities are considered especially in their effects on qualities. Optionally, mass and volume can be displayed, even the temperature-dependent density is taken into account.

Silo- und Tankmanagement für die Lebensmittelindustrie

User interface

The scheduling workframe in ORSOFT Manufacturing Workbench shows the results of successful tank scheduling. The cycles of filling, emptying (depletion) and cleaning of an individual tank are visualized in a Gantt chart. The integrated histogram shows resulting changes of the tank stock level over the timeline. Additional visualization elements can be used to alert the palnner to exceptional situations, such as tank overflow and infeasible product combinations.

With the help of structured dialogs, tank splits are easy to implement, and the various alert symbols indicate unacceptable situations that still need to be dealt with by the planner. Since the parts lists of process orders and production orders can be provided with tank information, parts list entries can be split in the user interface if the material has to be stored in several tanks. In a tank editor, free tanks, tanks with certain contents (material, quantity, qualities,..) are displayed pre-filtered, so that the consequences of the assignment of a material to a tank for the future are immediately visible, e.g. in the form of an overflow or underflow due to future plan runs or pump-downs.

Integration with SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA

The solution is fully integrated with SAP ERP / SAP S/4HANA and only uses master data and transactional data from SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA. It requires no additional server hardware. Implementation of Tank Allocation Scheduling requires some modification of SAP ERP master data, because the module SAP S/4HANA / SAP ERP PP-PI does not support Tank Allocation Scheduling without additional software which needs more detailed information in master data.

Annemarie Kersten
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