CellFlow: the smart Workflow Manager

Most production systems in the industry are controlled by a PLC. A standard solution, but not always the most flexible. Certainly not when it comes to medical products, where the batches are small and the process consists of relatively many different steps. Cellro Medical’s engineering team has developed a solution for this in the form of CellFlow: an easily configurable database with which the PLC is controlled seamlessly.

In addition to programs, the PLC often contains (product) data. A major disadvantage of storing product data in the PLC is that this is at the expense of the user friendliness of the configuration possibilities. In addition to the required specific knowledge, you also need PLC software to be able to make an adaptation to product data. For this reason Cellro Medical made the choice a few years ago to disconnect the product data from the PLC and store this data in a database. The data required by the PLC is read directly from the database.

Modifying product data in a database again requires specific knowledge. The engineering team of Cellro Medical has developed a solution called CellFlow: an application in which product data can easily be configured and stored directly in a database. CellFlow not only makes it possible to modify product data, but also to enter which steps in the process need to be performed.

When commissioning a system, the database is already filled with customer data. After practical training, the engineers can immediately start working with Cellflow. Cellro Medical noticed that many of its customers wanted a user-friendly system. After all, adjusting data in the PLC is cumbersome and costs a lot of time and money, especially when it comes to one-off adjustments. With CellFlow, this threshold has been removed. It is an application that can be installed on the engineer’s PC, allowing him to fill and modify the database on his own workstation. The PLC then controls the system according to the specified parameters.

Both the configuration of the product and the steps in the process can be recorded in CellFlow, for example:

  • Robot grabs product from import
  • Camera inspects the product
  • Robot goes to laser position
  • Laser marking product
  • Camera inspects the mark
  • Robot returns product to input

The user can decide for each product which steps have to be taken in the system in order to arrive at the end product. This is based on a large database of possibilities, which have already been entered by Cellro. In addition, all the parameters of the various products are known. Think of the material, the shape, which laser marking etc. The combination of these properties and steps forms the recipe, which is passed on to the PLC that controls the system when required.

In this way a user has much more flexibility at product level. Extra steps can be added more easily, just like new products. Especially products from the same family can be configured in no time by means of a ‘clone’ function, allowing them to be put into production much faster. The application checks the input of the user and, if necessary, indicates by means of an error message what is not (yet) correct.

In addition, a lot of attention has been paid to verification in the systems of Cellro Medical. Take, for example, the laser marking system. This system checks which product is entered for which marking (product identification), and whether this corresponds with the customer’s data and the data from the database. Only then does it proceed to laser marking. In this way, errors are virtually excluded and the quality of the laser marking is in accordance with the medical standard.

There is also a standard template available, which contains suggestions for the various process steps. A user can make it as large as he wants. Products can also be easily switched on and off.

Another advantage of working with CellFlow is that a user first has to log into the application. Because of this, unauthorized persons do not have access to product data. Once successfully logged in, all user actions are recorded in a logbook. This way, it is always retrievable when a change has been made. Users of the application are free to configure. In this way there is always and everywhere complete control over the system.

Switching from PLC programming to the use of CellFlow is easy, because there are really only advantages to it. Because CellFlow is very graphically designed, the threshold to start using it is very low and the system is very user-friendly.

Would you like more information about working with CellFlow, would you like to know what Cellro can do for you in your situation or would you like to see a demo of CellFlow? Then make an appointment with one of our experts or request more information!