Business Case:


System Architecture: 

Integrated Scheduling Systems Application: 

Project Plan:



















































             Automated Packaging System



The Integrated Scheduling System was implemented by KBA systems for a consumer goods company. The first installation of the software is in a European subsidary. The system focused on the following concepts:

Shorter Lead-time to Customers

Improved Flexibility to respond to opportunity

Less Inventory in the Country Warehouses

The scheduling system was a core component of the European Supply Chain initiative.


The key requirements of the project were:

  • Order Scheduling

  • Component picking and delivery

  • Integration with the Carousel

  • Production Process (production lines) which involved the following elements:

Product Validation 

Artwork Download for product labelling.

Optical validation using four cameras on each product line.

Communication with inkjet printers.

Automated production booking and interface with back-end system.


Further phases of the project will include integration with the shipping process which will automatically generate packing lists, pallet identifiers, content lists as well as other documentation. This can be automated due to the identification using camera technology.



System Architecture

The system interfaces with the following hardware:

  • DVT Cameras
  • Siemens PLC (other PLCs have been added).
  • Various thermal transfter printers.
  • Hand held scanners
  • Data Collection Terminals
  • Laser Printers
  • Inkjet Printers
  • Mainframe and NT servers.
  • Kardex Machine


Integrated Scheduling System Applications:

KBA Systems developed a number of applications and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) as part of the overall Integrated System.

System Administration Application:

The System administration program based on an NT server. The back office server was connected to the LAN which contains a SQL Server database. This database holds the transaction history for each Work Order processed and configuration data. The SQL database also stores the Artwork files in TIF format. The server has an ODBC connection to the mainframe.The System Administration Application provides the following functionality:

               Scheduling of refresh of local database files

               Switching from local to mainframe processing and back

               Scheduled refresh of mainframe  files on local database

               Transacting of ERP specific standard transactions via transaction handler.

               Logging and back flushing of mainframe transactions when connection restored.

               Setting of System Default parameters.

               Adding/Deleting Users

Supervisor Application:  

This application was installed on a standard network and is available to Supervisors on the production floor. It contains a network connection to the System Administration PC and the SQL Server database. The System/Administrator application is used to enable a supervisor to monitor what is happening on the shop floor via a graphical user interface. Information on the number of orders processed, skipped and outstanding is available for both for the shop floor as a whole and for individual lines. An option is also provided to enable a Supervisor to prioritize individual orders.Configuration parameters for each line may be set here. These include label web length, switching on and off of individual components on each line e.g. Cameras, Printers etc.

Processing Client Application:  

This application is installed on a standard network 3 card slots for additional adapters. There is one PC at each line on the floor. It contains a network connection to the System Administration PC and the SQL Server database, as well as an ODBC connection to the mainframe. This PC has the following additional Hardware:

               Touch Screen Panel

               Twin Parallel Adapter Card to enable connection to the Front and Back Label Printers

               Network Adapter Card (Incl. Ethernet connection for link to Cameras, and network printers)

               Serial Port for connection to PLC

               Barcode Wand Reader

The primary purpose of this application is to perform setup of scheduled orders including component validation, Label Printing, processing of ERP specific transactions and recording history log of all transactions.

End of Line Application:  

This application will be installed on a standard network attached PC with a minimum of 3 Card Slots for additional Adapters. There will be one PC at each line on the floor. It will contain a network connection to the System Administration PC and the SQL Server database, as well as an ODBC connection to the AS/400. An RS 232 connection will be provided to the Inkjet/Video Jet printer.This PC will have the following additional Hardware:

               Touch Screen Panel

               Network Adapter Card

               RS 232 connection for Video Jet/Inkjet printer.

Network or Parallel attachment to Thermal Printer for production of Carton Labels, End of Line labels.

               Barcode Wand Reader

This application provides a graphical user interface (GUI) which monitors the progress of each work order, produces carton labels, and processes end of line booking transactions into ERP system. On completion of each order, the Processing Client application is notified to trigger the setup of the next scheduled order. In addition, this application is used to process returns back into stock via ERP transactions.

PLC Interface:  

This module is responsible for all interaction between the front end applications and the PLC. It is implemented as a separate DLL. Applications which require access to the PLC include this DLL when linking.The PLC interface has two primary functions. This enables the Stopping/Starting of the Labeling Line & retrieve a count of product processed.Communications to and from the PLC can be via the RS 232 interface or an IP address.

Camera Interface:

The main camera object has a windows display which shows the current status of each camera, as well as current order information, quantity processed, quantity rejected and remaining quantity. When an error occurs, an error message displays on screen giving details of the error. A count handler will also maintain a count of product processed. Each time a message is received by the count handler, the count is incremented, and the Camera Status Window is updated.  Communications to and from the camera is via the TCP/IP protocol. 


Project Plan:

The KBA taks involved in the system design & implementation::

  • Development of Database Interface Module - External API

  • Development of System Adminstration Module

  • Error Log Development

  • Camera Interface Module

  • PLC Interface Module

  • Development of ERP Transaction Handler

  • Processing Module

  • Development of Maintenance Screens

  • Development of supervision module

  • Artwork Printing Module

  • Workload Summary Graphing

  • Integrate with Graphics Package.

  • Installation Setup using InstallShield

  • Development of online help.

  • Installation Guide

  • System Administration Guide

  • Project Management

  • Onsite Installation, Testing and Training.