Creeping incrementalism can create unintended consequences.

A batch processor is transitioning their recipe management. They are moving from paper "hard copy" to a standardized, automated system.

Standardization and efficiency improvements are a challenge. It is often necessary to make these changes incrementally. But there are ways of making these steps more accurate.


In the client's original system, the operator received a paper printout for each recipe.

  • Each printout provided a description and code number

  • The operator needed to scroll through 6 HMI screens to find a descriptive match to program the recipe.

  • The recipe code was not included as a search function option.

This approach proved to be time consuming, tedious and often inaccurate.


In the first transitional step, the client changed their HMI to be search-able on the recipe code. After the operator entered the recipe code, the HMI would show the recipe description. The operators tended to click on the description which popped up without taking a good look. This led to acknowledging an incorrect recipe.


​How was our client to ensure that the operator selected the correct recipe?

Matt Tevald, one of Primary System's Senior Systems Engineers, suggested that a recipe code could generate 6 recipes-- one recipe which matched the input code plus 5 randomly selected recipes.

The description pop ups are randomly selected by the HMI programming. This forces the operator to read through 6 recipes to locate the correct one.


​Voila! PSI's input helped to improve accuracy in recipe selection.

The results are impressive:

  • The operators are less frustrated by not having to scroll through so many HMI screens.

  • Entering recipes by code speeds up the selection process.

  • Selecting from randomized recipe descriptions has improved the accuracy of recipe selection.

  • Reworks of incorrectly selected recipes have dropped dramatically.

Having a transition problem?  We can help.

Primary Systems Inc. - Control and Automation Solutions

30 NJ-18 | Suite 1 | Old Bridge NJ 08857 | USA


Scott Alter, VP Control and Automation Solutions