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An expert system for manufacturers

What industry is FaSet aimed at?

FaSet is aimed at the manufacturing sector - any manufacturer that produces variations of a similar product to different client specifications. The manufacturing process probably has a number of production lines, with each production line consisting of a number of different machines which make up the manufacturing process. Each machine can be configured using different machine components and settings which are peculiar to that type of machine. To configure a production line may therefore require a large number of machine settings to be accurate, in order to ensure that a consistent level of manufacturing quality is achieved.

The FaSet database contains details of the current physical machinery layout of each production line and the list of machine settings that were used on each production run of each product variation. The user may reference this history whenever a job change is scheduled and use it as a basis for the set-up of each new production run. The setting is automatically updated wherever possible in line with any changes in the production line since the original setting was used. The user is prompted to check any key settings and may enter any required changes.

When the setting has been refined FaSet will produce a printed job change sheet detailing all the components and settings required to build the required product.

What would be an example FaSet installation?

FaSet is implemented in a large bottle making plant. The plant has four large furnaces feeding molten glass to some fourteen production lines. The production lines are regularly configured for production of 300 different bottles, ranging from a humble milk bottle to a trendy alco-pop container. Quality of the finished bottle is of paramount importance and a large database of machine settings data is retained within FaSet. Knowledge of the bottle making process has been added to FaSet in the business rules layer.

As bottle making technology improves, so new machines are introduced to the production lines. FaSet can easily be reconfigured to match changes in the production process.

The correct setting for a particular bottle may be based on the last time it was made but in line with design and production changes.

FaSet produces the list of equipment and settings required for each job change, providing a permanent quality record and audit trail.

What benefits will FaSet provide?

  • Improved levels of product quality
  • Reduced factory wastage from incorrect settings
  • Easy changes of manufacturing equipment
  • Convenient storage of settings data
  • Less dependency on key personnel
  • Easy job changes

How is FaSet configured to fit the industry?

When FaSet is implemented, our specialist staff examine the client's requirements to create a full list of every factory setting which FaSet will monitor. Each setting is assigned a unique name and entered into a settings dictionary where its details are retained:

  • Setting name
  • Setting type
  • Text
  • Numeric
  • Temperature
  • Speed
  • Distance
  • Pressure
  • Wind speed
  • Timing
  • Angle
  • Full description
  • Display units
  • Display format
  • Dependent settings

As well as standard setting types, FaSet also has special common factory components which may also be configured to suit the requirements:

  • Timing console with programmable events
  • Temperature zone with programmable zone names
  • Pressure zone with programmable zone names
  • Cooling cowl with programmable components
  • Free text areas

What is the business logic layer?

The business logic layer consists of rules which are specific to the particular manufacturing process. This is often knowledge which currently resides in the heads of key personnel in the factory. These rules may be as simple as one value being dependent on another, or complex mathematical calculations which are invoked should a particular setting change. If required Open Projects will program these rules into FaSet so that they are automatically invoked.

What are FaSet's key operational features?

  • Configuration database
  • Database of current factory set-up
  • Transfer of jobs from one production line to another
  • Transfer of settings from one job to another
  • Settings validation against the configuration database
  • Automatic highlights of critical settings
  • Retention of unlimited identical settings
  • Identical and similar jobs