Sartorius Releases SIMCA®-online 17 Real-Time Process Monitoring Solution

The latest update to SIMCA®-online enhances useability and streamlines functionality for real-time process monitoring of batch and continuous manufacturing.

As a powerful real-time process monitoring solution, SIMCA®-online lets you put multivariate data analysis to work to monitor and control your batch and continuous processes. The latest update, SIMCA®-online 17, creates a streamlined user experience while offering greater precision and control over data management functions. 

This article is posted on our Science Snippets Blog 

The latest update to SIMCA®-online brings powerful new usability features and streamlined functionality for real-time process monitoring.

With SIMCA®-online real-time multivariate data analysis, you gain a clear picture of how your process stacks up against your ideal model and can rely on real-time alerts and alarms that let you investigate and correct the root cause of any problem before it negatively affects your production run. 

SIMCA®-online 17 is fully compatible with SIMCA® 17,  the most recent version released in 2021. 

What’s New in SIMCA®-online 17?

The updates introduced in the latest version of SIMCA®-online include:

  • Batch Aggregation Node 
  • Add any Python package for data preprocessing
  • Background updates of data source connections
  • Performance enhancements
  • Improved Active Directory user management
  • Model update automation
  • Baseline filter for IPC
  • Alert suppression on prediction of past batches 
  • Simplified navigation between active configurations
  • User experience improvements  

Batch Aggregation Node 

With the latest SIMCA®-online update, monitoring and control of entire process lines have never been easier – which offers a competitive advantage for advanced data-driven processes. A new Batch Aggregation Node—requested by Sartorius customers—lets you handle an entire process in one configuration. It provides an overview of different phases with the aggregated batch model on top so you can monitor the entire process at once instead of just individual units.

You can also handle batch identifiers that are not consistent throughout the process using Batch ID patterns, matching specified parts of the Batch IDs, resulting in an aggregated batch ID. 

In addition, dialog improvements in the Batch Context Generator have increased its ease of use. You can rename and reorganize batch contexts and manage them in a more efficient way, including selecting and deleting multiple nodes at once, or copying and pasting to create copies. 

Batch Aggregation Node in SIMCA®-online 17 lets you review an entire process in one configuration. 

Python Scripting for Data Preprocessing 

The new Python scripting support makes it possible for you to add your own custom Python scripts for data preprocessing without being limited to pre-existing packages. You manage Python packages on the server and can install or upgrade compatible packages and even add your own custom packages.  The Python scripts you use in SIMCA®, transforming or adding variables, are applied real-time in SIMCA®-online.

Background Updates for SimApis

With this productivity improvement, data sources connected through SimApis no longer have to be restarted after updates happen. As a result, you’ll see no pause in monitoring or downtime when updates come through. Instead, the SimApis is restarted in the background, and when they are done, they update seamlessly to SIMCA®-online. In addition, a new server audit trail entry for SimApi updates has been added to track the updates.

A SimApi is a software interface between the Umetrics® Suite software and a data source. The primary purpose of a SimApi is to provide a data connection to SIMCA®-online or SIMCA®

Alert Suppression When Predicting Past Batches

New functionality for working with predictions based on past batches allows you to have more control over alarm notifications. Alerts can be turned off when working with test cases or past batches to separate them from ongoing real-time notifications.

Performance Enhancements

Users will find faster plot updates and more responsive server performance thanks to an updated plot library and changes in how data is managed on the server. 

Improved Active Directory User Management

It’s now easier to manage Active Directory (AD) users and assign user groups and access rights within SIMCA®-online. This gives administrators more specific control over what each of their users can see, do and change within SIMCA®-online. A new search function for groups and users by name or email (with wildcard and substring search supported) was added.  A user's display name (typically a user's full name) is now displayed in audit trails, reset alarms, notes, plots, making it easy to see who has done what. Active Directory settings, users, and group-authenticated users have migrated automatically from previous versions. 

Model Update Automation

If you’re working with large and complex product processes, making changes to your process model and updating those in SIMCA®-online could be a time-consuming manual process. Now it’s possible to download your SIMCA®-online data to a desktop PC in the background and run a script to make the necessary updates, without having to open SIMCA® or do any manual updates. It will be done automatically in the background for multiple projects, and users just have to sign off on the updates before setting them live.

Baseline Filter for IPC

When continuous data is combined with interim or less frequently sampled data (such as end-of-day reporting) for a phase in a process, there is a risk that control data from a previous batch can be read due to infrequent updates. A new baseline filter allows the reading for these types of process variables to be set to missing until it changes. Or, in other words, it ignores that value until it changes. This baseline filter ensures data from a previous phase and current aren’t conjoined, and that less frequently sampled data are correctly combined with process data.
 

In this example, Temp_SP and Air_SP variables have been selected as Baseline filters. When this phase executes, the value for Temp_SP (diamond) is missing until more than halfway through the phase, unlike Ethanol which has values from the start.

(Note: SIMCA®-online only filters values at the beginning of the phase, and not when values stay the same later during the phase. The value for the first observation for each baseline filtered variable will always be missing. Target value alarms are evaluated against the filtered values.) 

User Experience Improvements 

SIMCA®-online 17 includes a number of user experience improvements in the desktop client for both operators and administrators that reduce the number of windows open and streamline the interface. Tabs for open configurations were removed, making the interface less crowded.  With updates to the Project Explorer and Production Overview panes, all related information is available in one place. It’s easier to see what is currently executing and easier to change between different configurations. 

Production Overview now lives up to its name by showing the alarm status of all open project configurations in the client. Operators can use it to quickly switch between open configurations, navigate their batches, and view plots. 

Project Explorer has an improved toolbar for project management. With the implemented changes there is no need to keep it open for monitoring. 

In previous versions of SIMCA®-online, a tab for each project configuration was displayed to enable changing between different configurations when no windows were open, as well as tabs for all open windows. The tabs have now been removed, releasing screen real estate and making the user interface more stable.  

Switch Between Active Configurations

In the Production Overview switching between active configurations has been simplified with the addition of a new dropdown menu and the Open Configurations section. You can quickly select or clear multiple workset batches using a link added next to the workset group, which opens a dialog for multiple selections. 

 

 A new drop-down in the Production Overview opens a dialog box that lets you quickly set or clear multiple workset batches. 

SIMCA® and SIMCA®-online – a Powerful Combination

SIMCA® and SIMCA®-online are designed to work together to offer you a streamlined workflow and continuous model updating. You can create a model in SIMCA® and transfer it (with a partly pre-populated configuration) seamlessly to SIMCA®-online, and you can also transfer a model from SIMCA®-online to SIMCA® for model maintenance. SIMCA® project files are version managed on the SIMCA®-online server. Read more about SIMCA®.

More details about the release can be found here:


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