Batch Scheduling

What Is Batch Scheduling?

batch scheduling

Batch scheduling helps manufacturers schedule the mixing of 'recipe' type products. This usually is confined to pharmaceutical ingredients, biotechnology processes, and any other field which requires a chemical process to take place or a mixing of certain 'ingredients', but it can extend beyond these too. Essentially, batch scheduling is where you look at what needs to be included in the 'recipe', the order in which they need to be added, and the processes which need to take place in order to create a product at the end. You break the entire manufacturing process down into the unit procedures (key steps), operations (each individual step), and then phases (if there are multiple steps involved in a single step).

How Does Batch Production Work?

Batch production is simple enough, once a batch schedule is in place. Obviously providing an example here would not be especially helpful, as each individual product that requires batch production will have a very specific tailored schedule in place so that they produce the product they want. Take pharmaceutical manufacturing, for example, without following the specific recipe they could produce something else entirely in the best case, or create something potentially dangerous in the worst. And that is why batch scheduling is so important.

Batch production is simply the steps you take whilst following the specific recipe or batch schedule to produce the final product. For example, you may have to start with mixing two separate chemicals together (this is an example of a unit procedure), and in order to do this successfully you may need to heat it, add it slowly, and mix at a specific speed (these are examples of operations within the unit procedure). But as you heat it, you might also need to do so incrementally in order to ensure it is not overheated (this is an example of a phase within an operation). After following these steps (and likely many more) you will have created a product through batch production.

Batch production is also large scale. You set up the production line to be at its most effective, by have machines (or people) already in place to take on a specific element of the batch schedule, but this will be done on a huge scale so that lots of products can be manufactured quickly. As one product finishes an element of the batch production and moves on to another machine or individual to complete the next step, there will already be another product moving in to complete that same step before moving on again, and so on.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Batch Production

After reading the above explanation, you've probably already noticed the major advantage. You can produce lots of products quickly. A batch schedule also makes everything much clearer for individuals setting up the machines for the processes to take place or working on a specific step, because they only need to be concerned with their portion of the 'recipe'. It allows for everybody to know their step and become experts in it.

However, there are certain disadvantages too. If, for example, there is a defect during one step, the whole batch might need to be thrown out. If this is a regular occurrence, then something is clearly amiss, but it also counteracts the advantage of being able to produce so many products so quickly, because if you're then discarding so many products because of mistakes with batches, you might lose a significant amount of money.

When batch production works well, it is a great way to create lots of products quickly. Human error is always a risk, but a batch schedule with simple instructions to follow will certainly reduce that risk and allow you to enjoy the benefits of batch production.

Order Cycle Time

Master Production Scheduling

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