Solutions to optimize your process flow

Fully integrated manufacturing.

Flowject designs and executes complete industrial automation and MOM/MES projects, big or small, fully integrated. 

Our main focus is on future-proof solutions for flexible manufacturing, with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, food and beverage, dairy, oil and gas and other industry sectors, all over the world.

ERP interfacing, business logic, PLC commissioning, and everything in between.

Label scanning red lasers
Methodology and vision

Scalable solutions

Agile, yet structured and compliant

Our projects are executed in a well structured manner, but with an agile approach. This way we make sure you end up with a quality solution fulfilling your expectations.

After initial analysis, we start design and implementation almost simultaneously, with short sprints and demos to ensure a quick feedback loop. Everything is well documented and validated according to the V-model before going in production, making GAMP5 and other compliance requirements no issue. After commissioning, of course we offer our continued support.

All our software is properly versioned using well-known version control systems such as git, and documented extensively.

Open protocols and industry standards

We strongly believe in industry standards and open protocols and use ISA standards and design patterns as the basis for every project. We remain vendor agnostic, allowing us to think outside the box and always offer the best solution for every customer.

We do have non-exclusive partnerships with certain vendors, because we really believe in their product and philosophy. On top of these vendor products, we built a Flowject project library so we can offer a ready-to-go, fully integrated solution right away.

Our solutions are modular and based on open communication protocols such as OPC UA and MQTT, this way we avoid vendor lock-in and allow for easy communication and extensibility.

Technology expertise

The classics, for a reason.

What's in a name?

The lines between the different software solutions explained below can be very blurry. 

For example, some things listed below under MES could also be done by a SCADA or ERP system and vice versa. The most important thing is that everything is connected, but there’s also separation of concerns and a single source of truth for every data point. We absolutely want to avoid systems fighting with each other, or having to manage and maintain the same data or functionality in different locations.

To achieve this we prefer to implement a modular solution built around a unified namespace. This way we avoid vendor lock-in, and software modules can easily be added, removed, or improved.

This does not mean we always develop custom software, rather the opposite. Whenever possible we use existing tools and software packages that are proven and tested, backed by trusted brands in the industry or big developer communities. When wo do develop custom software, or configure existing packages, version management is of course crucial, which is why we use git in every project. 

A high level system that ties everything together. Think production planning and order handling but also finance, HR, CRM, …

At Flowject we do not provide ERP systems, but we do interface with them through our MES layer. The MES system can also take over some of these functions if needed.

We often have to interface with the big players (SAP ERP and S/4HANA, Microsoft Dynamics NAV/365, Oracle JDE) but also have experience with smaller ERP packages and custom made ERP solutions.

The MES system ties everything together on a manufacturing operations level. From scheduling over execution to reporting and traceability.

We are certified experts in Siemens Opcenter EX PH, experienced with AVEVA MES and custom MES solutions, and familiar with many other players on the market, both big and small. A lot of these packages are similar and the core of the MES functionality is of course the same.

We have successfully executed MES projects of different sizes and in different industries. This ranges from building a small scanner app for a food company to building the complete MES system (including all functionalities listed below) for new big production facilities (greenfield and brownfield) in the pharmaceutical industry.

Some MES functionalities include:

  • Production scheduling
  • Master data management
  • Workflows, interactive operator instructions
  • Weighing and dispensing
  • Electronic signatures and electronic records
  • Barcode label printing, scanning, reconciliation
  • Automatic batch execution (connection to SCADA/PLC)
  • Dynamic recalculation and rescheduling
  • OEE, BI and other insights
  • Lot tracking and genealogy
  • Creating electronic batch records
  • Keeping a paperless audit trail
  • Interfacing with ERP (receiving item masters, work order schedules, BOM’s, stock updates, sending consumptions and manufacturing declaration, …)
  • Interfacing with other level 3 and level 4 systems like PLM, LIMS, DMS, …
  • Interfacing with SCADA/controllers to send targets and receive accurate production data (over OPC, MQTT, vendor specific protocols, …)

The SCADA layer gives you real time information and control of your equipment, and collects the necessary data from field devices.

We have extensive experience with some of the biggest SCADA packages on the market. Certified experts in COPA-DATA zenon, Ignition by Inductive Automation, and AVEVA system platform, experienced and familiar with many others.

We believe in designing SCADA systems according to the ISA standards (ISA101, ISA88, ISA5.5, ISA18.2, ISA62443, …) to ensure optimal integration with both MES and PLC, and situational awareness for the operator.

Some SCADA functionalities include:

  • Real time process visualization and control
  • Alarm and event management
  • Data historian
  • Local recipe and setpoint management
  • Automatic batch execution
  • Notifications and alerts
  • User authentication and authorization
  • Paperless audit trail
  • Easy troubleshooting and maintenance

We believe the PLC is still king of the control level. Robust, fast and easy to interface with. 

We prefer to build the complete PLC software according to the ISA88 model for the best and easiest integration with layers above.

We work the most with Siemens PLC’s, but also have experience with other big brands (Schneider, Beckhoff, Straton, …) and safety controllers (Pilz, Sick, …). Since we are familiar with all languages in the IEC 61131-3 standard and common communication protocols, we should be able to support most PLC brands.

Some characteristics and functionalities of these controllers:

  • Robust
  • HIgh-speed, time-sensitive control
  • Digital and analog IO
  • Distributed IO (Profibus, Profinet, ASI, Modbus, …)
  • Interfacing capabilities (OPC UA, MQTT, …)
  • Safety
Let's innovate!

Other things that spark our interest

Constantly learning and improving

Technology is rapidly changing. We are always on the lookout for new technologies that can help increase productivity.

AI, machine vision, cloud infrastructure, AR, the list is endless, and every day we learn a little bit more. In an industry like ours it’s important to always look for the best solution, and experimenting with newer technology is part of this. This does not mean that with every new development we should throw away our previous systems, but we can’t just keep doing what we’re doing because “that’s what we know”.

Want more information about our expertise, or discuss the role of these technologies in your business?