Artech's App Helps OCL Unit Optimize Production

by Julia Fernandes    May 03, 2005

Artech India (formerly Softek Pvt Ltd), has developed a production planning and scheduling application to assist the planners at the OCL production unit, by offering them alternative production plans thus enabling them to optimize the production, for a unit that boasts of the largest refractory plant in the country.

Speaking to CXOtoday, P. K. Patnaik - DGM (IT), OCL India Limited, said, “The bi-monthly production planning exercise, which used to take not less than 2 weeks earlier, can now be completed in less than a day.”

The production planning and scheduling activities were performed manually and the records were also maintained manually. However, rise in demand led to a rise in production too. In this scenario, it became increasingly important to optimize the production process.

Artech India proposed a N-Tier architecture based solution that could handle the growing data requirements of the organization. According to Rajeev Malik, chief manager (Technology), Artech India, “N-Tier architecture is used to design the application in several tiers, which are independent components that interact with each other to provide the complete functionality of the application. For example, the User Interface Tier of an application will deal only with the display part of the application and would not have any database interaction. Similarly the Database Tier will deal with all the database interactions and pass on the requested data back to the User Interface Tier for display purpose.”

Speaking about the benefits of N-Tier architecture, Patnaik said, “Change in one Tier has no or minimal impact on other Tiers, hence it makes the testing of the application far easier. Moreover, these components can be distributed over multiple servers so that more physical resources (memory, hard disk, processor) are available to each component to take care of the growing data requirements. These individual Tiers can be reused for other applications if required because they exist as pre-tested components.”

Revealing the integration aspect of the deployment he said, “The production planning system was integrated with our existing applications. Some of the applications were running Microsoft platform with Oracle as the back-end database and integrating the production planning system with those applications was easy. There were some DOS/UNIX based applications and to integrate with those, Artech India designed flat file based integration modules, which are working perfectly fine.”

According to Patnaik, the centralized solution sits on Oracle 10g database, while the total number of users of this system is close to 25. However, the database and Business Logic Tier are designed in such a way that they can be distributed on multiple machines.

“We have plans to get a Web interface for this application in near future, so that our executives at remote locations can also get online access,” added Patnaik.

The GUI based on Windows platform system allocates the capacity of the plant resources by optimizing the existing resources for upcoming production requirement. The user-friendly system also provides various reports for analysis and actual implementation of the plan apart from supporting various analysis reports.

The production planning and scheduling system is intended to help the plant team in planning of resources such as kiln, loading layer, press, moulds, etc, generating output formats for bill of material (BOM), etc, monitoring kiln and press capacity utilization.

The system is also designed to optimize the capacity of all resources by preparing a comprehensive production schedule and a projected plan and preparing a monitoring chart or loading chart. While it can be configured to provide sufficient privilege to each user, it is also secure enough to avoid unauthorized access to system.

A user can view the projected plan for whole order and expected enquires generated by the system apart from viewing the monthly schedule generated by the system giving detailed day-wise quantity press booking and detailed day-wise quantity layer booking.

OCL India Limited (formerly Orissa Cement Ltd), widely known as OCL, was initially set up as a cement-producing unit. Later on, under a major diversification program, it entered the field of refractory manufacturing in the year 1954.

Over the years, OCL has grown to emerge as the largest refractory plant in the country, producing widest spectrum of high quality refractory bricks. This division is called OCL Refractory Works. Its high temperature furnace bricks are mainly utilized in integrated steel plants, eg. SAIL, Tisco, and non-ferrous industries like copper, glass and aluminum, etc.

Tags: production