Standardizing process parameters in production control

Standardized operating window is a key factor in improving the efficiency and product quality of the production process, as well as reducing costs. If the process operating parameters can be standardized, it makes it easier to control and manage the production process.

Why is the standardization of production process control parameters important in production control?

Process parameters are variables or settings in the production process that affect its performance. They can be adjusted and controlled as needed. Examples of parameters include speeds, temperatures, pressures, flows, etc. Standardized process parameters refer to the use of predetermined values in process control. This reduces process variability and improves product quality. It also helps optimize production line speed and productivity, leading to better production efficiency and lower costs. Standardizing process parameters can also help identify and correct production process issues. If a process parameter deviates from normal, it can be corrected before significant damage occurs. Continuous monitoring of these parameters and necessary adjustments help optimize the process, reduce waste, increase productivity, and improve quality.

Standardization of production process control parameters requires careful planning, which includes important steps:

  • Identify the key process control parameters, such as speed, pressure, temperature, etc.
  • Use proper and reliable measurements to accurately monitor the parameters.
  • Continuously monitor them to ensure the process remains stable.
  • Train staff to identify and monitor the control parameters, and provide instructions on how to respond to deviations.
  • Continuous monitoring and improvement help optimize the process and identify potential ways to enhance its efficiency and quality.

Effects on process efficiency and costs

Standardization of different stages, times, and schedules of the production process is also essential. This means that a certain amount of time is allocated to a certain work stage, and the process stages are performed in the same order as before. Standardization aims to make the production process as efficient and predictable as possible. Standardizing control parameters brings many significant benefits to production control. One of the most important advantages is that production runs smoothly, and the products are always of the same quality and are produced in the same amount of time. This allows for precise promises of delivery times for products and predictability in production planning. Another important advantage is that standardization can minimize production process interruptions and repair costs, reducing unnecessary waiting times.

Standardization has an impact on production efficiency. Optimizing control parameters reduces the time it takes to manufacture a product and increases productivity. Uniform production processes also mean fewer breaks, which improves production efficiency. A well-established and known operating window also makes it easier to identify problems and their causes. If any of the control parameters deviate from the norm, they can be identified, the cause can be determined, and corrective actions can be taken.

Standardization of the operating window as part of continuous improvement and process enhancement

Optimization and standardization of control parameters are related to continuous improvement. That and process enhancement help companies to remain competitive and make their business more efficient. However, implementing these can be challenging, e.g. for the following reasons:

  • Resource constraints: Improving and continuously developing a process requires time, personnel, and other resources. This can be challenging if a company has a limited budget or personnel resources are already overloaded.
  • Inadequate information: If necessary information, such as process data, is of poor quality, incomplete, or difficult to obtain, this can slow down or prevent development work.
  • Rigidity in operating procedures: Personnel may be accustomed to certain operating procedures that are not efficient or optimal.
  • Resistance to change: Making changes can provoke resistance among personnel.
  • Insufficient management support: Improving and continuously developing a process requires management support and commitment.

It is important to identify challenges and find ways to overcome them so that process improvement and continuous development can move forward. In this regard, technology can help in many ways, and it makes sense to efficiently automate data collection, analysis, and monitoring routines that would otherwise be laborious and resource-intensive.

Summary and recommendations

Standardization of production process control parameters, when possible, is an important part of production management and can help companies achieve better quality, less waste, lower costs, and higher productivity. Standardizing these parameters and continuous monitoring also enables continuous improvement, which helps to ensure that the production process remains efficient and stable over the long term. Additionally, using a standardized operating window can improve production line safety and reduce the risk of production errors. Finally, here are a few key points when standardizing control parameters:

  • Identify the key operating parameters: This is important so that you can focus on the essentials and avoid wasting time and resources on less important parameters.
  • Collect data: Sufficient information on different parameters enables their analysis and finding a connection to the quality, efficiency, and productivity of the production process. 
  • Experiment and test: Test different values of operating parameters and compare them to the results of the production process. This helps to find optimal values. 
  • Ensure continuous monitoring: The process parameters should be continuously monitored and significant deviations detected and corrected quickly. This helps to ensure that the production process remains stable and efficient. 
  • Train personnel: Staff should understand the importance of operating parameters and how to manage them. This helps to ensure that all employees are aware of their impact on the efficiency and quality of the production process. 
  • Utilize technology: Automated systems help to collect data about parameters and monitor the results of the production process. This makes it easier to ensure accurate and continuous monitoring and to react quickly to deviations. 

Heikki Peltonen

Writer is the CEO of Vipetec Oy. Vipetec has operated with process industry efficiency for over 20 years and produces software products in addition to analysis and optimization services for improving process control and efficiency.